CV Writing Tips and Advice
Job hunting alone can be a stressful process without having to worry about if your CV is written appropriately. This article will provide you with some tips to help alleviate the anxiety that comes with writing your CV and some tricks to help it stand out to potential employers.
Equipping your CV with a personal statement will help it stand out to employers. If positioned at the top of the first page, it’ll be the first thing that employers read and, if worded attractively, will entice them to keep reading. You should use this statement to focus on your best qualities and tailor it to the job you’re seeking.
The skills section of your CV should highlight pertinent skills that can help you excel at the job in question. Whether it is advanced computer skills, team-building, written or verbal communication, or problem solving skills make sure they relate to the job you are pursuing. Another way to make this section stand out is to utilize bullet points when listing these skills to give readers a quick and focused snapshot of the skills you have to offer.
Recent Employment vs. Older Positions
Employers will focus most of their attention on your most recent employment. So it’s crucial to make this section as detailed as possible. Use language that’s positive and shows that your current or most recent responsibilities can translate to the job you’re pursuing. Try to show, in your summary of recent employment, that you’ve had a positive impact in your position.
If you have many years of experience in your industry, you don’t have to elaborate as much on your older positions. A shorter summary of your responsibilities should be sufficient.
Length and Language
Time is precious to potential employers, so it’s important to be clear, concise and keep your CV to no longer than two pages. Show that you have good communication skills by using professional language — and always use spell-check prior to sending it forward. You want to catch the attention of the employer so that they’ll bring you in for an interview. During the interview you will have the opportunity to elaborate on your skills and expertise.
As you should always customize your CV to the role you’re pursuing, researching the role and company are key. You’ll want to know in advance what the company prides itself on and the qualities needed to be successful in the position you are applying for. Not only will this be helpful when writing your CV, but it will also benefit you if you land an interview.
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How to write an article? | B2 First (FCE)
FCE, CAE, CPE
Practice tests online.
In the B2 First Writing Paper you could be asked to write an article about a variety of topics. However, it’s often something you’ve recently learned to do or know a lot about. For example, the question might be about a concert you’ve been to recently, you favourite hobby or your hometown.
The idea is to write in a way that grabs the reader’s attention and keeps them interested until the very end.
Differences between articles and essays
- In an article, you need to constantly be telling the reader what you think .
- The article is informal, the essay is formal and neutral.
- The essay has a clear organisation, whereas the article might not .
B2 First (FCE) Article: Structure
Practice, write & improve, b2 first (fce) article: writing guide.
Articles usually have a title. The title should be informative (give the reader an idea of the subject) and attractive ( make the reader want to read the article ).
- No need for a complete sentence
Title A: The Internet: A Great Invention
Title B: Keep It Healthy!
The start of the article should be linked to the title, introduce the topic and engage the reader. Often, an article starts with a question that introduces the topic which will be discussed in the article.
- General statement about the topic.
- Start with a question, problem or quotation.
Introduction A: The Internet has changed the way we live. It started as something that we could access only through a computer, but nowadays it is everywhere, and I love it!
Introduction B: Are you a busy college student? Do you struggle to keep fit and eat healthily? Don’t worry! I am going to tell you exactly what you should do. Keep on reading, you will thank me later!
Each should be clearly defined, not too long and clearly linked.
- Describe issues in detail and use one paragraph per issue.
- Use linkers, sequencing and sophisticated vocabulary.
Paragraph A1: One of the cool things about the world wide web is that you can ….. Paragraph A2: However, the greatest thing about the Internet is how you can learn tons of things… Paragraph 1B: First of all, you must start moving your body. You could go to the gym if ….. Paragraph B2: Secondly, your diet is just as important. I suppose you live on a low budget
An ending can state an opinion, give the reader something to think about, summarise the article or even end with a quotation.
Conclusion A: If you follow all these tips, I’m sure you will keep fit easily! And if you already tried that, let me know how you feel now
Conclusion B: In conclusion, the Internet has a lot of great things. For me, the best are finding information and learning online. What about you? What are your favourite things about it?
Let’s summarize! – How to write an Article?
- Try and engage the reader’s attention and interest. Ask questions at the beginning.
- There should be a link between the opening sentence and the title.
- Personalise the article using true stories or anecdotes.
- If you decide to take a light-hearted approach or a more serious one, maintain the same style throughout the article.
- Check your work for accuracy, punctuation and spelling.
Article could be light or serious (but should be consistent), depending on who the target reader is. May use some rhetorical questions e.g. Can you imagine a school where every student enjoys themselves?
More than Practice Tests
B2 first (fce) article: model answers, fce article example 1.
A local magazine has asked readers to write an article about their favourite things about the Internet. Write the article talking about the things you do with the Internet and recommend a website to other readers.
Write your article.
Student’s FCE Article Answer:
The Internet: A Great Invention
The Internet has changed the way we live. It started as something that we could access only through a computer, but nowadays it is everywhere, and I love it!
