cambridge fce essay example

Essay – examples & model answers | B2 First (FCE)


FCE Essay Examples:  Topic (Environment) 

Example exam task:, example answer (grade: 3), example answer:.

I think that my country has problems with pollution to the environment like all other countries. This problem is normal for Russia. We have big problems with transport because there are too much cars in our country. And because of that we have problems with atmospeer, air in my city and in all Russia is really dirty and sometimes I can’t make a sigh because it smells around me and of course around that cars on the road. I’ve heard about tradition of one country. They don’t go anywhere by car one day a month or a year, they just use bycicle or their feet. I think it could be very good if we had a tradition like that.

So, what about the rivers and the seas? Yeah, there are some really good and clean rivers and seas where you can go, but there are not many of them. Once I saw the river OB in my city, it was about two years ago but I stil remember that in some places it was not blue, it was green or purple I didn’t really understand because it had different colours.

I don’t know what should we do. Maybe we should just open our eyes and look what we did. But Russian people don’t care about the world around them many people care only about themselves an that’s all.

So, the best idea is look around and try to do something good for our planet and for us and our children.


Practice, write & improve, examiners comments & grade:, example answer (grade: 3-4).

To begin with pollution and damage to the environment is the most serious and difficult problem for countries of all over the world. Scientists of different countries predict a global ecocatastrophe if people won’t change their attitude to our planet.

First of all a huge damage to the environment brings a transport. People can’t imagine their living without cars, buses, trains, ships and planes. But it’s an open secret that one of disadvantage of these accustomed things is harmful exhaust. Needless to say that use of environment friendly engines helps us to save atmosphere from pollution.

In addition to this our rivers and seas are in not less danger situation. It’s a fact of common knowledge that numerous factories and plants pour off their waste to ponds. Obviously that cleaning manufacturing water helps to avoid extinction of ocean residents.

Apart from this I’m inclined to believe that every person can and must contribute to solving this important problem. Doing a little steps for protection our environment every day we will be able to save our Earth. And it’s a task of each of us.

Model Answer (Grade: 5)


If we surf the web looking for pollution and environmental catastrophes, we will find out that every country in the world suffers them. This is a natural consequence of the struggle between development and environment.

If a country decided to live isolated from the rest of the world, living on what it can naturally grow and produce, it surely wouldn’t be highly polluted. But we all want exotic food and technological items from all over the world, so we have to pay the price.

Investing on electrical transport would benefit the environment a lot. Even more if this electricity came from a natural source of energy like wind, rivers and solar boards. It’s difficult to achieve this because petrol companies will fight against these actions.

We also have to take care of our rivers and seas. We all have heard about factories throwing highly toxic substances to rivers, without minimizing their poisoning effects. A really strict law should be applied to fine these factories and make them change their policy.

But what about ourselves? We also can do a lot! If, when possible, we bought larger packs of food, we would be producing less rubbish. And this is only an example!

FCE Essay Examples: Topic (Fashion) 

In today’s world, the fashion industry has a strong importance in people’s lives. The fashion industry say to the society what to wear and creates new types of clothes all the time.

Some people claim that the fashion industry has a bad effect on people’s lives, they say that the fashion industry creates clothes that the society has to wear. Furthermore, the clothes’ price is extremely high and people, who can’t afford it, should not be in the society.

In the other hand, the fashion industry guide the people to be in a good appearance, because, nowadays, the appearance of the person is more important than the person itself.

In my opinion, the fashion industry doesn’t has a bad influence on people’s lives. It’s something which was created to help people what to wear.

Example Answer (Grade: 4)

Fashion industry is very a discussed subject nowadays: they create and design new clothes everyday in order to satisfy some people needs.

There are many people who claim that the fashion industry is important and good for society. According to them, this industry design beautiful clothes and thanks to that every person can wear shirts, trousers or any acessory which is on today’s fashion.

On the other hand, the fashion industry in some people opinion, controls the market of clothes and because of that they can’t wear what they want to. In addition, the industry can increase the price of clothes, forcing people who don’t want to be “oldfashioned” to buy and pay a large amount of money to keep “beautiful”.

In my opinion, we can’t let the fashion industry decide what we must or musn’t wear. We shouldn’t judge people for its appearance,because that is not important. We must wear whatever we like, want and feel confortable with.

The society we live today is characterised by technology in constant development, fast speed processes, information travelling and getting to people at a blink of an eye and a complex web of social networking. In this context, the fashion industry is becoming increasingly important and having a more and more paramount role in our lives.

On one hand, the fashion industry is undeniably a source of profit and income. It hires millions of people all over the world and generates millions of dollars every year. Furthermore, such profitable business is also believed to be able to spread and make known the culture of a people, encouraging and enhancing a better understanding of each other.

Nevertheless, for those who are neither impressed nor motivated by numbers and figures, the fashion industry is seen as one which segregates people, isolating those who not fit their laws and commands. It is stated that people place too much importance on appearance and the material, world, sadly true, and the fashion industry just spurs on such situation. Moreover, not only are the costs of fashion item unrealistically high, it is thought to be a money better spent on more pressing issues, such as poverty and hunger.

I do believe that the fashion industry, as it is today, has a harmful effect, because it values a minority of people in detriment to the majority. However, it has such a wide reach that, it put into a good use, it can save lives.

FCE Essay Examples: Topic (Languages) 

“There are more reasons to learn a foreign language than to pass a test”

Everything around us revolves around language(s), it is the most important thing in our lives. Society would just not function without it. They are It is our future and I would personaly love to learn as many as I possibly can.

Not everything in life is done because it is necessary. Learning a new language can be a lot of fun. Many people only do it as a hoby, or their knowledge is something that brings them pride and pleasure.

