Cambridge B2 First Essay Writing

The essay is the exercise in Part 1 of the Cambridge B2 writing exam and we will take a look on this page at how to write an essay at B2. 

How to do the B2 essay writing question

The essay is the mandatory writing exercise in Part 1 of the B2 writing exam. In the question there are two points to be included and you need to add another point of your own. Like all writing tasks in the Cambridge First Exam you need to write between 140-190 words.

Example Question
In your English class you have been discussing technology. Your teacher has asked you to write an essay.

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

Some people say that technology is a good thing in our lives. Do you agree?

Notes: Write about  

  1. Uses of technology  
  2. Technology for different ages
  3. …………………… (Your own idea)

There are two key things to note here. Firstly, you must include a third idea of your own and you must include all of those ideas in your essay writing. If you don’t, there is a good possibility you will not get a pass score on your essay.

Organising your essay writing

There are two things you should always include in any essay.

  • Introduction
  • Summary/Conclusion

We use the first paragraph to introduce the topic and we often include some general comments about our attitude to the topic.

The final paragraph should contain a summary of the ideas discussed as well as the overall conclusions of the essay and any personal opinions we have on the question.

Including the points from the question in the essay

If you write one paragraph for each point you want to discuss it is generally easier to write and easier for readers to understand . While this is not a strict rule, putting information that is related into separate paragraphs is good practice. So, writing about one paragraph for each note means you will typically write 4-5 paragraphs in your essay.

B2 Essay Writing Style

There are two ways you can write your essay.

  • Discussion of one point of view
  • Discussion of both positive and negative aspects of the topic

One point of view
This type of essay presents the notes as a listing. Often we use linking words like firstly, secondly & finally to organise the ideas.

Positive & negative views
This is a traditional type of essay and typically we contrast one or more points in favour with one idea against. Writing an essay this way shows the reader that the person writing it has considered both sides of the argument.  Expressions like on the one hand & on the other hand are used to highlight contrasting ideas. The most logical way of writing this type of essay is by starting with a point in favour of your position.

Planning your Essay

It’s always a very good idea to write down all three Ideas. Doing it like this means that you don’t forget to include one of them. Another reason for using  a plan means there will also less reason for you to write a full version of the essay and then copy it. There is nothing wrong with this apart from writing double the number of words. Generally, in the B2 First writing exam you will have enough time but it’s not a very efficient way of doing it.

The most efficient way to prepare for writing is to write down ideas under each of the notes from the question. For example, if you are writing a  positive and negative points essay a simple grid like this can help.

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Some final thoughts!
  • As the essay is a type of writing you will have to do in the exam it’s important to get it right.  Be sure to practise the form and get feedback on it.
  • Do not forget to include all three points.
  • Take a look at our writing paragraphs page to help improve the organisation of your essay writing. We also have a special B2 First writing tips page.


Completed Cambridge B2 First Essay example

Nowadays, technology is an important part of our lives. We use it at home, in our jobs and when we study. It helps us in many ways to do things better but can we say everything is good about it?

Uses of technology  
Technology is important in our work life, especially the Internet.  Without the Internet, companies could not advertise and customers could not buy their products. Furthermore, we can perform typical tasks like emails or calculations more easily. 

Easier communication (Your own idea) 
It is also true that technology makes communication easier. We can talk more easily with friends and family. With social media like Facebook we know what is happening in their lives, instantly.

Technology for different ages
However, technology is not easy for everyone. For older people it can be very difficult to use and often they may avoid it. It can also be a problem with other things like ATMs and computers, where we need to remember too many passwords.

There is no doubt that technology is a good thing and our lives would be worse without it. Nevertheless, we should also recognise that technology can sometimes make some things more difficult for some people.  

You can also watch our YouTube video of this completed example

Learn more about each of the Cambridge B2 writing exercises

Learn more about each of the Cambridge First writing exercises