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First Certificate Speaking Exam Topics For Persuasive Essays

You have recently had a class project on animal welfare and vegetarianism. Now your teacher has asked you to write a composition, giving your opinions on the following statement:

Some people believe that humans should not eat meat. Do you agree?

Notes

Write about:

– meat as a main ingredient of our diet

– vegetarians

– ………………(your own idea)

Sample answer:

Most people think, myself included, that since animals eat other animals, it is natural for humans to eat meat. However, some disagree, and a growing number of people are choosing to become vegetarians. So what rationalism stays behind these two beliefs.

You start with Paragraph 1- Introduction
Here you include:
 A general statement/rhetorical question (it’s already given on the topic, your task is to paraphrase it- use different words or grammar structures). In the sample answer we’ve used ‘most’ instead of ‘some’, ‘believe’ was changed to ‘think’ etc.

Qualify the argument 

Explain further and maybe try to show several sides of the issue,  consider it from different angles, thinking, “This part is right if… This is true, except when… This might work if… The reason this happens is because… The underlying issues are…”

First of all I would like to say that humans have always hunted and eaten animals. Maybe it is our natural instinct inherited by ancestors that forces us to seek this type of food, however, it is undeniable, that meat is rich in vitamins and protein, which help to build muscles and bones.

Paragraph 2:

Introduction = topic sentence – which states the general idea discussed in this paragraph

Advantage  1   —–  Reason Advantage 1 ——- Specific example 1

Your Advantage 1- is the point mentioned in the task. In our sample answer  includes the point about meat being the main source of energy

Make sure you use the following phrases when writing paragraph 2:

Introducing the topic
First of all I would like to say that …

The first point I would  like to make is …

I would  like to begin by …

Many people think that …

Some people say/claim …

Why do some people believe ?

However, if that is the case, then why ?

Advantages
In the first place …

The main advantage is that you are free to …

There is no one else to …

Then there is …

What’s more …

Another advantage is that …

Another point worth mentioning is the fact it is difficult to have a balanced diet without this crucial ingredient. In order to avoid some health problems such as lack of energy or splitting nails we should make lean meat a part of our meal.

Paragraph 3:

Introduction = topic sentence – which states the general idea discussed in this paragraph

Advantage  2   —–  Reason Advantage 2 ——- Specific example 2

Your Advantage 2- is actually the point that hasn’t been given in the task. However, it’s the last point- your own idea. and because I believe that meat is good for you, I included this point just after the 2nd paragraph- which is also in favour of eating meat.

Make sure you use the following phrases when writing paragraph 3:

Introducing the topic
Second of all I would like to say that …

The next point I would  like to make is …

I would  like to add  …

Many people think that …

Some people say/claim …

Why do some people believe ?

However, if that is the case, then why ?

Advantages
In the second  place …

The other advantage is that you are free to …

There is no one else to …

Then there is …

What’s more …

Another advantage is that …

On the other hand, many vegetarians believe that eating meat is not only unnecessary but also unhealthy. We can easily grow plants that give us all we need in our diet, moreover there are numerous shops which provide supplements that substitute meat.

Paragraph 4:

Introduction -use topic sentence

Disadvantage  1   —–  Reason Disadvantage  1 ——- Specific example 1

Make sure you include the other point mentioned in the topic and add your own idea + the following phrases when writing paragraph 3:

Disadvantages
On the other hand  …

Secondly,  …

Another disadvantage is …

Last but not least, . .

Information

Linking words- essential practice when writing an essay

You have already completed the quiz before. Hence you can not start it again.

You must sign in or sign up to start the quiz.

You have to finish following quiz, to start this quiz:

  1. Question 1 of 7

    Correct

    Flatmates often do not get on very well at first. In fact, they can have a lot of arguments.

    Incorrect

    Flatmates often do not get on very well at first. In fact, they can have a lot of arguments.

    Flatmates often do not get on very well at first. They can have a lot of arguments. (In addition / In fact)

    Join the two sentences using one of the phrase in the brackets.

  2. Question 2 of 7

    Correct

    Flats in my city are very expensive for one person. In other words, I like sharing.

    Incorrect

    Flats in my city are very expensive for one person. In other words, I like sharing.

    Flats in my city are very expensive for one person. I like sharing. (In addition / In other words)

    Join the two sentences using one of the phrase in the brackets.

  3. Question 3 of 7

    Correct

    Most people share household tasks. For instance, they take it in turns to wash up.

    Incorrect

    Most people share household tasks. For instance, they take it in turns to wash up.