One of the cool things about the world wide web is that you can look up anything you want and nd out the answer straight away. Isn’t that fantastic? For example, imagine you are arguing with your friends about how to do something. Easy solution! Go online and find the answer.
However, the greatest thing about the Internet is how you can learn tons of things very cheaply or even for free! In fact, my favourite website is www.udemy.com,where people register to teach and learn about different things: music, website design, making apps, history, etc. So I totally recommend it to everyone!
In conclusion, the Internet has a lot of great things. For me, the best are finding information and learning online. What about you? What are your favourite things about it?
Get Your (FCE) Article Checked!
Fce article example 2.
Fitness bloggers wanted!
Our fitness magazine is looking for influencers to write an article on how to stay fit when you are a college student. So if you have any cool ideas, send us an article in which you:
• Explain the type of exercise you recommend • Recommend a healthy but cheap diet • Give other ideas you like
Write your article .
Keep It Healthy!
Are you a busy college student? Do you struggle to keep fit and eat healthily? Don’t worry! I am going to tell you exactly what you should do. Keep on reading, you will thank me later!
First of all, you must start moving your body. You could go to the gym if you have the time. But if you’re busy – you’re a student, you should be busy! – don’t sign up for a gym. Instead, start cycling to college and give up using elevators. You’ll see how your fitness improves quickly!
Secondly, your diet is just as important. I suppose you live on a low budget, so I suggest you don’t eat out much. Eating out can be unhealthy and expensive. Sogo to your local supermarket and buy healthy, inexpensive vegetables and fruit.
Finally, pay attention to how you sit when you are studying. Posture is super important to feel well, especially if you are a student or an office worker.
If you follow all these tips, I’m sure you will keep fit easily! And if you already tried that, let me know how you feel now
B2 First (FCE) Article: Example topics
Fce sample article topic 1.
You see this announcement in the Leisure and Entertainment magazine.
Could you live without internet for a month? Write and tell us what difference this would make to your life. We will publish the best article.
FCE Sample Article Topic 2
You see this announcement in a magazine.
We invite you to write an article on ‘The City of the Future’. In what ways will Cities be different in the future? In what ways will they be the same? The writer of the best article will receive a prize.
FCE Sample Article Topic 3
You have seen this notice in an international magazine.
Inventions have affected all our lives! Write us an article about one invention, explaining why you think it is important and saying how it has affected your own life.
The best article will be published in the magazine.
B2 First (FCE) Article: Writing Checklist
After writing your text, you can check it yourself using the writing checklist below.
How to do that? Simply check your text/email by answering the questions one by one:
- Have I covered all the key information required by the task?
- Have I written only information which is relevant to the task?
- Have I developed the basic points in the task with my own ideas?
- Have I achieved the main purpose(s) of the text (for example, explaining, persuading, suggesting, apologising, comparing, etc.)?
- Have I communicated a balance of straightforward and more complex ideas?
- Have I used a suitable style and register (formal or informal) for the task?
- Have I used paragraphs appropriately to organise my ideas?
- Have I used other organisational features appropriately for the genre of the text (for example, titles, headings, openings, closings, etc.)?
- Is the connection between my ideas clear and easy for the reader to follow? (For example, have I used appropriate linking words, pronouns, etc. to refer to different things within the text?)
- Are the ideas balanced appropriately, with suitable attention and space given to each one?
- Have I used a wide range of vocabulary?
- Have I avoided repeating the same words and phrases?
- Have I used a range of simple and more complex grammatical structures?
- Have I correctly used any common phrases which are relevant to the specific task or topic?
- Is my use of grammar accurate?
- Is my spelling accurate?
B2 First (FCE) Article: Tips
- PLAN your article.
- Give your article a title.
- Ask rhetorical questions to get your readers’ attention. Eg. What would the world be like without oil? What will life be like in 20 years time?
- Speak directly to your readers. Eg. Let’s just imagine some of the possibilities.
- Give examples where appropriate.
- Use humour where appropriate
- Give a conclusion and summary in the last paragraph.
- Finally, give your opinion where appropriate.
- REVISE your article to correct mistakes
Would you pass B2 First (FCE)?
B2 first (fce) article: useful phrases & expressions.
We will finish it with some useful vocabulary mostly used to organize information. Although it is taking a shortcut, if you learn several expressions for each paragraph in each type of text that could be on your exam, you will certainly be able to create a very consistent and well-organized text.
La farmacia viagra online ti dà i migliori prezzi per i farmaci generici. Breve tempo di elaborazione! Oltre mezzo milione di clienti! Pillole bonus gratuite per tutti gli ordini!
Have you ever ……..? What do you think about ……..? Are you one of those people who thinks that ……? Are you one of those people who …….? What would life be like if ……? Will the future bring us ….. ?
