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Article – Proficient English Level Writing

There are more and more English high-flyer learners who set their sights on taking the Cambridge C2 Proficiency exam. The other day, I met such a learner, an amazing young person from Romania.

She had just finished her Computer-based C2 Proficiency Writing paper, much ahead of time. I approached her, asking how the exam had been. What I thought would be a short exchange of comments on how she had found the exam writing tasks, how boiling the weather was that day, etc, turned into a beautiful conversation.

When I left, the idea of today’s article sprang to mind – Why not share my own writings with our English learning and teaching community? What about inviting you to read and assess texts I personally wrote when I was preparing myself for the Cambridge C2 Proficiency exam?

Let’s therefore look into Cambridge C2 Proficiency level writing this time. You will read one of my writing makeovers. It is an article.

FYI, this task type is one of the four questions (2–5) in Part 2 of the C2 Proficiency Writing paper. The other three are a letter, a report and a review. The number of words to be written is 280-320.

C2 Proficiency writing Part 2

An article

An article is written on a particular theme in a style which makes it suitable for publication in an English-language newspaper, magazine or newsletter. The question identifies the topic for the article, and the type of publication mentioned gives the candidate guidance as to the appropriate register to be used – for example, how academic or lively the article should be.

The purpose of an article is to convey information; it may contain some description and/or narrative, and candidates should bear in mind the need to engage the interest of their readers. (C2 Proficiency Handbook for Teachers, page 23)

Article Checklist:

  • Engages the reader through description, narration and anecdotes.
  • Add a personal angle and a catchy title to attract the reader’s attention.
  • Check carefully to see what kind of publication you are being asked to write for, an academic publication or an international magazine.
  • Plan and paragraph the article. Use headings if appropriate.

Exam task

An international travel magazine is running a series of articles on alternatives to travelling by plane. The magazine has invited readers to send in articles briefly describing a memorable long-distance train or bus journey they have made. The article should explain the advantages of travelling a long distance by train or bus and consider whether in general travelling to your destination more slowly may result in a more satisfying travel experience.

Sample answer

Are you in a quest for unforgettable travel experience?

Nowadays, we all carry the notion of time wherever we go and whatever we do. Once setting off for our destination, we all look for the quickest means of transport, being unaware of the fact that travelling should be an end in itself. This article considers other alternatives to travelling by plane so that we please both our sight and mind, as well as enjoy the process of making the journey rather than the arrival in the blink of an eye.

When it comes to my personal experience as a voyager, the worth-mentioning journey that comes to my mind is the bus trip I made to Andorra. Once away from the daily grind, I widely opened my eyes at the breathtaking surroundings just at a glance out of the window, overlooking the exquisite picturesque scenery of the rocky rivers snaking through the imposing mountains.

Having taken the window seat was not a fluke. When being asked at the ticket booth which seat I preferred, the aisle or the window one, I had been definite about it long before. “Not today! No more queues at the check-in, passport control or at boarding gate, nor worries with the luggage weight limits! Not today!” I said to myself. I was longing for peace and tranquillity while admiring the surroundings. (You might as well hear a fast-asleep fellow snoring all the way. This worry for me that day was secondary.) And there I was, on the way to Andorra, full of satisfaction and high expectations of my journey.

The impression I got was like the fast lane we live in had just come to a standstill! Unbelievable! When did you last feel that way?

When you come to think of it, why don’t we leave, at least once in a while, the plane journeys (of course, as long as it doesn’t hinder us from urgent tasks)? It is undeniable that nowadays the air travel is of huge importance considering the speed, the price accessibility, and last but not least, the lower rate of accidents in air-travel.

The drawback I see here is that we get to our destination so fast that we do not manage to enjoy the world around us. Do you remember the time you got to know new people or listen to the latest gossip while savouring a cup of coffee in the restaurant car, affording the luxury of not bothering about the time? Too long ago, has it? Needless to say, we do have a solution – the land means of travelling – the bus and the train.

At the end of the day, from my standpoint, if I were to choose between making haste to get somewhere or travelling for the sake of travel, I would go for the latest one since while on the road we are living the moment. What would you, globetrotters, do?

As an English learner, back then, my main goals when it comes to writing an article, were to hold the reader’s/examiner’s attention with ease and to use a wide range of vocabulary on the topic of travelling. The text organisation and the grammar control at this level, were somehow less important for me. 

Feel free to assess how well I have achieved these two goals. This is not a model writing. I am sure there are lots of things to change for a better overall result. 

I hope you have found my C2 Proficiency-level article useful! Good luck in your own article! Hearing from you with feedback on my writing would be splendid!

If you are interested in my own way of preparing myself for the C2 Proficiency examination, check this out: Preparation for Cambridge C2 Proficiency exam

Stay tuned for more words of advice and handy material!

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