Secondly, we have people who do it simply to challenge themselves. Truly I believe that having a great outcome that stems from your hard work and dedication to learn something new is a wonderful way to challenge prove your ability to yourself and others. Then there is travelling. It is very important to be able to understand and have a conversation with someone abroad, unless you would like to get lost or worse.

To conclude, I think that learning a new language is an amazing thing no matter why you do it. It is always better to do things out of enjoyment, but even if you do it for a test, that knowledge will always be useful.

Learning a a foreign languages is very important nowadays. English, in particular, is essential because it allows is spoken all over the world. That’s the reason why we start studying it from the age of six years old. Going abroad and being able to speak to native people is very satisfying and that’s why I want to improve my knowledge about foreign languages.

I decided to take this exam to know how high my level of English is, but also because I need this certification to go abroad next summer. I really want to come back to Cornwall, an amazing region in the South-West of England. I’ve been there twice with my family, but now I want to go alone. Only being there to England I can really improve my English comprehension and speaking skills.

Fortunately I can will have some English lessons which taught in English at university and I can’t wait for it because it will be an interesting challenge for me. Studying foreign languages is essential to live and to travel. It isn’t simple and I surely have to challenge myself everyday, but the result is so satisfying that we I can’t do without it.

FCE Essay Example: Topic (History) 

A very common topic that is being discussed nowadays is wether schools should teach subjects that some may consider useless later in life. A clear example is history, since it is quite difficult to learn and does not help us in day-to-day activities.

However, many people do not realize the importance of it or that it affects our lives today. For example, our political system would not be this way if it weren’t for the Ancient Greeks, numerous politicians and wars who helped shape democracy and our constitution. Yet it is still thought that it’s useless.

In addition, it is very important that we never forget about our past since we must know where we were standing years ago. Moreover, there are some things, such as World War II, that we have to remember to prevent them from happening again. We should also know where we we were standing a century ago: our origins, our identity. The more you learn about your ethnicity, the better.

All in all, I think that it is extremely important to learn about one’s own country’s history. Anyone who gets the chance to do this should not waste it, since they are very fortunate to have this opportunity

What is your level of English?

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How to Write an Essay for B2 First (FCE) Writing

Luis @ kse academy.

  • noviembre 24, 2019

As you probably know already, Cambridge English exams usually have some or all of the following parts: Reading, Writing, Use of English and Listening. In this post I am going to talk about the FCE Writing B2 part and, more specifically, about how to write an essay for FCE Writing . We will see a good example of an essay for FCE and you can check out a full FCE Writing Guide where you can find more examples of emails , letters and other types of writings.

Essay Sample Answer

Este artículo también está disponible en castellano.

The Ultimate B2 First Writing Guide: 15 B2 Writing Sample Tasks and 300+ Useful Expressions (Guías de Writing para Exámenes de Cambridge)

What are the parts of the FCE Writing?

The First (FCE) Writing has only two parts. For each part, you must write a composition which will depend on the instructions you receive for each task. For the  first part , you will always be asked to  write an essay , as it is the only option provided. However, in the  second part , they allow you to choose one out of 3 options. These include  different types of writing , which are : letters/emails ,  articles ,  reviews and  reports . Each piece of writing must have between 140 and 190 words , approximately.

Since they are different types of writing , the language and structures to use will also differ. But that’s what I’m here for, to explain to you exactly how to write each part. And today, I’m starting with  how to write an essay .

How to Write an Essay for FCE Writing

An  essay is an opinion writing with which we analyse a topic , a situation or an issue from different points of view , providing different arguments and expressing our opinion about it. For this reason, an  essay must have the following features:

  • Purpose: What we usually do with an essay is to analyse and assess a topic, situation or issue which, in some way, is interesting or controversial. It is normally set as a writing task after a class debate. In the exam, you have to imagine the debate, obviously.
  • Tone and style: Given that you’re writing about a  serious or controversial issue , an essay is written in a formal style, so we must stick to an objective tone and style . Our language must be formal, thus avoiding words that are simply too common or generic (E.g.:  things, stuff, get,   etc.) and contractions (E.g.:  can’t, don’t, won’t,  etc.).
  • Structure: Like every piece of writing,  an essay must present a defined structure . For starters, we can choose either to give it a title or not. Personally, I would say that it is more appropriate to have an essay with title . Then, the body must be divided into introduction, idea 1, idea 2, idea 3 and conclusion. This means that, in general,  essays must have 5 paragraphs ,   although it is not entirely necessary.
  • Opinion:  There are countless ways of expressing your opinion in an essay, so you must choose the one that suits you best. However,  it is advisable to remain impartial throughout your writing and give your opinion only in the last paragraph , as a conclusion. But, as I say, it is optional. The most important thing is that you justify everything you say in your essay.
  • Coherence: Coherence is essential in every type of writing, but especially in an essay. As it tends to be an argumentative text, you must avoid writing incoherent paragraphs that have nothing to do with one another. Your ideas must  follow a logical order and be well connected with appropriate linkers .

FCE Writing Essay Example

Now that we are familiar with the  characteristics of an essay for First (FCE) Writing , let’s take a look at an  example of an essay at B2 level , both at the task and at a sample answer.

Instructions of an Essay

In the following image you can see the instructions of an essay which involves a typical topic, that of the environment:

How to Write an Essay for FCE sample task / cómo escribir un essay para Fce ejemplo actividad

In these instructions, we must pay attention to the following:

  • The  first paragraph introduces the topic: … different ways in which you can protect the environment.
  • The  second sentence is usually the same in every task:  Write an essay using  all the notes…
  • In the box , you are given the main topic as a question and they give you something to talk about:  recycle, using bicycles and walking, your own idea . As you can see, you have to come up with the third idea, something connected to the topic which is not provided in the exam task.

