Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE): How to write a review - Teacher Phill (2023)


A review can be about a book, a magazine, a movie, a play or a concert; it can also be about a product or service. A C1 Advanced Writing document review not only asks for an overview of the reviewed item, but also requires an assessment of its suitability for a specific purpose or audience. The intended reader is specified in the task and candidates should be encouraged to use this information when choosing appropriate ideas and language to include in their response.

From: Cambridge English First Teacher's Manual

There are two parts to the C1 Advanced Writing exam. Part 1 always requires you to write arehearsalwhile in Part 2 you can choose between different types of text. In addition to comments, you can also decide to choose aproposal, areportof unoemail/card.

Comments are fun!

Comments are fun because reading comments is fun. Who does not like the opinions of some people before making the decision about which restaurant to go to, which movie to see or which book to buy? Plus, in our day and age, we're constantly looking for social proof for a wide range of topics, so reviews come much more naturally to us than they did a few years ago, when the Internet wasn't everywhere, so you may even have written about some from their own experiences online.

Of course, when writing a review for C1 Advanced you must follow a specific structure and meet certain requirements, but the good thing for you is that they are always the same so you can study and practice them and improve every day until you take the official exam and this is no longer the case. it will be a problem for you.

Let's look at different aspects of review writing, from a typical task and its structure, to helpful language and mistakes to avoid. If you are interested, keep reading.

>>>Find out how your C1 Advanced Writing is graded.<<<

What a typical review task looks like

Speaking from my experience as a teacher and preparing several students for the exam, I can say that most revision tasks are quite similar. The structure is very similar and once you know what to look for, you can use that to your advantage, saving a lot of time and going to the test ready and hassle-free.

Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE): How to write a review - Teacher Phill (1)

When looking at a writing assignment for C1 Advanced (not just reviews but really all reviews) you should always ask yourself some very specific questions that can help you better understand what you need to do and set you up for successful writing.

  • What is the situation? (issue)
  • What exactly should I include in my evaluation? (main points)
  • Who will read the review?

To find the answers to these three questions, read the assignment very carefully and underline the key information.

Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE): How to write a review - Teacher Phill (2)

I have underlined the information in different colors as each color refers to one of the questions above. First, the topic is underlined in red. Second, the main points or questions you need to answer in your review are colored green, and lastly, you are writing for a site called Great Lives (blue).

This structure is usually the same for all assignments, so be sure to look for the same type of information each time you sit down to practice reviews.

(Video) Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE): How to Write a Review

You may be wondering why it's so important to know who you're writing for, but this tells you exactly whether to use formal, neutral, or informal language. Imagine that you have to write to your boss or the director of your school. You would choose a more formal style than if you were writing to your friends. In our example, we should choose something that is more neutral in style. After all, we are not the people on the site, but we want to make it as light and interesting as possible.

When writing in a neutral style, you can use contractions like 'I am' or 'I am not' and you can use phrasal verbs as well as interesting adjectives and adverbs to make your criticism livelier. However, I would not recommend using slang or too many colloquial expressions, or anything too formal like you would in a formal essay or letter.

How to organize your assessment

Now that we know what the assignment is about, exactly what to include, and the tone in which to write, it's time to look at the structure of a review. Fortunately, this can be repeated from review to review and you simply need to change the content depending on the theme and main points.

Remember, there are two main questions you need to answer here (Did you learn anything new about the person's life? Did the book or movie help you understand why this person made their important contribution?) It makes perfect sense to give each of These questions have their own paragraph as they talk about different aspects of your review.

Also, you should add an introduction (with a title) that builds anticipation and engages the reader, as well as a conclusion that summarizes your main points and makes a recommendation (because that's why we read reviews). In total, there are four paragraphs that might look like this:

  1. Title/Introduction
  2. What new things did you learn about the person's life?
  3. Do you now better understand why the person made their important contribution?
  4. Conclusion/Recommendation

Of course, your main topic paragraphs should be longer than your introduction and conclusion, and remember that there is a word limit of 220-260 words.

