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  • Guide to the Cambridge C2 Proficiency Writing Exam – Part 1: Essay

Guide to the Cambridge C2 Proficiency Writing Exam - Part 1 - Essay | Oxford House Barcelona

  • Posted on 19/04/2023
  • Categories: Blog

Are you preparing for the Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE) writing exam? If so, you may be feeling a little nervous and concerned about what lies ahead . Let us help put that fear and anxiety to bed and get started on how your academic writing can leave a positive impression on the examiner.

By the end of this blog post, you’ll know exactly what you need to do, how to prepare and how you can use your knowledge of other parts of the exam to help you.

Although you’ll find the advanced writing skills you’ve mastered at C1 will stand you in good stead for C2 writing, there are clear differences in the exam format in CPE. As in Cambridge C1, there are two parts in the writing exam, and understanding what you need to do before you’ve even put a pen to paper is incredibly important. So, let’s go!

What’s in Part 1?

First, let’s look at the format of Part 1:

  • Task: essay.
  • Word count: 240–280 words.
  • Register: formal.
  • Overview: a summary of two texts and an evaluation of the ideas.
  • Suggested structure: introduction, paragraph 1, paragraph 2, conclusion.
  • Time: 1 hour 30 minutes for Part 1 and 2.

Before we look at an example task, let’s look at how your paper will be assessed. The examiner will mark your paper using four separate assessment scales:

  • Content – this demonstrates your ability to complete the task, including only relevant information.
  • Communicative achievement – this shows how well you’ve completed the task, having followed the conventions of the task, used the correct register and maintained the reader’s attention throughout.
  • Organisation – the overall structure of your essay, the paragraphs and the sentences.
  • Language – your ability to use a wide range of C2 grammar and vocabulary in a fluent and accurate way.

How can I write a fantastic essay?

Let’s look at an example task:

Example Task_C2 Proficiency Writing Test - Part 1 Essay | Oxford House Barcelona

The key things you’re being asked to do here are summarise, evaluate and include your own ideas, using your own words as far as possible. So, in short, you have to paraphrase. As a Cambridge exams expert, you’ll know that this is a skill you already use throughout the exam.

In Reading and Use of English Part 4, the techniques you are using to make the keyword transformations (active to passive, comparative structures, negative inversions, common word patterns, etc) will show you that you already know how you can say the same thing in other words.

Your ability to do word formation in Reading and Use of English Part 3 is useful here, as you look for verbs that you can change into nouns, and vice versa. This enables you to say reword sentences without losing the original meaning.

You are already adept at identifying the correct options in Reading and Use of English Part 5 and Listening Parts 1 and 3, although the words given are different to the information in the text or audio.

So, be aware of the skills you have already practised, and use them to your advantage!

How should I plan and structure my essay?

Before you even consider writing, read both texts thoroughly . Highlight the key points in each text and make notes about how you can express this in your own words. Look for contrasting opinions and think about how you can connect the ideas together. These contrasting ideas will usually form the basis of paragraphs 2 and 3.

Although there are multiple ways you can organise your essay, here is a tried and tested structure:

Paragraph 1: Introduction

Paragraph 2: Idea 1 with support

Paragraph 3: Idea 2 with support

Paragraph 4: Conclusion

Introduction

Use your introduction as a way to present the general theme. Don’t give anything away in terms of your own opinion, but instead give an overview of what you will discuss. Imagine this as a global comment, talking about how society as a whole may feel about the topic.

Start with a strong sentence. Make your intentions clear, then back up your idea with a supporting sentence and elaborate on it. Use linkers to show how this idea has different stances, paraphrased from the key points you highlighted in the texts.

Follow the same structure as Idea 1, but focus on a different element from the two texts. Introduce it clearly, then provide more support to the idea. Keep emotional distance from the topic – save your opinion for the conclusion!

Here is the opportunity for you to introduce your personal opinion. There shouldn’t be anything new included here other than how you personally feel about the topics discussed. Use your conclusion to refer back to the main point and round up how your opinion differs or is similar.

This is just one example of how you can structure your essay. However, we recommend trying different formats. The more you practise, the more feedback you’ll get from your teacher. Once you’ve settled on the structure that suits you, your planning will be a lot quicker and easier.

What can I do to prepare?

According to the Cambridge English website, ‘A C2 Proficiency qualification shows the world that you have mastered English to an exceptional level. It proves you can communicate with the fluency and sophistication of a highly competent English speaker.’

This means that being a proficient writer in your own language is not enough. So, what can you do to really convince the examiner that you truly are smarter than the average Joe ?

Prepare! Prepare! Prepare!

✔ Read academic texts regularly.

✔ Pay attention to model essay answers and highlight things that stand out.

✔ Always try to upgrade your vocabulary. Challenge yourself to think of synonyms.

✔ Write frequently and study the feedback your teacher gives you.

✔ Study C2 grammar and include it in your writing.

What do I need to avoid?

Don’t overuse the same linkers. Practise using different ones and not only in essays. You can write something much shorter and ask your teacher to check for correct usage.

  • Don’t constantly repeat the same sentence length and punctuation. Long sentences may seem the most sophisticated, but you should consider adding shorter ones from time to time. This adds variety and a dramatic effect. Try it!
  • Don’t be discouraged by your mistakes – learn from them! If you struggle with a grammar point, master it. If you spell something incorrectly, write it again and again.
  • Don’t limit your English studying time. Do as much as possible in English – watch TV, read, listen to podcasts, or meet with English speaking friends. English time should not only be reserved for the classroom.

What websites can help me?

The Official Cambridge English page, where you can find a link to sample papers.

BBC Learning English has a range of activities geared towards advanced level learners.

Flo-joe has very useful writing practice exercises that allow you to see other students’ writing.

Writing apps and tools like Grammarly can improve your writing style with their feedback and suggestions.

Don’t forget about our fantastic C2 blogs too!

Passing Cambridge C2 Proficiency: Part 3 Reading and Use of English

Passing C2 Proficiency: A Guide to Reading Part 5

Passing C2 Proficiency: A Guide to Reading Part 6

Guide to the Cambridge C2 Proficiency Listening Test

Guide to the Cambridge C2 Proficiency Speaking Test

Looking for further support?

If you’re interested in preparing for the C2 Proficiency exam but don’t know where to start, get in touch with us here at Oxford House today! We offer specific courses that are designed especially to help you get ready for the exam. Let our fully qualified teachers use their exam experience to guide you through your learning journey. Sign up now and receive your free mock test!

Glossary for Language Learners

Find the following words in the article and then write down any new ones you didn’t know.

lie ahead (pv): be in the future.

stand you in good stead (id): be of great use to you.

adept at (adj): have a good ability to do something.

thoroughly (adv): completely.

tried and tested (adj): used many times before and proved to be successful.

back up (pv): give support to.

round up (pv): summarise.

settle on (pv): choose after careful consideration

average Joe (n): normal person.

discouraged (adj): having lost your enthusiasm or confidence.

pv = phrasal verb

adj = adjective

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The Ultimate Guide to CPE (Cambridge English: Proficiency)

essay structure cpe

Cambridge English: Proficiency, also known as CPE, is the highest level of English language examination offered by Cambridge Assessment English. It is designed for learners who have reached an exceptional level of English proficiency and wish to showcase their language skills for academic or professional purposes. This comprehensive guide will provide you with detailed information about the different parts of the CPE exam, the scoring system, and strategies to successfully tackle each section ( find out other important exams here !).

CPE: Reading and Use of English

The Reading and Use of English section is a significant component of the Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE) exam. This section is designed to assess your advanced-level reading comprehension skills as well as your ability to use English accurately and effectively. It consists of various tasks that challenge your understanding of vocabulary, grammar, and reading strategies. In this section, we will explore the format of the Reading and Use of English section, along with effective strategies to excel in each task.

