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CAE - review

Paper 2 Part 2 - Review

A REVIEW may be about a book, magazine, film, play or concert; it may also be about a product or
a service. A review in the Cambridge English: Advanced Writing paper does not merely ask for a
general description of the thing reviewed, but requires an evaluation of its suitability for a particular
purpose or audience. The target 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

A title is advisable.
Think what your are trying to achieve and, in the introduction, DO give your reader and
indication of the structure of your review. You should also raise a question in your
reader's mind.
Start a new paragraph for every item/aspect you are addressing in your review.
Try to make it interesting by using a wide range of vocabulary: colourful, lively language;
comparisons to describe something; specialised topic vocabulary.
DO give your assessment of what you are reviewing and DO NOT forget to cover all the
points mentioned in the task input.
DO include a final recommendation or evaluation in the final paragraph.

Don't forget!

The target reader is specified in the question, so the candidate knows not only what register
is appropriate, but also has an idea about the kind of information to include.
Language of opinion (positive, negative), recommendation, description is necessary.

Useful language for a review

What I liked

What I liked most was ..

The thing I liked most was .
I was pleasantly surprised by ..
.. would appeal to ..
If you get a chance to .

What I disliked

What I disliked most was ..

I was disappointed by/with

Reviews of books
main character
is set in
Fiction: science fiction / thriller / fantasy / mystery / historical / romance ...
Non-fiction: cook book / travel book / textbook / manual / coffee-table book ...
atmosphere / plot
written by

Reviews of concerts

artist / band / musician / (bass/lead/rhythm) guitarist / (backing/lead) singer / drummer /

soloist / trio / orchestra
auditorium / hall / venue / lyrics / (catchy) tune / score / gig

Reviews of exhibitions

painting / sculpture / handicrafts

gallery / catalogue / display

Reviews of films

lead role
star role
star actor/actress
secondary role
He plays a .
written by .
cast / director / producer
is set in ..
based on a true story ..
true to life
not very believable
(As for fiction books +): animation / adaptation / comedy
Costumes / design / photography / script / special effects / soundtrack

Reviews of plays

scene / act / set / stage / interval

Reviews of TV programmes
Chat shows / current affairs programme / debate / documentary / series / soap opera/ sitcom
(situation comedy)
Host / presenter

Reviews of hotels, restaurants, etc

attractive / disappointing setting
owned by
run by
head chef (restaurant)
waiters (restaurant)
staff .
staff at reception .(hotel)
hotel facilities .
reasonable prices ..
good/excellent/poor value for money ..
(a bit/somehow) expensive
not worth the money
always fully booked
book in advance


The script seemed rather conventional/predictable to me.

The plot struck me as completely bizarre/absurd/incomprehensible
The characters are appealing and true to life
The dancers were quite brilliant/amateurish


I would strongly encourage you not to miss/not to waste your money on...
I would definitely recommend seeing/visiting/reading/having a look at ...

Model questions and answers

Review - Model question 1

You see this announcement in an international magazine called Cinefilia.

The most UPLIFTING and the biggest DOWNER.
It's sometimes hard to choose a film that fits your mood purely on the basis of the poster or the
description on the cover of the DVD. That's why we want to publish reviews of the most uplifting and
the most depressing films our readers have seen, so that others know what to watch and what to
Send in a review which describes the most uplifting film you've ever seen and the one you found the
biggest downer. Make sure you give reasons for your choices.

Write your review in 220-260 words in an appropriate style.

Review - Model answer 1

In this review I am going to compare two contrasting tales about overcoming adversity. Whereas The
Blind Side (2009) left me with a huge grin on my face, sadly, Doctor Zhivago (1965) left me feeling
the weight of the world on my shoulders.

Doctor Zhivago, directed by five-time Oscar winner David Lean, is set in the Bolshevik revolution and
follows the title character, who must adapt to the new order while pining for Lara, the beautiful wife of
a political campaigner. The director succeeded in creating a film that is thoroughly engaging but full
of gritty realism, cruelty and tragic irony. Take the tissues!

The Blind Side, which is based on a true story, is also a bit of a tearjerker, in a completely different
way. Starring Sandra Bullock, who won an Academy Award for her portrayal of a rich white mother in
Tennessee who takes a homeless black teenager under her roof. Understandably, the gentle giant
thinks he isn't good at anything but his new mother sees his potential to become a football star and
part of the family. The plot is based on a true story, making it all the more touching.