Introducing your first point:
Firstly In the first place First of all The first thing to consider is One thing to consider is To begin with
Introducing more points:
Secondly Another consideration Yet another consideration Another thing to consider is Added to that Apart from that In addition to this
Introducing your final points:
In conclusion To conclude To sum up So
Introducing your opinion:
I think In my opinion Personally, I believe that In my view If you ask me To my mind My personal opinion is
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How to Write an Article for FCE Writing
Luis @ kse academy.
- noviembre 7, 2019
As we have seen in previous posts, the Writing B2 First (FCE) paper consists of two different parts. In the first one, you must write an essay. In the seccond, you must choose among different options. One of these options can be to write an article . For this reason, in today’s post I’m going to show you exactly how to write an article for FCE Writing (Part 2). Besides, we will go over an example of an article for FCE and a complete FCE Writing guide , where you can find more examples of articles and other types of FCE Writing tasks.
Useful expressions to write an article for fce writing.
Este articulo también está disponible en castellano.
How to Write an Article for FCE Writing Part 2
An article is a very common type of text nowadays. We can find all kinds of articles in newspapers, magazines, blogs, etc. For this reason, in order to know how to write an article for FCE , we must bear in mind who will be reading our article. This, as we will see later on, we will find out from the instructions the FCE Writing paper provides us with. But before we move on to that, let’s take a look at the characteristics of an article for FCE Writing Part 2:
- Purpose of an article: The aim of an article is usually to talk about a topic that we like or that we are familiar with. Besides, one of the features that articles have as opposed to other FCE Writing tasks is that an article must entertain the reader and, almos always, recommend the thing we are talking about.
- Language: In general, an article is more informal than an essay, although it will depend on where it is supposed to be published (an international magazine, a teenage magazine, a college magazine, an online blog, a newspaper, etc.). However, the most common case is that we must write a text in an informal or colloquial style . For this reason, our tone must be relaxed, making use of contractions, phrasal verbs and other colloquial expressions. Besides, it is recommended to use rhetorical questions and exclamation marks to engage the reader. You should also address the reader directly in the second person ( you , your ) and can make jokes if you think they are appropriate.
- Structure: Articles must always have a title . If possible, this must be catchy and witty so as to engage the reader. Then, each paragraph must address a single idea, to which you must add the introdduction and the conclusion, where you are usually expected to make a recommendation. It is also a good idea to end your article with a rhetorical question, especially if it is going to be an online article where people could (in theory) leave a comment.
- Giving your opinion: An article is almost exclusively about giving your opinion, so feel free to do so throught the whole piece of writing. As you are normally asked to write about something you like or enjoy, opinions are expected to be generally positive. Any article for FCE is usually a very personal piece of writing, so you can speak in the first person as much as you like. 😊
- Common topics: You may be asked to write articles on a variety of topics: the Internet, health and fitness, music, plays, hobbies, etc.
- Number of words: you are expected to write your article in 140 – 190 words , no more or less than any other type of FCE Writing task.
FCE Writing Article Example
Now that we are familiar with the characteristics of an article , the best weay to know how to write an article for FCE Writing is to take a look at an example of an article at First-B2 level . So let’s see an example of a task and a sample answer to that very same task.
Instructions of an Article for the FCE Writing Paper
It is extremely important to read the instructions carefully , as you are supposed to obtain all the information you need to write the article. In this case we can see the following:
- Where our article will be published: a local magazine
- Topic: their favourite things about the Internet
- Main ideas: things you do with the internet, recommend a website
And that’s exactly how we will organise our article, knowing exactly what to talk about in each paragraph.
Now that we have an example of an article task for FCE , let’s take a look at a sample article which answers the task above. Pay attention to the language as well as to the structure marked in red.
If we take a close look at this sample article for FCE , we can see the following features:
- It is visually appealing : The structure is clear, leaving space between paragraphs and defining a clear introduction and conclusion.
- The introduction presents the topic in a general way, but making clear what article is about: the Internet.
- The second paragraph talks about why I like the Internet and one of the things that I like about it.
- The third paragraph makes a recommendation of a website, explaining why I like it so much.
- The conclusion is a summary of sorts and asks the reader for some feedback on their own preferences regarding the use of the Internet.
- Phrasal verbs : put you up, check out.
- Contractions: Isn’t that fantastic?
- Colloquial phrases : one of the cool things, I totally recommend it, etc.
- We address the reader directly : What about you?
- Exclamation marks : … find the answer!
In this example of article for FCE Writing we can appreciate many of the typical characteristics of this type of activity. However, bear in mind that I have tried to simulate a strong B2 level without necessarily reaching C1.
If you want to know how to write an article for FCE , it is very important to have a repository of useful expressions ready to use. So here are some which can come in handy:
- Have you ever…?
- Do you ever wonder…?
- What do you think about…?
- Are you a… like me?
- Are you one of those people who…?
- What would you say if I told you that…?