Format of the Reading and Use of English Section: The Reading and Use of English section is divided into several parts, each testing different aspects of your language proficiency. Let’s delve into each part:

Part 1: Multiple-Choice Cloze

In this task, you are presented with a text with gaps, and you must choose the most appropriate word from four options to fill in each gap. This part assesses your knowledge of vocabulary and grammar, as well as your ability to comprehend the overall meaning of the text.

Strategies for Part 1:

  • Context clues : Read the entire sentence and the surrounding sentences to identify contextual clues that can help you determine the correct answer.
  • Part of speech : Pay attention to the grammatical function of the missing word and choose an option that fits syntactically and semantically within the sentence.
  • Elimination technique : If you are unsure about an answer, eliminate the options that are clearly incorrect, increasing your chances of selecting the correct answer.

Part 2: Open Cloze

In this task, you are provided with a text containing gaps, and you must fill in each gap with one word. The focus is on vocabulary and collocations, and the text usually has a theme or topic.

Strategies for Part 2:

  • Read the whole text : Before attempting to fill in the gaps, read the entire text to understand its context and overall meaning.
  • Identify the grammatical function : Determine what part of speech is required to fill each gap, whether it’s a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, or preposition.
  • Pay attention to collocations : Look for words or phrases that typically collocate with the missing word and choose an option that fits naturally within the sentence.

Part 3: Word Formation

This part tests your ability to form words correctly using a given root word. You need to change the form of the word (e.g., noun to adjective, verb to noun) to fit the sentence.

Strategies for Part 3:

  • Identify the word class : Determine the grammatical category (noun, verb, adjective, adverb) required to complete the sentence.
  • Understand prefixes and suffixes : Familiarize yourself with common prefixes and suffixes to help you derive the correct form of the word.
  • Check for spelling and grammar : Ensure that the word you form is spelled correctly and fits grammatically within the sentence.

Part 4: Key Word Transformations

In this task, you are provided with a sentence containing a gap, and you must rewrite the sentence using a given key word, so that the meaning remains the same. The word limit for your response is usually 3-6 words.

Strategies for Part 4:

  • Understand the meaning of the original sentence : Analyze the meaning of the sentence and identify any specific relationships between the key word and the other elements in the sentence.
  • Maintain the grammatical structure : Ensure that your transformed sentence maintains the same grammatical structure as the original sentence.
  • Use synonyms and paraphrasing : Employ synonyms and paraphrasing techniques to express the same meaning while adhering to the word limit.

Part 5: Multiple-Choice Reading

In this part, you are presented with a text followed by multiple-choice questions. The questions assess your understanding of specific information, main ideas, opinions, and the writer’s purpose.

Strategies for Part 5:

  • Skim the text : Quickly read the text to get a sense of the main topic and the organization of the text.
  • Focus on keywords : Pay attention to keywords or phrases in both the questions and the text to locate the relevant information more efficiently.
  • Elimination technique : Eliminate options that are clearly incorrect, narrowing down your choices to select the most appropriate answer.

Part 6: Gapped Text

This part consists of a text from which six sentences have been removed. You must choose the most suitable sentence from a list of options to fit into each gap.

Strategies for Part 6:

  • Read the text first : Read the entire text carefully to understand its overall meaning and context.
  • Identify the logical flow : Determine the logical order of the sentences by considering the organization and coherence of the text.
  • Use contextual clues : Look for clues within the text to identify the information missing in each gap and select the sentence that best fits the gap both grammatically and logically.

Part 7: Multiple Matching

In this task, you are presented with several short texts or notices, followed by a list of statements. You must match each statement to the most suitable text or notice.

Strategies for Part 7:

  • Skim the texts : Quickly read through the texts to grasp the general idea and identify their main topics.
  • Analyze the statements: Carefully analyze each statement and try to identify keywords or phrases that correspond to information in the texts.
  • Elimination technique : Eliminate options that do not match the texts, gradually narrowing down your choices to find the best matching statement for each text.

The Reading and Use of English section of the CPE exam challenges your language skills and requires a combination of reading comprehension, vocabulary knowledge, and grammatical accuracy. By familiarizing yourself with the format of each task and employing effective strategies, you can enhance your performance and increase your chances of success. Regular practice, extensive reading, and building a strong foundation in English grammar and vocabulary will significantly contribute to your overall readiness for this section. Good luck!

CPE: Writing

The Writing section of the Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE) exam is designed to assess your ability to produce coherent, well-structured, and accurate written English. This section consists of various tasks that challenge your skills in different types of writing, such as essays, articles, letters, reports, and reviews. In this section, we will explore the format of the Writing section and provide you with effective strategies to excel in each task.

Format of the Writing Section: The Writing section of the CPE exam typically consists of two parts. Let’s examine each part and the specific tasks associated with them:

Part 1: Compulsory Essay

In this task, you are required to write an essay based on a given topic or prompt. The essay should be a discursive piece of writing in which you present and discuss different arguments or perspectives on the topic. Your essay should demonstrate a clear understanding of the topic, critical thinking skills, and the ability to organize your ideas effectively.

  • Plan your essay : Before you start writing, spend a few minutes planning your essay. Outline the main points you want to discuss and the supporting arguments or examples you will use.
  • Develop a clear structure : Divide your essay into paragraphs, with each paragraph focusing on a specific point or argument. Ensure a logical flow between paragraphs and use appropriate linking words and phrases to connect ideas.
  • Provide evidence and examples : Support your arguments with relevant evidence, examples, or data to make your essay more persuasive and authoritative.
  • Show a range of vocabulary and grammar : Demonstrate your linguistic proficiency by using a wide range of vocabulary and grammatical structures accurately. Avoid repetitive language and aim for clarity and precision in your expression.
  • Edit and proofread : Allocate time at the end to review and edit your essay. Check for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, as well as the overall coherence and cohesion of your writing.

Part 2: Situational Writing

In this part, you are presented with a situation or task, such as writing an article, a letter, a report, or a review. You must produce a piece of writing that fulfills the requirements of the task, adhering to the appropriate format and style.

  • Analyze the task : Read the instructions and the information provided carefully, paying attention to the purpose, target audience, and required format of the writing task.
  • Plan your response : Take a few minutes to brainstorm ideas, outline the structure of your writing, and determine the key points you want to address.
  • Adapt to the task requirements : Ensure that your writing aligns with the specified format and style. For example, if you are writing a letter, consider the appropriate salutation, tone, and closing.
  • Use a variety of language features : Employ a range of language features appropriate for the chosen genre. For instance, if you are writing an article, use rhetorical devices, persuasive language, and engaging introductions and conclusions.
  • Edit and proofread : Allocate time at the end to review your writing. Check for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and coherence. Make sure that your writing flows smoothly and effectively conveys your intended message.

Additional Tips for the Writing Section:

  • Read extensively : Developing a habit of reading a variety of texts, such as books, articles, and essays, can enhance your vocabulary, expose you to different writing styles, and improve your overall writing skills.
  • Practice timed writing : Since the exam has a time limit, practice writing within the given time constraints to improve your ability to generate ideas, organize your thoughts, and write efficiently.
  • Seek feedback : Ask a teacher, tutor, or native English speaker to review your writing and provide feedback. Focus on areas for improvement, such as grammar, vocabulary usage, and overall coherence.
  • Expand your vocabulary : Continuously work on expanding your vocabulary by learning new words, idiomatic expressions, and collocations. Incorporate them into your writing to enhance your lexical range.
  • Be aware of register and tone : Adapt your writing style to the appropriate register and tone for each task. Consider whether the writing should be formal or informal, academic or conversational, and adjust your language accordingly.

The Writing section of the CPE exam requires careful planning, strong organization, and the ability to express your ideas clearly and accurately. By familiarizing yourself with the format of each task, practicing a variety of writing styles, and implementing effective strategies, you can boost your performance in this section. Remember to allocate time for planning, editing, and proofreading to ensure that your writing is well-structured, coherent, and error-free. With consistent practice and a focus on developing your writing skills, you can approach the Writing section with confidence and achieve success in the CPE exam. Good luck!