Always plan your evaluation

I say this in every article I write here on and I'll repeat it in this post because it's very important advice. Unfortunately, many candidates just ignore or forget about this and are nervous and not ready for the official C1 Advanced exam, so I want you to incorporate this into your practice.

Every time you sit down to write for test prep, make a plan before you begin your review, report, proposal, email/letter, or essay. It only takes 3-5 minutes and can save you a lot of time when you need to make corrections.

A plan can be very short and just include a few keywords that you add in each title so that you know what you want to write about and don't have to rethink everything in the middle of your writing assignment.

  1. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom - Ask a question to engage the reader. Brief life story.
  2. New things I learned: his job as a lawyer, marital problems, his trust in Winnie.
  3. Why did he do all this? The oppression in South Africa was terrible.
  4. Conclusion: The film offers a great insight into Mandela's life. I definitely recommend it

There is. It only took me a few minutes to jot down my thoughts and now that they are on paper we are ready to write our review.

C1 Advanced (CAE): Reading and use of English Part 1More information
C1 Advanced (CAE): Reading and Use of English Part 2More information
C1 Advanced (CAE): Reading and use of English Part 3More information
C1 Advanced (CAE): Reading and use of English Part 4More information
C1 Advanced (CAE): Reading and use of English Part 5More information
C1 Advanced (CAE): Reading and use of English Part 6More information
C1 Advanced (CAE): Reading and use of English Part 7More information
C1 Advanced (CAE): Reading and use of English Part 8More information
(Video) Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE): How to Write a Proposal



(Video) Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE): How to Write an Essay

The different parts of a review

Once you've seen how to review an assignment, as well as organize and plan your review, it's time to start writing it. We're still working on our example task, and of course you may need to adjust your language and content for different topics, but you should have a good idea of ​​what's expected of you when writing a C1 Advanced review.


The introduction of a review aims to engage the reader from the beginning. You want to build interest and anticipation for what you have to say about the book, movie, restaurant, or whatever else you're reviewing.

It's always a good idea to start with a question, as you can engage the reader's mind and generate the engagement you want. Also, do not give away spoilers, but hint at what is to come in the rest of the text..

Let's look at a possible introduction.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom – A Review

Have you ever been so passionate about something that you would sacrifice your best years for it? Would you put it ahead of your family and friends? In the film Mandela: London Walk to Freedom, we not only get a glimpse into the life of Nelson Mandela, but we also take a deep dive into who he was and how he changed an entire country.

I gave my review a title, which doesn't have to be fancy, and I didn't do anything crazy in the introduction either. Start with a few questions to build interest and don't give away too much of the plot. Obviously, many people know something about the life of Nelson Mandela, but that is not the point. Give the reader just one sample so they want more and keep reading.


The body of your review for C1 Advanced includes all the main points of the topic that we gleaned from the example assignment earlier.

  • What new things did you learn about the person's life?
  • Do you now better understand why the person made their important contribution?

Each point has its own paragraph to ensure that the text is clearly organized.

You'll also want to make sure you hold the reader's attention, which you've carefully captured in the introduction. Treat it like something very valuable that you don't want to lose again at the end of your review.

(Video) Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE) - How to Write an Email/Letter

Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE): How to write a review - Teacher Phill (4)

WhileThe whole movie had me captivated all the time, there was one aspect that really stood out to me. Nelson Mandela and his second wife, Winnie, had asingle relationshippushing each other to continue and grow theanti-apartheid movementin South Africa, even after Mandela wascaptured and a proof oftheir dedication and collaboration is something many of us can learn from.

althoughhave a strong andmanagedYour wife's partner still wasamazedfor the fact that someone endssacrificeand giving so much of his life to help others, but this biopic made me reconsider. witnessing asegregated societyand allracial abusethe black communityhad to endureduring apartheid, there was no option for Nelson Mandela butstand up and fight for equality.

