Cambridge Advanced essay writing is the mandatory exam task in part 1. Here we will look at what you need to know.
What you find in the Cambridge Advanced Exam
In Part 1 of the exam, the essay question asks you to select two points out of the three given, to include in your answer, along with an evaluation of the merits of one of them. Your answer must also include an opinion on the second part of the question as well.
How to write your essay
Before you do anything prepare a plan. Although some people persist with the double copy method you really will not be able to complete two tasks properly in the time allowed. Even assuming you are a fast writer or typist it can take up to an hour to write an essay with that method, leaving you very short of time for the second task.
The method of constructing a plan is entirely up to you. The link above has some suggestions and ideas but choose the approach that suits you best.
As always a writing task should follow the standard layout of
In this case the body contains the two points you’ve selected. As regards the third point where you are asked to choose the most useful/important etc. Many books suggest that this should be incorporated into a final fourth paragraph with the conclusion. We tend to draw attention to a 5 paragraph model , one for each stage, the advantage being that you remember to include all required components. So your layout might look like one of the following.
For and Against or just one side?
There are two approaches you can choose to write your essay.
- For and against
This is the traditional approach where a writer discusses points in favour of their position and against. Typically this means that one point will be used to contrast the general position. There are advantages to this method. Firstly, candidates are often more familiar with it and find it easier to write. Secondly, it gives them more scope to use a wider variety of linking language.
- One side only
Writing an essay like this means that all the points will be included as if part of a list and requires language like firstly, additionally etc. Commonly a writer supports the idea. As mentioned above it can limit some language people might want to use but it may suit some.
Structuring your essay
Armed with a general plan the next step is to structure each section of the essay.
As always this is just a brief overview of what the essay intends to consider. Some initial comments on the topic for discussion and the overall context tend to provide the best approach. Having a strong initial sentence can also help focus reader attention on what you have to say.
Your Points(First & Second)
The simplest approach is to write about the points in order so that point 1 becomes your 2nd paragraph and so on. If you are using the for and against method it’s a lot easier to start with the positive point first and then do the contrast.
Second Part – Most Challenging
Giving your views on this second part, in addition to your two selected points, is essential. An answer that does not contain all three components will not get a pass score.
The conclusion is often quite brief and as mentioned above can be combined with the second part of the task. Every essay should have one as it is considered fundamental to a writing task. Its purpose is to conclude the writing task in a suitable manner.