Cambridge Advanced Writing Marking

The Cambridge Advanced Writing Marking scheme covers fours areas and here we will take a look at how each one reflects what people have written. Each element is 5 marks, with a total of 20 marks for each writing piece.

The four areas are as follows.

  • Content
  • Communicative Achievement
  • Organisation
  • Language

What is each component about?


This is a measure of how well you have done what you were asked to do. In other words, did you answer the question? A score of 3-5 here show that a candidate did answer a question from reasonably well to very well. As defined in the Cambridge Advanced Writing Marking scheme the person you are writing for would be informed or gain knowledge from the answer.

A score below 3 shows a candidate did not answer the question properly and contains a lot of irrelevant information. This typically occurs when some of the information is not included in an answer or through misunderstanding the task and not answering the question.

Communicative Achievement

This component deals with register and the conventions of the type of writing. For example, has a candidate used the right structure of a report or is the language in the informal letter suitably informal? What separates the higher scores is a candidate who can hold the reader’s interest through the communication of more complex ideas using the required format. Scores below 3 indicate that the candidate cannot present such ideas or does not have a good grasp of the register and format requirements.


This component looks at how candidates put the ideas together. Is it logical and clear to follow? Additionally, it looks at the range of linking techniques and expressions a candidate uses. Scores of 3-5 reflect this with higher scores considering just how well it has been done. Scores under 3 suggest that the candidate has a very limited range of linking devices and an unorganised piece of writing.


Naturally there is a component for language and vocabulary. It is important to note here that writing at Advanced level can have some language errors. The component is reviewing overall accuracy and the range of language. For example, a score of 3 can have occasional errors, even a score of 5 too can still include a few errors that don’t really affect communication. The scores are based on complexity of grammar forms and vocabulary range. Scores below 3 do not have basic grammar forms and a lot of inappropriate vocabulary.

To see the full Cambridge Advanced Writing Marking scheme you can download the writing guide here.

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