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How to write a letter that will get you a perfect score in the B1 (PRELIMINARY CAMBRIDGE EXAM)

The reading and writing tests are joined in the Preliminary English exam. You have 1:30 minutes to do all of the exam. SEE How to do the reading part of the exam B1 (Preliminary Cambridge Exam)

It consists of:

– 5 reading parts

– 5 rephrasing questions (see How to do rephrasing B1)

– A short text of 35-45 words (see How to do Q6 of the writing B1)

– A letter of 100 words or a story of 100 words (see How to write a story B1). DO NOT DO BOTH OF THESE QUESTIONS. CHOOSE 1

Spanish+Flag (Para la versión española hay que traducirlo en el menú de la derecha)

When writing at B1 level, it is important to remember that the examiner wants the text to be simple. It needs to be easy to read and have few errors with the use of simple grammar structures. It also needs to include some complex grammar (modal verbs, conditionals, passive, reported speech, relative clauses). DO NOT OVER COMPLICATE IT! Look at the example texts to see how it is done.

Writing: letter (100 words). The format of a letter is essential. It is very important to organise the text with separate paragraphs so that it looks like a letter and not a general text. The letter is a response to a section of a letter that you have in the question. You usually need to answer 3 points or questions. DO NOT INCLUDE THE ADDRESS! The letter must be 100 words long, NO MORE.

Common questions

¿How much time do I have to write the letter?

You have 1:30 minutes in total. We would suggest a maximum of 25 minutes to write the letter.

¿What happens if I write more that 100 words?

It is not good to write more than 100 words but You must not include irrelevant information.

¿Should I write a short plan?

YES! It is important to plan well. You need to think about the important information from the question and cover all of the points in the letter.

Example of a letter

This is part of a letter that you receive from a friend from the UK

 

I am coming to visit you next month and I want to go to a traditional festival in your country. What is the most important one in your region? Why is it celebrated? Write to me and tell me about it.

Dear Martin,

Thanks for your letter; it is great to hear from you. There are many festivals in my region but there is one that you cannot miss.

The fair in Albacete is one of the best festivals in all of Spain. Hundreds of thousands of people visit it every year. It always begins on the 7th September and lasts for 10 days. It is great because there is music and great food; it is really easy to meet new people too. They also have bullfighting if you are into that.

When exactly are you going to arrive? I could pick you up if you like.

I´m looking forward to seeing you.

Tom

FOR MORE EXAMPLES OF TEXTS AND KEY PHRASES SEE APPF.ES

Structure of the text:

Greeting: Thank the person for the letter you have received

Introduce the topic: Talk about festivals in Spain

Answer the 1st question: which festival?

Answer the 2nd question: Why is it celebrated?

Ask a question so that they reply to you

Closing: say goodbye

Common mistakes

The first mistake is the format of the letter. Some people write the text as a paragraph, not a letter. YOU WILL NOT PASS IF YOU PUT THE LETTER LIKE THIS!

Dear Martin, Thanks for your letter; it is great to hear from you. There are many festivals in my region but there is one that you cannot miss. The fair in Albacete is one of the best festivals in all of Spain. Hundreds of thousands of people visit it every year. It always begins on the 7th September and lasts for 10 days. It is great because there is music and great food; it is really easy to meet new people too. They also have bullfighting if you are into that. When exactly are you going to arrive? I could pick you up if you like. I´m looking forward to seeing you. Tom

The second mistake is the candidates do not answer the question. DO NOT WRITE THE LETTER AS IF YOU WERE THE PERSON ASKING THE QUESTIONS. ANSWER THE QUESTIONS

I am coming to visit you next month and I want to go to a traditional festival in your country. What is the most important one in your region? Why is it celebrated? Write to me and tell me about it.

YOU MUST RESPOND TO THESE QUESTIONS TO PASS!

Grammar and vocabulary

At B1 level you mist include some types of complex grammar. You do not need to be 100% accurate but you need to try to use them. They include:

  • conditionals (1º and 2º)
  • passives
  • relative clauses
  • modal verbs

If you follow this advice you will get a very good score on the writing part of the exam. Good luck with your exam preparation and don´t forget to comment if you want to learn anything else. You can find a complete course for the preparation of B1 at WWW.APPF.ES

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