CPE: Listening

Listening skills are an essential component of effective communication and play a crucial role in various aspects of our personal and professional lives. The Cambridge English Proficiency (CPE) exam assesses candidates’ ability to comprehend spoken English in a wide range of contexts and requires a high level of listening proficiency. This section will provide a detailed overview of the CPE Listening component, including its format, key skills tested, and strategies to improve your performance.

Format : The CPE Listening component consists of four parts, with a total of six recordings. The recordings are played twice, and there is a short pause between each listening. The four parts are as follows:

  • Multiple-choice questions : This part assesses your ability to understand the main ideas, specific information, and attitudes or opinions expressed in the recordings. You will listen to three separate recordings, and for each one, you will answer six multiple-choice questions.
  • Gapped text : In this part, you will hear a monologue or dialogue with some words or phrases missing. Your task is to complete the gaps in the accompanying text. There are six gaps in total, and you will listen to two recordings.
  • Multiple matching : This part tests your ability to recognize specific information, opinions, or attitudes from a longer recording. You will listen to one recording and match ten statements to the speakers in the recording.
  • Multiple-choice questions with a key word : This part evaluates your ability to understand detailed information, opinions, or attitudes expressed in the recordings. You will listen to two separate recordings, and for each one, you will answer four multiple-choice questions with a keyword.

Key Skills Tested : The CPE Listening component assesses various listening skills, including:

  • Comprehension of main ideas : You need to understand the overall theme or topic of the recordings and extract the main points effectively.
  • Understanding specific information : This skill involves being able to identify and remember details such as names, dates, numbers, and other specific pieces of information.
  • Recognizing attitudes and opinions : You must be able to understand the speakers’ attitudes, opinions, and feelings conveyed in the recordings.
  • Inferring meaning : Sometimes, you may need to infer the meaning of a word or phrase based on the context or the speaker’s tone.
  • Following the development of an argument : Certain recordings may present arguments or discussions where you need to follow the logical flow and understand the relationship between different ideas.

Strategies to Improve Performance:

  • Develop active listening skills : Engage in regular listening practice by listening to a variety of English audio materials such as podcasts, news broadcasts, and speeches. Focus on understanding the main ideas, supporting details, and the overall message.
  • Familiarize yourself with different accents : Exposure to various accents, including British, American, Australian, and others, will help you become accustomed to different pronunciation patterns and improve your listening comprehension.
  • Practice note-taking : Develop effective note-taking techniques to capture key information while listening. This can help you remember details and organize your thoughts when answering questions.
  • Expand your vocabulary : Enhance your vocabulary by studying words and phrases commonly used in different contexts. This will help you better understand the recordings and answer questions more accurately.
  • Use practice materials : Utilize authentic CPE practice tests and listening exercises to familiarize yourself with the format and types of questions asked in the exam. Analyze your mistakes and learn from them to improve your performance.
  • Develop time management skills : During the exam, manage your time wisely. Read the questions before each listening task to get an idea of what information you need to focus on. Practice efficient scanning and skimming techniques to locate specific details quickly.
  • Improve your overall language proficiency : Enhance your overall English language skills, including grammar, vocabulary, and reading comprehension. A strong foundation in these areas will support your listening comprehension and enable you to understand the context and meaning of the recordings more effectively.

By understanding the format of the CPE Listening component, developing key skills, and implementing effective strategies, you can improve your performance and confidently approach this section of the exam. Regular practice and exposure to English audio materials will contribute significantly to your overall listening proficiency.

CPE: Speaking

The speaking component of the Cambridge English Proficiency (CPE) exam assesses your ability to communicate effectively in spoken English at an advanced level. This section requires you to demonstrate a range of speaking skills, including fluency, accuracy, coherence, and appropriateness of language use. In this detailed section, we will provide an overview of the CPE Speaking component, its format, key skills assessed, and strategies to improve your performance.

Format : The CPE Speaking component consists of four parts, and it is typically conducted in pairs or small groups. The four parts are as follows:

  • Interview : In this part, the examiner will ask you a series of questions related to your personal experiences, opinions, or preferences. The questions may be based on a topic provided beforehand or spontaneously generated by the examiner.
  • Long turn : In this part, you will be given two photographs and will need to speak for about one minute on a given topic related to the photographs. You will then engage in a discussion with the examiner and the other candidate.
  • Collaborative task : You will be given a task that requires you to work with another candidate to discuss and make decisions. This task involves exchanging information, expressing and justifying opinions, and reaching a consensus.
  • Discussion : In the final part, the examiner will ask you and the other candidate to discuss a topic related to the collaborative task. You will need to express your opinions, respond to your partner’s ideas, and engage in a meaningful discussion.

Key Skills Assessed : The CPE Speaking component evaluates a range of speaking skills, including:

  • Fluency and coherence : You should be able to speak fluently with minimal hesitation, maintaining a smooth and coherent flow of ideas. Connecting words and phrases, organizing your thoughts logically, and using appropriate discourse markers contribute to coherent speaking.
  • Accuracy and range of vocabulary : Demonstrate a wide range of vocabulary, including idiomatic expressions and collocations, to express yourself precisely and effectively. Use a variety of sentence structures and verb tenses accurately.
  • Grammatical control : Display grammatical accuracy in your speech, including the use of appropriate verb forms, subject-verb agreement, articles, pronouns, and prepositions.
  • Pronunciation and intonation : Communicate clearly and effectively by using correct pronunciation, stress, and intonation patterns. Articulate words and sounds accurately to ensure your message is easily understood.
  • Interaction and engagement : Engage in meaningful interaction with the examiner and the other candidate by actively listening, responding appropriately, and asking follow-up questions. Show interest and involvement in the discussion.
  • Practice speaking regularly : Engage in regular speaking practice with native English speakers or fellow English learners. Participate in conversation clubs, language exchanges, or online discussion forums to improve your fluency and confidence.
  • Focus on pronunciation : Pay attention to your pronunciation and work on improving specific sounds or intonation patterns that may affect your clarity. Listen to native speakers, mimic their pronunciation, and practice speaking aloud to enhance your speaking skills.
  • Expand your vocabulary : Continuously enrich your vocabulary by reading a variety of materials, such as books, articles, and newspapers. Make a habit of learning new words and using them in your daily conversations to improve your lexical range.
  • Develop coherence and organization : Practice organizing your thoughts and ideas logically before speaking. Use discourse markers (e.g., however, moreover, on the other hand) to connect your ideas and provide a coherent structure to your speech.
  • Seek feedback : Regularly seek feedback from teachers, language partners, or tutors to identify areas for improvement. Work on their suggestions and incorporate them into your speaking practice.
  • Watch and listen to English media : Watch movies, TV shows, and videos in English to expose yourself to different accents, language styles, and cultural contexts. This will enhance your understanding of idiomatic expressions, intonation patterns, and conversational phrases.
  • Be an active listener : Active listening is crucial for effective communication. Pay attention to the examiner’s questions, your partner’s ideas, and the context of the discussion. Show engagement through appropriate responses, clarifying questions, and thoughtful contributions.
  • Practice time management : During the exam, manage your time effectively in each part. Be mindful of the allotted time for each task and ensure that you address all aspects of the task within the given time frame.

By familiarizing yourself with the format of the CPE Speaking component, honing the key skills assessed, and implementing effective strategies, you can improve your performance and approach this section with confidence. Regular practice, exposure to English conversations, and seeking feedback will contribute significantly to your speaking proficiency.

CPE: Scoring

The Cambridge English Proficiency (CPE) exam is scored based on a standardized system that assesses your proficiency in English at an advanced level. Understanding the scoring criteria is essential for evaluating your performance and setting realistic goals. In this detailed section, we will provide an overview of the CPE scoring system, including the grading scale, individual component scoring, and what scores represent in terms of language proficiency.

Grading Scale: The CPE exam uses a scoring system ranging from 200 to 230. The overall score is determined by aggregating the scores from all four components: Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. Each component is worth 20% of the overall score, while the remaining 20% is allocated to Use of English, which is assessed within the Reading component.