- In the rst place,
- To begin with,
- The coolest thing about
- What attracts me most
- One thing to consider is
- Another consideration is
- In addition,
- In addition to that,
- In conclusion,
- On the whole,
- To conclude,
- All in all,
- … you will not regret it!
Frequently Asked Questions: What if I write more than 190 words?
As I already explained in previous posts, Cambridge Assessment English does not count how many words you’ve written in order to penalise you. But remember the following: if you have written a lot more words than necessary, you have probably included irrelevant information . In the same way, if you write less than 140, you are probably lacking essential information . For this reason, I always recommend writing only 10 or 20 words over the limit. In this way, we make sure we don’t lose points for something so silly.
FCE Writing with Examples (pdf)
If you’re still looking for more examples of writing, check out KSE Academy’s official FCE Writing Guide . In this guide you have the following:
- 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 FCE Writing tasks
Would you like to see a sample first? Here you are !
Did you like this post? Please share it with other students and English teachers . Subscribe to our newsletter and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook Twitter , Pinterest , Instagram ,& YouTube . 🙂
16 comentarios en “How to Write an Article for FCE Writing”
Hi Luis, I’m teaching First students in Italy and still learning the writing requirements myself, and just wanted to thank you for sharing your knowledge and tips – very helpful! 🙂
Hi Ingrid! Thank you very much for your kind words! I’m glad my site can be of help. Take care and good luck with your FCE students!
Hi Luis, I’m preparing a handout for my students about writing an article and I found your web really helpful. Thanks a lot!
Hi, Ángeles! Thank you very much for your comment. I’m glad to be of some help! 🙂
THANK YOU LUIS, GREAT PIECE OF WORK!
Thank you very much for your comment, Alexis! Take care! 🙂
Thank u luis you’ve been rilly helpful
Thank you, Molly! Take care!
Thank you so much, Luis! I am going to take the FCE Exam in July and hopefully I will pass it due to your sample answers and instructions!!!
Hi Iris! Thank you very much for your comment! Take care!
Hey Luis, thank you so much! this is gold and it explains very well how they should do it!
Hi Roxy! Thank you for your feedback. Take care!
thank you so much Jurate
Extremely useful in my FCE preparation course for Peruvian teens!! Thank you!
Dear Luis, just wanted to thank you for these amazing tips, which are very useful. You should definetly work for Cambridge! Best wishes!
Thank you! 🙂
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- How to Write a Great Article in the Cambridge B2 First Exam
- Posted on 11/12/2019
- Categories: Blog
- Tags: B2 First , Cambridge Exams , Writing
Writing in your only language can be a challenge, but writing in another language can be a complete nightmare ! Where do you even begin?
If you are taking your Cambridge B2 First exam you’ll have to write two texts in an 80-minute period. In part 1 you must write an essay but in part 2 you will be able to choose between a number of options. This could be could be an email, a letter, a report, a review or an article.
Read more about the format of the Cambridge B2 First exam .
In this writing guide, we’ll focus on how to write an article for the Cambridge B2 First Writing paper – part 2. We’ll also share with you some tricks and tips for passing this part of the exam. You’ll learn how to plan your article, structure it, use rhetorical questions , exclamation marks – and lots more. By the end, you’ll have the confidence to write an amazing article in English!
What is an article and how do you write one for the B2 First?
You’ll find lots of examples of articles in magazines, newspapers and internet blogs. In these texts, writers share information, guides and opinions on specific topics. The idea is to write in a way that grabs the reader’s attention and keeps them interested until the very end.
In the Cambridge B2 First Writing Paper – part 2, you could be asked to write about a variety of topics. However, it’s often something you’ve recently learned to do or know a lot about. For example, the question might be about a concert you’ve been to recently, you favourite hobby or your hometown.
Here’s an example of a B2 First article question.
Now let’s look at how to get started!
How to write an article in three simple steps
You’ve got the question in front of you, so now it’s time to start writing your article, right?
Wrong! If you do that, you’ve missed an essential stage: planning.
You can compare writing an article to preparing your favourite meal. No good tortilla de patatas was ever made without carefully preparing the ingredients first. It’s exactly the same with your writing – only, you’ll need fewer onions. Time management is also important. You only have about 40 minutes total so you need to plan your time carefully.
Here’s how to do it:
Step 1: Make a plan (10 minutes)
Think about the question.
Really focus on the question. Decide who your role model is. Is he or she a sporting hero you really admire? Or someone closer to home? It could be a family member that you look up to or a person in the community who’s done something amazing. Think about why they inspire you and make some notes on your ideas.
Think about the tone
Consider the best blogs you read on the internet. Are they relaxed and friendly? Or do they sound like boring school essays? The truth is most articles are quite conversational. They are somewhere between semi-formal and informal. They are often informative, whilst entertaining and engaging the reader. You can also try to add some humour in too!
Think about the structure
Structuring your article is key and there’s normally more than one way to do it. Decide which structure makes sense for the question. Try to keep it logical and include different ideas in different paragraphs.
