Friday, 22 January 2016

CPE 2016 Sample Essay for the Cambridge Proficiency exam

A warm hello to all our CPE-holders and CPE-takers, and congratulations to all of you who have recently passed the exam. I am always glad when you write me to say you achieved a certificate. We certainly share your happiness in this blog. 
Anyways, for all of you who still don't have a CPE certificate and are planning to get it soon, here there is more practice !
The following essay was sent to us by a very good friend to this blog: SYB, a blogger from France.
Please note that the task comes from an old versión of the exam, and that is why it is in the form of a graphic. In the new versions of CPE, you get two pieces of text (no graphic) and you are asked to summarise both of them. 

The writing task comes from the ‘ Cambridge Certificate in English’  book 1 published in 2001

The education of the future

In the next decade, the advent of new technologies will bring change to the traditional teaching and learning models. It may be even the case that human teachers will be replaced by computers and robots.  However, it remains to be seen if this new approach  in education can be effective and beneficial for both the teachers and the students.
Nowadays many educational instutions are offering e-learning courses. These offers are highly convenient as learners can join the classes anywhere, from the comfort of their own home and without time constraints. The interactivity factor of video conferences, microphones and chat-rooms makes them also fun and stimulating.
Another reason why e-learning is so attactive is that, there are in the web numerous free application and on-line resources for self-Learning. These programs, very often tailored to the students needs , help them master the skills they want, at the speed they want. Once again very convenient.
However, there is a  downside to these teaching methods, and it has to do in my opinion with the essence of human nature and also with the future.  In a world which is constantly in social crises and which faces so many environmental challenges, are we not forgetting something? 

It is in "old-fashioned" classrooms where students learn to live together, and where they develop friendships and learn important life-skills under the eyes of a friendly supervisor.  It is also teachers, and not robots, who can teach students to think outside the box, and to be creative.

The education of the future needs to benefit from both "old-fashioned teachers and classrooms" and "the new technologies". It is only working hand to hand, that they can help shape a better world for the new generations that come.

Sent by Syb
Number of words 290


Saturday, 16 January 2016


Written by Gustavo Albarracín  @galbarracinq

It is now a couple of years since I took and successfully passed the CPE Cambridge Proficiency exam. And funny as it may sound, I remember it as one of the best moments of my life. The pride and satisfaction I felt are hard to describe, so if you are a student or a teacher preparing yourself to take this language examination, I can totally understand what you are going through.
This is my 5 quick-tips list for the exam:
1. Take your time.
Rome was not built in a day. The CPE Cambridge exam is a very high level English test, so I really think you need to seriously prepare for it. Make a plan, take a course and wait until the time is ripe. Click here to practise for the exam.
2. How much do you read?
I know that a lot of people out there don´t really enjoy reading, but if you want to learn new vocabulary, you will definitely have to do so. My advice? Find a book that you like. You don't need to read boring grammar books to improve your language. Look for a topic that interests you and go for it!
3. Square eyes
It is a myth that telly is bad for you. A great way to improve your listening and vocabulary is
watching Tv. So I suggest you start watching some British shows. It will not hurt.
4. Socialise !
It is so easy now to get in touch with people from all over the world. What best way to practise your English than with some English-speaking friends? Time and distance are not even a problema anymore, you can always try Skype.
5. Confidence is key
I know so many people who get blocked when they are ready to take the exam. That is a pitty. You
need to work on your self-confidence and be familiar with your strenghts and weeknesses. The more you prepare for the exam, the more confident you will feel. The more relaxed you are the day of the exam, the best results you will get.
It is as always a pleasure to get your emails and to be in touch with you.
If you want to get in touch, or if you would like to post in the blog, send an email to

Cologne, Germany. 01/2016

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Essay sample for the CPE Proficiency exam

So, you are taking the English Proficiency Exam and you don't know how to write an essay? We are here to help!
Take a look at this Essay example sent by a CPE student in France. 
Task comes from the book: Cambridge English Proficiency

What do clothes say about ourselves?

(Exam tip: Always write a title)

As the saying goes;  'never judge a book by its cover'.  Outfits and looks can be deceiving and are certainly not always a mirror of our real personality. However, what people wear does matter and definitely triggers emotional reactions.
(Exam tip: Always separate text in clear paragraphs).
As a rule of thumb, formal dress is a must for any businessman, executive and entrepreneur.  This way of dressing projects an image of success, trustworthy and professionalism. Whereas  a sloppy and casual apparel  prompts a negative image. On the other hand, being too formally dressed can also create a strained atmosphere especially in a professional environment, putting customers at distance if not in discomfort.

There are special occasions when dress-codes should be especially paid attention to.  Events such as weddings, graduations and funerals, are times in which people should pay special attention to what they wear.
And as for uniforms? Police officers, firefighters or doctors are constraint to wear uniforms which do not necessarily tell a lot about their individual personalities, but rather the personality of the institution the uniform represents. Indeed, they can represent justice , law or authority  and there is undoubtedly an impact on the use of them.