I have highlighted some of the most important features of the language for you. At the beginning of each paragraph, I play withcontrasting statements(while, despite) as this keeps the reader guessing. I also tried using somevocabulary specific to Mandela's life(anti-apartheid movement, sacrifices, segregated society, racial abuse...we had to resist, rise up and fight for equality) and somewords and expressions to make the review more interesting for the reader(unmarried, captured and imprisoned, is testimony of..., astonished).

All these little things together create an engaging review that the reader wants to read thoroughly and thoroughly.


To end your review, you need a conclusion that summarizes what you've written so far and makes a recommendation to the reader. After all, that's why we read reviews in the first place: we want someone to tell us about a product or an experience and see if they would recommend it or not.

There is specific language that you should incorporate when making a recommendation because you want to persuade the reader and make the examiner happy.:

  • I recommend/suggest [title/name] to + person
  • I recommend/suggest + -ing
  • I recommend/suggest that…
  • You must + base verb
  • you may want + base verb

Nothing crazy, but you want to cover all the bases.

All in all, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom offers an incredible look into the life of one of the most famous and influential personalities of the 20th century. It would be a shame for her not to see it, so I highly recommend checking out her favorite streaming service or buying the movie ASAP and I guarantee she won't regret it.

You see that it is very simple. The first sentence summarizes what I like about the movie and the second sentence makes a recommendation and tries to persuade the reader (“I promise you will not regret it”).

How your review is rated

The marking scheme in C1 Advanced is quite complex and there are many things that the examiner must consider when reviewing your review. For this reason, I decided to write an article on how writing paper is marked in the CAE and you can consult it by accessing the following link.

>>>Find out how your essay is graded in Advanced C1.<<<

Now up to you

Follow the advice in this article and start practicing reviews. With more experience, it will become easier for you, and when the official exam comes, you will be ready.

Lots of love,

(Video) Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE) - How to Write a Report

Professor Phil 🙂


How do I write a review for Cambridge CAE? ›

C1 Advanced (CAE) Review: Tips
  1. A title is advisable.
  2. Think about what you are trying to achieve and the structure of your review.
  3. You should also start a new paragraph for every item/aspect you are addressing in your review.
  4. Include a final recommendation or evaluation.
  5. Don't forget!
Jun 20, 2020

Is Cambridge C1 hard? ›

The exam is exhausting, difficult and really tests your English level. If you are not a true C1 level English student with the right strategies, you won't pass. For this reason, don't take the test if you are not sure about your level or if your teacher advises against it.

How do you beat CAE successfully? ›

CAE exam tips to help you prepare
  1. Read frequently. Newspapers, magazines, academic articles, and reports will be key to your preparation. ...
  2. Write in English. Social networks are a great help. ...
  3. Improve your listening comprehension. ...
  4. Chat or hold video conferences.

Can I fail on CAE? ›

There are no pass or fail levels in the individual papers. Your marks for each paper are added together to calculate your result for the whole examination.

Is 179 a good Cambridge score? ›

Those scoring between180 and 192 will receive a grade C. These candidates will receive a Cambridge English: Advanced certificate at Level C1. Candidates who score between 160 and 179 will receive a Cambridge English certificate stating they demonstrated ability at Level B2.

What percentage do you need to pass CAE? ›

To get Grade A (200-209 score), you require 80-91% of points respectively. For Grade B (193-199 score), you will have to get 75-79% of points. Finally, for Grade C (180-192) 60 to 74% is needed.

Is a C1 level fluent? ›


He/she can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for the right expression. He/she can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes.

Is C1 Advanced fluent? ›

C1 English (Advanced)

Level C1 corresponds to users who can express themselves fluently and spontaneously. They can use language flexibly and effectively for all purposes.

Is Cambridge C1 fluent? ›

A C1 Advanced qualification shows that you can:

express yourself with a high level of fluency.

