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FCE - essay

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FCE Essay - [pdf]

Paper 2 Part 1 - Essay

AN ESSAY is always written for the teacher. It should answer the question given by addressing both content points and providing a new content point of the writer’s own.

The essay should be well organised, with an introduction and an appropriate conclusion and should be written in an appropriate register and tone.

While it is possible to argue only one point of view (i.e. either agreeing or disagreeing on a topic) as long as you bear in mind the other point of view and back up your points, it is probably easier to have a balanced discussion comparing advantages and disadvantages, or ideas for and against a topic.

  • Read the rubric, essay question and prompts very carefully in order to understand what you are expected to do. This is vital!
  • It is important to keep the focus of the topic question and that all your ideas and opinions are relevant to the question.
  • Support your opinions with reasons and examples.
  • Think of a third idea of your own in addition to the two given prompts. If any of the three essay prompts is missed out, then the target reader will not be fully informed and the candidate will be penalised.
  • Ideas need to be expressed in a clear an logical way, and should be well organised and coherent. It is advisable to use up to 5 paragraphs:
    1. Introduction
    2. Prompt 1 development + reason(s)/example(s)
    3. Prompt 2 development + reason(s)/example(s)
    4. Prompt 3 development + reason(s)/example(s)
    5. Conclusion (you may include your opinion here)
  • Varying the length of the sentences, using direct and indirect questions and using a variety of structures and vocabulary may all help to communicate ideas more effectively.
  • The correct use of linking words and phrases (e.g. but, so, however, on the other hand, etc.) and the appropriate use of cohesive devices (e.g. using pronouns for referencing) is especially important in essays.

Hints

  • [PLANNING]
    - Use the task input to help you plan but try to avoid copying phrases from the input in Part 1. Use your own words.
  • [INTRODUCTION and CONCLUSION]
    - Effective introductory and concluding paragraphs - In the introduction, state the topic clearly, give a brief outline of the issue, saying why it is important or why people have different opinions about it.
    - DO NOT express your opinion at the beginning of your essay (develop you essay in such a way that it guides the reader to the conclusion you draw).
    - DO give your opinion in the final paragraph.
  • [SECOND and THIRD PARAGRAPHS]
    - Structure your argument. - Each new paragraph has one main idea, stated in a topic sentence.
    - Include relevant details to support the main idea: these might include examples, rhetorical questions (do no overdo it), controversial or surprising statements... If you include a drawback, give a possible solution, too.
  • [GENERAL]
    - DO use a relatively formal register and an objective tone. Do not be too emotional.
    - Remember to use linking adverbials to organise your ideas and to make it easy for the reader to follow your argument.
    - In the exam, allow yourself time to check your grammar, spelling and punctuation thoroughly.

Linking words and phrases

Present your ideas clearly. Use connectors to link your ideas

Make sure you know how to use connectors appropriately (register, punctuation...). If you have any doubts, you should use a good dictionary to check.

  • To express personal opinions: In my opinion, I believe (that) / I feel (that) / it seems to me / in my view /as I see it / I think / personally
  • To show purpose: to / in order to / so as to / so that
  • To list ideas: Firstly / secondly / finally / In the first place / Lastly
  • To contrast ideas: However / although / in contrast / whereas / but / nevertheless / in spite of / despite
  • To describe a cause: Because / since / as / due to
  • To show a sequence: First of all / then / after that / eventually / in the end / finally
  • To add information: In addition / moreover / what is more / besides / too / furthermore / and
  • To describe a consequence: Consequently / as a result / therefore / so / thus / for this reason / that is why
  • To conclude the topic: In conclusion / to sum up / in short / all in all

Model questions and answers

Essay 1 - Model question

TASK

In your English class, you have been talking about the subject of cultural heritage. Now your English teacher has asked you to write an essay.

Write an essay using all the notes and give reasons for your point of view.

Is is a good thing that countries spend a lot of money on their heritage?

Notes

Write about:
1. preserving the past
2. investing in the future
3. ________ (your own idea)

Write your essay in 140-190 words in an appropriate style.

Essay 1 - Model answer

Most countries spend large sums of money protecting their national heritage. However, there is strong argument that we should look forwards and not backwards, spending less money on preserving the past and more on securing our future.