Given the model task above, each paragraph will correspond to a different idea, apart from the introduction and conclusion. Again, it is only natural to have 5 paragraphs. So, the best way to know how to write an essay for FCE Writing is to take a look at an  example of an actual essay for FCE Writing :

How to Write an Essay for FCE sample answer / cómo escribir un essay para Fce ejemplo respuesta

At first sight, the essay has  a title and 5 paragraphs (introduction + idea 1 + idea 2 + idea 3 + conclusion). And if we stop to read the essay more carefully, we’ll notice the following things:

  • The paragraphs are visual and well defined , which is very important.
  • The title summarises the topic  of the essay. Another option is to use the question ( What can people do to help protect the environment? ) as title. However, it usually tends to be too long, so I prefer to summarise it into a shorter heading.
  • Introduction: it introduces the topic in a general way and it leads to the second paragraph (first idea).
  • Paragraph 2: it deals with idea 1.
  • Paragraph 3: it deals with idea 2.
  • Paragraph 4: it deals with idea 3.
  • Conclusion: we express our opinion to conclude and summarise the essay.
  • It uses connectors to define the development of the essay:  firstly, second, finally, etc.
  • It doesn’t use many contractions or pet words.
  • One of the things that
  • In the last few decades,
  • For this reason,
  • First, / Second, / Third,
  • By doing so,
  • For example,
  • In conclusion,

This is a good example of an essay for FCE Writing . By the way, you must bear in mind that it has been written to simulate a strong B2 level, without reaching C1.

FAQ: Do I get penalised for writing over 190 words?

This is the most typical question in this part of the exam and the answer is « yes and no «. Let me explain myself. Cambridge English examiners don’t count the number of words and penalise you based upon that fact alone. There’s a rumour going around among teachers and pupils that says that for every 10 words over 190, they take «this many» points off, but it is not true. However, think about this: if you’ve written 50 or 100 words more than asked, you are probably including irrelevant information to the task , right? Now that’s a reason for losing points. In the same way that if you  write under 140 words you are probably missing essential information , don’t you think?

For this reason, I always recommend writing up to 10 or 20 words over the limit. In this way, you won’t lose any points for including irrelevant information.

FCE Writing Guide with examples (pdf)

Although I intend to write more posts on how to do each piece of writing for FCE, if you don’t want to wait any more, simply download the official KSE Academy FCE Writing Guide . In this guide you will learn:

  • How to write an essay  and 3 examples.
  • How to write an article  and 3 examples.
  • How to write a review  and 3 examples.
  • How to write a report  and 3 examples.
  • How to write an email or letter  and 3 examples.
  • Over 300 useful expressions for every FCE Writing .

Would you like to see a sample of this guide? Here it is!

Did you find this useful?  Why not share it with other teachers and students of English? Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter and to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, y YouTube. 🙂

Luis @ KSE Academy

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Cambridge first (fce) writing part 1(essay).

Difficulty level : B2 /Upper Intermediate

Write 140-190 words in an appropriate style.

In your English class you have been talking about old people in society. Now your English teacher has asked you to write an essay.

Around the world, people are living and staying healthy for longer and longer. What changes does this bring to today’s society? Are these changes good or bad?

Notes Write about:

1.  Caring for the elderly 2.  Jobs 3.  __________ (your own idea)

First (FCE) Writing tests

  • Writing part 1 (essay)
  • Writing part 2 (review)
  • Writing part 2 (article)
  • Writing part 2 (email)
  • Writing part 2 (report)
  • How to write an article
  • Writing essay introductions
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Home / IELTS, CAE, FCE Writing Samples

IELTS, CAE, FCE Writing Samples

IELTS Writing samples with commentaries can be found below. We provide comprehensive analysis of your mistakes, give recommendations and share relevant links to help you improve your writing score.

Below are IELTS, CAE and FCE writing samples submitted by users.

The writing examples below are written by students just like you. The best way to master CAE and IELTS writing is to practice and to learn from mistakes (yours and those of others).

Essay Examples:

Ielts writing task 2.

Corporate sponsorship in sports Increasing crime levels 21st Century Extreme Sports Practical skills and knowledge Difference in Salaries Second-hand goods Video Games and Children Nowadays Buying New or Repairing Old Job Application and the Elderly Wealth and Technology Children with Disabilities Vegetarianism Art or Sports? Socially Responsible Businesses Children’s Choice Technology and Communication Danger of Extreme Sports 21st Century Optimism Children and Responsibilities Online Learning Science in Schools Roads or Railways Online Education Driving Age Culture Against Technology Writing Letters Society and its Attitude to Consumption High Salaries Corporate Sponsorship History as a Subject Art and Music Stressed young people Stressed young people (#2)

CAE Writing

CAE Writing Part 1: Preparing for Working Life CAE Writing Part 1: Preparing for Working Life II CAE Writing Part 1: Time Abroad CAE Writing Part 1: Time Abroad II CAE Writing Part 1: Helping Immigrants CAE Writing Part 1: Helping Immigrants II CAE Writing Part 1: Helping Immigrants III CAE Writing Part 1: Life and Technology CAE Writing Part 1: Money from Authorities CAE Proposal: Flexible Working Day CAE Proposal: Preserving the Old Academy Building CAE Proposal: Hobby Club CAE Essay: Technology in Our Life CAE Essay: Living in Cities

FCE Writing

FCE Writing Part 1: Teenagers and Free Time FCE Writing Part 2 (Article): Photographs Private: FCE Writing Part 2 (Review): Devices

IELTS Writing Task 1

IELTS Diagram: Wave Energy

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FCE Writing

The Writing paper has two parts. Part 1 has one compulsory question and involves writing an essay. In Part 2, candidates are given three options and are asked to write one of the following using between 140 and 190 words: an article, email/letter, report, or review.

cambridge fce essay example

Part 1 A Part 1 B Part 1 C Part 1 D Part 1 E

cambridge fce essay example

Article A Article B Article C Article D

cambridge fce essay example

Report A Report B Report C Report D

cambridge fce essay example

Complaint letter A Formal letter B C D

Is September intake better than January?

cambridge fce essay example

A number of universities have introduced two intakes in a year. Prospective students have a choice and they can either start the academic year in September or January. Despite the flexibility, some international students are facing the dilemma as they need to decide which intake, September or January, is better as the start date of their degree programme. 