Here’s an example structure:
- Paragraph 1 Introduction Start with a catchy opening line to hook the readers. Then introduce your role model.
- Paragraph 2 – Describe what makes them special Giving examples and developing your answer.
- Paragraph 3 – Why you chose them as your role model This should be like a conclusion and give the reader a lasting comment or a question to think about.
Note: For many articles four paragraphs will be more appropriate – it depends on the question you are given.
Linkers are a fantastic way to organise your ideas. Experiment with some of these in your next article:
For a start…
Not to mention…
On top of that…
*Remember, you don’t need headings or titles in the article it should read as one continuous piece of work.
Think about vocabulary
Brainstorming vocabulary is a great way to get your ideas flowing . What are some great words related to the topic? List some adjectives for being a good role model. Pick out some verbs related to motivation or any good nouns or collocations you think would work. Throw some phrasal verbs and idioms in there too!
Here’s an example for the question above:
Think about ways to personalise your writing
Articles tend to have a personal touch. You can be a lot more familiar with the reader addressing them personally with pronouns like ‘you’ and ‘I’. Give your own opinion and also use contractions. Here are some more ways to sound personal:
Have you ever wondered…?
I’m sure you can imagine…
Can you believe…?
I will never forget…
There’s nothing more amazing than…
If you ask me…
Step Two: Write it (25 minutes)
An interesting introduction is the key to a first-rate article. You want to capture your audience’s attention whilst making it clear what it’s going to be about. Start with an opening line that sets the tone of the topic. Try to catch the attention from the first word. Here’s an example:
Firefighters and superheroes are obvious role models. But sometimes the person that inspires us the most is so much closer to home. I have never had a favourite singer or sports star but my father has always been an important inspiration for me.
Next, think about the original question. What makes your role model special? Remember to keep it interesting and include some personal feelings. Use exclamation marks like this:
One of the things that makes my father so special is that he always does everything for his family, and he’s an excellent listener too. Whenever we have a problem he’s always there for us. Not to mention the fact that he’s also really fun-loving! If there’s a party, my dad is the first person on the dancefloor.
But only include one or two exclamation marks in the article or they’ll lose their impact.
Finally you want to tackle the last question. Why did you choose him as your role model? A great technique here would be to address your reader personally and even include a rhetorical question at the end. This gives them something to think about. A little bit like this:
I think my father is the best role model because he is the most hardworking person I know. He has a really difficult job as a doctor and is always saving lives. That’s so inspiring for me!
I really look up to him and he really pushes me to be the best I can be. Wouldn’t you want a role model like my dad?
Step Three: Check it (5 minutes)
Everything has come together and you’ve got your final article. Now you can sit back, relax and put your feet up until the examiner says stop. Wait, not quite!
You’re missing the last important step. Always check your writing. You’d hate for all your hard work to be wasted at the last moment. Here are some things to check for.
- You included everything in the question
- You’ve used a variety of sentence lengths
- The spelling is correct
- It’s personal and engaging
- You haven’t repeated the same vocabulary too often
- It’s not too formal
What are the examiners looking out for?
To get the very best results, you need to know what the examiners are looking out for when they are marking your writing.
These are the four most important things to consider:
Ask yourself these questions when checking your work and make any necessary changes before the time is up!
Any other advice for writing an article?
Read, read, read. Go online and search for blogs in English that interest you. If you love sports, look at the sports news. If you prefer fashion, find fashion articles. Whatever it is read real examples for real inspiration!
If you’re still not confident about writing in English, or you want some help preparing for the B2 First exam, take a look at our exam courses .
You can also check out our articles on how to write an Essay or a Review in the Cambridge B2 First.
Glossary for Language Learners
Find the following words in the article and then write down any new ones you didn’t know.
Nightmare (n): : a bad dream.
Rhetorical question (n): a question that doesn’t need to be answered, for dramatic effect.
Time management (n): the way to use your time effectively.
Look up to somebody (pv) : to admire someone.
Humour (n): something amusing or funny.
To hook (v): to attract and captivate your attention.
To flow (v): to move steadily and constantly.
First-rate (adj): excellent, top quality, well made or done.
An exclamation mark (n): this punctuation symbol: !.
To tackle (v): dealing with a challenge or something difficult.
To put your feet up (exp): to rest and relax.
pv = phrasal verb
adj = adjective
exp = expression
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- Remember Me
Cambridge B2 First (FCE): How to Write an Article
- Mandatory task : no
- Word count : 140-190
- Main characteristics : interesting, engaging, personal opinion / comment
- Register : semi-informal to informal
- Structure : Title/introduction, 2-3 topic paragraphs, closing paragraph / conclusion
- Language : adjectives/adverbs, colloquial expressions, phrasal verbs, idioms, linking words, interesting grammar
The most useful thing I’ve ever learned Have you ever learned something that completely changed your life? I can remember exactly how it was for me when I got interested in learning English and who helped me become the person I am today. I had always been in love with English music and I put in some work by myself, but only when I ended up in the English class of Mr. Weiss I got completely hooked. His amazing style of teaching struck a chord and my skills skyrocketed in no time. Feeling confident, I took the leap and moved to beautiful Australia where I was able to travel and even call it home for over seven years. And you know what?! I became an English teacher and now help people who are just like I used to be with the same passion as Mr. Weiss. I really think that I wouldn’t be teaching English had it not been for Mr. Weiss and his inspirational lessons. So, looking back, I hope my experience inspires others to find ways to help the people around them as well.
