How to Improve Writing for CPE: From C1 to C2

Developing good writing skills can be a daunting task making you question where to start. How can you elevate your writing from a C1 to a C2?  It is important to consider that each part of the writing exam is assessed in regards to: content, communicative achievement, organisation and language, just like all the other Cambridge levels. But what do these categories actually mean, and how can you ensure you’re scoring as highly as possible?

Content: Have you included all the necessary information that is required? Have you only written relevant information that is suitable to the target reader? Have you expanded on the base point with your own ideas? Have you used relevant references and/ or examples where applicable?

Communicative achievement: Is the style of writing suitable for the form and accompanied with suitable writing conventions? Has the main purpose of the task been achieved? Is there a mix of facts and opinions depending on the brief of the task?

Organisation: Is your writing well structured in terms of paragraphs, titles, headings etc.. if necessary? Are the ideas well connected with the use of linking devices?

Language: Have you used a wide range of vocabulary that is specific to the topic? Are both simple and complex grammatical structures used without error? Is your spelling accurate? Is there any repetition?

As well as asking yourself these questions, follow these tips to further advance your writings:

Read a variety of different writing forms (articles from different sources, reviews, essays etc..) so you are conscious of the different styles and what devices are used for each.

As well as reading a variety of forms, it is also important to read authentic texts that were not necessarily written for learners of English. This way, you will become more informed on common idioms, phrasal verbs, collocations etc…

Try to implement writing in English into your everyday life so it becomes habitual, and the prospect of writing between 520-600 words in 90 minutes is less daunting.

Go through past papers and practice writing timed 10 minute plans to previous questions. This will help you to not only become familiar with the style of questions, but also become accustomed to quickly organising and planning your writings, which is a crucial step to ensure everything is well-organised.  In addition to practising writing plans, do practise completing the full 90 minute exam under exam conditions so you’re used to how the time passes.