What are the pros and cons of the September or January intake? 

A student needs to consider the number of available courses in each intake, job prospects, student placement options, freshers week events and course duration when choosing either the September or January intake. 

1.Number of available courses 

Not all universities offer January intake. Most top rank and prestigious universities consider September as the start of the academic year. The universities with January intake frequently provide a limited number of programmes available in this intake. Before applying for January intake, ensure you research your university and find out if your desired degree is available in this intake. Otherwise, it’s worth waiting until September, by which your application will be spotless and you’ll be comfortably waiting for the freshers week.

2. Freshers week

Freshers week gives a great opportunity to network with fellow students, learn more about courses, familiarise themselves with campus and various student clubs, participate in lots of fun and also academic events with tutors and university staff. 

You don’t want to miss September’s freshers week, and you will definitely miss freshers week if you start in January. And even if your university does organize freshers week in January, it’s not as fun and engaging as the one in September. 

3.Part-time job opportunities 

Finding part-time work in September is easier than in January. Lots of companies need extra staff before the Christmas period. As a result, you have better chances of finding employment. That said, lots of students look for jobs during this time, so the competition is fierce. Hence you need to be super proactive when job hunting, print your CV, take it with you and leave it with a manager of every coffee shop, clothing store or restaurant located in close proximity of your accommodation or campus.

Part-time positions are limited in January, the haste of Christmas is long gone, people are usually into saving than spending, so there might not be as many job opportunities. However, this is also a period when people make new years resolutions, they want to change their life, and very often that is connected to changing their work. There’s a good chance there will be a vacancy here and there, but it will be limited. 

4. Duration of the course 

Some programmes starting in January might be 3 months longer than those starting in September. As a consequence, you will be studying longer than your fellow classmates. Some universities however ask you to study throughout the summer term, so that by October you catch up with other students in your year. When choosing the university and programme, look into the end dates of the course. What comes with a longer course duration is also an increased programme fee.

5. Work placement 

Work placement is completed during your degree, usually between your second and final year of study. Sometimes they even make a compulsory element of your degree. During this ‘sandwich’ year or as some call ‘year in industry’ you will be assessed and at the end awarded credit for the placement. 

Work placement gives you a fantastic opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills in work settings. You will be able to increase your skills and competencies, frequently sought after by future employers. 

Companies usually advertise the work placement a year in advance in September, very few employers start placement programmes in January

Why would someone choose to start a university in January?

1. You need more time 

Family responsibilities, work commitments, English level, saving money or visa issues are just a few things preventing you from starting university in September. No matter how challenging your life has become, take time to sort out the outstanding issues so that you can fully devote yourself to your studies in January. 

2. Gap year 

Gap year used to allow students to take a break between studies to reflect on their life and future, get some work experience or simply backpack around the world. These days, some students prefer to take a mini gap year for 3-5 months. It’s enough time to do volunteering, travel or simply take time to think of what you really want to study. Don’t feel guilty when taking a mini gap year or even a whole 12-month gap, you need this time and space to really think about what you want from life and about your career aspirations.

3. Need to change the course 

You might have started a course in September and realised that it is not exactly what you were hoping to be, it’s just not the right fit. Don’t feel you’re stuck and you can’t change the uni or the course. On the contrary, you can start again and apply in January intake, it’s a perfect time to transfer. 

4. You missed the September intake 

For some reason you missed September intake, if that’s the case, January intake comes as a saviour and it can even allow you to apply for the course of your first choice. Some universities allocation additional spots for the January intake, meaning that some lucky students might get a place on the course they have always dreamt of.

5.Flexibility for mature students

January intake becomes a flexible option for mature students who want to do their first degree or for those who are thinking of doing their second degree. The time between September and January allows them to mentally prepare for the study, deal with their commitments and then with a piece of mind start the course in January. 

6. You are an international student

In the southern hemisphere, including Australia, South America, some countries in Africa and Asia, the school year usually runs from January to December. Starting in September might be a bit tricky as they have to go through the application process during the school year, then wait for almost 9 months to begin their study. 

List of Universities in the UK that admit in January 2022:

Anglia Ruskin University 

Aston University 

Bangor University

Bath Spa University 

Birkbeck University of London.

Birmingham City University 

Bournemouth University 

Brunel University London

Cardiff Metropolitan University

City, University of London

Coventry University 

De Montfort University

Edge Hill University 

Edinburgh Napier University

Glasgow Caledonian University 

Keele University UK

Kingston University

Leeds Beckett University 

London Metropolitan University

London South Bank University

Manchester Metropolitan University 

Middlesex University 

Northumbria University London

Nottingham Trent University 

Oxford Brookes University 

Regent’s University London

Teesside University 

Ulster University 

University College Birmingham

University of Bedfordshire 

University of Central Lancashire (UCLan)

University of Chester 

University of Cumbria

University of Derby 

University of Dundee

University of East London

University of Greenwich, London

University of Hertfordshire 

University of Huddersfield 

University of Leicester 

University of Portsmouth 

University of Salford 

University of South Wales

University of Stirling

University of Sunderland 

University of West London 

University of Westminster, London

University of Wolverhampton 

University of Worcester 

Can I retake IELTS writing part only?

cambridge fce essay example

The writing part of the IELTS exam is quite challenging for many students. Some have retaken the test and to their surprise, they still can’t achieve the desired result in all four parts of the exam. I’ve been asked numerous times whether it’s possible to retake just one part of the exam, for example writing or reading.