    Most people share household tasks. They take it in turns to wash up. (For instance / That is to say)

  4. Question 4 of 7

    Correct

    I think that house would be too expensive. Besides, it is a long way from the centre.

    Incorrect

    I think that house would be too expensive. Besides, it is a long way from the centre.

    I think that house would be too expensive. It is a long way from the centre. (Similarly / Besides)

  5. Question 5 of 7

    Correct

    Tom is a nice guy to live with. Nevertheless, he needs to help out more.

    Incorrect

    Tom is a nice guy to live with. Nevertheless, he needs to help out more.

    Tom is a nice guy to live with. He needs to help out more. (Nevertheless / What’s more)

  6. Question 6 of 7

    Correct

    The flat is on the fifth floor, and there is no lift. Even so, we decided to rent it.

    Incorrect

    The flat is on the fifth floor, and there is no lift. Even so, we decided to rent it.

    The flat is on the fifth floor, and there is no lift. We decided to rent it. (Because of this / Even so)

  7. Question 7 of 7

    Correct

    It is not very big. On the other hand, it is right in the centre.

    Incorrect

    It is not very big. On the other hand, it is right in the centre.

    It is not very big. It is right in the centre. (Even so / On the other hand)

In my view, there are strong health reasons for not eating meat. However, if we become vegetarians for moral reasons, I think we should also not wear fur or leather.

Paragraph 5- Conclusion

 Summarise your view using different words from the introduction. You might want to add some further comment.

Summarising phrases you have to use: 
In conclusion (I believe that)…

To sum up, there are arguments …

However, in my view … .

Now, it’s your turn. Here’s the topic:

You recently had a class discussion about television. Now your teacher has asked you to write a composition.

Young children watch too much television. Do you agree?

You must answer this question. Write your answer in 140- 190 words in an appropriate style on the separate answer sheet.

Notes

Write about:

– busy parents

– sports

– ………………(your own idea)

Once you have written the essay… do check if you have the following:

1.  I have answered the question.

2. The sentences and organisation are clear and logical.

3.  Arguments are followed by reasons and examples.

4. Both sides of the argument are given equal treatment.

5.  It is clear what I think by the end.

6.  The style is consistent and neutral.

7.  I have checked: length, grammar, spelling, punctuation and linking expressions.

Now, it’s your turn. Here’s another topic:

You recently had a class discussion about women rights . Now your teacher has asked you to write a composition.

Most high level jobs are done by men. Should the government encourage a certain percentage of these jobs to be reserved for women?

You must answer this question. Write your answer in 140- 190 words in an appropriate style on the separate answer sheet.

Notes

Write about:

– education

– equal rights

– ………………(your own idea)

The writing part of the exam lasts for 1 hour 20 minutes (80 minutes). In this time the candidates need to write two texts of 140-190 words. This post will explain how to write an essay that will get you a great score for the FCE. For more information on the different types of essay click HERE. Take advantage of the useful phrases.

5 Simple Ways to Improve your Written English

What do you have to do in the writing part of the exam?

There are 4 questions.

The 1st task is obligatory. You must do question 1 and it is always an essay. The topics are varied, but they are usually social issues such as the environment or the advantages/ disadvantages of something.

The 2nd task is a choice; you can answer one question of 2, 3, 4. DO NOT ANSWER ALL OF THE QUESTIONS. The choices include: a letter (formal or informal), an email, a review, an article or a report. My suggestion is to focus on writing a formal or informal letter, a review and an article. The letter and the email are almost identical, so you cover both of them. The report is a little difficult because of the organisation and format.

How to write a review for the FCE Cambridge ESOL exams – FREE EXAMPLE QUESTIONS

How to write a great letter OR email for the FCE Cambridge exam – INCLUDES FREE EXAMPLE QUESTIONS

How to write a report for the FCE (B2) Cambridge ESOL exam – FREE PRACTICE QUESTION INCLUDED

How to write a great article for the FCE Cambridge ESOL exams – FREE EXAMPLE QUESTIONS

 

Example of an essay question:

In English class you have been debating the advantages and disadvantages of studying English abroad.

Write an essay giving reasons for your opinions

Title: Many students spend a lot of money to study English in an English speaking country, but is it worth it?

Notes: write about

  1. Costs

  2. Teaching methods

  3. Immersion technique

Example answer:

Many students spend a lot of money to study English in an English speaking country, but is it worth it?