It goes without saying that clothes have an important part to play at giving a first impression and at telling a lot about a person’s life-story. However we can easily be misleaded by our first impressions on someone and make false assumptions, so better to always be careful and dont jump into conclusions so eagerly.
Essay posted by Syb from France
Text edited by Gustavo Albarracín  @galbarracinq
255 words

Friday, 8 January 2016

CAE Writing exam, December, 2015.

Natasha, from Russia, took the CAE exam this December 2015. Here it is the document she sent us.

CAE exam session of the 2d of December, 2015.
Task: Write a report on the advantages and disadvantages of part-time working while studying with a list of part-time jobs (written from memory)
We received the document from Natasha, checked it and posted it on the blog. If you would like to have your Writing for CAE or CPE corrected by us, send it to:

Studying and working

(Exam tip: Reports have a particular structure. Notice how there is a title and paragraphs divided  by subtitles or subheadings)
The aim of this report is to assess the advantages and disadvantages of part-time working while studying and to provide a list of part-time jobs which students mostly do in our country. A conclusion will be made based on the benefits and drawbacks discussed.
List of main jobs
In our city, the most popular part-time jobs for students are in offices, doing simple tasks and helping their more experienced senior bosses, or in places like pubs and restaurants, basically washing up dishes and serving food.

The students who work while studying make money for their personal needs, achieve a partial financial independence, from their parents and gain necessary skills for future life and work. Part time jobs between four walls such us in a marketing agency, are particularly beneficial for the students, who make networking and learn many new skills.
Jobs which involve many hours of badly-paid work and usually stressful activities, such us running with dishes in a restaurant, can influence the students negatively. These students tend to get low exam marks, presumably due to high stress and a low number of hours dedicated to the study.
Summing up the highlighted points, it becomes evident that whether students should work or not is a controversial topic. Taking into account that to study is our main goal, we should think about it twice before accepting a job offer. 

Text sent by Natasha ( Russia )
235 words.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Learning to write an ESSAY for the CPE Cambridge Exam

Task comes from the book: Cambridge English Proficiency
Tip for CPE-takers: You are asked to write an essay based on two pieces of text, so reflect carefully on what they have in common. Try to find a connection between the ideas behind the texts before you even start writing.

Recycling vs just discarding

Some years ago, people would waste and throw less products , but with the industrial age people consume more than in the past to the detriment of the environment, as many goods are no biodegradable.

The current manufacturers produce enormous numbers of items and encourage people to buy new products to replace the old one as soon as possible. As a result the amount of non-biodegradable waste ranging from food packaging, plastic and paper is rocketing at an alarming rate. 
Despite all the measures taken by our government and some eco-friendly citizen movements to have all the waste recycled, more efforts have yet to be made especially when it comes to discarded plastic bags in the environment, which are the most difficult to deal with. Not only do they pollute the land but they also contaminate the seas and poison fish.

In addition to this waste resulting from an excessive consumption of basic needs,  there is the waste produced by the latest technologies. Aggressive advertising campaigns push us to keep up with state-of –the-art devices and just discard the antiquate ones.
To keep up with these  technological advances people don’t hesitate to toss their old devices  like regular garbage despite being in good condition instead of having them recycled. What people perhaps do not know is that these materials are toxic and when thrown away can have a terrible effect on the environment, damaging plants , animal life and even having an impact in our food´ supply.

All in all, living in a throwaway  and consumer society it is everyone’s responsibility to recycle as much as possible to preserve a clean and green environment. It is after all in our hands the power to stop climate change and global warming.
Text sent by SYB
from France
Number of Words: 290

Monday, 4 January 2016

Cambridge CPE Essay model


To be or not to be home?

(Tip for the CPE takers: Write always a title, try to be original and choose an eye-catching one !)

Nowadays people live a life in the fast lane, which is not only detrimental to their well-being but can also distort their personalities. Therefore it is of vital importance to entertaining ourselves and find good ways to relax. But what is the best way and the best place to do that? 

There is a group of people who yearn for quietness and simply enjoy being home. For them there is nothing better than just escaping the backbreaking day of work by watching tv in the sofa or reading a riveting book. And not only that, researchers suggest that being in a familiar environment can be the ideal place for  problem-solving and finding peace of mind.  Having a hobby that  you can do in the safety of your own house can truly allow people to reconnect with themselves, it is scientific fact.

Nevertheless there are some people who are more reluctant to stay home and would rather thrive on social activities, especially if they live on their own or simply have nobody around sharing the same hobbies. Spending time in public places can be an alternative to have fun and get to know new people. However the flip side could be that in such circumstances people behave in ways that may fun but not fully help then to relax. Going out can be entertaining but it is certainly also tiring, according to an American psychological study.

Another argument in favour of staying home can be that one´s house tells a lot about one' s personality. The deepest nature of a person is reflected in their possessions, decorations, and the place thay they call home.

Essay submitted by Syb
Number of words: 280


Saturday, 28 November 2015


Greatest actor competition.

Meryl Streep is regarded as one of the greatest actresses in the world, and her work is highly praised and recognised  not only by the critics but also by the audience. But what else do we know about her apart from the fact that she is a wonderful actress? 

