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Write with a carrot!

It’s that time of the year again when students up and down the country – and throughout the world – take their Cambridge exams. With that in mind, here are some useful tips for the writing papers for anyone taking their Cambridge exams this weekend.

Our UBS students have been at the school now for almost nine weeks and this weekend they are taking their BEC Higher exams.  BEC Higher tests your English language skills and knowledge in a business context.  In the writing paper, they are required to write two compositions: a report on a graph (very similar to IELTS part 1), and a longer piece which can be a letter, a report or a proposal. 

In class we have looked at the vocabulary they require for each task as well as the various structures needed.  Planning your answer is very important, so with that in mind, here are two acronyms to help you on the big day.


There are several points that the examiner will be looking at when assessing your writing and will mark it according to the following criteria:


  1. Have you covered all the points in the question?
  2. Have you expanded on any of the points?
  3. Have you observed the word count?


  1. Have you checked your spelling?
  2. Are your grammatical structures correct?


  1. Have you used an appropriate variety of tenses and structures?
  2. Have you repeated any vocabulary?


  1. Is your writing formal, neutral or informal?
  2. Is it consistently appropriate?


  1. Have you used paragraphs?
  2. Have you used linkers?
  3. Are the ideas in your paragraphs logically ordered and well-connected?

Target Reader

  1. Would the reader of your compostition know what you want them to do?

Remember this acronym and the checklist of questions when you are writing your answers.  If this sounds like a lot to remember, or if your exam is very soon, there is a shorter and simpler acronym that might be helpful.



Who are you writing to?  What register should you choose?


Why are you writing?  What do you want the reader to do?


What key pieces of information do you need to include in your composition?

Text type

Do you need to write a report?  A proposal?  A letter?  Make it look appropriate!


Once you have finished your writing, check it for spelling and grammar errors.

I hope these acronyms are useful in helping you to plan and write your compositions.  Anything that gives you an edge in the exam can only be a good thing.  Why not try using them the next time you write, and if you’re taking an exam this weekend or anytime soon, then GOOD LUCK!!!


  • composition - (n.) a short piece of written work produced as a school exercise or in an exam
  • acronym - (n.) a word formed from the first letters of words in a series of words 
  • to give you an edge - (idiom) to make something easier, or to give you an advantage

By Andy

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