What is the minimum score to pass C1? ›

A score of 180 or above is considered a “pass” and students with that score will receive the Cambridge C1 Advanced certificate, which corresponds to a level C1 in English on the CEFR. Students scoring 200 or above on the C1 Advanced will receive a Cambridge English certificate for level C2.

Does CAE last forever? ›

How Long Are the Certifications Valid? Unlike the TOEFL and IELTS exams which are only valid for 2 years, the Cambridge exams (FCE & CAE) are valid FOR LIFE! Never take another English exam again!

Is it hard to get an A in CAE? ›

The CAE exam will likely be the hardest test you take in your professional life. The path to this certification is full of people who have postponed, quit, failed, and tried again. It's also one of self-examination, deep learning, and transformation.

What is the most popular CAE? ›

Top 10 Simulation & CAE Software
  • Fusion 360.
  • Solid Edge.
  • Simcenter 3D.
  • Altair SimSolid.
  • Ansys Fluent.
  • SolidWorks Simulation.
  • Simulink.
  • SimScale.
Feb 5, 2023

What is the best book to prepare for CAE? ›

Books for CAE students

The best CAE coursebook is Ready for Advanced by Roy Norris. (It used to be called Ready for CAE but Cambridge changed the name of the exam.) It teaches all the grammar and vocabulary you need to pass the exam, plus most exercises are formatted exactly the same as in the exam.

Does CAE have future? ›

In the future, CAE will become even more sophisticated and it will help to model ever more sophisticated designs, while also reducing the time needed for getting a product to market.

What grade is 80% in Cambridge? ›

Each A Level award, in each subject that a student has taken, is graded on a scale from A* through to E (or U, unclassified).
A Level Grading System.
3 more rows
Aug 31, 2022

Does Cambridge C1 expire? ›

How long is my C1 Advanced certificate valid for? Your Cambridge English certificate does not expire. Recognising organisations such as universities, colleges and employers can choose how long to accept results for, so make sure you always check their requirements.

What percentage is an A * in Cambridge? ›

For example, a student who gets the minimum mark necessary for a Grade A* obtains a percentage uniform mark of 90. A student who gets a mark halfway between the Grade D threshold and Grade C threshold achieves a percentage uniform mark of 55.

What happens if I dont pass CAE? ›

Even if you fail to successfully complete C1 Advanced (CAE), you can still get a B2 level certificate that corresponds to the B2 First (FCE) exam. "Certificate of Professional English Language" is an exam for those who speak English at a very high level.

How many paragraphs should a CAE essay be? ›

C1 Advanced (CAE) Essay: Writing Guide. Here is a straightforward way to write a perfect essay. If you have two main points to make, you can give your essay a clear structure by dividing it into four paragraphs.

How many times can you take the CAE exam? ›

Once a CAE exam application is accepted, the candidate can test once within next 12 months (or within two test administrations) at no additional charge. If a candidate wishes to retake the exam within the 12-month period, an additional fee of $250 will be assessed.

Are native speakers C1 or C2? ›

In everyday speech, this level might be called “bilingual”, as in “I am bilingual in English and French.” A well-educated native English speaker is technically at a C2 level.

Is C1 level native? ›

The highest level on the CEFR scale is C1, which is close to the level of English proficiency of native speakers.

How long does it take to reach C1 level in English? ›

How long does it take to learn English?
Level of English (CEFR)Number of hours of instruction
A2 to B1300 hours
B1 to B2200 hours
B2 to C1200 hours
C1 to C2200 hours
2 more rows
Jan 25, 2019

Is C1 Advanced difficult? ›

The answer is yes! You will need to work a lot harder and be serious about your preparation for the C1 Advanced exam. While the B2 First shows you have a good grounding in English, the C1 Advanced is closer to the level of a native speaker.