I would strongly recommend The Blind Side. It will appeal to a range of people and is a great choice
for a movie night. Although Doctor Zhivago is a classic, I think it has more of a niche audience and is
best saved for when you want a dose of gloom!

[+/- 245 words]

Review - Model question 2


You see the following advertisement in a music magazine.

Ever fancied yourself as a music journalist? Now's your chance.
We're looking for enthusiastic music lovers to write a review of their favourite album of all time. We
want to know why you love it and why you think everyone should listen to it. It doesn't matter who the
artist is or how old or new the music is.
Send in a review of your favourite album of all time giving reasons for your choice.

Write your review in 220-260 words in an appropriate style.

Review - Model answer 2

A thrilling album

I'm certainly not alone in my choice of favourite album. In fact, Michael Jackson's "Thriller" has sold
over 50 million copies worldwide since being released in 1982, and still currently holds the much
coveted title of "best-selling album of all time". A toe-tapping blend of pop, funk and R&B, it's sure to
get everyone grooving at a party, yet also contains unexpected emotional power in the lyrics.

Jam-packed full of catchy melodies such as the opening "Wanna be startin' something" and the
famous "Beat it", almost every song makes you want to hum along. It's like a feast for the ears, with
a range of styles from the soft duet ballad with Paul McCartney "The Girl is Mine" to the rock/pop of
the title track. The album will leave you with no doubt of the unique and extraordinary talent of the
King of Pop. What disco would be complete without a few of his renowned numbers?

Unlike much of today's mordern pop, this album actually deals with a huge number of deep themes
such as jelousy, loneliness and obsession. The song "Billie Jean", for example, chronicles a story of
a crazed fan who insists that she has his baby. Not hard to imagine that the artist was channelling
some real experiences in his writing.

It doesn't surprise me at all that this remains the best-selling album of all time and I challenge evern
the most cynical listener to play "Thriller" without tapping along.

[+/- 245 words]

CAE - proposal

Paper 2 Part 2 - Proposal

PROPOSALS and reports have a similar layout (see reports in this same section).
Reports are based on current circumstances or situations whereas proposals are
action plans for the future. You give more space to the current situation in a report
and more space to recommendations for future actions in a proposal.

First things first...

1. Begin by brainstorming ideas, in any order, and don't worry about language at
this stage.
2. Group your ideas under headings for each section of your proposal.
3. Write a first draft, paying attention to the level of formality of the language.

Don't forget!

Begin by stating the purpose of your proposal.

Use an impersonal, semi-formal style.
Use clear layout with headings.
Express opinions and make recommendations in the last section of your
Include a final sentence summarising your opinion.
Use bullet points but not too many.

Useful language for a proposal

Stating the purpose of the proposal

The principal aims/objectives of this proposal are to...

This proposal is intended to...
In this proposal I describe/evaluate/present/assess...

Background information

Comments made at the end of the questionnaires suggest...

Following a survey among families of young children...
Concerned members of the local community were invited to attend...
A number of concerns with regard to the most recent street party were
expressed by locals...

Making recommendations and suggestions

A working group should be set up by...

There should be an enquiry into...
I recommend that a larger survey should be conducted before a final decision is

Final recommendations

The results of the survey/questionnaire suggest that the introduction of

heavier fines would seem to be the best option/choice/solution.
If these recommendations are implemented, the situation is bound to improve.
Unless these suggestions are implemented, it is unlikely that there will be
any improvement in the short term.

Model questions and answers

Proposal- Model question 1


Your college currently doesn't provide enough support for students planning to spend
time studying in another country. You see this notice in the library.

The college is planning to introduce a special course for students planning to spend
time studying in another country. The college principal invites students to send a
proposal outlining any problems students may face whe studying abroad and
suggesting ways in which the course could address these problems. A decision can
then be made about what to include on the course.

Write your proposal in 220-260 words in an appropriate style.

Proposal- Model answer 1


This proposal is intended to outline common issues students have when studying
abroad, and suggest ways that a course could help them to deal with these. The final
section makes recommendations about what should be included in the course

Problems when studying abroad

Interviews were conducted with 20 students who have recently completed a student
exchange programme. The majority of students were of the opinion that overcoming the
language barrier in their new country was the biggest challenge and nearly half also
said that they experienced culture shock. Other problems cited included unrealistic
expectations, loneliness and packing the wrong things - particularly being unprepared
for a different climate.

