5 tips for B2 students - Writing the perfect B2 First essay
Essay writing tends to stress many learners and it can sometimes be difficult to remember everything that is necessary to be successful. However, simplifying what needs to be done to write a successful B2 essay into five easy-to-remember steps will help you stay calm and collected. In this post, you are going to learn how to write a Cambridge B2 essay step-by-step. You will be shown what to do at each stage to maximize your possible score.
Analyse the essay task
You need to read the task and think about what exactly the essay will be about and what you will need to include. Let's look at this example:
So what should we do? Most importantly you need to say whether you agree or disagree that technology is too dominant in our lives. You must also remember to use all the notes and give reasons for your opinion.
Your essay will contain 3 body paragraphs: The effect of technology on our lives, the price of technology and your own idea. You will also need to reach a clear conclusion, and you should try to convince the examiner that your conclusion is correct.
Essays are formal which means that you should not use contractions or colloquial/slang language to express your ideas.
Planning your essay
“If You Fail to Plan, You Are Planning to Fail” — Benjamin Franklin
First, you need to ask yourself what your conclusion is going to be. You should decide this first because everything else in the essay is going to lead to it. Are you going to agree or disagree that technology is too dominant in our lives?
Secondly, you need to plan how many paragraphs you are going to have and what you want to put in each one. It helps to make a table or write out the plan on paper first.
Thirdly, you need to make sure your paragraphs are connected to your conclusion and you have reiterated your opinion on whether you agree or not. For example, saying that you do not see technology as too dominant in our lives.
Remember that every good paragraph has a topic sentence. The first sentence that summarises the main point of the paragraph. The sentences that follow are supporting sentences that contain reasons and examples to support the topic sentence. Make sure you can answer the question: What is this paragraph about? If you can not answer that question then it means that your plan isn’t clear.
Try to always connect your ideas through your topic sentence!
The effect of technology on our lives; Technology makes life easier and more entertaining for people around the world.
The price of technology; Since there is technology such as smartphones that can range from affordable to expensive it allows everyone to experience technology in spite of low incomes.
(My own idea) The effects of technology on our family lives; Due to social media and free apps such as Skype and Whatsapp people are more connected than ever. Allowing people from around the world to communicate easily.
Now you are ready to write.
Writing your essay
Once you have written the essay you should ask yourself some questions.
Did you answer the question? Does your conclusion state your opinion?
Did you use topic sentences? They should contain a keyword from each part of the plan. (Our lives, price and family effects.)
Are the paragraphs connected? Does it stay on the topic of technology’s dominance in our lives?
Checking your essay
You should look for a number of things.
Style (formal or informal) Have you used any conversational language that does not fit the tone of an essay like this?
Check your use of linking words or phrases (do not overuse, and make sure to use correctly)
Check for repetition of vocabulary (Could you replace any simple vocabulary for something more advanced?)
Improving your score
Your essay score is made up of four parts, each one with a possible score of 0-5.
Content- This focuses on how well you fulfilled the task
(Have you done everything you were asked to do?)
This is step one, analyse the task and do exactly what it asks you to do.
TIP: Underline keywords in the task to help you identify what you need to do.
Communicative achievement- This focuses on how appropriate your writing is for the task. Have you used the correct register, have you used contractions? Basically, does your essay look like an essay?
Organization- looks at how the writing is put together.
Is it logical and organized?
By planning correctly it will already be organized. Plan carefully with clear topic sentences, and linking words and phrases to connect paragraphs.
Language- Vocabulary and grammar.
We as teachers and examiners look for a range of language and how accurately it is used.
Hopefully you have enjoyed reading this post and that there are at least a few things that you were able to take away from it and are going to apply to your future essays.
Good luck, and may the words on your submission shout the loudest from the pile!