As a general rule, there is no provision for retaking the IELTS test of a single module of IELTS.  If a single section’s score on the IELTS exam is low, a test-taker will have to retake all four sections of the IELTS exam.

If you have scored 7.5 in reading, listening and speaking but just 5.5 in your writing then you will have to retake the whole exam to score an overall higher band. IELTS doesn’t allow single module taking at this stage. If the difference between each module is significant you might want to consider devoting some time for further learning as taking the IELTS soon after your first attempt might not mean you will score a higher band.

Is it possible to only retake the Reading module in IELTS exam if other modules are higher than 7.5?

In general, retaking a single module of IELTS exam, like reading, is currently impossible. In order to improve reading part of the IELTS exam, a test-taker will have to resit the whole exam. IELTS does not allow registering for one module only at this stage. 

If your reading score is significantly lower than the other modules you might want to look into tips and strategies on how to cleverly and methodically approach this problematic task. Remember that reading for pleasure and reading for IELTS are two totally different concepts. And the latter requires from you certain skills to successfully complete each IELTS Reading task in a timely manner. 

Can you retake IELTS immediately? How soon can I retake IELTS exam? 

You can resit the IELTS exam immediately after your initial attempt. Some test-takers book two exams at the same time, especially during busy periods when the exam dates and booking availability are limited. You should only resit the IELTS exam when you feel you’re ready, bear in mind that you won’t be able to score a higher band in IELTS without a significant effort to improve your English in general and for the exam purposes.

Why do you keep scoring 6.0 and 6.5 in your IELTS?

When you reach a certain level of English, that is B2 upper-intermediate, which is equivalent to band 6.0 or 6.5 in IELTS, you feel capable of communicating and understanding English with a certain degree of confidence and fluency. You decide to book an exam because you believe you’re good enough to score 7.0. By this point, you have stopped trying and working on improving your skills better. By then you just keep practising with sample exams, doing one test after another, not even realising that you still need to learn more vocabulary and grammar. Taking an exam at this stage is like playing a lottery, do you really want to risk spending more money and face the exam disappointment.

It doesn’t work like that. You won’t get a 6.5 or a 7.0 by luck. Only continuous effort to improve your English skills and exam strategies will help you score a higher band in IELTS. There are no shortcuts, you need to devote enough time to become a confident, native-like speaker of English. After all, you didn’t get to your present level of fluency in your own language just by accident, did you? It takes time, sometimes lots of it, and it takes real work – with the humility to accept that you still have much to learn.

Why is my IELTS score lower on the second IELTS test? 

You might notice a difference in the score on your IELTS because:

  • it wasn’t your day (you were stressed, overwhelmed and couldn’t think straight)
  • your current English level is not high enough
  • the task was a bit more difficult

There are many factors that may contribute to a difference in scores on two different IELTS exams. Usually, the difference is half a point, which would mean that you still need to work on your English skills (improve your English with a teacher or self-study). Although half a point on IELTS doesn’t seem a lot, in CEFR terms it can mean 50-100 additional study hours. Before booking a third attempt, spend some time learning English, not necessarily practising with IELTS sample tests, you need to improve your English in general.

If the difference between the same part of the exam in the first and second attempt differ significantly, you will need to invest more time in preparation and study. Find a fellow test-taker, or an IELTS teacher, talk to them about your learning goals and together try to achieve them. Find out how long it takes to prepare for IELTS here .

What’s IELTS exam retake fee? 

If you failed to get the right score in IELTS exam, you will need to resit the exam. Depending on the country and currency, the IELTS exams fees are as follow:

How soon can I retake IELTS exam?

You can retake the IELTS exam as soon as you wish to. There is no waiting period before booking or taking the IELTS exam again and there are also no limits on how often students may take the exam within a given period of time. That said, before you book your next IELTS exam you might want to consider a few points:

  • Why didn’t you get the desired score in the first place?
  • What is the difference between the score you got and the desired score?
  • Why do you need to take the exam now?
  • When do you need to receive the score?

The first two questions refer mainly to your current level of English and whether you are actually ready to score a high band in IELTS. Your IELTS score is unlikely to increase unless you have made a significant effort to improve your English. You can find out how many hours you need to study to get your desired IELTS band  here .

The latter two questions are closely related to the deadlines you might have when presenting the IELTS results. Some students need the IELTS result with their university application. If you feel you might not be able to get the IELTS score on time, talk to your university, maybe they will be able to suggest a Pre-sessional or a pathway English course that will help you secure a place at your desired university.

Is it possible to only retake the writing module in IELTS if other modules are higher than 7.5?

In general, IELTS does not allow to retake the IELTS writing part only.  If the writing part score on the IELTS exam is low, e.g.5.5, whereas the other modules are high, e.g. 7.5, a test-taker will have to retake all four sections (reading, listening, speaking and writing) of the IELTS exam.

Difference between opinion and discussion essay IELTS writing task 2

How long is preparation for IELTS exam?

How many mistakes are allowed in IELTS?

cambridge fce essay example

Many of my students want to understand how many mistakes are allowed in the IELTS exam. This crucial information might help you while preparing for the IELTS test as it gives you a clear indication of whether you are ready to take and successfully pass the exam.

As a rule, scoring an average of 75% in all parts of IELTS guarantees band 7.0 in your IELTS. Generally, about 10 incorrect answers are allowed in each part of the exam to score band 7.0.