Ways a course could address these

A course could prepare students for culture shock by raising awareness of the
phenomenon and describing cultural differences that students may encounter in their
host country. To aid participants with language, a course could include some useful
phrases for the first days after arrival, in addition to some resources for language
learning. The course could also include a discussion about combating isolation and
adjusting expectations.


I would like to make the following recommendations:

Invite students who have previously studied abroad to share aspects of the
culture they found surprising and give advice on what to take.
Provide a list of useful phrases, together with suggestions of useful resources for
language learning such as websites, blogs or e-books.
Facilitate a discussion about engaging with people to avoid loneliness and

If these recommendations are implemented, young people are bound to feel more
prepared for their experience.

[+/- 265 words]

Proposal- Model question 2


Students at your college have to give a spoken presentation as part of their final
assessment and need some help. The school director has invited you to send a
proposal outlining any problems students have with presentations and suggesting how
these problems could be overcome.

Write your proposal in 220-260 words in an appropriate style.

Proposal- Model answer 2

Helping with students presentations: a proposal


In this proposal I will describe some of the difficulties students at this school have with
preparing their final presentations, present the key needs to be addressed and conclude
by making by making a series of recommendations on how teachers at the school could
assist students with overcoming the obstacles to giving a successful presentation
Current situation

Following discussion among the students, it has become clear that many of them are
feeling very nervous about the upcoming presentations. A number of students are
struggling to select an appropriate structure. Comments made suggest that students
lack previous experience in public speaking and would like opportunities to practise
before the final assessment.

Key needs to be addressed

Students require additional help with topic selection and presentation structure, and
opportunities need to be provided for students to gain experience in front of others.


I would suggest the following actions to teachers at the school:

Provide students with a list of possible presentation topics.

There should be a lesson or workshop on structuring a presentation for those
who are interested.
I recommend that students are given time during class to practise their
presentations in small groups.
Additional upfront speaking opportunities should be incorporated into classes
including plays and games.

If these suggestions are implemented, it will lead to increased student confidence and
performance for the final presentations.

[+/- 225 words]

CAE - report

Paper 2 Part 2 - Report

A REPORT may be written for a superior (e.g. a boss or college principal) or a peer
group (e.g. club members or colleagues). The content of a report is to some extent
factual and draws on the prompt material, but there will be scope for candidates to
make use of their own ideas and experience.
Candidates will be asked to do more than describe a situation; they may be asked to
evaluate to what extent a particular aim has been achieved, or to suggest an alternative
course of action.

Begin by stating the purpose of your report.
You may use invented statistics to provide a succinct summary of your results.
Use a clear layout with:
Headings. They will make it clear that your report is not an essay or
Lists of numbered points or bullets where appropriate. (DON'T overdo it,
though. If you use them in more than one section, you won't be able to
show the full range of structures and vocabulary you know.)
Divide your report into sections according to the input.
Develop the ideas in the task input.
Include a sentence summarising your opinion at the beginning of the final
section of your report.
Use an impersonal, formal style.

Useful language for a report

Stating the purpose of the report

The principal aim/objective/purpose of this report is to provide a description of... /

to provide/to present results of /to assess the importance of ...
In this report I will provide a description of ... / I will provide/present results of .../ I
will assess the importance of...
This report describes/provides an assessment of... / describes/provides/presents
results of...

Describing how you got the information

I conducted a survey of / I conducted interviews with local council officers ...
... responded to an online questionnaire.
I visited three of the most popular ...
... were invited to attend a focus group...

Reporting your results

Most of those responding to the survey stated that/expressed the opinion that ...
According to ...
A large/considerable/significant/ proportion of respondents/informants/those
surveyed said that ...
Nearly three quarters of the ...

Presenting a list

The arguments against ... are the following:

1. ...
2. ...
The following were the main reasons given for supporting ...: firstly, ..., secondly,
Points our informants mentioned in favour of/against ... were:
1. ...
2. ...
There are several ways in which ... might be ... :
1. ...
2. ...

Making recommendations

Taking all the factors mentioned into account/In the light of the results of the
survery/questionnaire, ... would appear to be the most viable
I would therefore recommend ....
Clearly, more could be done to .... I would make the following recommendations:

Model questions and answers

Report - Model question 1

An international development agency has been looking into attitudes to aging around
the world. The research director has asked you to conduct a survey and write a report.
Your report should discuss how young people where you live feel about older people in
the community and the prospect of growing older themselves. You have also been
asked to make recommendations about how attitudes could be changed.

