Here are some tips on how to write your B2 First essay, which is an obligatory task in Part 1 of the Writing Paper.
A typical task looks like this:
Write your essay using all the notes and giving reasons for your points of view. Write your essay in 140–190 words in an appropriate style.
Schools are responsible for teaching young people all the skills they need to stay fit and healthy. Do you agree? Notes: exercise, food and (your idea)
Brainstorm and plan
Before you even start writing, brainstorm quickly some arguments for each point. Make sure you add your own idea, too.
A possible idea: stress management or regular medical check-ups.
Decide if you agree or disagree.
After that, come up with some ‘more complex’ vocabulary on the topic and try to include some of it later in your essay.
In this case a possible list could be: equipment, calories, diet, regime, exercise, gym, work out, endurance, cardio, proteins, stress, meditation, etc.
If you feel stuck, try starting with any of those phrases:
Many people claim that…
We live in a world where…
The topic of… seems to worry/interest many people…
It is often said that…
These are just ideas to get you started! It is not obligatory to use them to write a successful essay.
Writing the introduction
Think of something general to introduce the topic of the essay.
Once you have started, don’t forget to state your thesis i.e. your answer to the task question.
Include all points mentioned in the task, try to use your own words.
Creating the body
If you have taken some minutes to brainstorm in the beginning, it is time to use some of those ideas in the body of your essay.
Start with a linking word.
First, … First of all…
Then, organize every following idea with another linking word.
Secondly,… In addition,… Furthermore,…
How to organize your paragraphs
Ideally, you would start your paragraph with a topic sentence i.e. a sentence stating your main idea on the topic.
Afterwards, you should support it with your argument or your reason for believing so.
Finally, you can provide an example to illustrate your idea.
Repeat the same process for the next paragraph.
A well-structured body usually has two or three paragraphs. In this case we will need to write one paragraph per note.
Time to wrap up
If your ideas were clear through the whole essay, the conclusion shouldn’t be a problem.
Start with your favourite discourse marker:
In a nutshell,…
To sum up,…
After that, simply retell the main points that you made in the body. Use synonyms or find ways to express the same meaning with different words as you don’t want to repeat yourself.
Synonyms of the task notes: exercise = sport, food = nutrition. Let’s say our own idea was stress management. We can say relaxation techniques instead of stress management.
Now is also time to give your opinion and remember don’t write any new information. If you feel that something is missing add it in the body, never in the conclusion.
So this is how to write a B2 First essay! Now all you have to do is practise again and again.
Need more practice? Try this short exercise – Discourse markers.
There is a great free resource that you can use for self-preparation at Cambridge English Write and Improve.
For a review on discourse markers and linking words, check out my B2 language skills course.
Download my free template and checklist to help you practise writing.
discourse marker – a word or phrase that is used for organizing discourse (= spoken or written communication ), for example well, so, or in fact
linking word – a word which shows a connection between clauses or sentences, for example however or so.
thesis – the main idea, opinion, or theory of a piece of writing