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The writing test is paper 2 of the Cambridge Advanced English exam. The paper takes two hours, and it is for 20% of your total mark in the exam. The CAE writing paper tests your grammar, vocabulary and spelling, and also your ability to organize your writing in a logical manner that does exactly what each question asks. The paper also checks that you use the correct register in your writing, and that you make your points effectively to your reader.

There are two papers in this part of the exam. Each requires you to write about 250 words.

Part 1. This is a compulsory question. You will be given material to read (often more than 150 words ) and you will have to perform a writing task based upon this material. For instance you may be given a job description from a company handbook. There are notes which "you" have scribbled in the margin about how accurate this description is, based on your experience in your first weeks in the job. Your task might be to write a letter to a friend based on this material telling him about the job.
Part 2. This time you can choose from four different types of question. Often these involve describing something - for example a guide for new students to your school. You may be asked to give an opinion - for instance you are reviewing a local nightclub for your college magazine. You may be asked for a narrative - for example a newspaper has asked you to describe a football game in which you played. The last question is always business related. It is very often, but not always, a letter.

Remember : If you write too much or too little, you will lose marks. Bad handwriting is penalized.


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