Flo-Joe for Cambridge English Exams

Cambridge English: Proficiency

Check out students' answers to Flo-Joe's CPE Writing tasks with a teacher's feedback

Writing Class: Article

Task Type: Article

You have been asked to write an article for Job Prospects magazine, a publication for 18-30 year olds, on the following topic:

How taking a gap year*can enhance your career prospects.

*A gap year is a break usually taken between leaving school/college and starting university, and is seen as a valuable way to gain work experience and life skills.

You should focus on the types of job and leisure opportunities for young people taking a gap year in your country (or a country that you know well), the types of skills that can be gained and the likely value of these to potential employers.
Write the article for the readers of the magazine. (around 280 - 320 words)

Makeover: Mathieu

Read Mathieu's answer to this question below. Try correcting the piece of writing yourself first: use the marking codes to think about what might be wrong (or what's good) about the piece of work. Then when you're ready, click the green buttons in the text for our feedback.

Taking a gap year: a personal experience and a career accelerator?

The trend of taking a gap year out from your current job or studies has vastly grown WW/WO since the 1990s. How come more and more people are making the leap: what jobs do they go for and what benefits do they reap?

Waiters or cashiers in fast-food restaurants are common jobs picked for a gap year. It is a real opportunity to gain customer-facing experience, to learn to work under pressure and of course to save money for future projects. A young and a flexible workforce appeals to employers which T, WW expect a high turnover in that sort of job. The experience can prove hard though, as working conditions including a sustained pace and regular late shifts may be poor. Eventually, the range of skills developed will certainly help you to stand out when applying for jobs in the service industry.

Volunteering for a charity, hospital or care home is another option for those looking for a more compassionate experience. It can be personally very rewarding as you may learn a great deal about yourself in helping others in need. If you intend to pursue a career in healthcare, it is also a real way of demonstrating your motivation when applying to school or university. The drawback is on the financial side since volunteering work is by definition not paid.

If a thirst for adventure is close to your heart, you might want to consider travelling. It doesn’t have to be far, we sometimes forget the travel experience can be right on your doorstep so it fits the bill for tight budgets. Going for an abroad option means an extra financial effort but you can get to know a different country, meet different people, improve your language skills and also more broadly learn how to get by in life. And most recruiters certainly appreciate candidates able to speak a foreign language.

All options have their pros and cons, but at WW the end the best advisor is unmistakably yourself. Ultimately, you probably won’t regret taking a gap year simply because you will not only enhance your CV but also gain maturity and many other useful life skills.

Get Feedback on your writing


You have provided a full and very thoughtful response to the task, dealing with your views of the advantages of taking a year out. The reader would be fully informed of your opinions.

Communicative Achievement
You have written the letter in an friendly, engaging register which is entirely in keeping with the target audience and the subject matter. Your views are presented in an interesting way, using questions well to engage the reader. I think you were aiming for a slightly informal tone with your use of questions and the phrase ‘How come …’. To consolidate this you could consider using contractions as this is always a mark of informal style. But that’s a minor point.

The article is clearly organised with a logical use of paragraphs. Good use of linking words and more advanced cohesive devices well.

Your use of English is very natural and almost error free. Excellent choices of vocabulary throughout and some very good sentence structures.

Well done!

Marking Code

/\ Word(s) missing

- Omit word

C Capitalization

Gd Good

O Organisation

P Punctuation

PE Poorly expressed

R Register/Formality

SS Sentence Structure

S Spelling

T Tip

WF Wrong form

WO Word order

WT Wrong tense

WW Wrong word