How many mistakes are allowed in ielts listening task.

The number of mistakes you make in the listening part of the IELTS exam is closely related to the desired band you want to achieve. The table below provides a clear indication of how many incorrect answers are acceptable in your IELTS listening part and what band you are likely to achieve. 

IELTS Listening exam consists of 4 parts and in each part, there are 10 questions/ points you can score.

Listening task IELTS room for error table:

If you are aiming to achieve band 7.5 in your IELTS listening, you need 8 correct answers in each part and you are allowed to make 2 mistakes per part. 

How many mistakes are allowed in IELTS Reading module?

As a rule, the number of mistakes you can make per each IELTS reading part is related to the score you aim to achieve. If your desired band is 7.0 you must have 7-8 correct answers in each Reading part . The table below gives you a clear idea about the number of mistakes and correct answers allowed for each band.

Reading task IELTS room for error table:

In order to score band 5.0 in your IELTS you need 40% of correct answers, which accounts for 4 correct answers per part. However, in order to score 7.0 you need to double that and score around 75% of correct answers, this means 7-8 correct answers per part and only 2-3 mistakes per Reading part.

Understanding the Listening and Reading scores and the number of correct answers you need to score is relatively easy to understand and calculate when it comes to Listening and Reading parts, which are usually checked by a computer. Things are not as straightforward in the Writing and Speaking parts. 

In your Writing and Speaking tasks of your IELTS exam you can score in four main areas. 

How is IELTS Writing marked?

There are 4 criteria taken into account to mark your IELTS Writing Task 1 and Task 2, these are Task Achievement, Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resources and Gramatical Range and Accuracy. Each of these criteria gets a score from 0 to 9. Once each criteria is marked and calculated the task’s total score is determined. 

Here is an example of IELTS Writing Task 1 marks:

IELTS Writing Task 1 score calculation:

(6.0+ 7.0+ 5.5+ 7.5)/4=6.5

Here is an example of IELTS Writing Task 2 marks:

IELTS Writing Task 2 score calculation:

(6.0+ 7.0+ 6.0+ 7.0)/4= 6.5

Are IELTS writing tasks 1 and 2 marked similarly? 

Writing Task 2 weighs two times more than Writing Task 1, writing task 2 accounts for about 65% o f the total writing score, whereas task 1 is about 35% . So if you get 7.5 for task 2 and 6.5 for task 1, the total score for IELTS Writing Section is 7.5*⅔ + 6.5*⅓= 7.0

Why does IELTS task 2 weigh more points? 

The scoring criteria for writing task 1 and 2 differ. In IELTS writing task 2 you need to come up with your own ideas, develop said ideas, address the topic question and provide a conclusion and for this reason this task accounts for an overall 65% of IELTS writing score. 

What are the marking criteria for IELTS essay? 

Your IELTS examiner will mark your writing part 2 based on the following criteria: 

1. Task Response: 

Your own Ideas- come up with your own ideas, ensure you have more than two ideas included

Developing said ideas- provide examples, solutions to said ideas

Addressing the task- ensure you answer the topic question and fully addressed all parts of the task

Conclusion-  write a summary, include your opinion (only if required)

2. Coherence and Cohesion:

Paragraphing- separate your introduction, main paragraph and conclusion; you should have between 4-5 paragraphs

Linking and referencing- use a variety of linking words and refrain from repeating the same word throughout your essay, use pronouns, synonyms and substitutions instead.

3.Lexical Resources:

Vocabulary – use a range of advanced vocabulary to showcase your language level, avoid simplistic adjectives, nouns or verbs

Collocations- use collocations rather than isolated words. Collocations are groups of words that often go together or that are likely to occur together, for example, a light sleeper, to take a risk etc. 

Spelling- in general, if you make some errors in spelling and/or word formation, but they do not impede communication you’re likely to score 6 but on the other hand, rare minor spelling errors that occur only as ‘slips’ are a good indication that you might score as high as 9.0 in your IELTS.

Number of errors- the less errors you make the better chances of getting a higher band in IELTS. The issue many test takers have is that when using more sophisticated vocabulary there is more likelihood of making a mistake. Ensure that you use a wide range of vocabulary with very natural and sophisticated control of lexical features. 

4. Grammatical Range and Accuracy

Structure and tenses – use a wide range of structures and tenses such as conditionals and passive forms 

Punctuation- rare punctuation mistakes may occur as a ‘slip’

IELTS sample essay band 7.0 University education should be restricted to the very best academic students, rather than being available to a large proportion of young people.

7 tested strategies to score band 7.5 in IELTS by an English language teacher

cambridge fce essay example

Present a written argument or case to an educated reader with no specialist knowledge of the following topic. 

University education should be restricted to the very best academic students, rather than being available to a large proportion of young people.

To what extent do you agree or disagree .

You should use your own ideas, knowledge and experience and support your arguments with examples and relevant evidence. 

Sample IELTS writing task 2 essay band 7.0 

In the past, tertiary education was limited to a small proportion of people who were the most academic students. Today, however, many more young people have the opportunity of going to university, and I think that this is a much better situation for several reasons. 

Firstly, individuals today need much higher-level skills and technical knowledge. For example, many professionals require advanced computer skills and an ability to adapt to a rapidly changing workplace. Schools do not have the resources to equip students with these skills, so universities have to fulfil this role. 

Furthermore, societies cannot continue to develop unless more citizens are educated. In order to progress and compete in the modern world, each country needs people who can develop modern technologies further and apply them in new fields. 

Finally, it is only fair that anyone who could benefit from a university education should have access to one. Therefore, there should be equal opportunities for everyone to realise their full potential. Going to university is part of this. 

