Cambridge Advanced Proposals

Here we will look at what you need to know about Advanced or CAE proposal writing.  In the Cambridge Advanced exam,  you may be asked to write a proposal in Part 2. 

What is the Cambridge Advanced Exam proposal?

A proposal is an example of a real life task. Candidates are asked to prepare some ideas that could be used and to persuade the reader of the benefit of the proposal. While the structure of a proposal is very similar to the report, a report addresses a current situation, whereas a proposal considers a possible future action. 

CAE Proposal example question

CAE proposal writing

How to write your C1 proposal

Firstly, you need to show that you have an understanding of the type of register and structure needed. For proposals the style is generally formal or semi-formal. You should also follow the types of conventions that we have seen with the structure of reports.

In a proposal each section or paragraph should have a title or heading so that a reader can see what you want to say. Generally we use Introduction as a title for the first part although Background may also be suitable. Typically Recommendations is appropriate for the final section. For other sections you should use a title that clearly describes the theme or topic in that section or paragraph.

Other considerations

  • You should use a title. Something in the form of Proposal to/for ..  is suitable.
  • Modal verbs are always a useful form to present observations and suggestions.
  • Passives are also extremely useful but don’t overuse them as they can make a text very difficult to read.
  • As with the report avoid pronouns like you or I but we can be a good option.

Structuring your proposal

How to do it

Initially you need to determine what you have to include in the proposal. All of that information  is contained within the question. Equally the question often provides the likely headers we might use. Our proposal may well have the following layout and headers.

Proposal sample layout

Proposal for Improvements in student contact opportunities

Introduction (or Background)

Present Situation

Possible Activities


Writing an introduction
The introduction is the one part of the proposal, like the report, where the structure tends to be the same. An introduction needs to state the purpose of the proposal and provide any relevant background. The sample below is a typical approach to the introduction.

Sample introduction

The aim/purpose of this proposal is to consider ways to improve the current lack of regular social contact between university students and local residents.

(Background) Many of these students live on campus or with other students in the town.

Other sections of the proposal
For each of the remaining parts it is important to provide support and details to any opinions you offer.  As you can see in the example section below, the explanation contains sufficient relevant details.

Current situation

Current Situation
The university campus has students from many parts of the world and there seems to be a good level of integration. This comes from the variety of activities available to students, however, there is nothing similar in the town.

Writing a conclusion or recommendation
The final part of a proposal is where a reader expects to see an overall analysis. It should bring together what you have said in the rest of the proposal.

Some points to consider

  • Sell your Idea
    Look at what you are writing in a proposal. How persuasive is it?

  • Use Emphatic Devices
    Consider using expressions that draw attention to key points. Examples include emphatic verb form and linking devices like clearly, actually, specifically etc.

Watch our YouTube proposal writing video

Find out more about other Cambridge Advanced writing tasks