An article is usually written for an English-language magazine or newsletter, and the reader is assumed to have similar interests to the writer. The main purpose is to interest and engage the reader, so there should be some opinion or comment. from: Cambridge English First Handbook for Teachers
Articles are part of the second section of the FCE writing exam. This means, that, actually, you can decide if you want to choose this type of text or, instead, pick one of the other ones available in this part (a review, report, letter/email or, if you take FCE for Schools, a story).
Articles are interesting and engaging
You might think that I’m joking because how could writing an article be interesting and engaging? The thing is that I’m not talking about you as the writer, but about the reader. Articles are less formal than, for example, an essay or a letter of application so they are usually more interesting and engaging to read.
However, keeping this in mind, writing an article can also become more fun. If you keep thinking about what would be interesting for the reader, it is easier and more engaging for you too.
So, in this article we are going to look at similarities which we can find in almost every FCE article writing task, such as structure, requirements, useful language and other things to pay attention to. This way, I hope you will feel more confident and knowledgeable.
What a typical article task looks like
Even though there are many different topics to write articles about and they might change a lot from exam to exam, there are certain similarities that I don’t want you to miss and with a little practice you will be able to find these characteristics really fast in every single task.
When you see a task like this (and please remember this for the future) you have to check two things:
- What do you have to include in your article?
- Who is going to read it?
Below you can see that I have underlined the key pieces of information for you and don’t forget to do the same with every writing task you see.
OK, let’s start with what we have to include. In the box I underlined three questions we have to answer:
- What is the most useful thing you have learned?
- Who did you learn it from?
- Why is it useful?
There are three topic points to write about and you will see that there are always three things that you have to include in your articles. If you can’t find three topic points, then look again because they must be there.
The second question I asked above was about who is going to read your article. In this case we are going to write for an English-language website, which means that normal people like you and me are the target readers.
In the FCE writing exam you always have to consider the reader of your texts as you have to adjust the register (formal, neutral, informal language) in your writing. With different levels of formality come different things you should or shouldn’t write, but in articles we normally expect the readers to be people like us so we can write in a more informal style .
Informal English means that you should use contractions like ‘I’m’ or ‘don’t’, colloquial words and expressions, for example, ‘awesome’ or ‘tons of’. Also, try to add some phrasal verbs because they are definitely a feature of informal language as well and last but not least, involve the reader personally by addressing them directly and even ask a question or two.
Again, always look out for three topic points to include in your article and be prepared to use informal language. If you cover all of this, you are already on a very good way to pass. However, there are still a few more things to consider.
How to organise your article
OK, we went through the first step analysing the task. Now we need to think about how we can organise the article so it is logical and with all the different parts included and well connected.
This step might be a little bit different from task to task, but, generally speaking, you can follow this process every time and you should be alright.
Can you remember the three things we have to include in our article? Yes, you can? You are a very good student 🙂 . We have to talk about what the most useful thing you’ve ever learned is (1), who you learned it from (2) and why it is useful (3).
It probably makes sense to give each of these points a paragraph in our article so we already have three sections. To me it seems as if we could use the first topic point in our introduction, which means that we don’t need a separate one, but it is always nice to have a short closing paragraph (similar to a conclusion in an essay). Adding that and a title, we end up with four paragraphs and our article would look like this:
- Title & Introduction / Topic point 1 (What is the thing you learned?)
- Topic point 2 (Who did you learn it from?)
- Topic point 3 (Why is it useful?)
- Closing paragraph / conclusion
Of course, there is always the option of separating the intro and the first topic point or combining two topic points in one paragraph and again, this depends on each task, but, in general, this is what every article looks like in the FCE exam.
Always make a plan
I can’t say it often enough, but, unfortunately, this is something that drives me crazy and a lot of students simply forget to do.
Always plan your articles before you start writing. It takes just a few minutes to create a list of paragraphs like the one above with a couple of words to remind you of what you want to write added to each heading.
There is nothing worse than writing for 25 minutes and then realising that you have to change something or move around different parts. Don’t make the same mistake and write a plan.
The different parts of an article
In this part of my post we are going to look at the different sections of an article in the FCE exam using our task from above so I can give you example paragraphs which include everything you should put in there as well if you want to become the boss of article writing.