The grading scale for CPE is as follows:

  • Grade A : 220-230
  • Grade B : 213-219
  • Grade C : 200-212

Individual Component Scoring: Each component of the CPE exam is scored independently, and the scores are then combined to calculate the overall result. Here is a breakdown of the individual component scoring:

  • Reading : The Reading component contributes 20% to the overall score. It is scored based on your ability to understand and respond to a variety of written texts, demonstrating advanced reading comprehension skills.
  • Writing : The Writing component also contributes 20% to the overall score. It assesses your ability to produce coherent, well-structured, and accurate written responses, showcasing advanced writing skills.
  • Listening : The Listening component constitutes 20% of the overall score. It evaluates your ability to understand spoken English in various contexts, demonstrating advanced listening comprehension skills.
  • Speaking : The Speaking component, like the others, accounts for 20% of the overall score. It assesses your ability to communicate effectively in spoken English, showcasing advanced speaking skills.
  • Use of English : The Use of English component is assessed within the Reading component and contributes 20% to the overall score. It evaluates your ability to demonstrate accurate and appropriate use of vocabulary, grammar, and language structures.

Interpreting Scores and Proficiency Levels: The CPE scores correspond to specific proficiency levels, indicating the candidate’s ability to use English effectively in different contexts. Here is a breakdown of the proficiency levels associated with the CPE scores:

  • Grade A (C2 Level) : This is the highest level of proficiency. Candidates who achieve a Grade A demonstrate near-native or native-like competence in English. They can understand complex written and spoken texts, communicate fluently and accurately, and use English confidently in various professional and academic settings.
  • Grade B (C2 Level) : Candidates who achieve a Grade B demonstrate a high level of proficiency. They have a strong command of English and can understand and produce complex written and spoken texts with a high degree of accuracy and fluency. They can effectively communicate in most situations, although occasional errors may occur.
  • Grade C (C1 Level) : Candidates who achieve a Grade C demonstrate a good level of proficiency. They can understand and produce a wide range of written and spoken texts, although with occasional errors. They can communicate effectively in everyday situations but may encounter difficulties with more complex or specialized language use.

It is important to note that achieving a CPE certificate at any grade indicates an advanced level of English proficiency, positioning you as a highly competent English speaker capable of functioning in demanding academic and professional environments.

Understanding the scoring system of the CPE exam allows you to evaluate your performance and set realistic goals for improvement. Each component is scored independently, contributing to the overall score, which is then mapped to specific proficiency levels. By familiarizing yourself with the scoring criteria, you can identify areas for improvement and work towards enhancing your English language skills at an advanced level.

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How to Do the Cambridge CPE Part 1 Essay Piece of Writing

If you are new to, or even if you are not, the Cambridge Proficiency English exam, doing the part 1 essay of the Writing exam is difficult. Not only is it very different to writing an essay in any other of the Cambridge exams, but you have probably never done anything similar to it before at either school or university.

In this article I will explain what you have to do when doing it and give you some advice to make doing it easier for you. You also see towards the end, two examples of the types of essays which you can write for this part of the exam. But let's start by looking at the task.

Below is an example of a task you will find on the exam paper for part 1 of the CPE writing exam. It includes instructions of what you have to do and two texts which you have to read.

Read the two texts below:

Write an essay summarising and evaluating the key points from both texts. Use your own words throughout as far as possible, and include your own ideas in your answers.

Write your answer in 240-280 words.

Only at home for many of us, can we really relax. It is the place we go to recover from the stresses and strains of our everyday life: the chaos and endless noise of city life, the pressures of work or study, and the unbearable journey to and from work through endless traffic. It is home which gives us the opportunity to reflect on all that has happened that day. It is where we can contemplate at leisure all that has happened to us and others either when alone in the peace and quiet of our own room or through a discussion with those that we live with over a cup of tea or coffee.

Be ourselves

Although for some life at home is a place of contentment and liberty, for others it can not only be quite a restrictive environment, but also a rather dull one. As a consequence, they need to go outside its confinements to parks or bars or even shopping centres in order to socialise with people they want to and be themselves. But that being said, home is still a place where one can express one's personality. From the choice and colour of fixtures and fittings, to the books in the bookcases and the paintings or posters on the walls, we learn a lot about the person who lives there. So if one visits a friend's home for the first time, it might well reveal aspects of their personality which had previously gone unnoticed before.

Identify the 4 main points

Having read the texts, what you need to then do is identify the two main points (the main assertions) from each text. You are going to write about these four points in the essay you produce.

This is more difficult than it may seem. I have generally found that students identify three of them relatively easily, but often struggle on identifying one of them. To be honest, I have done the same myself. As I mentioned before you need to identify the two main assertions that each is making, not the information which is only there to support the assertions (which you can also write about in your essay).

This hopefully will become clearer when I show you what the two main points are for each of the texts which you have just read. I will also both underline and bold them in the actual texts.

Text 1 Main Points

  •  Home is the only place where one can relax.
  •  Home gives us the opportunity to reflect and think about our lives.

Only at home for many of us, can we really relax . It is the place we go to recover from the stresses and strains of our everyday life: the chaos and endless noise of city life, the pressures of work or study, and the unbearable journey to and from work through endless traffic. It is home which gives us the opportunity to reflect on all that has happened that day. It is where we can contemplate at leisure all that has happened to us and others either when alone in the peace and quiet of our own room or through a discussion with those that we live with over a cup of tea or coffee.

Text 2 Main Points

  •  For some people it is outside home where they feel free and themselves (stated in the first two sentences).
  •  Home is a place where we can express who we are by what we do with it.

Although for some life at home is a place of contentment and liberty, for others it can not only be quite a restrictive environment, but also a rather dull one . As a consequence, they need to go outside its confinements to parks or bars or even shopping centres in order to socialise with people they want to and be themselves . But that being said, home is still a place where one can express one's personality . From the choice and colour of fixtures and fittings, to the books in the bookcases and the paintings or posters on the walls, we learn a lot about the person who lives there. So if one visits a friend's home for the first time, it might well reveal aspects of their personality which had previously gone unnoticed before.

They will look for the 4 points

The person who is marking your essay when you sit the exam will be looking that you have correctly identified and written about these 4 main points. Although you will be marked down if you don't correctly identify all of them, it doesn't mean that you will fail this part of the exam (get less than 12 out of 20) if you misidentify one or two of them (for example, say the second point from text 2 is "we can identify who a person is from visiting their home"). The reason why is that they are also assessing other aspects of your writing (your range and level of your grammar and vocabulary, the structure and flow of the piece of writing, how easy it is to read and your logic and reasoning) which are equally if not more important. So don't worry too much about identify all four correctly.

Reword the points

You should try to use synonyms where possible of the words used in the main points in the text. For example, instead of "happened" you could use "occured", or instead of "dull" you could use "tedious". It is not always possible to do, but try to do it as much as you can.

Be critical or one or two points

Writing an essay in the real world (at school and university) is to show your teacher, lecturer or professor that you not only understand the topic you are writing about (you have the knowledge), but that you can make a good argument (i.e. is something good, is something bad or is something both good and bad). Everything that you choose to write about is to support the main argument you have (e.g. Social media is bad for our mental health). You shouldn't write about things or make assertions which contradict what your main argument is.

The reason I am telling you this, is that you will often find with the texts that they contain opposing or contradictory ideas about the same topic. When you write about these in your essay you need to be critical of one or two of the points from the text. Which ones depend on what your main argument is going to be in the essay you are writing.

From the text above, if your main argument is that home is a good place then you would be critical of the point which says "for some people it is outside home where they feel free and be themselves". Whereas if your main argument is that home is a bad place then you could be critical of any of the three of other points. But when you are critical of any point you have to justify why it is wrong.

Two types of essays which you can write

There are two types of essay which you can write for this part of the Cambridge Proficiency exam: Discursive or Comparative . The discursive essay is one which you are probably used to writing at both school and university. The comparative essay is going to be new to most of you and in a way is more like you are writing a type of review of the two texts.

