Next Workshop: October 12th – October 21st 2016
When preparing for a Cambridge First (FCE), Advanced (CAE) or Proficiency (CPE) writing exam, we often follow the advice in our books and try to copy the style and examples. But how can we be sure we are producing what the examiners are looking for?
Cambridge have a very clear criteria for correcting your exam. Your writing will be graded on 4 areas: Content, Communicative Achievement, Language and Organisation. Understanding what exactly this means and how it relates to your writing is key to producing high-quality work that scores highly in the exam.
When you answer writing exam questions, do you often worry that you should be including specific grammar structures or set phrases?
Simply put, you should! The examiners expect to see certain structures and vocabulary at each level. There are many different grammar and vocabulary elements that you could use to demonstrate your level and your choice will be dependent on your existing knowledge. However, you must be sure to show the examiners a good variety of these.
Do you worry that your writing is too simplistic even though you are confident it doesn’t contain many mistakes?
It’s true that a perfectly error-free writing can still fail a Cambridge exam because it is not sophisticated enough for the level. The key to avoiding this is learning exactly what elements make a text “sophisticated”.
Desktop English’s Online Cambridge Exam Writing Workshop is What you need
Our writing Workshops led by Stephen Lee give you the chance to rapidly improve your writing through structured practice, constructive feedback and the opportunity to interact and share ideas with others taking the same exam as you. We give you clear, easy-to-understand, expert advice and practice on how to write sophisticated, grammatically and lexically complex pieces of writing that score highly in the 4 graded areas. What’s more, we do all this in a 10-day workshop during which you will increase your writing score significantly and boost your chances of not only passing your exam, but scoring an A or B grade in writing.
How it works:
We use Google +, Drive and Docs to make living, interactive corrections of your work and collaborate with you to make improvements. Take a look at this short explanatory video:
Day 1 – I post an original exam question and some writing tips to think about while you write.
Day 2 – You write your answer to the question and post it in the G+ community.
Day 3 – I post your fully personalised correction explaining your errors and recommending improvements. I ask you to make 2 key improvements in your next 2 pieces of writing. You can, at this stage, view the work of the other Workshoppers in the Community and chat with them and me about ways of improving.
Day 4 – I post a full writing exam with links to model answers of the questions and more tips. You study the models and the tips.
Day 5 – You write your 2 pieces of writing, being careful to work on your key improvements. Submit the texts for correction.
Day 6 – You receive a personalised correction of your two pieces of writing, specifically evaluating your key improvements and, if possible, giving 1 more key area of improvement for you to focus on. Another writing question, an example answer and some tips on exam writing in general will be posted in the Community and discussed among the workshoppers.
Day 7 – You complete and send your 4th piece of writing for assessment.
Day 8 – I post your writing personally corrected with an evaluation of your performance so far.
Day 9 – You now have to rewrite your very first piece of writing trying to reflect all of the improvements you have made during the course. You then post it in the community for correction and final appraisal.
Day 10 – I post your personalised correction and an email of final advice based on your strengths and weaknesses, suggestions for the exam and a predicted score range.
All of this costs just £60. When you consider how much time you have invested in preparation so far and how much you are paying to take the exam, £60 to dramatically improve your chance of passing is great value
Our experience shows time and time again that the writing paper is where Cambridge exam candidates can make the biggest improvement in the shortest space of time – therefore boosting their overall score. The 10-day workshop is intense but it is exactly this intensity that focuses the “workshoppers” on the key improvements necessary to boost that writing score. The price is fantastic value considering the amount of resources you receive in the workshop to help you get the pass you deserve.
What do writing workshop graduates say about their experience
I tried the workshop because I felt my writing needed extra attention. I had been preparing in a language academy in my city but we didn’t write enough for me to be confident about the exam. The Workshop made me realise how quickly you can improve in writing if you focus strongly on it. I was worried it would be too much work for me in just 10 days. It was a big challenge but it was worth it. – Natalia I. (Passed CPE)
The workshop gave me the motivation I required to finish my preparation. I prepared on my own for the exam using the books but I needed a teacher to correct my writing. Desktop English corrected a few of my writings throughout the year but it wasn’t until I did the workshop that I began to feel a big difference in my confidence and control in the task. I learned more about exam writing in 10 days than I had done all year. – Cristian L. (Passed CAE)
The help I received from Steve and the other workshoppers was the main reason I scored an A overall in the exam. My greatly improved writing score boosted my overall score as you can see from my statement of results (shown below). Having that “Cambridge FCE Grade A (C1)” certificate on my wall is partly due to the small investment I made to participate in this workshop. If you are serious about passing the exam, you would be crazy not to do the workshop. – Anders H. (Passed FCE with C1 Certification)
I took part in the February workshop, as I was sitting my CPE exam in March. I was especially concerned about my writing, as I hadn’t written any lengthy texts for about 12 years, so I decided to try Desktop English to help me brush up my written skills and help me with the layout of this part of the exam. I am so glad that I did, as it really helped me focus on what was required, gave me a good insight of my weaknesses and really helpful advice on how to improve. I got my results on Tuesday and I passed at grade A!My writing was 220 out of 230, so I wanted to thank Steve and the DE team (and my fellow workshoppers as well) – Mercedes G
Frequently Asked Questions about the Writing Workshop
Q. I am already studying with a local academy. Should I do this workshop?
A. In a word, yes! Our intense 10-day workshop is unlike any other experience you will have had preparing for the exam. It is unlikely that you will have focused so strongly on writing throughout your course yet this is one area where some of the most rapid and significant improvements can be made. You should definitely try a workshop before your exam even if your teacher has corrected many of your writings in class. It’s always good to get a second opinion on your work and allow an expert look at your work objectively. You will feel more confident on the day of the exam once you have completed the workshop.
Q. What if I cannot complete all the writing pieces in the workshop?
A. Firstly, with the extra motivation of working in a community with other engaged workshoppers, it is more likely that you will surprise yourself with what you can accomplish. If, by any chance, you are unable to finish your work in time, you can submit any outstanding pieces to us later.
Q. What about the other parts of the exam like listening and Use of English?
A. It’s absolutely true that you will not pass the exam by just excelling in writing. However, writing practice can help you with use of English and Reading because you are constantly learning and perfecting new structures. We at Desktop English offer help in all areas of the exams. Just look out for other events and workshops on the listings page. For now, the writing workshop -our most established product – is a very good place to start.
The Desktop English Writing Workshop – A Unique Learning Experience
Our own research and experience show that the writing workshop gets results. We came up with the idea of the writing workshop when we realised how much so many candidates’ writing scores were behind their reading and speaking skills in particular. We decided that this couldn’t be because writing is especially hard. Surely speaking requires more speed of thought and mental dexterity! We believe that comparatively poor writing scores in the Cambridge exams simply reflect a lack of training and attention in that area. We think we can address that in just 10 days.
The workshop costs just £60 (around a quarter of the exam fee), which is fantastic value considering you get 5 personalised corrections of 5 original exam questions, 10 days of personalised attention from Steve, not to mention the support of your fellow workshoppers. You get dedicated support from Steve via the community meaning you can ask him any questions throughout the 10 day period and be sure to receive a quick answer.