In conclusion, I totally disagree with the statement because I believe that the increasing availability of tertiary education is vital both for the individual and for society as a whole. Individuals need as high a level of education as possible to achieve their full potential, and in the same way, society in the 21st century cannot function unless it has large numbers of highly educated people to cope with the changes to our living and working environment that are likely to occur in the coming decades. 

255 words- Band 7.0

IELTS Writing Task 2/ IELTS Essay sample band 5

cambridge fce essay example

Lots of IELTS test takers are quite intimidated by the IELTS writing task 2- an essay, especially the differences in essay types. As a rule, the main differences between opinion vs. discussion essay IELTS writing task 2 are as follows:

cambridge fce essay example

What is IELTS writing task 2? 

As a general practice, you should spend 40 minutes on the IELTS writing task 2 and you need to write 250 words. The main objective of this task is to provide a response to an essay question. Here are the most frequent types of IELTS essay questions:

  • advantages or disadvantages essays, 
  • opinion essays, 
  • discussion essays, 
  • problem solution essays,
  • direct question essays.

There are about 11 common topics for IELTS writing Task 2: 

  • Environment
  • Family & Children
  • Media & Advertising
  • Sports & Entertainment 

IELTS test-takers need to keep themselves updated on various current topics and issues as these frequently come up as essay questions. For that reason,I usually advise my students to watch the news, read articles and newspapers to become aware of the current events happening in the world. That helps to realise various viewpoints and opinions and exposes you to vocabulary related to a particular topic. 

When improving your writing skills and overall IELTS score you can’t forget writing assessment criteria.  Being aware of the assessment criteria and following them helps you score a higher band in your writing.

There are four writing assessment criteria for the IELTS writing exam:

  • Task achievement 
  • Coherence and  cohesion
  • Lexical resource
  • Grammatical range and accuracy

If you want to have a good mark and pass with a high band, you need to make sure you cover all four criteria. These criteria are shared with everyone on the official IELTS website. 

What is IELTS writing task achievement criteria? 

The task achievement criteria refers to the content of the essay. Achieving the task means that we are able to answer the question by providing enough evidence, examples and other relevant content. The structure of the essay also falls into the task achievement category. 

Let’s focus on the structure of opinion and discussion essays because they have some common features and common rules that we need to follow when we write. 

Here’s an example essay talking about computers 

Sample opinion essay topic:

You should spend no more than 40 minutes on this task.​

Write about the following topic:​

Computers are being used more and more in education and so there will soon be no role for the teacher in education.​ ​

To what extent do you agree or disagree?​

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge and experience.​

​ Write at least 250 words.​

How many paragraphs are there in an opinion IELTS essay? 

There are usually between four to six paragraphs in an opinion IELTS essay. First paragraph is the introduction and the last is called the conclusion. Paragraphs in between are called the main body.

In which paragraph do we need to state our opinion or if we agree or disagree  in an opinion IELTS essay? 

In an IELTS opinion essay we need to share our opinion in the introduction. 

What is the best essay structure of an IELTS opinion essay? 

There are four main points in the structure of an opinion IELTS essay:

  • Write an introduction to the topic which clearly states your opinion on the subject. ​

(either ‘yes, I think there will be no role for the teacher’ or ‘no, I don’t think the teacher’s role will be affected’). In the introduction you say what the main topic is about. You also provide some background information and then state your opinion.

  • Main body: include two main points/reasons to support your opinion and write about them with examples. In the main body we have to provide the main points to justify our opinion with supporting evidence (examples).
  • Main body: Think of one alternative opinion (However, some people argue that…) and give examples. You need to provide another paragraph where you will present an alternative opinion in order to achieve balance in your essay. ​
  • Write a short conclusion to summarise your main points and restate your opinion​

Sample Discussion essay topic: 

Computers are being used more and more in education. Some people say that this is a positive trend, while others argue that it’s leading to negative consequences.​

​What is your viewpoint?​

Write at least 250 words.

Opinion and discussion essays are relatively similar yet there are some differences which might be tricky to spot to some IELTS test-takers. 

In this discussion essay topic there are two points: 

Computers are being used more and more in education. Some people say that this is a positive trend , while others argue that it’s leading to negative consequences. ​

Opinion essay: 

Computers are being used more and more in education and so there will soon be no role for the teacher in education.​

What is the difference between the opinion and discussion essay topics? 

The main difference is in the wording. In the opinion essay we have one statement/opinion and then the question is asking whether we agree or disagree. In the discussion essay it’s clear that we have two different opinions, opinion 1, opinion 2 and then we have to say whether we agree or not. It’s really important that we cover both of the opinions, which makes it a balanced essay, and then say what our opinion is. 

Why do you have to mention the opposite view in an IELTS opinion essay?

The reason you mention an opposite view is because you need to have a balance. Imagine you have an opinion essay and you say your opinion only and that’s it. This way your essay is not balanced. In an opinion essay you need to present some general facts that you know about others who believe in something different than you to keep your balance in your essay. 

And of course, in the conclusion you can restate your opinion. 

What is Coherence and cohesion in the IELTS writing task 2?

Essay coherence is about the structure, it means your IELTS essay is divided into clear paragraphs, each paragraph includes a clear topic and there is progression and logic going through all your essay. Cohesion relates to the flow of what you have written; including a range of appropriately used linking words throughout the essay improves your cohesion. 

Some examples of expressions you can use, especially in opinion essays:

Expressing opinion​:​

  • Personally, I think….​
  • In my view…​
  • In my opinion…​
  • From my point of view…​
  • I am in favour of the idea of…​
  • I am completely against the idea of (+ verb + -ing)…​
  • I think/admit/believe that…

Other linking expressions:

What is Lexical resource in the IELTS writing task?

