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

A newspaper that you read regularly is conducting a campaign to encourage schools to teach more relevant subjects, or 'life' skills. Its editor has asked readers to write short articles based on the following question:

What essential topics do you wish had been included in the school curriculum when you were a pupil?

Write the article or the editor of the newspaper. (around 280 - 320 words)

Makeover: Jenny

Read Jenny'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.

Back in the day when I was in high school the curriculum was clear cut; it ranged from languages to economics and mathmatics S with some sport activities in the middle. All were supposed to prepare you for what was to come after graduation; grown up life. But did they really? Who of you was truly ready for social interaction or handling their personal finance, not me I can tell you! No, if I would have had WF a say in it, the subjects under discussion in the classroom they - would have been much closer to life.

One thing I was not prepared for but which proved to be a vital part of my entire adult life was how to handle my personal finance. Some bits and pieces were touched upon during economics class but none of the teachers really explained the pitfalls of a bankloan WF or a credit card, how to balance income and expenses each month and what the effect of a variable interest rate is on your morgage S .

Another worldly subject which schools should spend more time on is social interaction. At school you are surrounded by peers and teachers but that does not prepare you for things like your first job application. I still have vivid memories of mine; I was totally under-dressed, way to cocky and not nearly respectful enough to the person conducting the interview. Needless to say I did not get the job! For this reason alone social behaviour should be much higher on the agenda of schools P but don't forget the other social events we have to deal with over and over again like parties, business events, etc. Who wouldn't want to be the centre of attention at a party? If only some lessons in small talk would have WF prepared us.

A final matter, and maybe the most important one, is our health. We have all read the global reports on overweight children, adults dying of cardiac failure, the list goes on and on. So why is there no focus on a healthy lifestyle at school already? Not only could it save thousands of lives but it would also save millions in healthcare annually. Just teaching kids to pay attention to their intake of fat, sugar, salt, additives, etc. would mean a world of difference. In combination with sports this could hugely improve the lives of future generations, and who knows, we might actually finally be able to become 150 years old! All thanks to a new and improved curriculum.


This is a full and thoughtful response to the question. All content is relevant to the task.

Communicative Achievement
The article has been written in an engaging style, using questions to the reader, exclamations and employing a chatty style throughout. The article is sufficiently well-written for the editor to consider publication.

The article is very clearly and logically organised, with clear paragraphing. Simple linking words are used well, and discourse markers like 'Needless to say', 'For this reason' and 'A final matter' are used effectively. More subtle cohesive devices are also employed. For example 'All' as in 'All were supposed to' and 'they' as in 'Did they really' refer back nicely to the previously-mentioned subjects. 'One thing' points forward to the subject of finance.

A very well written article. You have used both vocabulary and grammatical structures effectively to express simple and more complex ideas effectively. Note the following:

  • ‘Who’ in ‘Who of you was truly ready’ is a little old-fashioned. I think most people would now say ‘which’. However, using ‘which’ suggests there IS one person who was ready. That’s why I haven’t corrected it … because I’m not sure which one to use! However, you could re-write this as:
 ‘Is there any (one) of you who was truly ready …’
  • Remember we don’t often find ‘would’ in both clauses in conditional sentences, so the statement should be
 'if I had had a say in it the subjects under discussion in the classroom they would have been much closer to life.' 
Also. in the sentence above there was a problem with the use a subject twice: ‘they’ and ‘the subjects’, which is why I deleted ‘they’.

  • ‘If only …’ is usually followed by ‘had + past participle’. ‘Would’ is generally used to show irritation. For example:
‘If only he would listen to me’.
Well done!

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Marking Code

/\ Word(s) missing

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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