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FCE: Essay Writing Checklist

Before you write

Finish these instructions.

Make a ________________.
If you write a question, answer it too. This is your ideas time. When you

are writing, you can concentrate on the language you use.

Spend at least ____________ minutes on your plan.

This will save you time later and improve the organisation of your essay.
Use the plan to make sure you ______________________ correctly and

While you are writing

Write each sentence in your mind before you put it on paper. This will

make your work easier to read.

Dont write on every line. Leave a space and you will be able to correct
yourself or add extra information later. Compare:

In this box I am writing on every line.

If I do a mistake there is very little
space for me to correct it. I cannot
add extra information if I need to. It is
sometimes difficult to read.

In this box I am not writing on every

line. If I do a mistake there is space
for me to correct it. I can add extra
information if I need to. It is easier to

Make statements
Be bold with what you want to say. Try not to use too many modals of
speculation or the reader may think you are not sure about the topic.
For example:
Travelling to other countries could be very good for combating racism.
Better = Travelling to other countries is very good for combating racism.

Compiled by Sandy Millin

FCE: Essay Writing Checklist

The introduction should be two to three sentences long.
It could include:

a sentence or two about the topic in general;

a sentence telling the reader whether the essay will look at one or both

sides of the issue;

a question which you will answer in your essay.

Highlight any useful words or phrases from these examples.

Nowadays, tourism is becoming more and more important to the global

economy. But what are the negative effects of tourism?

Newspapers are full of articles about the effects tourism has on developing

countries. It brings benefits to their economies and their people.

During the last thirty years tourism has been increasing in my country.
There have been many benefits to this.

The conclusion should be two to three sentences long.
It should include:

a summary of your main points;

your opinion;
a reference to the original question (try to rephrase it);
NO new information.

Here are some conclusions from essays on the topic Tourism causes more
problems than it solves. Which one is the most appropriate? Why?

To conclude, I strongly believe that tourism solves more problems than it

In conclusion, I think it is great to share your life with other people from

around the world.

To sum up, in my opinion there are more disadvantages than advantages
to tourism for poor countries because tourists do not consider the effects
of their holidays on the local people.

Compiled by Sandy Millin

FCE: Essay Writing Checklist

Learn words and phrases to link your work together
Write these words and phrases into the correct place in the table.

Putting your ideas in order

Showing results / consequences

Showing reasons

Showing contrasts

Expressing opinions

Giving examples

Compiled by Sandy Millin

FCE: Essay Writing Checklist

Write a paragraph about why people should (not) learn English. Use as many
linking phrases as necessary. Try to use phrases which are new to you.Use
formal language
Each of these sentences can be made more formal.
How would you change them?

People dont think about the damage they cause.

There are lots of things which can affect the economy.
Countries earn loads of money from tourism.
Tourism causes many different kinds of problems.
It is easier to go somewhere on holiday than ever before.
Some people think that tourism is bad for poor countries.

Use the table to summarize the differences between formal and informal
language. The number shows you which example to look at to help you
complete the rule.
Formal Language
No c_________________.

Informal Language

C________________ are

Use f________ phrases like:

It is acceptable to use i___________


phrases like:



Use s______________ words linked




G_____________ words are

to the essay topic whenever you can.5 acceptable.5

Use p_____________ structures if

Generally, use the a__________

you can. This makes the text less

more than the p____________.

personal. 6

Compiled by Sandy Millin

FCE: Essay Writing Checklist

Use a range of adjectives
Adjectives likes good, bad and nice are useful in informal language, but
there are many better synonyms which you can use when writing a formal
How many synonyms can you think of for each word?

good / nice


Can you improve this sentence?

Travelling to other countries is very good for combating racism.
Check your writing carefully
Read it slowly and check for these things:

Is your text between 120 and 180 words?

To get higher marks it should be closer to 180 words. Have you included
reasons to support your answer? You could also include examples to

illustrate your points.

Check your spellings.
A good way to do this is to read your text backwards. That way you see

each word individually, instead of seeing what you think is there.

Have you used the correct prepositions for each noun / verb / adjective?
Is your essay formal enough?

Remember to check everything from the table.

How long are your sentences?

Can you use a linking word or should you make the sentence shorter?
Have you used the correct form for each verb?
If the verb is the subject of the sentence, make sure it is a gerund.

For the past simple and past participle, is the verb regular or irregular?
Check singular / plural forms.
Do verbs agree? Are the adjectives all singular? Have you used plural

forms after one of and a variety of?

Have you answered the question?!

Compiled by Sandy Millin