I am not going to go into detail about the differences in them and how to write them in this article (I will do that in separate articles on both types of essays in the future). The only thing I would like you to do now is read an example of the two different types. Whilst reading them, think about how they differ in structure and what they do and how the four main points are incorporated in them.

Each of them is an essay on the four points from the texts you read above.

Please bear in mind that you are not expected to produce something of this quality to pass the Proficiency Writing exam, because you aren't. The examiners know that you are not a native speaker and expect you will make mistakes. These are just two perfect examples (which took a lot longer than 45 minutes to write) of what you should be doing.

Discursive Essay

There is a common saying in Britain that "an Englishman's home is his castle". A place of refuge from the strains and stresses of everyday life. The only place where one can be truly oneself and do whatever one desires. However, is this really true?

It is undeniably true that having a home does afford a person a degree of control and independence which is sadly lacking in most other areas of modern life. The ability to tailor one's own surroundings (whether it be how the furniture is arranged or the colour scheme of a room) is something which is not possible to do outside one's abode. And furthermore, the ability to choose who and when people are permitted to visit, provides (if needed) a much needed respite from the trials and tribulations which we have to face on a daily basis. A safe harbour in stormy waters where one is free to reflect on one's life without interference from the outside world.

However, it would be folly to accept that this idealised view of the home is available to all. For unless you live on your own and own the property, you are not only limited to what you can do with it, but you also have to share it with others who may not provide you with the space or the sense of control we sometimes need. For those who find themselves in this situation, the only solution available for finding peace and quiet may often be to seek it elsewhere.

Although it is true that a man's (or woman's for that matter) home can be their castle, it is not true for all. The advantages that a home provides a person depends on the circumstances they find themselves living in.

Comparative Essay

Ever since Homer's epic poem Odyssey, a common plot line in numerous novels, plays and operas has been people trying to find their way back home; willingly enduring countless perils and hardships to achieve that aim. This would seem to indicate that the place we call home occupies a very special place in our hearts. And the two texts discuss why the place we reside in carries so much importance to us.

The first text starts with the claim that for many of us home is our place of refuge from the strains and stresses of everyday life, the only place where we can really disconnect. The text consequently goes on to support this by arguing that it allows us the freedom and ability to reflect on one's life without interference from the outside world. And although both of these arguments make perfect sense, I feel it really depends on the individual circumstances we find in our home life whether they happen.

This is perfectly illustrated in the second text where it is asserted that for some people it is not at home, but outside of it, where they can truly find the peace and quiet that they long for. It then contradictorily states that home provides us with a degree of control and independence over our surroundings (through how we arrange or even decorate them) which we don't have elsewhere. And yet being true for some, this again really depends on the circumstances we live in.

It is undeniably true that the place that we call home is important to us all. Not only does it potentially provide us with a degree of control over how we live our lives, but it also has other significance for us. It is the place in which we spend a lot of time with those who are most significant to us. And if we have lived there for a prolonged period of time, it is also the source of many memories. Whether we regard home as heaven or hell, very much depends on the experiences in which we have had or continue to have there.

I hope this long article has helped you understand better what you need to do for this piece of writing in the Cambridge CPE Writing exam. It is not easy, but with practice and perseverance it will become easier to do. It has done with all the students I have taught.

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English proficiency tests

Cambridge c2 proficiency (cpe).

The Cambridge English C2 Proficiency exam, previously known as CPE, is the highest-level exam in the Cambridge English exam suite. Getting the Cambridge C2 certificate of proficiency in English proves that a student has mastered English to a near-native level and can study or work in any type of English setting.

Like all of the Cambridge English exams, the CPE is a pass/fail test and for those who pass, it delivers a certificate that does not expire. The Cambridge C2 Proficiency exam can be either a paper-based test or a computer-based test. Both paper and online versions last 236 minutes in total.

Exam structure

The CPE tests all four skills: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. It is structured as follows:

Part 1 (90 minutes) – The first section of the C2 Proficiency tests reading comprehension, grammar, and vocabulary. This part has seven subsections and a total of 53 multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, and matching questions. There are about 3,000 words in total to read during this part of the CPE. All text is authentic writing drawn from books, newspaper and magazine articles, and the internet.

Part 2 (90 minutes) – The second section of the CPE exam tests writing ability. There are two sections. In the first section, the student reads two short texts and then must write an essay summarizing the arguments of both texts and presenting their own opinions about the same ideas. In the second prompt, the student has 5 options of texts to write, including one option which is based on a book of English literature that students must have read before the test. The books accepted are changed from time to time.

Part 3 (40 minutes) – The third section of the C2 Proficiency exam tests listening comprehension. The student hears recordings of native English speech and answers questions about what he heard. Each recording is played twice. There can be a variety of English accents in the recordings, which are primarily radio, television, and other authentic speech at native speed. There are a total of 30 questions in this part divided into 4 subsections.

Part 4 (16 minutes) – The final section of the CPE tests English speaking ability. Students take the C2 Proficiency speaking test in pairs, and may be asked to come back to the test center on a different day, depending on the test center’s schedule. The speaking test is in three short parts including one part in which the student speaks on his own with the examiner, and two parts in which the student speaks with the other student being tested.

From 2016, all Cambridge English Exams are reported using the same scoring scale. Lower-level tests are able to deliver scores on a lower range of the scale and more difficult tests are able to deliver scores higher on the same scale. Valid scores on the C2 Proficiency Exam range from 180 to 230. A score of 200 or above is considered a “pass” and students with that score will receive the Cambridge C2 proficiency certificate, which corresponds to a level C2 in English on the CEFR. Students with a score between 180 and 199 receive a C1 English certificate.

Each student receives his CPE results broken down by the four skills as well as an overall result and the corresponding CEFR level. If you get a passing score on the C2 Proficiency exam, a certificate is issued and it never expires, but if your overall score is lower than 180, you will only get the score report.

Before signing up for the C2 Proficiency exam, which is a rigorous, high-level test, take the free Cambridge placement test online to see if your English skills are strong enough for this exam.

Flo-Joe for Cambridge English Exams

Cambridge English: Proficiency

Check out students' answers to Flo-Joe's CPE Writing tasks with a teacher's feedback

  • Writing Class

Writing Class: Essay

Task type: essay.

Question Read the two texts below. Write an essay summarising and evaluating the key points from both texts. Use your own words throughout as far as possible and include your own ideas in your answers.

Write the essay. (around 240 - 280 words)

Makeover: Mathieu

Read Mathieu's answer to this question below. Try correcting the piece of writing yourself first: use the marking codes to think about what might be wrong (or what's good) about the piece of work. Then when you're ready, click the green buttons in the text for our feedback.

A very good piece of work Mathieu. You’ve answered the question fully and thoughtfully, your ideas are clearly organised and eloquently expressed and you show a very good command of both vocabulary and grammar. An excellent command of the conventions of an essay is demonstrated. The style adopted is very natural and appropriately neutral and academic throughout. Well done!

Marking Code

/\ Word(s) missing

- Omit word

C Capitalization

O Organisation

P Punctuation

PE Poorly expressed

R Register/Formality

SS Sentence Structure

WF Wrong form

WO Word order

WT Wrong tense

WW Wrong word

CPE Info and Practice

Cpe resources to buy.

Teacher Phill

Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE): How to Write a Report

essay structure cpe

  • Mandatory task : no
  • Word count : 280-320
  • Main characteristics : descriptive, comparative, analytical, impersonal, persuasive
  • Register : normally formal but depends on the task
  • Structure : introduction, main paragraphs, conclusion (sub-heading for each paragraph)

Introduction

A report is written for a specified audience. This may be a superior, for example, a boss at work, or members of a peer group, colleagues or fellow class members. The question identifies the subject of the report and specifies the areas to be covered. The content of a report is mainly factual and draws on the prompt material, but there will be scope for candidates to make use of their own ideas and experience. Source: Cambridge English Assessment: C2 Proficiency Handbook for teachers

Reports in Cambridge C2 Proficiency are, unlike essays , not mandatory in the writing test. Instead of a report candidates might opt to write an article , a review or a letter .

