How to Write an Essay for FCE - FCE Exam Tips


How to Write an Essay for FCE - FCE Exam Tips

AN ESSAY is always written for the teacher. It should answer the question given by addressing both content points and providing a new content point of the writer’s own.

The essay should be well organised, with an introduction and an appropriate conclusion and should be written in an appropriate register and tone.

While it is possible to argue only one point of view (i.e. either agreeing or disagreeing on a topic) as long as you bear in mind the other point of view and back up your points, it is probably easier to have a balanced discussion comparing advantages and disadvantages, or ideas for and against a topic.

Read the rubric, essay question and prompts very carefully in order to understand what you are expected to do. This is vital!

It is important to keep the focus of the topic question and that all your ideas and opinions are relevant to the question.

Support your opinions with reasons and examples.

Think of a third idea of your own in addition to the two given prompts. If any of the three essay prompts is missed out, then the target reader will not be fully informed and the candidate will be penalised.

Ideas need to be expressed in a clear an logical way, and should be well organised and coherent. It is advisable to use up to 5 paragraphs:

1. Introduction
2. Prompt 1 development + reason(s)/example(s)
3. Prompt 2 development + reason(s)/example(s)
4. Prompt 3 development + reason(s)/example(s)
5. Conclusion (you may include your opinion here)

Varying the length of the sentences, using direct and indirect questions and using a variety of structures and vocabulary may all help to communicate ideas more effectively.

The correct use of linking words and phrases (e.g. but, so, however, on the other hand, etc.) and the appropriate use of cohesive devices (e.g. using pronouns for referencing) is especially important in essays.



- Use the task input to help you plan but try to avoid copying phrases from the input in Part 1. Use your own words.


- Effective introductory and concluding paragraphs - In the introduction, state the topic clearly, give a brief outline of the issue, saying why it is important or why people have different opinions about it.

- DO NOT express your opinion at the beginning of your essay (develop you essay in such a way that it guides the reader to the conclusion you draw).

- DO give your opinion in the final paragraph.


- Structure your argument. - Each new paragraph has one main idea, stated in a topic sentence.

- Include relevant details to support the main idea: these might include examples, rhetorical questions (do no overdo it), controversial or surprising statements... If you include a drawback, give a possible solution, too.


- DO use a relatively formal register and an objective tone. Do not be too emotional.

- Remember to use linking adverbials to organise your ideas and to make it easy for the reader to follow your argument.

- In the exam, allow yourself time to check your grammar, spelling and punctuation thoroughly.

Linking words and phrases

Present your ideas clearly. Use connectors to link your ideas

Make sure you know how to use connectors appropriately (register, punctuation...). If you have any doubts, you should use a good dictionary to check.

To express personal opinions: In my opinion, I believe (that) / I feel (that) / it seems to me / in my view /as I see it / I think / personally
To show purpose: to / in order to / so as to / so that
To list ideas: Firstly / secondly / finally / In the first place / Lastly
To contrast ideas: However / although / in contrast / whereas / but / nevertheless / in spite of / despite
To describe a cause: Because / since / as / due to
To show a sequence: First of all / then / after that / eventually / in the end / finally
To add information: In addition / moreover / what is more / besides / too / furthermore / and
To describe a consequence: Consequently / as a result / therefore / so / thus / for this reason / that is why
To conclude the topic: In conclusion / to sum up / in short / all in all

(adapted from:

01 Junio 2018

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