How many people pass C1 Advanced? ›

The number of people who pass or fail the CAE exam varies from country to country but based on global statistics only less than 5% fail the exam completely. 20% of the candidates get a B2 grade. The rest, i.e. about 75%, pass the exam with a C1 or C2 grade.

Is C1 more advanced than C2? ›

C1 Advanced is targeted at the C1 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), while C2 is targeted at the C2 CEFR level. C2 Proficiency is therefore the more difficult of the two exams.

Does Harvard accept Cambridge C1? ›

Hundreds of universities and colleges across the USA accept C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency for admission; including top institutions such as Harvard University, Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Dartmouth College, Wellesley College and The Juilliard School.

What is C1 Advanced equivalent to? ›

Candidates who have secured a C1 Advanced grade C, having scored between 180 and 192 on the Cambridge English Scale, are at Level C1 of the CEFR and can be expected to be comparable in ability with candidates who have secured 6.5 or 7.0 in IELTS.

Is duolingo a C1? ›

The Duolingo English Test is scored on a scale from 10 – 160.
Duolingo English Test ScoreCEFR
1 more row
Sep 5, 2022

How do you write a review sample? ›

Table of contents
  1. Provide useful, constructive feedback.
  2. Talk about a range of elements, including customer service.
  3. Be detailed, specific, and honest.
  4. Leave out links and personal information.
  5. Keep it civil and friendly.
  6. Feel free to update your review if needed.
  7. Check you've got the right domain name or company.

How to write an review? ›

Tips for writing great reviews
  1. Be informative and insightful: Be specific and relevant to the place you're reviewing, and describe what other visitors are likely to experience. ...
  2. Be authentic: Review your own experience, and explain what the place was like and the service you received.

What is the structure of a review? ›

In general, literature reviews are structured in a similar way to a standard essay, with an introduction, a body and a conclusion. These are key structural elements.

How do you write an article for CAE? ›

1) Include statement declared in the task. 2) 1-2 paragraphs in which you give 2/3 reasons “for” the statement. 3) 1 paragraph in which you give 2/3 reasons “against” the statement but dsiprove them. 4) Conclude by summing up and re-stating your opinion.

What are the 4 parts of a review? ›

After analyzing many book reviews (most or all of which are from mainstream sources), Campbell suggests four elements of criticism: reaction, summary, aesthetic appraisal and historical appraisal.

What are the four types of review? ›

Over the years, numerous types of literature reviews have emerged, but the four main types are traditional or narrative, systematic, meta-analysis and meta-synthesis.

What are the four stages in writing a review? ›

The four stages of writing a book review are: introducing the book, outlining its contents, highlighting parts of the book by selecting particular chapters or themes, and giving a detailed evaluation.

What are the three components of a review? ›

Consider organization. Just like most academic papers, literature reviews also must contain at least three basic elements: an introduction or background information section; the body of the review containing the discussion of sources; and, finally, a conclusion and/or recommendations section to end the paper.

What are three steps of review writing? ›

Let's get started! The three main steps of writing a book review are simple: Provide a summary: What is story about?
How to write a review of a book
  • Provide a summary. ...
  • Present your evaluation. ...
  • Give your recommendation.
Apr 3, 2019

What makes a good review? ›

Your review should be clear, constructive and consistent. Clarity is important because authors will not be able to respond to your concerns if they don't fully understand what they are. Reviews are most helpful if they don't just criticise, but also make constructive suggestions for how concerns may be resolved.


1. Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE) Reading and Use of English - Everything You Need to Know
(Teacher Phill)
2. Cambridge B2 First (FCE): How to Write a Review
(Teacher Phill)
3. Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE): How to Write an Article
(Teacher Phill)
4. HOW TO WRITE: C1 Advanced Letter of Complaint - C1 Advanced (CAE) Writing Part 2
(SMASH English - Cambridge English Exam Preparation)
5. Cambridge B1 Preliminary (PET): How to Write an Email
(Teacher Phill)
6. Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE): How to Write an Essay
(Teacher Phill)


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