Reports are very schematic

While some of the writing tasks in C2 Proficiency are quite free and open in terms of their paragraph structure and layout, reports follow a pretty rigid form, which makes it fairly easy to write them. With their sub-headings for each section and similar requirements in every task, candidates get a good grasp of report writing quite quickly.

This article shows you exactly how you can navigate those waters and how to score high marks with ease, so let’s get into it.

What a typical report task looks like

A report task in C2 Proficiency is usually very specific regarding the topic and the more detailed points you need to talk about in your text as well as the target reader you are writing for.

essay structure cpe

The three things I’ve mentioned above should always be the first things to find out when you analyse a writing task:

  • the topic of the task
  • the detailed points you have to include
  • the target reader

The topic of this specific task is a jobs fair for young people . A more close-up look reveals that we need to describe the event a little bit in general as well as two or three promotions in more detail . Thirdly, we evaluate if and how much a fair like this can open young people’s minds to career opportunities .

Last but not least, we are writing the report for our college website meaning that teachers, students and parents are going to read it. Therefore, the style of language doesn’t need to be super formal, but I would also not write in an informal style. Neutral seems to be the right choice so contractions (I’m, don’t, etc.) as well as some phrasal verbs are fine, but colloquial expressions that we would use just in spoken English are taboo.

How to organise your report

The paragraph structure of a report in C2 Proficiency is fairly straightforward. I would simply start with a title and an introduction that states what the report is about (in this case, we could describe the fair in the introduction), then continue with the sections that address the main points and finish with a conclusion.

Title & introduction

Main sections.

For most reports, this structure works very well. Depending on the task, we mostly use two or three main sections and you are free to choose whatever organisational form you think makes the most sense.

Plan your report before you start writing

I can’t stretch this point enough, but I would always note down a short plan to make sure my ideas are already saved somewhere before I start writing. This reassures you whenever you don’t know how to continue and it can save you a lot of time.

The best way to go about making your plan is to decide on the paragraph structure you want to use for a particular task and then to add a few short ideas of what you definitely want to include in each section. For our example task, I came up with this:

  • Title & introduction : jobs fair event summary; 10-12 July; 53 organisations; show career opportunities; specialists with valuable information
  • First special organisation : English teaching jobs abroad; information about the jobs; people were happy
  • Second special organisation : NGO from Peru; literacy and English classes; accommodation and food included; people had done programme before
  • Conclusion : everyone happy; event broadens young people’s horizon; visitors surprised by variety of options; definitely recommend it

I’ve decided on four paragraphs as there are basically four things we need to do: introduce the event, talk about two different organisations at the fair and comment on how it opens young people’s minds.

This whole process took less than five minutes, but I know that once I start writing, I have a roadmap prepared that can help me whenever I need it. I won’t have to waste time rearranging my ideas or changing the paragraph structure because it’s all done already.

essay structure cpe

The different parts of a report

Once you have a plan, you can get started with the actual writing process. Thanks to all the information you’ve already noted down, it should all be smooth sailing, but there are, of course, several things to take note of when writing a report and we are going to look at them paragraph by paragraph.

A report in Cambridge C2 Proficiency typically has a title, which can be descriptive and doesn’t need to be anything special. For example, for our example task from earlier, we could choose a basic title like “Jobs Fair”. That’s it.

The introduction or first paragraph of your text, however, is a little bit more important. Here, you want to show what the report is going to talk about. This can be quite explicit, but you can also give a more subtle description of the subject matter.

Jobs Fair Event summary From 10-12 July, a jobs fair with 53 organisations from all over Europe was held at the college to display career opportunities for the students. The different booths were manned expertly by specialists so as to give the best information possible and to show what the future might hold for graduates of the school.

First of all, there is the title plus the first subheading (Event summary). Subheadings are an essential part of the typical layout of a report so make sure that each section gets one.

Secondly, I state what the fair was about and what purpose the different organisations came to the event for, i.e. to show graduates a variety of future job opportunities, so the reader knows what to expect from this report .

On top of that, I tried immediately to use rather impersonal language , another common feature of reports, which includes passive verb forms, generalisations (It is said that; Many people said; in general; etc.) as well as avoiding personal pronouns like I or we.

With a good introduction under our belt, we can now get into the nitty gritty of the report. The task requires us to point out a few of the organisations present at the fair and explain in a little bit more detail what they were offering.

Obviously, you need to get a little bit creative and come up with some ideas, but as the report is for the college website, I thought it would be nice to talk about some options that are connected to the English language.

Promotions to highlight While the event as a whole went remarkably well, two stands were mentioned by many to be of particular relevance. One provided insights about job opportunities abroad as an English speaker, which includes teaching the language as well as tutoring children and teenagers. There was a wide variety of employment options presented together with the expected salary, working conditions and other things to consider before taking the leap, which quite a lot of visitors commented on in a very positive way. The second organisation that was indicated to me fairly often was an NGO from Peru which runs literacy campaigns and English language courses in rural areas around the country. They were looking to attract young people to their volunteer programme that involves teaching reading and writing to primary school children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Accommodation and food are both included so participants only need to cover the cost for their flights to Peru and back. The people working at the stand had all done it themselves so the visitors at the fair were given first-hand accounts of what working for the NGO is like.

As the two paragraphs belong to the same section of the report, only one subheading is necessary, but apart from that, I really focussed on the basics of good report writing.

I described in detail what the two organisations have to offer using some appropriate vocabulary (remarkably well; particular relevance; a wide variety of employment options; salary; working conditions; NGO; literacy campaigns; disadvantaged backgrounds; first-hand accounts) as well as more impersonal and general language (mentioned by many; visitors commented on it; was indicated to me).

The conclusion is the part where finish your report and make recommendations or suggestions based on the information provided in the previous sections. Here, you can give your personal opinion to round off the text. Again, don’t forget the subheading and use appropriate language.

Benefits of such job fairs After listening to other people’s thoughts on this kind of event I’m of the opinion that job fairs like this can truly broaden the horizon of young people who might not have formed a clear idea of what they want to do after school yet. Several of my friends mentioned that they simply had not been aware of the multitude of options available to them and that they would absolutely recommend it to everyone who needs some inspiration for their future.

I refer back to the previous sections (After listening to …), then give my opinion (… I’m of the opinion …) and make a recommendation (… they would absolutely recommend it …). It is that simple.

It is not that difficult to write a report in C2 Proficiency if you know how to plan the text and what language you should include. Obviously, at this level you should be able to play with the language and adapt each report to the topic of the task, but I hope that this article has helped you get a better idea of what goes into writing this kind of text.

If you want to practise with me, I offer writing feedback as well as private classes and I would love to hear from you soon.

Lots of love,

Teacher Phill 🙂

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NBC News

Class Destroyed

By Chantal Da Silva, Yasmine Salam, Matthew Mulligan and Bianca Britton

essay structure cpe

Built over decades, Gaza’s universities embodied the ambitions of young Palestinians.

In weeks, the Israeli military destroyed them.

April 4, 2024

Gaza’s universities are revered, embodying Palestinians’ dreams and ambitions, their values and traditions.

They have also represented a way for Palestinians to exercise some control over lives stifled by conflict, a 17-year blockade, political stagnation and misrule, and an economy on its knees.

“We don't have oil, we don't have petroleum, we don't have gold. The only capital we have is a human capital,” Akram Habeeb, an English literature professor said. “So we believe in education.”

essay structure cpe

This is the Islamic University of Gaza, or IUG, the Strip’s oldest degree-awarding institution.

It opened in 1978, its earliest classes held in tents .

It grew into a sprawling and modern campus with dozens of buildings across Gaza, with doctors, engineers, celebrated poets and politicians — including Hamas leaders — among its graduates.

This is IUG now.

The Israeli military destroyed the university’s main buildings in air strikes on Oct. 11.

