Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Writing

Difficulty level: C1 / advanced

What is the CAE Writing test like?
The test has two sections and takes 90 minutes:

  1. Part 1 - Write an article, report or letter
    Some material to read (up to 150 words) which may include material taken from advertisements, extracts from letters, emails, postcards, diaries, short articles, etc. Using this information, you may have to write an article, a report, a proposal or a letter.
    180–220 words.
  2. Part 2 - Situationally based writing task
    Choose one of four questions. You have to read some input material of no more than 80 words which describes a situation, and write one of the following: an article, a competition entry, a contribution to a longer piece, an essay, an information sheet, a letter, a proposal, a report or a review.
    220–260 words.

Set Texts

Instead of answering part 2 above, you can choose to write about one of the set texts. The set text titles for 2014 are:

William Golding: Lord of the Flies
Teachers may choose to prepare candidates for questions on this set text by studying a film version as well as, or instead of, the novel.

P D James: The Lighthouse
There is currently no film version of this book.

The set texts will be discontinued from 2015.

The CAE Writing Test makes up 20% of the entire exam.

Your writing is assessed using four criteria:

  • Content - have you answered the question?
  • Communicative Achievement - have you completed the task in the right sort of language
  • Organisation - have you structured your writing with paragraphs?
  • Language - have you used a good range of grammar and vocabulary

How to prepare for the CAE Writing test

  • Choose a question that you are interested in. You will write better if you know the subject.
  • Read this explanation of how to write an article.

  • Read the instructions carefully before you start. Make notes. You must include all the points in the instructions.
  • Make a plan before you start writing. Decide what information to put in each paragraph.
  • Think about who you are writing to and use an appropriate style of language.
  • Try to use a range of complex language.
  • Leave enough time to check what you have written.