First of all, it is no secret, that she is a wealthy woman, holding a fortune of $45 million dollars. Second of all, Meryl Streep and her husband run a charity, which indicates that in addition to her career, she has a variety of noble interests and inspirations. It clearly makes her even more admirable. But how has she managed to become a world-class person?

To answer this question we should explore some facts of her life. Nowadays, all the films that she has taken part in, are regarded as highly recommended by critics and journalists. "It seems that Meryl Streep joins the race for the Oscar any time she appears in a movie", quoted the Daily Mail; and it is really true because she is undeniably talented.

A not so well known fact is that, it was not always like that. The movie star, as everybody else, has experienced some ups and downs in her life, but she has never let her heart be broken or fallen into depression. She has a strong and very cheerful character, which is in my opinion the more reason, for her to deserve her rewards and recognition.

Sent by Marina Savchits, 
from Russia.
#words 240

Monday, 26 October 2015


Gold_Advanced_Exam_Maximiser_with_2015_exam_s Page 121

Workexchange for skill acquisition: a tough but rewarding experience


The aim of this report is to assess my experience of working abroad in one of our Company's many divisions in Europe. The benefits and drawbacks of the experience will be briefly discussed and recommendations will be given to other colleagues who may be willing to embark in the same learning-and-work travel adventure next year.

Benefits and drawbacks
The main benefit is without any doubt, learning new skills and procedures. Being able, for example, to observe the way in which our colleagues from a different country deal with our everyday work problems, is a very enriching experience. One learns to think outside the box and try new approches.

Among the difficulties, it must be stated that not speaking the language is a major challenge. Team work is very difficult due to the language barrier. In addition to this, not having any friends at work and not being able to talk to anyone (at least at first), can be depressing.

For anyone interested in travelling on work exchange next year, it would be infinitely preferable to have at least an intermediate level of the language of the country of visit. This will ensure good communication and enable team work. 
Apart from this, I would not recommend the experience to anyone who has difficulty making friends or adapting to new work environments.

In view of all this, I can confirm that the benefts outweigh the drawbacks. The exchange programme is a fantastic opportunity to upgrade one’s own abilities and skills, as well as to meet new fascinating people.

Sent by Natasha Samousenko

Wednesday, 30 September 2015


Gold Advanced Exam Maximiser by  Lynda Edwards, Jacky Newbrook.

Proposal on new facilities and servicies for the Sport Centre

The aim of this proposal is to provide ideas for new facilities and services in our Sport and Leisure Centre. 

A brand-new cutting-edge Lab
It is of great necessity to adapt to the modern times. Our users need a place where they can have access to Internet and devices like smartphons and tablets. 
The implementation of this Lab and the adoption of the latest technology will also make possible credit card payment and acloud-based on-line services. To give an example, there will be virtual trainers and app for users to track their own training progress. 

New services: new courses
Other Sport Centres offer the service of Personal Trainers. But this service is very expensive and difficult to implement. As a more doable alternative, we suggest "Small group Martial Art classes". More and more people, in partucular, women are interested in achieving self defense skills in our community. We can offer, to give an example: Karate, taekwondo and ju-jitsu. These sports are also appealing to children, because they teach them discipline and self control.

Recommendations can be easily summarised in two points:

1. Implementation of a new lab
2. Opening of new personalised/small group courses

These innovations will certainly, attract more people and bring financial benefit. At the same time, they will promote satisfaction among our members.

Sample sent by: Natasha
# Words: 230

Tuesday, 29 September 2015



You belong to an international film club and have been asked to write the club´s annual report this year. This report is written for club members and has to include information about the main events held over the last twelve months, to present plans for activities in the coming year and to summarise the current financial position of the club in respect of money received and payments made.

Source: Task comes from the book "Objective Proficiency" by Annette Capel and Wendy Sharp.

Report on the film club

This aim of this report is to inform our international film club members about the events held throughout last year and the activities planned for the upcoming one. This report will also provide details on the financial position of the organisation.

1. Events of last year

Annual dinner. 
Before  the summer holidays, all the club members met for a farewell meal at a film-like decorated restaurant; which was a real success.

Thematic weekends. 
Arranged twice a month, these sessions featured Italian, science fiction and a series of Meryl Streep films. All of the club members were asked in advance about their favourite movies to ensure all preferences were catered for. 

2. Future plans

A talk by Sofia Coppola.
Being acquainted with the renowned director, the president of our club has invited the actress to attend one of our weekly meetings in May next year. She is due to talk about her latest film and to offer advice to future cinematographers among our fellow members. She has kindly agreed to being interviewed for June´s issue of the club´s magazine.

Video Library. 
All members will enjoy free access to a video library in the coming year. Library cards will be delivered during the first gathering and we will be able to rent up to five films for a maximum of two weeks. In addition, members are encouraged to shoot their own short films and documentaries and to donate  a copy to the Video Library.

3. Finances

Money received last year. 
32 new members were welcomed into our club last year. This signifies a grow of 30% and a positive increase on the club´s finances.

Payments made. 
New stationery material and purchase of the latest Hollywood films, were the two main expenses made last year. A complete chart with statistics can be found on our website. It is also available to be downloaded.

Sample sent by Patricia de Pastors

Words: 312.