Write your report in 220-260 words in an appropriate style.

Report - Model answer 1


The main objectives of this report are to describe how young people in Gava feel about
elderly people in their area and aging themselves. I will present results of a survey I
conducted with a random selection of 200 young people at a local high school and in
the final section I will include recommendations as to how attitudes could be improved.

Attitudes to older people

According to my survey, a significant proportion of young people never or hardly never

spend time with someone aged 65. Reasons that respondents gave for this included:
they have nothing in common, the elderly don't like teenagers and lack of time. More
promisingly, nearly three quarters of those surveyed (74 percent) agreed that they could
probably 'learn something' from older people.

Attitudes to aging
Those responding to the survey were almost equally split between preferring to think
about it as little as possible and those who never thought about it. For those who did
think about it, the prime concerns were loneliness, poor health and boredom.


Clearly more could be done to bridge the gap between young and old in our community.
I would make the following recommendations:

Set up volunteer tutoring opportunities for elderly citizens to help younger

people at the high school with academic work or practical skills.
Invite young people to tutor old people in technology use, e.g. how to
text/send emails in return for a donation to be used for social events.

Hopefully, increased contact between the groups will lead to greater understanding and
more positive attitudes.

[+/- 260 words]

Report - Model question 2


An international market research company has asked you to write a report on

advertising in your country. The company that has commisioned this report wants to
know about the most common approaches used and how consumers respond to them.
You are also asked to suggest changes to current approaches or alternative
approaches which you believe would be more effective.

Write your report in 220-260 words in an appropriate style.

Report - Model answer 2


In this report I will provide a description of common types of advertising in Australia and
present results of consumer responses to these. The final section makes
recommendations for possible changes to increase the effectiveness of campaigns.

Common approaches

Television and radio continue to play an important part in advertising campaigns and
celebrity endorsements often feature prominently. Print media, including billboards,
posters and flyers, are also ubiquitous, especially in large cities. Some companies
target consumers by giving away samples in public places and supermarkets,
aggressive telemarketing or door-to-door sales. Many companies use social media
strategies such as online competitions or special offers for 'likers'.

Consumer responses

I conducted an online survey with 200 Australian contacts. An overwhelming majority

cited that they found telemarketing and door-to-door sales people intrusive, annoying
and rude. Nevertheless, over half admitted to buying something from someone through
one of these channels. People generally said that they liked advertising when it was
suited to their interests or used humour. A number of respondents mentioned that they
'loved free stuff' and would tell others about something they had been given.


In light of the results above, I recommend the following:

Make sure telemarketers and door-to-door salespeople have adequate

customer service training.
Target young people such as university students for giveaways as this will
likely result in positive word-of-mouth advertising and online reviews.

[+/- 230 words]

Report - Model question 3


Your local council is conducting an enquiry into the volume of visitors to the centre of
your town or city with a view to encouraging more people to make greater use of shops,
restaurants, cafs and entertainment facilities there. You agree to write a report
describing the existing situation, including factors which discourage people from coming
to the city centre and recommending ways of attracting more visitors.

Write your report in 220-260 words in an appropriate style.

Report - Model answer 3


The principal aims of this report are to provide an overview of the volume of visitors
using services in our city centre and to identify factors which deter people from using
them. The final section makes recommendations as to how the situation could be

Current situation

I conducted interviews with a random selection of shoppers and customers in local

restaurants and cafs. Fewer than half regularly visited the city centre. Among those
who did make frequent use of what is on offer, most cited the pedestrianised Mitchell
Mall as their favority area. Smaller numbers enjoyed shopping or dining around Holmes
Square, though several people said they found the traffic noise disagreeable.
Factors preventing greater use of city centre services

There was a clear division between those who regularly visited the city centre and those
who so infrequently. The latter cited traffic congestion and pollution along with inflated
prices for goods as factors that acted as a deterrent. For those who frequently came
into town, on the other hand, the pedestrianised area and the outdoor caf were a major


Clearly more could be done to attract people to our city centre. I would make the
following recommendations:

extend the pedestrianised area to include the streets surrounding Holmes

Square so as to capitalise on what is already an attractive area.
encourage shops, cafs and restaurants to offer discounts to regular
maintain access to the pedestrianised areas for cyclists.

This final recommendation will encourage those who currently cyle into town to continue
to do so, while reducing noise and pollution from motor traffic.

[+/- 270 words]