On the one hand, it is important that we remember our heritage. Once it is lost, it is lost forever. Caring for important monuments helps with this. It also attracts tourists, which has an economic benefit for everyone.

On the other hand, governments spend a lot of money on museums and keeping historic sites in good condition when poor people need houses to live in and businesses need better roads for transporting their goods.

Another argument is that by making heritage sites attractive for tourists -for example, by putting on entertainment - we give a very untrue picture of the past and sometimes damage the local environment.

To conclude, while there are strong arguments for not spending too much on preserving the past, I believe it is important to protect the most famous sites for the future generations but it is not realistic to try and save everything. We need to invest in the future too.

(+/- 190 words)


Essay 2 - Model question

TASK

In your English class, you have recently had a discussion about science and young people. Now your English teacher has asked you to write an essay.

Write an essay using all the notes and give reasons for your point of view.

Science is very important in the 21st century. How do you think it could be made more appealing to young people?

Notes

Write about:
1. television programmes
2. interactive museums
3. ________ (your own idea)

Write your essay in 140-190 words in an appropriate style.

Essay 2 - Model answer

Although young people love gadgets and technology, some see science as uninteresting and 'uncool'. Over time, the number of young people, particularly girls, pursuing science and technology studies and careers has dropped.

One way in which science could be made more attractive would be to have lively television programmes presented by celebrities, with subjects which were relevant to the experience of the young. We live in a celebrity culture and children identify with well-known young people.

Another idea would be to set up interactive science museums in every town, where parents could take their children. It is much better to teach children the principles of science through hands-on experiments than to lecture them in a classroom.

Of course, there would be more incentives if the average scientit were better paid and young people were made aware of the range of jobs available. A lot of people are put off a scientific career because they think it means working in a badly paid job in a boring laboratory.

Whichever way we choose, it is vital that more young people are attracted to science, since society's prosperity depends largely on continuous scientific progress.

(+/- 190 words)


Essay 3 - Model question

TASK

In your English class, you have recently had a discussion about relationships. Now your teacher has asked you to write an essay.

Write an essay using all the notes and give reasons for your point of view.

Is it better to live alone or with someone else?

Notes

Write about:
1. independence
2. money
3. ________ (your own idea)

Write your essay in 140-190 words in an appropriate style.

Essay 3 - Model answer

Nowadays more people are deciding to live by themselves. Some people claim this is more enjoyable and in young people it develops a sense of responsibility, whereas others disagree.

The main advantage of living alone is that there is nobody to tell you what to do, so you can live your life in your own way. What is more, you can organise or decorate your house as you want. There is no one else to disagree with.

On the other hand, it can be quite lonely for some people. By nature, we are social animals. Secondly, it is more expensive because you have to pay all the rent and bills yourself, so you have less money to enjoy yourself. Last but not least, it can be quite hard to find a nice flat for one person, so you might not be able to live in the best area.

To sum up, there are strong arguments on both sides. In conclusion, I believe that living alone is better for older people who have more money and like privacy but not for young people who need to share the costs.

(+/- 180 words)


Essay 4 - Model question

TASK

In your English class you have been talking about happiness. Now your English teacher has asked you to write an essay.

Write an essay using all the notes and give reasons for your point of view.

Whether you are happy or not depends on the personality you are born with. Do you agree?

Notes

Write about:
1. money
2. health
3. ________ (your own idea)

Write your essay in 140-190 words in an appropriate style.

Essay 4 - Model answer

Some people claim they are naturally cheerful. However, in my view, how we lead our lives is the main reason we are either happy or unhappy.

Take money, for example. Money doesn't automatically make us happy. In fact, it makes some people very unhappy because they are frightened of losing what they've got. On the other hand, if we're not greedy and don't spend it foolishly, it can reduce stress and give us security.

Then consider health. If we eat badly, get too little sleep and don't exercise, our health will decline and make us miserable. Eating well and going for lovely long walks in the countryside can make us feel better generally.

The third thing I think is important is to have a positive outlook on life. We should all enluy things like music and being with our friends. At the same time, it's important to spend time alone and live as simply as possible, which is not easy in the 21st century!

All these make a big difference to our happiness, no matter what our natural temperament.

(+/- 170 words)