Things You May Not Know About Advanced Writing Part 1

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The writing aspect of the exam can be the most challenging for a significant number of students. So, we’ve got some secret preparation techniques and shortcuts to help you pass the Advanced exam with ease.


1. Introduction: thesis statement 

This statement is probably the most important sentence you will write in the entire essay. And if you get it wrong, it could undermine the rest of your writing. But what is it? And, how can it be written effectively? Well, it’s a statement that clearly establishes the purpose of your essay. Therefore, you should focus the rest of the writing on either proving your thesis statement or answering the question it poses.


Read the two thesis statements. And decide which one is correct.

  • Thus, this essay will argue that local authorities should fund either a swimming pool or, most importantly, a library.

  • Hence, this essay poses the question; what should local authorities fund? A new swimming pool or a library?

Its a trick question! Both of them are right. This is because it can be written in the form of a statement or a question. As long as it mentions which two of three options you have chosen to compare, in this case, a swimming pool and a library, then, either way, is acceptable. But I believe that the question form is more engaging as it more clearly poses a question in the readers mind, which is more interesting. But, whatever you decide, try to hook the reader into wanting to continue reading.



If what you want to write does not go toward proving your thesis statement or answering the question it asks, then bin it. Don’t use it as it will probably be superfluous information. 



2. Writing around your thesis statement


Now let us back peddle a little and discuss writing around your thesis statement. One of the most common mistakes students make in the introduction is simply writing a thesis statement then jumping to the first body paragraph to prove it. Instead, before this, you should write around your statement for one to three sentences.


As you may have noticed, we have already written two thesis statements for this essay question. So, let’s take this one and write around it.


  • Hence, this essay poses the question; what should local authorities fund? A new swimming pool or a library?

This sentence is our opening:

  • Deciding how to utilise scarce financial resources effectively is difficult for local governments.

But what is the advantage of writing this sentence first? What’s its function?


Well, it states how difficult the question is to answer. As a result, it serves to justify it as a worthy subject to write about. Also, it functions to hold the reader in suspense at how you will approach this challenge.


Read the text sentence:

  • Should it be spent on improving children’s health and fitness or enhancing their knowledge?

What do you think the function is?

Well, it does not directly mention which two of the three options have been chosen but hints at it. Thus, enhancing intrigue. Also, this sentence operates to elude to potential arguments you will make further in the essay. In this instance, the fact that a swimming pool will improve children’s health and fitness. And libraries will enhance their knowledge.




Read this essay question. Then, in the comment section, write a complete introduction. This will include a thesis statement as well as writing around it for a few sentences. The first commenters will get feedback on their responses, so give it a try.


Which days should shops be open in the European Union?

  • shops should be open 7 days a week and holidays

  • shops should be closed on Sundays and all public holidays

  • shop owners should have the right to open their shops whenever they want


3. Choosing the right topic


Many CAE students often spend too much time thinking about which two of the three topic options to write about. For some, the choice is easy if the essay question includes your field of work as an option. But, simply choose subjects you are familiar withmore than the others. Or pick the option you believe in or consider to be true, as this will make your arguments more believable.



4. Studying Essay Vocabulary



What subjects are essays going to be on? This is the million-dollar question. And, understandably, you would want to know what vocabulary you need to learn before the exam. Alas, no one knows exactly. However, there are specific topics and question forms that constantly arise.

Read the six potential essay questions and decide which three are real former exam questions and which are not. And most importantly, think about why some of them would or would not be included in the writing section.

  1. Which courses should be included in the secondary school’s curriculum?

  2. Which political party would best serve the town?

  3. What kind of facilities should be allowed to be built on the seafront in a seaside town?

  4. Which religious statue should be erected in the town square?

  5. What are the best methods of producing healthy food in a cost-effective way?

  6. Which celebrity test would attract the most attention in the opening of a new cinema?


Let’s look at the correct answers: 1, 3 and 5. But how do we know that these are legitimate questions, and the others are not? Well, it all has to do with the subject matter: education, facilities that should be renovated, built or funded and health. These are some of the most common essay subjects frequently repeated year after year. And some other notable topics include technology, environmentalism and economics.


5. Topics not in the exam



Now let’s see why the other questions would probably not appear in the Advanced exam.  Firstly, you would be unlikely to see a question around politics as it is an area people feel rather strongly about. Subjects are usually designed to be neutral and not emotive. Therefore, you’ll probably not read a question on religion since this is very personal to people. Thus, questions such as this are avoided. And lastly, culturally specific questions are steered away from. For instance, if one of the three celebrity guest options included Mohammed Salah, then maybe only Egyptians and football fans would know who he is. Or, if one of the guests were Logan Paul, then slightly older examinees would probably scratch their heads in confusion about who this is.


6. Structuring Paragraphs


Structuring essay paragraphs is not easy for many people, even native English speakers. That is because writers often do not know the purpose of essay paragraphs. Therefore, I have devised a template to help you with the exam. And that is the SEEE structure.

Firstly, we have the statement. This is the main point of the paragraph. The central idea that you want to express. So, the rest of the paragraph should be designed around proving this statement.

Then, we move to the explanation. This expresses WHY you think the statement is accurate.

Next up, elaboration. You can add further details that back up the explanation or justify your original statement in this sentence.

And finally, the example. Examples are used to show real-world evidence that your statement is true. These can come from facts and figures from surveys, University studies or even anecdotes/stories from your life.

For the CAE exam, the examples do not have to be true. You can make it up as the examiner just wants to see that you can structure a paragraph; there is no fact-checking. In fact, you can create your own example templates before the exam and fill in the rest in the context of the exam.

Now bear in mind that the SEEE structure is not a hard and fast rule. In fact, I would not use this format exactly for every paragraph. Therefore, mix it up a bit. Maybe, start with an example, then create your statement from that. You’ll get better marks for this as it will show that you have a versatile structural range.


** If you want to see how well you cope with this structure, watch the video for extra practice!**



The End


Congratulations! You’re a champion. You made it to the end of this blog. I hope that you feel that you are able to approach the Advanced Essay with much more confidence.  And don’t forget to leave your essay introductions in the comment section below. Good luck!

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