To get started it is important to understand that learning English is of the utmost importance for people in Spain. Education experts say that the demand for a high level of English is only going to increase so we all need to find the best way of learning this language.

Firstly, we need to look at the cost of learning a language. We study English at school from the age of 3 but the level of classes and teaching is generally quite poor so our parents invest a lot of money in private language schools to help us through our exams. This is a costly process but we need to think, is it the quickest way to learn? Wouldn´t it be better to go to an English speaking country?

Going abroad to study is a fantastic experience and we generally make a lot more progress than we would that if we stayed in our own country, but it is extremely expensive. Not all people can afford it and they need to try to get grants to be able to go. The advantages are obvious because we are surrounded by the language and we are forced to use it in real life situations. But it is important to find people to practice with who are willing to be patient and help us.

To summarise, it is a fantastic opportunity to go abroad to study but it is important to have a good teacher and to be focussed on learning or you could waste your time, and a lot of money.

TO SEE A FULL VERSION OF THE EXPLANATION OF HOW TO WRITE THE PERFECT ESSAY, SEE APPF.ES

 

Structure of an essay (SEE FORMAL VERSUS INFORMAL WRITING HERE):

Introduction

Introduce the topic and say what you are going to talk about and capture the interest of the reader

1st paragraph

The first point from the notes (you can mix points if they are related)

2nd paragraph

The 2nd point from the notes, you need to link it to the first

Conclusion

A summary of what you have said in the main paragraphs and make your main point

 

FIXED PHRASES FOR B2

Making a point (in persuasive essays (HERE):

  • In my opinion…
  • I find it…
  • I hold the view…
  • The way I see it…
  • It looks a bit…
  • It seems to me…
  • I am under the impression…
  • It seems as if…
  • From my point of view…
  • I think…
  • I would say…
  • I reckon…
  • From my understanding…
  • I would like to point out…

 

Linking:

  • As I have said before…
  • With respect to the point on…
  • Regarding…
  • Like I have said…
  • In relation to…
  • Taking into account…

 

Speculating (LOOK AT GRAMMAR STRUCTURES HERE):

  • Probably – He will probably do the exam next week
  • Perhaps/maybe – Perhaps he doesn´t have time
  • May/might/could – You might be luckier next time
  • What if – What if he doesn´t arrive on time?

 

How it is graded at B2 level:

To say what grade you need to pass the writing part of the exam is not as easy as with the use of English and reading as the way it is assessed is fairly subjective and can be within a point of what another examiner would put. The assessment scale for the writing section of Cambridge is broken up into 4 sections:

  • Content
  • Communicative achievement
  • Organisation
  • Language

For the content part, Cambridge states “All content is relevant to the task. Target reader is fully informed”. This means, to get full marks for content the candidate must answer the question fully and not include irrelevant information.

For the communicative achievement part, Cambridge states “The candidate uses the conventions of the communicative task effectively to hold the target reader’s attention and communicate straightforward and complex ideas, as appropriate”. This means that the text is interesting enough to keep the reader´s attention and that the reader is informed of the ideas in the text with ease.

For organisation, Cambridge states “Text is well organised and coherent, using a variety of cohesive devices and organisational patterns to generally good effect”. To complete with this requirement the candidate needs to organised the text in the correct format (letter, essay, email, review or article etc.) The candidate also needs to use a variety of connectives (5-8 approximately). It is important to write the text in a logical way, it needs to be easy to read and understand.

For language refers to grammar and vocabulary usage, Cambridge states “Uses a range of vocabulary, including less common lexis, appropriately. Uses a range of simple and complex grammatical forms with control and flexibility. Occasional errors may be present but do not impede communication”. To pass this part of the assessment the candidate needs to use a range of vocabulary (they are not looking for strange and rarely used words, they want the correct word for the context), the grammar use needs to include both simple and complex (modals, conditionals, passive and relative clauses) forms with few errors.

For a full online course to prepare the B2 FCE Cambridge exam see WWW.APPF.ES

 

USE OF ENGLISH How to pass the Use of English and reading part of the FCE (B2) – INCLUDES FREE MOCK EXAM

SPEAKING SPEAKING with FREE PDF MOCK EXAM – First certificate (B2) Cambridge ESOL

LISTENING Listening b2 practice – improving your grade

 

Practice question for you to do at home:

 

In your English class you have had a discussion about communication and the advantages of the internet in today´s society. Write an essay about the advantage and disadvantages of the internet.

 

What are the pros and cons of having easy access to the internet?

Notes:

  1. communication
  2. access to information
  3. internet security

 

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