Lexical resource in your IELTS writing exam relates to vocabulary. The wider range of vocabulary you use correctly and appropriately, the better you score in the IELTS writing exam.The IELTS examiner will also look at how well your words help you to express your thoughts.

You are encouraged to use less common lexical items, consider adding collocations and write in an appropriate style and register of the essay. It’s really important you do not repeat the same words and phrases over and over again in the essay. 

What phrases to use to express someone else’s opinion in a discussion essay? 

Expressing someone else’s opinion in a discussion essay​:

  • A growing number of people claim/argue/believe/feel that…​
  • There is a common belief that…​
  • Many people hold the view that…

How to expand your vocabulary range and write better essays? 

The best way to develop and expand your vocabulary is by reading the news and articles in journals and websites such as The Guardian, The Economist, the National Geographic. Watching TV series and documentaries which provide more technical information rather than everyday lexis, is another way to learn new words. Lastly, look into word class and collocations (see below).

What is word class and how to learn new words with it? 

When building the vocabulary range with word class you research different types of categories of words that are used. Instead of always using the same noun, find out what is the verb that comes from a noun. Or what is an adjective that comes from a specific noun.

A great practise is to start to get into this habit of thinking what is the noun, the adjective, the verb. For example:

employee ->  employment

dramatic -> dramatically ->drama

government-> govern 

What are collocations and how to improve writing with collocations? 

A collocation is two or more words that often go together. Collocations make your writing more stylish, formal and academic, for example:

Because it is necessary to speak good English for work, more and more people are studying in English-speaking countries.

As a result of the need to speak .good English for work, more and more people are studying in English-speaking countries.

Job security has declined dramatically in recent years.

There has been a dramatic decline in…

This verb expression, something that has declined dramatically, can be turned into a noun there has been a dramatic decline. This is a great way of making your essay very stylish. 

You might already know that using passive is great to focus on the action, whereas an active voice is great when you want to focus on who is doing the action -the doer. 

You might have heard that in IELTS writing task 2 you need to use the passive more, but it’s not really necessary that we only need to use the passive and this also connects to the grammatical range and accuracy that we have to cover. 

Use both active and passive voice in your IELTS essay:

Computers are being used more and more in education. (passive : action)

People are using computers more and more in education. (active : doer)

What is Grammatical range and accuracy in the IELTS writing task?

Grammatical accuracy in your IELTS writing task relates to correct use of grammar, whereas the grammatical range refers to a variety of grammatical structures you use. Overall, you need to include more complex grammar structures in a correct way to score high in this task achievement. You also need to pay attention to punctuation.

What complex grammar structures should be included in your IELTS essay? 

When writing an IELTS essay you should avoid simple grammar structures and instead use more sophisticated forms like present perfect tense, passive voice and relative clauses.

What are relative clauses? 

There are two types of relative clauses: 

Defining relative clauses provide essential information

e.g. Some people work at home. They often miss discussing ideas with colleagues.

          People who work at home often miss discussing ideas with colleagues.

Non-defining relative clauses include non-essential information / in commas

e.g. Some museums are free to enter in my country. This is a good idea, because it allows everyone to have access to culture.

          Some museums are free to enter in my country , which is a good idea, because…

These grammatical points are very important also for coherence and cohesion because we use relative sentences to link our phrases or words or ideas in a better way, and then we achieve better coherence. 

What’s the best book to prepare for writing for IELTS? 

If you’re preparing for the IELTS writing exam you should equip yourself with some good resources. There are plenty of books about IELTS and choosing the best might be tricky. My students and I tested over a dozen of IELTS books for writing and here are our favourite IELTS books: 

Breakout English


B2 First (FCE) Writing Part 1 – Improve an Essay

Writing is the part of any English exam where you should aim to get a high score and B2 First FCE Writing Part 1, an obligatory essay, is no different. It’s also the most trainable part of the exam in a classroom. While other skills often take lots of time, effort and practice, writing can be taught through models, which learners can then take and replicate. Of course, it’s important to write your own material, but the format and many expressions are transferable for essays regardless of the topic. With this material, we aim to demonstrate areas where B2 First candidates often go wrong with writing an essay. With a few tweaks, you should be able to reproduce a high quality essay every time.

B2 First (FCE) Writing Part 1 - Improve an Essay

Essays may not be fun, but they are important. The Cambridge B2 essay might be the first time you need to write an essay for an exam, but it won’t be the last. This task continues to be obligatory at C1 and C2 levels. If you are doing a Trinity or IELTS exam, you’ll also need to write an essay. Basically, there is no escape. You either learn to write a good essay or you don’t pass your writing exam (I recommend learning it).

The challenge with essays is not only the style, which should be formal and academic. Exam candidates also often have issues with content in First (FCE) Writing Part 1. The B2 essay question is always the same, and it’s not particularly complex, but sometimes it still causes issues regarding what content points to include. At the same time, an uninspiring question can easily lead to an uninspired answer. That becomes a problem when your essay isn’t interesting to read. Keep in mind that whoever corrects your essay has probably read 95 other essays on the same topic, so it a good idea to stand out!

The Materials

With this activity, you analyse a sample essay contrasting living in a city vs the countryside. To use it in the classroom, have students discuss the issues with the essay in pairs. You can even have them use the Cambridge writing scales to give it a mark. Then, feedback in open class and finish with your students writing their own improved version. I like to do this task just after receiving a round of previously assigned essays from students as a sort of extended test-teach-test activity.

Check here for more First Certificate essay questions to use in class.

EXAM PART: First (FCE) Writing Part 1 – Essay

EXAM SKILLS: Improving content and communicative achievement in essay writing

TOPIC:  Lifestyle (living in the city vs living in the countryside)

TIME: 30 minutes + 45 minutes writing (in-class or for homework)

PREPARATION: One copy of the worksheet per student

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