Cambridge English: FIRST
Structure and tasks
TASK TYPE AND FOCUS: writing an essay giving opinion and providing reasons for the opinion.
FORMAT: Candidates are required to write an essay giving their opinion on the essay title using the ideas given and providing an idea of their own. The essay title will be on a subject of general interest with no requirement of specialised knowledge.
LENGTH: 140-190 words
TASK TYPE AND FOCUS: writing one from a number of possible text types based on a contextualised writing task.
FORMAT: Candidates have a choice of task. In questions 2-4, the tasks provide candidates with a clear context, topic, purpose and target reader for their writing. The output texts are:
LENGTH: 140-190 words
The different task types are intended to provide frameworks for candidates so that they can put together and develop their ideas on a topic with a purpose for writing and a target reader in mind.
AN ARTICLE is usually written for an English-language magazine or newsletter, and the reader is assumed to have similar interests to the writer. The main purpose is to interest and engage the reader, so there should be some opinion or comment.
AN EMAIL/A LETTER is written in response to the situation outlined in the question. Letters and emails in Cambridge English: FIRST writing paper will require a response which is consistently appropriate in register and tone for the specified target reader. Candidates can expect to be asked to write letters or emails to, for example, an English-speaking friend or colleague, a potential employer, a college principal or a magazine editor.
AN ESSAY is always written for the teacher. It should answer the question given by addressing both content points and providing a new content point of the writer’s own. The essay should be well organised, with an introduction and an appropriate conclusion and should be written in an appropriate register and tone.
A REPORT is usually written for a superior (e.g. teacher) or a peer group (e.g. members of an English club). Candidates are expected to give some factual information and make suggestions or recommendations. A report should be clearly organised and may include headings.
A REVIEW is usually written for an English-language magazine, newspaper or website. The main purpose is to describe and express a personal opinion about something which the writer has experienced (e.g. a film, a holiday, a product, a website etc.) ad to give the reader a clear impression of what the item discussed is like. Description and explanation are key functions for this task, and a review will normally include a recommendation to the reader.
A STORY is usually written for an English language magazine or website for teenagers. The main purpose is to engage the interest of the reader. Effective answers have a clear storyline which links coherently to the first sentence, successfully uses the prompts provided and demonstrates a sound grasp of narrative tenses.