It hailed the assault, saying the buildings and surrounding areas were used by Hamas “above and below ground” for training and to develop weapons. University administrators and students deny these charges.

This was Israa University.

Its towering main building and archway entrance was a love letter to Islamic architecture.

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Gaza’s youngest university was set to mark its 10th anniversary this year — and planned to open to the public a museum highlighting Palestinian history and culture.

In moments, Israa was destroyed.

Video of the Israel Defense Forces' demolition of Israa’s main building appeared online on Jan. 17. The IDF initially said that the building had been “used by Hamas for military activity” and that there were concerns the group might use it to attack Israeli forces.

Later, the IDF said there had been “flaws in the operational process, including in the decision to destroy the entire building,” noting that the commander who ordered the demolition was formally censured and that an investigation was ongoing. The IDF did not respond to a subsequent request for further information.

Israa and IUG were not alone — universities across Gaza have been leveled.

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According to an NBC News analysis of more than 60 videos and photos, and interviews with university administrators, professors, students and experts, at least five of Gaza’s seven major universities have been destroyed or partially damaged since Israel launched its offensive following Hamas’ Oct. 7 terror attacks, which killed some 1,200 and saw 240 taken hostage. More than 33,000 Palestinians have been killed in the ensuing war, including prominent professors, university leaders, and students.

‘Our future is dead’

Abdallah Abujaser, a 21-year-old clinical psychology student at Israa, first saw the video of his school reduced to rubble on social media.

It was like watching his future disappear.

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A photograph on Abujaser's Instagram account on Oct. 4 shows him on campus, beaming.

“The first picture in the fourth year,” he wrote alongside a dove and olive branch emoji.

Days later the war shattered his plans of becoming a qualified psychologist.

Abujaser was drawn to Israa because of its beautiful campus and its clinical psychology program — and he loved playing on the school’s competitive volleyball team.

He also believed in Israa’s mission — a modern university providing a higher education for those who might not be able to afford it.

Weekly hangouts with his three best friends are now WhatsApp calls, where the four men ask, “Are you OK? … Are you still alive?”

Nights are now spent in a bleak room with his mother and three sisters in Rafah, along with more than 1 million other displaced Palestinians.

The constant buzzing drones and thudding explosions remind him that the city, once deemed a safe zone by the Israeli military, could be stormed at any moment. He said he tries to remain optimistic, but until Gaza’s universities are rebuilt “our future is dead.”

essay structure cpe

Aya Salama, a 21-year-old English language and translation student, was set to graduate this spring from Al-Azhar University. Here she’s pictured, wearing a pink headscarf, with her classmates and professor during a phonetics class in May 2022.

Salama, left, and her friends are struggling to cope with their academic plans hanging in the balance. “As a student, this year was supposed to be the most beautiful year for us,” she said. 

“We were dreaming of the graduation party, what we were going to wear, what activities we were going to do.”

Salama fondly recalled the “breakfast parties” she would have with her friends on Al-Azhar’s lawn before classes. It was a ritual of sorts for them.

This is Salama’s home after it was demolished in an airstrike on Al Maghazi camp in northern Gaza on New Year’s Eve.

“The Israeli army has killed all our plans, all our passions,” she said, referring to her disrupted college life, adding that she has “literally cried many nights” over the news that her campus had also been destroyed.

The IDF said armed terrorists and a missile launching position were spotted near Al-Azhar, adding “enemy infrastructure” was disguised in its buildings. It also published photos of a tunnel shaft and explosive charges, rocket parts, launchers, explosive activation systems and weapons technology it says were found.

"The findings indicate that Hamas used the university building in order to execute attacks against our forces," the IDF said.

University administrators did not respond to requests for comment on the IDF allegations.

‘You’re fighting the existence of the Palestinians’

essay structure cpe

Around half of Gaza’s population is under the age of 18, and unemployment rates – before the war at about 45% – are among the highest in the world .

Higher education is seen as a way to combat a sense of powerlessness.

With a 17-year blockade imposed by Israel and reinforced by Egypt, traveling in or out of Gaza is difficult, if not impossible. Higher education opens doors to overseas opportunities, although students are often denied travel permits, which must be obtained from Israeli or Egyptian border authorities.

The war halted the studies of at least 88,000 students enrolled in universities and vocational-focused colleges, according to the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Higher Education.

“When you destroy those kinds of institutions, you're not fighting Hamas, you're fighting the existence of the Palestinians. You’re fighting their capability to have memory and to have records and to be educated,” said Rashid Khalidi, a historian at Columbia University and author of several books on the region.

‘Everything is leveled to the ground’

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When professor Akram Habeeb joined the IUG faculty in 1992, an American literature degree wasn’t offered anywhere in Gaza.

“I was very keen on teaching American lit and making our students understand the American values and the American beliefs – to show that American people are different from the government,” said Habeeb, who got his Ph.D. at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

He cultivated his department over three decades, teaching Emily Dickinson and Thomas Paine, among others.

His favorite assignment was asking students to analyze the literary style and political arguments in the U.S. Declaration of Independence, and then draft a Palestinian one.

The irony is not lost on him that his life’s work – four decades of lecture recordings and syllabuses — was destroyed by an Israeli military that is partially funded and armed by the U.S.

“Everything is leveled to the ground,” Habeeb said of the university buildings, including his office, that he saw while fleeing Gaza City in mid-October.

“My research, my books, my personal things,” the professor said. “I won’t retrieve them.”

Habeeb, who never stopped teaching even though he is officially retired, is anxious to get back to work.

“I'm waiting for the moment the war is over.”

IUG began as a university focusing on Arabic literature and Islamic theology. It grew into a research facility teaching disciplines from medicine to marketing with 18,000 students.

Like at Israa, women outnumbered men at IUG, with women represented equally to men in STEM fields.

Among IUG’s graduates are Hamas leaders like Yahya Sinwar and Ismail Haniyeh. But so are award-winning poets like Mosab Abu Toha, journalists like Wael Al Dahdouh and opposition politicians like Mohammed Dahlan.

The IDF has highlighted IUG’s alleged militant ties, and told NBC News that the university and the area around it “were used by Hamas for various military activities, above and below ground.” This included the production of weapons and training of Hamas military intelligence personnel, its spokesman said.

IUG administrators maintain the school is run independently from the enclave’s government and rejected accusations the university was used as a training camp.

“Our graduates have many different political affiliations,” Habeeb said, adding that the university can’t control the beliefs of those who enroll.

essay structure cpe

Qasem Waleed, an IUG physics graduate and English literature student, has rescued university library books from being sold as kindling for cooking fires.

“I will return them once the universities get back to work again,” he said from the refugee camp that is now his home.

But Khalidi, the Columbia professor, warned not everything can be restored.

“You can rebuild some of these things,” he said. “But the records — and the people — are irreplaceable.”

Development

Nigel Chiwaya and Jiachuan Wu

Photo Editor

Max Butterworth

Photo Director

Art Director

Chelsea Stahl

Contributors

Alfred Arian and Khalid Razak

VISUAL CREDIT INDEX

1. Al-Azhar University, 2017, Chris McGrath/Getty Images. 2. Islamic University of Gaza, 1993, Rula Halawani/Sygma via Getty Images. 3. Al-Azhar University, 2020, Yasser Qudih/Picture Alliance/Photoshot via SIPA USA. 4. Al-Aqsa University, 2024, AFP via Getty Images. 5. Al-Aqsa University, 2024, AFP via Getty Images. 6. Islamic University in Gaza, 2024, AFP via Getty Images. 7. Islamic University of Gaza via Israel Defense Forces. 8-9. Islamic University of Gaza via Facebook. 10. Unknown Gaza University, 1993 Esaias Baitel/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images. 11. Islamic University of Gaza via Facebook. 12. Islamic University of Gaza via Telegram. 13. Israa University via Facebook. 14. Satellite Images via Planet Labs PBC. 15. Israa University via Israel Defense Forces. 16. Map by NBC News. 17. Video by NBC News. 18-19. Courtesy of Abdallah Abujaser. 20-23. Courtesy of Aya Salama. 24. Islamic University of Gaza, 2011, Lynsey Addario/Getty Images Reportage. 25. Al-Azhar University, 2013, Thomas Imo/Photothek via Getty Images. 26. Al-Aqsa University, 2006, Khalil Hamra/AP. 27. Unknown Gaza University, Unknown Year, Agostino Pacciani/Anzenberger via Redux. 28-31. Courtesy of Akram Habeeb. 32. University of Palestine, 2023, Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via AP. 33. Al-Quds University, Ramez Habboub, Abaca Press/Alamy. 34. Israa University via Facebook.

