Flo-Joe for Cambridge English Exams

Cambridge English: Proficiency

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Writing Task (go to Checklist)

Writing Paper Part 2. Task Type: Review

You are in charge of the publicity at your local arts centre, which is staging a series of cultural events with the following title: "Remembrance of things past". There will be a series of book readings, as well as showings of plays, films and TV programmes from the past whose themes are still relevant today. Your boss has asked you to select a piece of work (from any of the list above) and to write a review that will be given to audience members on the night of the performance. You should include contextual background information as well as an explanation as to why the work is still relevant in today's society:

"Remembrance of things past" -
an exhibition of classic works with a contemporary relevance

Write your review for inclusion in the programme. (around 280 - 320 words)

What you need to do to pass
Read our checklist first to understand what the examiner is looking for in a good answer.

Ideas for writing
Ask yourself the following questions to help you get started:

  • Firstly, decide if you are going to chose a book, play, film or TV programme from the past. Jot down the key details, like the author or screenwriter, and when it was published or made. You can weave these details in throughout your review.
  • Now make some notes about the background to the work:
    Was it set in a time of great social or political turmoil?
    Was the social context important?
  • Write down some notes on the key events, the setting and/or the key characters. This will be a small part of your review so don't include too many details or you will go over your word limit!
  • Finally, what themes are explored in the work and how are they still relevant today? Example
    Theme: Second World War; Relevance: many countries are at war today
  • Remember that you are writing your review for members of the audience, so you need to strike the right balance between informing them and being condescending. Which sounds better?
    Example 1: William Shakespeare was a playwright whose works contained many important themes, such as family rivalry and sexual jealousy.
    Example 2: Shakespeare's themes of family rivalry and sexual jealousy are well known.

    (Scroll to the bottom of the page for the answer.)

Drafting and proofreading your work

You should look at your first draft of the task and decide:

  • Have you answered the question fully?
  • Is the layout and organisation appropriate for a review of this kind?
  • Is the language accurate with a good range of structures?
  • Is the style appropriate and consistent for your review?
  • Will it help the audience members to appreciate the importance of the work you have selected?

If the answer is 'no' to any of these questions then you will need to do some more drafting!

(Answer: 2)


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