Friday, 27 May 2016

CPE 2016 Restaurant Review Sample

Van Gogh Kitchen

I was recently invited to have dinner in one of the best Italian restaurants in Hong Kong: Van Gogh Kitchen, which is situated on the second floor of a multi-storey building in the busy Nathan Road.

What makes this restaurant so special is its unique decoration, inspired on Van Gogh´s works of art. For example, the main room has been styled to resemble “Night Cafe”; the 1888 oil painting which depics a red-walled cosy cafe with a huge billiard table in the middle of the place.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

CPE Exam Sample Article 2016

You are looking through the alumni newsletter of a school that you once attended and you see the following announcement:
What are your best and worst school memories? Write in and tell us and we will publish the most interesting articles in our next newsletter.
Write the article for the editor of the alumni newsletter. (around 280 - 320 words)

The best days of my life

An average person goes to school for at least 13 years. That time gives us a lot from where to choose from. I have myself a never-ending collection of sad and cheerful school memories. Let me embark in a flashback adventure and share some of them with you:

When I think of my worst memory, the first thing that pops into my mind is the first day of school. I was about five years old and back then children were not sent to kindergartens, so this was my very first time alone. I can still see in my head this image of my parents “abandoning me”, leaving me behind with this stranger fat lady and a bunch of unknown noisy kids. I can vividly remember myself thinking why and wondering if perhaps I had been a bad girl.

Monday, 2 May 2016

The task comes from a book called "Succeed in Cambridge English: Proficiency" by Andrew Betsis, Sean Haughton and Lawrence Mamas published by GLOBAL ELT.

Essay on technology, young prople and communication nowadays.

Technology is the fastest-growing field of our time. Nevertheless, there does not seem to be much middle ground when discussing its advantages and disadvantages for young people. The first passage critiques the high dependency of youngsters on technology and expounds ways in which it harms them. The second one praises it, showing us the other side of the coin, high level of interaction among people, awareness of worl-wide events and 24-hour availability of information.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Review of The Jungle Book 3D film

You belong to an English-language film club where you recently saw a film in 3D. You have agreed to write a review of this film for the group´s monthly newsletter. In this review you should give your opinion of the 3D effects in the film and say whether you think 3D adds anything in general, to the experience of watching a movie, as well as giving your opinion about the actual movie itself, and whether and to whom you would recommend it. (The task comes from the book: "Succeed in Cambridge English: Proficiency" by Global ELT ).

Film review on “The Jungle Book 3D”

When Rudyard Kipling, the author of the Jungle Book, finished writing his master piece more than a hundred years ago, he probably foresaw the success his work would have one day; but not that his gorillas and wildebeests would come into life through the magic of 3D . On occasion of the release of the 3D version of the movie this year, I write this lines to highlight the positive and not so positive features.

First of all, and just in case there is anyone who is not familiar with the book itself, the plot revolves around the incredible life of a child who is abandoned in the jungle at birth and who is raised by wolves. Riveting story, isn't it? Well, it all becomes even more exciting in 3D. As far as I am concerned, technology adds to the story by making what we see almost seem real.

Monday, 4 April 2016

CPE Sample Letter exam 2016

One possible task in the CPE Cambridge exam is to write a formal letter.

"The library of your town is going to be expanded. Write a letter to the Planning Committee. Explain how you think the present facilities could be improved and suggest some new services that the library could provide".

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing regarding the expansion of the library. I would like to suggest some ideas on how to improve the facilities and to propose the implementation of a new service for children and adults.

First of all, many of the library users complain about the lack of places to sit down to read, specially in the afternoon. The current main room has space to accommodate 150 students, but it need to be enlarged to accommodate at least 250.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Train your listening for FCE, CAE, CPE

I love watching television and listening to music in English. Not only is it fun, but it is also a great
way to improve your listening skills, acquire vocabulary and learn about other people and cultures.

The CPEsamplewritings blog is of course all about the writings, but it doesnt mean that training other skills is not important. In fact, it is very important to train your listening and speaking if you want to pass the CPE or any other Cambridge exam.

Today I would like to recommend a blog which has plenty of listening activities. It is called Davydow-Blog. It has mainly listening exercises for FCE at the moment, but the blog is growing, and they will soon have more activities for upper levels.

Give it a try!

Tuesday, 29 March 2016


Dear CPEsamplewritings,

First of all, I really enjoy your blog. It is so instructive and there are so many samples. I have been working as an English teacher for a couple of years now. In order to graduate I still have to pass one exam, which is cpe writing.  I am terribly bad at writing essays, articles  etc. I have no idea how to pass this test.

While on the website I came across an essay about food ( - this was the exact same task I had back in November and of course I didn't pass. Do you have any tips for me? I hope to hear from you soon.

Kind regards,
 F. G


A warm hello to you F.G and to all the CPE-holders and CPE-takers following this blog and reading our posts.