In your introduction you always want to get the reader interested in your article. Your goal is to make the reader want to continue. As always, there are a couple of things for you to remember when you start writing:
- Give your article a title.
- Start with a personalised question.
- Include the topic and give your opinion or comment on it.
An example could look like this:
The most useful thing I’ve ever learned Have you ever learned something that completely changed your life? I can remember exactly how it was for me when I got interested in learning English and who helped me become the person I am today.
There you have it. My article has a title, which doesn’t have to be super creative, the intro includes a question as well as the topic and my comment (“…helped me become the person I am today.”) and I’ve already answered the first topic question in the task (What is the thing you learned?).
I also kept some information to myself (Who did I learn from? Why is it useful?) so the reader wants to continue. Try to keep them guessing as this can be very engaging.
Once we have our introduction ready and our readers can’t wait to find out more, we need to think about how we can present the rest of the information.
In our plan we decided to break the topic points up into two paragraphs, but we also have to focus on the other requirements of an FCE article:
- Stick to the topic and don’t write about unrelated things.
- Support your answers with some examples and/or reasons.
- Use neutral to informal language (check the section ‘What a typical article task looks like’ above to find out what that means).
- Use other language to make your article sound more interesting (adjectives/adverbs, idioms, phrasal verbs, linking words, play with some grammar).
And with all of this in mind, I wrote these two paragraphs:
I had always been in love with English music and I put in some work by myself, but only when I ended up in the English class of Mr. Weiss I got completely hooked . His amazing style of teaching struck a chord and my skills skyrocketed in no time . Feeling confident, I took the leap and moved to beautiful Australia where I was able to travel and even call it home for over seven years. And you know what?! I became an English teacher and now help people who are just like I used to be with the same passion as Mr. Weiss.
As you can see, I broke everything up in two paragraphs and only wrote about the questions supporting my answers. On top of that, I included a lot of useful informal language ( highlighted ).
Closing paragraph / Conclusion
Last but not least, we want to round off our article with a good closing paragraph. In the conclusion we want to achieve a few different things:
- Summarise what you wrote in your article.
- Comment on the topic or give your opinion one last time.
- End your article in an interesting way.
The last paragraph shouldn’t be too hard to write if you’ve done a good job with your introduction and topic paragraphs. Because we have done exactly that further above in this post the conclusion becomes something like this:
I really think that I wouldn’t be teaching English had it not been for Mr. Weiss and his inspirational lessons. So, looking back, I hope my experience inspires others to find ways to help the people around them as well.
I put everything together nice and short. I summarise the points I made in the introduction and the topic paragraphs, gave my opinion (“I really think…”) and also addressed the reader directly again to end my article in an interesting way.
How your article is marked
Marking FCE writing tasks is like a science and for a lot of students it feels as if there is this big mystery and nobody really knows how it works. Actually, there are very clear rules that the examiners have to follow and the criteria are publicly available.
While it is possible to find all the information on your own I thought it would be a good idea to put everything together in an article for you. Check out how your writing tasks are marked by clicking here .
Practice makes perfect
With all this detailed information it is now time for you to get active. Look for different example tasks online and follow my step-by-step process to improve and become an expert when it comes to writing FCE articles. All you need is experience until you can find the different characteristics discussed here so you can write your texts almost on autopilot.
Please let me know if you like my post and if there are other things I can include or improve. Until then, happy practice.
Lots of love,
Teacher Phill 🙂
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Thanks for the useful tips 🙏✅
You are very welcome. 🙂
Comments are closed.
How to write an article for New FCE exam
How to write an article for the New FCE exam? Here’s a sample topic that has been divided into paragraphs and each of the sections explained.
You must answer this question.
You see this competition in an international magazine.
Imagine you were on a desert island. What would you miss most? Write an article briefly describing an important object, person or place in your life and give reasons for your choice.
The best article will be published and the writer will receive £500.
Write your article in 140- 190 words in an appropriate style on the separate answer sheet.
Life away from home
How would you feel about living on a desert island? I can’t imagine anything worse. I would miss a lot of things, but most of all I would miss my home.
You start with Paragraph 1- Introduction In the introduction you :
– think of a title that will catch the reader’s attention
– include the topic- you might not know the reader personally, but still, you can address him/her directly (e.g. ask them a question)
Phrases you can use in the introduction:
My home is a small house on the outskirts of a city. It was built about fifty years ago and has a small garden. In the summer our country gets very hot but our house is always cool.
Note that the question/topic says the description should be ‘brief’.
Phrases you can use to in the 2nd and 3rd paragraph:
Giving examples …. such as ../.. particularly …/ ….like…
You would probably think our house is nothing special, but I have lived there all my life and all my friends live nearby. It is a happy place, where I feel completely safe. Whenever I go away, I look forward to coming back, lying on my bed, reading a book and listening to my brother and sister arguing downstairs!
In the 3rd Paragraph you :
I love travelling and meeting new people, but if I were on a desert island I would be away from the place I love most — my home — and I would hate that.
