The Cambridge b2 exam format for writing skills 7

FCE Course Lesson 16 – The Cambridge b2 exam format for writing skills 7

In this lesson you can study perfect writing with “first certificate writing tips” to prepare for the FCE writing and the Cambridge B2 exam format. Let’s see how to write letters or emails with different reasons: a (formal) complainta (formal) suggestion, advice (informal), an application (formal), a (formal) consultation/information request, asking questions (informal), an informal personal meeting, good wishes (informal),
congratulations (formal)…

Dialogue 16: Writing an essay, example

Instructions: With many stars being criticised lately for complaining about their enduring lifestyle and the constant attention received by the media, the question remains: isn’t that the price for fame? What are the pros, cons and limits of the price for fame? Write your essay.

Alexandra has to write her essay. She has outlined her main ideas and bullet-pointed the arguments and examples. She only has to write 180 words but has compiled plenty of ideas to choose from. This is her first draft.


In this essay I will discuss the different paths to fame and its consequences on those celebrities’ lives and the privacy issues raised. Indeed many celebrities complain that they have no privacy and are outraged with the ruthless tabloid tactics used by the mainstream media. We will see:

1) how people become famous,

2) the pros of fame,

3) the cons of fame,

4) the limits of the price for fame [conclusion]

(Argument 1)

Becoming a star can be achieved in different manners – whether you are an actor, a musician, an athlete, a content creator, a CEO or a regular person appearing in a reality show:

    • Some people have taken it upon themselves to become recognised and be famous as often fame and success are interpreted as being synonymous to them. They don’t always have a particular talent but are desperate for media attention, posting real time news, updates and selfies on social networks, parading their children, showing off their figures…


    • Others will do literally anything to be in the limelight or to remain in the public eye.


    • Others however try during their entire career to remain private people, seeking success in the field, striving to become a name in their industry but without any interest in fame.


  • And others that have tasted fame have tried to pull out from the public eye but have lost their relevance.

(Argument 2)

The pros of fame are numerous and we can easily understand the appeal:

    • Brands endorse celebrities, giving them large sums of money or freebies to promote their goods or services.


    • Celebrities get invited to red carpet and other glamorous events.


    • You can become a sensation and a spokesperson for a generation or a field (YouTube).


  • You can use your international status to give coverage to charities and promote good causes across the globe.

(Argument 3)

The cons of fame are also countless:

    • Celebrities have to put up with the constant criticism of the fan base and the general public, receiving hurtful emails, nasty comments on Twitter and so on.


    • The tabloids are constantly tracking down celebrities.


    • Celebrities can also be very easily forgotten or disposed of: losing one’s relevance, giving the celebrity a feeling of emptiness. Some are then desperate for a comeback.


    • Celebrities can get lost in the whole glitz and fall into a spiral of drugs and other excesses.


    • Celebrities can feel lonely.


  • Celebrities can be the target of serial celebrity pranksters, harassment, burglars or stalkers.


The limits of the price for fame:

    • Although, it is important to receive criticism and appraisal from your viewers or followers, in order to improve your performance or sell more, some criticism is just a negative flow having the adverse effect on the star’s life and career choices.


    • Ability to stay relevant is what stops them from taking a break. Breaks are a death sentence for most celebrities, destroying their livelihood.


  • In this day and age, the whole concept of privacy is falling apart.”

Vocabulary First Writing Skills 7

enduringlong-lasting, persisting
the price forthe cost of, the result of
the pros and consthe advantages and disadvantages
to take it upon oneselfto accept responsibility for something without being asked to
in the limelightto be the focus of public attention
to strive toto make great efforts to obtain or achieve something
to endorse someoneto recommend something in an advertisement, to back or show support to someone
a spokespersona person who makes statements on behalf of an group or a group
countlessvery many, too many to be counted
to put up with something or someoneto tolerate
to track downto find something or someone after looking for them in a lot of different places
to dispose ofto get rid of, to throw away
a prankstera person fond of playing practical jokes, of playing pranks
to have the adverse effecthaving a unfavourable result or negative effect

Exam tips First Writing Skills 7

EXAM TIP FOR First Writing Skills 7

How to write a LETTER or an EMAIL:

Before writing a letter, please consider whom you are writing to and the purpose of the letter:

  • a complaint (formal)
  • a suggestion (formal),
  • an advice (informal)
  • an application (formal),
  • an enquiry (formal),
  • asking questions (informal)
  • an informal personal catch-up
  • good wishes (informal),
  • congratulations (formal).

General tips for a successful writing piece:

  1. check you are using the right tone: formal or informal.
  2. make sure that you include all the information that you have been asked to cover
  3. ensure that you completing the task based on the requirements
  4. proofread your work to remove any typos or other mistakes before submitting your work

What is the difference between an informal and a formal letter?

 Informal LetterFormal Letter
 Generally between 2 people that know each other quite well. The tone is similar to a conversation: with numerous questions being asked (showing interest), the use of emotions (i.e. enthusiastic tone…) and a lot of information being shared.More of a professional or non personal exchange. Both people don’t know each other that well or aren’t on a first-name basis.


You can use contracted forms (I’m, aren’t…)You must not use contractions


Hello/Hi/Dear + Recipient’s first nameDear Madam, Dear Sir, Dear Miss, Dear Mr …., Dear Ms ….

Standard openings

How are you?/I hope you are well.
How have you been lately?/ How are things?/How are you doing?
Thank you for your last letter.
It was good to hear from you.
I was actually quite surprised to hear that… Do forgive me for not writing sooner. / I am sorry I haven’t been in touch lately.
It’s been ages since we last spoke.
I am writing in response to your ad/article/letter… I am writing with regard to…
I am writing on behalf of…
I am writing regarding…

Receiving information

That is great news about…
I am so glad to hear that…
I am truly sorry to hear that…
I am writing to thank you for the information you provided me with….

Giving information

You will never believe what/that…
Another thing I would like to mention is…
I thought you might be interested in knowing / to hear about / to know that..
By the way, did you know that…?
I am writing in order to inform you that…


I’m writing to apologise for…
I hope you can forgive me for… I’m really sorry that…
I would like to express my sincere apologies…


I’m writing to let you know that I am not very happy with the…I am writing in order to complain about… I am writing to complain about…


Keep in touch!
I look forward to hearing from you. Write (to) me soon.
Yours sincerely (if you know the person’s name) Your faithfully (if you don’t know the person’s name)
I look forward to receiving your reply.

Grammar and Vocabulary recommended Videos for cambridge b2 exam format.

Exercises First Writing Skills cambridge b2 exam format 7

Vocabulary Exercise

Grammar Exercise

Back to FCE Course index

Previous lesson:  FCE Lesson 15: How to write reports

Next lesson:  FCE Lesson 17: Writing an email for a job application, a complaint, or a suggestion

cambridge b2 exam format