Since I am a teacher with a lot of experience in preparing students for CAE exam, I have encountered numerous questions about writing part.
It generally differs from the Serbian essays, so it is a bit difficult for our students to adjust to the English style.


Planning is the most essential part of a successful piece of writing. Think about how many paragraphs you want then get some ideas about the content of each. You should always have a topic sentence followed by specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

Do not forget to include:

·         Linking words, inversion
·         Passive forms and conditional sentences
·         CAE level vocabulary.


You have 90 minutes to write 2 texts. Both texts will be about the same length, and are worth the same number of points. Obviously, you should spend the same amount of time on each! The 45 minute slot could be divided in this way:
  • Planning - 10 minutes
  • Writing - 25 minutes
  • Checking - 10 minutes



You should read the questions carefully. If there are three options but they want you to discuss only two of them, that’s what you should do. If they want you to explain, support or hold the view, do it.
Again, bear in mind that your vocabulary and grammar should be advanced. A lot of students always write the same, safe, things they always write. To master advanced vocabulary and structures you have to use advanced vocabulary and structures! 
Linking words are also of utmost importance for a successful piece of writing.



Q - Do I have to use British spelling?
A - No, it doesn't matter. But if you use American spelling, be consistent throughout your writing.

Q - How important is spelling and punctuation?
A - It's pretty important - If you make a trivial mistake it won't be a big deal. If the mistake stops the reader from understanding what you mean then you will lose points.

Q - How important is the word count? What happens if I write too many words?
A - The word count is a guide, not a rule. But if you do the task properly you will write about 220-260 words. If you write 300 words then you've probably written lots of stuff you don't need. If you write 200 words you've probably forgotten something.
DO NOT waste time in the exam counting how many words you have written! And never add or remove words just because of the word count - it'll turn out clumsy and weird.

Q - I know I need to use complex sentences to get a good grade, but I'm worried about making mistakes. Is it better to have a simple text with no mistakes?
A - Cambridge says that students who make mistakes while trying to use complex structures will get credit for trying (as long as the mistake doesn't stop the reader from understanding).

Q - My handwriting is terrible! No-one can read it! Will I lose points?
A - No. Your handwriting is not very important. Just make sure it can be read. Also, you don't need to rewrite your text (and you don't have time to rewrite it) - if it's got lots of bits crossed out, don't worry. Every student's writing looks the same!


Take risk and avoid being boring
Bear in mind that examiners read hundreds and hundreds of essays and most of them are alike, so try to make yours interesting.

prepared by: Milica Filipovic, English teacher, member of our team

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