In the last paragraph you :
Phrases you can use to end the letter
Over to you:
You have seen this advertisement in an international magazine.
Tell us about a person you admire and why they inspire you.
We will publish the most interesting articles next month.
Write your article . Write your answer in 140- 190 words in an appropriate style on the separate answer sheet.
Once again, over to you:
You have seen this advertisement on an international travel website.
What’s your favourite city, and why? Write us an article:
• describing the city.
• saying why it is special for you.
We’ll publish the most interesting articles online next month
* write a catchy title that gives the main idea
* try to involve the reader by using lively, chatty, semi-formal style, don’t sound too formal
* you can address the reader directly (I’m sure you’ll agree that …) or ask one or two questions (Have you heard …?)
* make your article more interesting by including a range of language, e.g. adjectives and adverbs, phrasal verbs, collocations, relative clauses, linkers, one or two idioms.
* give personal opinions, include description, examples, stories to support your views. Think of a suitable start and finish for your article
* use colourful language, such as phrasal verbs, collocations and idioms
*make sure you answer all the points in the question
*use the correct number of words
*check your work for accuracy
Exam English ✓
- B2 First (FCE)
- Reading & Use of English
- Cambridge exams
Free Practice Tests for learners of English
Five things you need to know about writing articles.
In Cambridge First or Cambridge Advanced , you might be asked to write an article. But do you know what makes an article different from other types of writing? 1 The reader is identified An article is like a direct conversation with the reader. The exam question might tell you who your readers are. For example, the students at a school, or the people living in a town or people who are interested in sports. Everything you write must speak to that reader and engage their interest right from the first sentence. 2 It has to get attention If you're anywhere on the internet these days, you'll be bombarded with articles with headlines that pull the reader in. It's called "click baiting" and all the writer is trying to do is make you open the page to read their article. You need to think like a journalist when you're writing your article. Look at the heading and the first line of this article. How did I get your attention?* 3 It has to be interesting For an article to work, it has to be engaging enough to read all the way through. Remember how bored the examiner must be after reading fifty exam papers. Make it easier for them to get a good impression about your writing by entertaining them. Add humour, real life or made up examples, or make up quotes. 4 It has to be easy to read Use subheadings to break up the text and make clear paragraphs. Write in a semi-informal, conversational style. And make sure there is organisation to your ideas. The planning stage is vital for this. Spend 5-10 minutes brainstorming ideas and choose the best three or four. Think what your subheadings might be and then write a short introduction that lets the reader know what to expect. Keep in mind that you want the reader to keep reading, so don't tell them exactly what they will read. This is not an essay! In an essay you usually restate the question, explain how you will answer it and maybe say why it's important. In an article, that will kill the reader's interest. Look back at this paragraph. What sentence style have I used that makes it semi-informal and speak directly to the reader?** 5 Write a good ending In an essay you sum up the points that have gone before and draw a conclusion from that. But in an article, it's better to give the reader something to think about, perhaps by asking them another question or giving them a call to action. Often, the best endings link back to the starting point in some way. Here are two endings I could use for this article:
- Look at your internet browsing history from the last day. Which articles got your attention? Can you see how they did it?
- So, now you know how to write an article, why don't you write one giving advice on something you know about?
Common mistakes students make in articles
- The language is too formal and more suited to essays. Avoid words like: to sum up, some people say, nevertheless, on one hand etc.
- They don't use quotes or examples
- They either use not enough, or too many, questions. The questions, called rhetorical questions because they don't require an answer, shouldn't be more than one per paragraph. Good examples are:
- Have you ever ……..?
- What do you think about ……..?
- Are you one of those people who thinks that ……?
- What would life be like if ……?
- Will the future bring us ….. ?
* A title which makes the subject immediately clear. For some reason, people like reading lists! And a direct, rhetorical question in the first paragraph to make readers want to find out the answer. ** I've used the imperative to give instructions. E.g. Think…Keep in mind…Write…Spend…
Article contributed by Nicola Prentis who is a teacher and materials writer, based in Madrid and London. She is the author of Speaking Skills (B2+) - a self study book with Collins.
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
- Brainstorming ideas for essays
- Answer the question!
First (FCE) Sections
- Cambridge First (FCE)
FCE Tips: How to Write an Article
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2 Comments to “FCE Tips: How to Write an Article”
“It seems to me that”
Is this expression really informal in English?
Hi Weick, interesting question. The short answer is no.
“It seems to me that…” is actually quite formal. It is a polite way of introducing an opinion, and suggests that the relationship between the writer and reader/s is not particularly close. The fact that the writer has used the relative pronoun “that” also suggests heightened formality. In less formal writing, we can drop “that” from this kind of sentence.
If this person wanted to be genuinely informal, they could use a phrase like “I think”, or really informal: “I reckon”. Or they could just give their opinion without introducing it at all, eg: “You should ask her out”.
Hope this helps,
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