I believe that the first thing you need to do is to get familiar with the exam, typical questions (tasks) and the way that the exam is assessed. As you can see from the collection of writings that we have here in the blog, typical tasks include writing an essay, an article or an email.  Visit the Cambridge official web page for more info: 

What do we know about the way Cambridge evaluates the texts submitted by students? As far as we know, they focus on:

- content (student wrote what he was supposed to, according to the instructions in the task)
- language (student used advanced grammar/ vocabulary)
- style (formal, informal or neutral when appropiate)
- layout (organisation of text, number of words)
- reader (capacity to communicate a message effectively)


Before you write
Read the task carefully and think: What do I have to write about? Do I need to write an essay? An article? What are the characteristics of an essay? What are the characteristics of an article? Do I need to use formal language? Informal? Neutral? 

While you write
Remember to use paragraphs, to separate paragraphs with a line, to use the best grammar and vocabulary possible, to respect the number of words. But most important: to do the task! and to communicate your message effectively.

After you write
Check and re-check. Did I do what the task asked for? Is my message clear? Do I need to change anything? Do I need to add something?

In this blog, I recommend reading:
How to write an essay?
How to write an article

I really hope I was able to help you F.G
And to anyone wanting to submit a post or to ask a question, please feel free to write to:

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

CAE Restaurant review sample

"You went to a newly-opened restaurant with your family to celebrate your father's 50th birthday. Based on the visit, write a review of the restaurant. (220-260 words)"
The "Aquila Nera" restaurant
The "Aquila Nera" is a newly-opened restaurant in the centre of town. It is also by far the best place for families and friends to spend a nice and quiet evening eating delicious home-made food.
I had the opportunity to go there to celebrate my father’s birthday and I had a wonderful time.   
As you enter the place you are welcomed by a familiar and cosy atmosphere. The walls are made of stone, which gives the restaurant a vintage and traditional look, and there are just a few tables. There is some soft background music from the 80s and 90s.
Regarding the food, they offer a variety of focaccia bread rolls as a starter, with tomato sauce, mozzarella, zucchini and almonds. They were my favourite part of the meal.   The main course that I had consisted of pasta: gnocchi with different sauces. It tasted like heaven on earth. They also have desserts in the menú; I chose to have creme brulee.
Slightly disappointing though, was the service. I had to wait twenty minutes for the dishes to arrive, as there were only two waitresses. However, I have to say in their defence, that both of them were very young, kind and friendly.
Despite the long wait for the food, it was absolutely mouthwatering, and the atmosphere very pleasant. For this reason, I have no hesitation in recommending going to the "Aquila Nera" restaurant. Judging on the tast of the dishes, I would give it 5 stars!

Submitted by Anna Viero
240 words

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

2016 CPE Essay sample

Cambridge English Proficiency for updated exams 1

Essay on the importance of food

In our stressful society it is a hard task to find the time to cook  healthy meals on a daily basis. The two texts dive into the topic of food and well-being, forwarding the idea that food should be a way to reunite families and friends together.
Food has undenieably a social function. A mouth-watering meal can be the perfect excuse to gather friends around a table and for colleagues to get to know more about each other. And as for couples, a cosy dinner is the perfect scenario to make plans about the future and to talk about their feelings. There is a strong association between food and warm sentiments, like love.
But food is also deeply-routed in every country’s culture. This is easy to exemplify by talking about tortilla, which is a traditional Spanish dish present on each of their especial occasions. On the same way, when we think about tacos, we think about Mexico, and when we think about sausages we think about Germany. Food is also an ambassador of culture.
The second text takes our attention towards a worrying phenomenon,  fast-food. A hectic work-all-the-time reality means that we do no longer have time to cook healthily or to share meal conversations with friends.
To my mind, convenient foods are not so "convenient" as they do not provide the necessary nutrients that we need to consume a day, ans also  because a "fast meal" can not complete with a long-lasting satisfying conversation with friends. At the end of the day, aren’t human social animals?

WORDS: 270
Submitted by Javi Mañas.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Fluency in English. How to improve your fluency?

I am currently teaching a student who is very good at writing, but who is concerned about his speaking. Searching for some material on the web to work on fluency and pronunciation, I came accross a very amusing Tongue Twister.
And even though I have never been fond of Tongue Twisters myself, I fell in love with it. I found it so funny that I decided to use it with my student, and I think the exercise really paid off.

Do you want to give it a try?

 Betty Botter bought some butter,
"But," she said, "this butter's bitter.
If I bake this bitter butter,
It will make my batter bitter.
But a bit of better butter -
That would make my batter better."
So she bought a bit of butter,
Better than her bitter butter,
And she baked it in her batter,
And the batter was not bitter.
So 'twas better Betty Botter
Bought a bit of better butter.

By the way, I found the Tongue Twister in I don't know if they own it, but it is better to play it safe on copyrights.
If you are a teacher and you are planning to use this Fluency activity with your students, make sure to pre-teacher the meaning of "batter" /ˈbæt.ər/  (in case they don't know the word) and the difference in pronunciation with "butter" /ˈbʌt.ər/.
To check on how to pronounce some words, I recommend the Cambridge Dictionary Online, which is free.
Gustavo Albarracín
Cologne, Germany 18/02/2016