IMAGES

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  2. How to Improve Your Academic Writing with the Right Essay Structure?

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  3. Cpe sample writings: how to write an essay

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  4. Introduction

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  6. HOW TO WRITE AN ESSAY FOR THE CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH PROFICIENCY (CPE) EXAM

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COMMENTS

  1. How to write an essay?

    How to write an essay? | C2 Proficient (CPE) Structure, 5 Step Writing Guide (explained), Sample Answers, Writing Topics/Questions, Marks Sheme, Useful Phrases & Expressions, Introduction, Conclusion, An essay is the first part of the writing and it is obligatory. The question always has a discursive focus. Discursive writing is a style used in academic writing and it requires the high level ...

  2. Guide to the Cambridge C2 Proficiency Writing Exam

    First, let's look at the format of Part 1: Task: essay. Word count: 240-280 words. Register: formal. Overview: a summary of two texts and an evaluation of the ideas. Suggested structure: introduction, paragraph 1, paragraph 2, conclusion. Time: 1 hour 30 minutes for Part 1 and 2. Before we look at an example task, let's look at how your ...

  3. Essay

    Example exam task: Write an essay summarising and evaluating the four key points from both texts. Use your own words throughout as far as possible, and include your own ideas in your answers. Tackling Traffic Congestion. Policy-makers employ a wide range of measures to tackle the problem of traffic congestion.

  4. Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE): How to Write an Essay

    What a typical essay task looks like. First of all, let's check out at a typical task and you will see very quickly what you need to look out for when analysing it. Source: Cambridge English Assessment C2 Proficiency Handbook for teachers. In every essay task, you have to read two short texts (about 100 words each) just like the ones above.

  5. PDF Proficiency Writing Part 1

    Write your essay. The role of memory We like to think of our memory as our record of the past, but all too often memories are influenced by imagination. It is risky, therefore, to regard memory as a source of knowledge, because we will never be able to verify the accuracy of a memory fully. Although memory is

  6. C2 Proficiency exam format

    C2 Proficiency is made up of four papers developed to test your English skills. You can see exactly what is in each paper below. The formats below are the same for both the paper-based and computer-based exams and digital exams. Please note, during March 2024 we will be moving from our current computer-based exam delivery to Cambridge English ...

  7. PDF Proficiency Writing

    Write an essay summarising and evaluating the key points from both texts. Use your own words Write your answer in 240-280 words on the separate answer sheet. Shifting sands: behavioural change Nowadays, in some cultures there may often be confusion between generations about what is acceptable behaviour in certain situations.

  8. Part 1

    Write an essay summarising and evaluating the key points from both texts. Use your own words throughout as far as possible, and include your own ideas. This page helps to practice the C2 Proficient (CPE) writing part 1 - essay, providing insights into its structure, content, and scoring criteria.

  9. PDF C2 Proficiency teacher writing guide

    About C2 Proficiency. Tests reading, writing, speaking and listening skills, plus use of English. Our highest level qualification that comes after C1 Advanced. Shows that learners can: Tests learners at CEFR Level C2. Can be taken on paper or on a computer. study demanding subjects at the highest level, including postgraduate and PhD programmes.

  10. The Ultimate Guide to CPE (Cambridge English: Proficiency)

    Develop a clear structure: Divide your essay into paragraphs, with each paragraph focusing on a specific point or argument. Ensure a logical flow between paragraphs and use appropriate linking words and phrases to connect ideas. ... Format: The CPE Speaking component consists of four parts, and it is typically conducted in pairs or small groups ...

  11. How to Do the Cambridge CPE Part 1 Essay Piece of Writing

    The task. Below is an example of a task you will find on the exam paper for part 1 of the CPE writing exam. It includes instructions of what you have to do and two texts which you have to read. Read the two texts below: Write an essay summarising and evaluating the key points from both texts. Use your own words throughout as far as possible ...

  12. 15 Example Essay Topics (PDF)

    C2 Proficient (CPE) Essay: Assessement Criteria. Your essay will be assessed according to these four criteria: Content focuses on how well the candidate has fulfilled the task, in other words if they have done what they were asked. to do. Communicative Achievement focuses on how appropriate the writing is for the task and whether the candidate ...

  13. Part 2

    Writing (choose one task from a choice of five: The focus is on writing one of the following: an article, an informal letter, a formal letter, a report, a review. Videos Video 1 Essential information about the format and structure of the writing exam. Video 2 How to write an article? (general advice) Video 3 Appropriate style of the CPE article (more advanced tips & comments) Video 4 How to ...

  14. PDF Teaching the compulsory essay in the revised Cambridge English

    Performance below Band 1. C2 Band. Language. 5. Uses a wide range of vocabulary, including less common lexis, with fluency, precision, sophistication, and style. Use of grammar is sophisticated, fully controlled and completely natural. Any inaccuracies occur only as slips.

  15. C2 Proficiency (CPE)

    Exam structure. The CPE tests all four skills: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. It is structured as follows: ... In the first section, the student reads two short texts and then must write an essay summarizing the arguments of both texts and presenting their own opinions about the same ideas. In the second prompt, the student has 5 ...

  16. Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE): How Your Writing is Marked

    In a nutshell, there are four criteria your texts are assessed on: Content. Communicative Achievement. Organisation. Language. Each of these criteria is scored on a scale from 0-5 so you can score a maximum of 20 marks per text. As you have to complete two tasks in the official exam, the total possible score is 40.

  17. CPE Writing Part 1: Formal Essay

    CPE writing essay 2nd plan. Step 1 - Text analysis. Read both texts and decide if they are complementary or contrasting. ... Paragraph structure: Option 1: Introduce content point 1 (paraphrased) Evaluate and react. (your opinion) Introduce content point 2; Evaluate and react. (your opinion)

  18. See this sample Essay from the Cambridge English Proficiency (CPE

    Task Type: Essay. Question Read the two texts below. ... SS Sentence Structure. S Spelling. T Tip. WF Wrong form. WO Word order. WT Wrong tense. WW Wrong word. CPE Info and Practice. CPE Home About CPE Spotlight Paper 1 CPE Writing Class Practice Tests Word Bank CPE Community Student Newsletter. CPE Resources to Buy.

  19. CPE Writing Formal Essay Structure

    Cpe Writing Part 1 2 - Free download as Word Doc (.doc / .docx), PDF File (.pdf), Text File (.txt) or read online for free. The document provides the structure for a formal essay comparing two texts. It includes an introduction that introduces the topic and asks questions the texts will answer. The introduction states the texts will discuss the nature of the notions from different viewpoints.

  20. Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE): How to Write a Report

    Title & introduction. A report in Cambridge C2 Proficiency typically has a title, which can be descriptive and doesn't need to be anything special. For example, for our example task from earlier, we could choose a basic title like "Jobs Fair". That's it. The introduction or first paragraph of your text, however, is a little bit more ...

  21. Class destroyed: The rise and ruin of Gaza's revered universities

    This is IUG now. The Israeli military destroyed the university's main buildings in air strikes on Oct. 11. It hailed the assault, saying the buildings and surrounding areas were used by Hamas ...

  22. How to write a review?

    The review should start with the title, and there are several ways to write it: imagine you're reviewing a book you can write [Title] by [Author] if you were reviewing a hotel you could write the [name of the hotel] - a review. or you can just write something catchy but it has to point to what you are going to review.