In this article I coach you on simple tips to write a CAE proposal – what is important, what is not.

In this article I coach you on simple tips to write a CAE proposal – what is important, what is not.

How exactly to write a CAE essay/letter/report/proposal

I rate a student’s Writing Part 1 Essay, then give suggestions about just how to rewrite it. Can we take it from a B to an A?

In addition made a video about writing essays – see the section below.

Our Videos about CAE Writing

A Skype speak to Marina in Italy – we discuss just how to plan the essay to some extent hands down the CAE test that is writing. I emphasise the significance of planning, and my theory you will use and which vocabulary fits the topic that you should not only plan your paragraphs, but also which structures.

In this video I put myself in my own students’ shoes and try to write a CAE Writing Part 1 essay. Watch when I destroy my keyboard that is poor while an essay. Laugh as I am rudely interrupted as I fail to type the word ‘government’ 7 times out of 8. Cringe.


Grammar Mistakes

Most CAE students don’t make obvious, basic mistakes like your/you’re or its/it’s. But they do have a problem with things such as:

Relative clauses

You’ll want to learn the essential difference between defining and non-defining relative clauses. Your clauses that are non-defining commas, while your defining clauses should not have commas.

I had lunch with my grandfather, who is 90 years of age. (the next 1 / 2 of the sentence tells you more about my grandfather. It really is bonus information, so there has to be a comma.)

I had lunch with my buddy who lives in Prague. (i will be very cool and popular – I have plenty of friends. If I say ‘I had lunch with my friend’ you don’t know which friend after all. So the ‘who lives in Prague’ clause offers you information that is essential. Therefore, no comma!)

Remember that non-defining pronouns cannot be changed to ‘that’, therefore you should never write a comma followed by ‘that’. (this can be especially a challenge for German speakers because in German you must use a comma before ‘that’.)

Gerund infinitive that is vs

Gerund means the -ing type of a verb. It is a tricky element of grammar because there are no rules along with to master every verb one after another. English! Argh! Anyway, make certain you understand these structures:

I used to call home in China (= I lived in China).

I’m used to hearing German (= hearing German is normal for me).

I look forward to meeting you.

I stopped smoking (= I quit).

I stopped to smoke (= I stopped the thing I was doing because i needed to have a cigarette).

I recommend buying new computer equipment. (Suggest and advise are also followed closely by gerunds.)

I would recommend you buy new computer equipment.


So difficult! So prepositions that are many! So mistakes that are many! Just learn up to you can easily and don’t forget, every student that is single has ever taken the CAE exam has struggled with prepositions. You are not alone!


I will move to Zurich if I get the job. (The speaker is confident.)

I would move to Zurich if I got the job. (The speaker just isn’t confident.)

If I had got the task i might have moved to Zurich. (however the speaker didn’t obtain the job and did not go on to Zurich.)

Other Mistakes

Not risks that are taking

A lot of students always write the same, safe, things they always write. To understand advanced vocabulary and structures you must use advanced vocabulary and structures!

Being boring

It is hard enough to produce a piece that is well-structured of with good vocabulary that fits the information. But keep in mind that the examiners read hundreds and hundreds of essays and most of these are extremely boring! Yours interesting (though the style, unexpectedly good vocabulary, maybe even a joke or two) the examiners will be VERY happy and you will be REWARDED if you make.


Students often ask if I offer a correction service that is writing. Well. to be honest i am not so motivated to do that right now. You really need to find a trained teacher on italki instead. Follow this link to read about italki. (Watch the video with David to hear more about writing correction.)

Q – Do i must use spelling that is british?

A – No, no matter. However if you use American spelling, be consistent during your writing.

Q – How important is spelling and punctuation?

A – It is pretty important – it won’t be a big deal if you make a trivial mistake. Then you will lose points if the mistake stops the reader from understanding what you mean.

Q – How important is the expressed word count? What are the results if I write too many words?

A – the expressed word count is helpful information, not a rule. But when you do the task properly you will write about 220-260 words. In the event that you write 300 words then no doubt you’ve written plenty of stuff you do not need. If you write 200 words you’ve probably forgotten something.

DO waste that is NOT when you look at the exam counting what amount of words you’ve got written! And do not add or remove words simply because for the word count – it’s going to come out clumsy and weird.

All that said, when you are practicing for the writing section, i would recommend you stay glued to the suggested word count.

Observe that the computer-based exam will automatically count exactly how many words you’re using. Handy! See this informative article to learn more in regards to the computer-based CAE exam.

Q – I know i must use complex sentences to get a grade that is good but i am focused on making mistakes. Is it far better to have a simple text with no mistakes?

A – Cambridge says that students who make mistakes while wanting to use complex structures will get credit for trying (provided that the mistake does not stop your reader from understanding).

Q – My handwriting is terrible! No-one can see clearly! Can I lose points?

A – No. Your handwriting is not too important. Just be sure it may be read. Also, you should not rewrite your text (and also you don’t have time to rewrite it) – whether it’s got a lot of bits crossed out, don’t worry. Every student’s writing looks the same!

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