BELOW THERE IS INFORMATION ON THE INTERNATIONAL EXAM FIRST B2
read the following instructions to develop your report.
Contents hideThe different parts of a report
A report is usually written for a superior (e.g. a teacher) or a peer group (e.g. members of an English club). Candidates are expected to give some factual information and make suggestions or recommendations. A report should be clearly organised and may include headings.from: Cambridge English First Handbook for Teachers
Reports are part of the second section of the FCE writing exam. While you have to write an essay in the first section you can decide if you want to write a report or choose one of the other options which could be an article, a review, a letter/email or a story (Stories are an option only if you take the FCE for Schools exam, but there you don’t write reports).
Writing a report is better (and easier) than you might think. The requirements are not very complicated and my students don’t usually complain too much when we practise in class.
As with all the other writing tasks, reports follow a specific structure and they are normally quite similar, which means that if you know the most common characteristics, you can become very good at it in a very short time and, therefore, score really high marks.
So, in this post we are going to find out what reports look like, all you need to know about their typical structure and language and things you should be careful with in order to avoid easy mistakes. With all that being said, let’s get right into it.
As mentioned above, report tasks always look similar and once you know what to search for, you will see that there are patterns which you can take advantage of. A typical task might be like the one below:
With all the different writing tasks in the FCE exam you have to check two things when you read the information given:
Read the task carefully and underline the key information to find the answers to the two questions above. Because I’m a nice person I’ve already done it for you:
So, what do you have to include? In almost every writing task in the FCE exam you will find that there are three main points. In this example, you have to include the best (1) and the worst (2) aspects of the club as well as your suggestions for new facilities (3).
Making a suggestion/recommendation is the one piece of content that we can see in every single report because, after all, reports are usually written to make a suggestion, aren’t they? To sum up, while each task talks about a different topic there are clear similarities for you to benefit from, especially making a suggestion.
The other question was about the reader of your report. As you can see above, the manager of the club is going to be the person you are going to write to.
You might ask yourself why this bit of information is important. The short answer is: register. When we speak or write in English there are different levels of politeness and/or formality and in the FCE writing exam you have to be careful to choose an appropriate tone depending on your target reader.
Because the manager of the club has authority we should be polite and use formal to semi-formal language. This means you shouldn’t use contractions like ‘I’m’, but instead write ‘I am’ nor colloquial expressions like ‘Cheers!’, but rather ‘Thank you’. This also includes phrasal verbs so try to avoid those too. (I am going to give you some useful expressions for report writing further below in this post so just continue reading .)
OK, now that we know what to include and how formal/polite we have to be we can start organising our report. Luckily, reports can always be organised in a similar way because most tasks ask you to do the same (just with a different topic).
If you remember, there are three main points we have to include in our report:
It probably makes sense to give each of these main topic points an extra paragraph so we’ve already got three. Let’s add a title and an introduction to this so we get to four main sections, which work in almost every single report:
In a report we also give each section a heading so your text will look like my post here clearly separated in different parts so it becomes easier for the reader to find a specific piece of information.
Plan before you start writing
There is one mistake that I see so often that I can’t even count it anymore, but way too many students practise and practise the different writing tasks and feel confident going into the exam, but then they simply forget this super important step and mess up their test.
Of course, I’m talking about planning what you are going to write. It is so easy to do, takes only 3-4 minutes and saves you so much time and frustration. Please, always make a plan before you start writing. Just make a list with the different paragraphs like the one above and add just a few notes to each section. This way, you know the structure of your text, what you want to include and I promise you will feel more relaxed once you begin.
The different parts of a report
Using our example task from above we are now going to go through each part of an FCE report so you know exactly what is expected and what mistakes you need to avoid. Please note that these are general guidelines for report writing and you will have to adjust a little bit from task to task, but I’m going to try and help you with some general advice and useful language.
A report is always based on facts (even though you will normally have to invent those ‘facts’) so it is not so much about making it sensational, but to be very clear and to the point. In your introduction, therefore, you should clearly state why you are writing the report and what is going to be included. Also, try not to repeat the words as you find them in the task, but instead paraphrase and use your own words. You can also say where you got the information from, but this point is optional.
Useful phrases to start your report with include:
Keeping all of this in mind, the introduction to our example task could look like this:
The purpose of this report is to outline the best and worst parts of our club, which I gathered speaking to other members, as well as to recommend improvements to the facilities.
And that’s it. Focus on the task and state very clearly what your report intends to do…nice and easy.
The topic paragraphs are where you give most of the information of your report. Again, it shouldn’t sound like a great story, but be factual and clear. In the example we have to describe the best and worst aspects of the leisure club. From this information we will later make our recommendations so we want to tie everything together nicely.
Of course, there are always things to be careful with:
OK, let’s see what Teacher Phill came up with:
The best aspects of the club
Most members seem to enjoy the swimming pool with it’s daily water exercise classes and the opportunity to swim in 50-metre lanes. It also appears that offering a child care programme is appreciated by the majority of our members since many of them have families, but still would like to use the facilities of the club.
The worst aspects of the club
According to most of the members I have spoken to, the café does not meet their expectations with below-average food and slow service. Another problem is the state of the gymnasium which, in general, is avoided by many because of broken equipment and a lack of staff during peak times.
There you have it. I included formal language and expressions to generalise as well as some passive structures (is appreciated, is avoided), which helps to make the report sound more formal and also moves it away from my personal perspective. I focused only on the task and expanded a little bit on each point that I made.
So far so good, but we still have one last part to look at so let’s go!
Last but not least, we need to finish off our report with our suggestions to improve the clubs facilities. You should always base your recommendations on the things you wrote in the previous paragraphs to make sure that your report as a whole makes sense.
You can do this by using some specific language:
One last time, check out my idea for a nice final paragraph:
Suggestions to improve the club’s facilities
Based on the findings of this report the best solutions seem to be to improve the quality of the menu and the service at the café as well as the maintenance schedule and number of staff at the gymnasium. If it is decided to follow my recommendations, I am sure that the experience for our members can be improved even more.
As you can see, my suggestions are well connected to the two topic paragraphs (problems with the café and the gym). I also used specific language (Based on the findings …, If it is decided to follow my recommendations, …) and some passive voice to keep the report formal until the end.
If you take my advice and put all the parts together, your report will be well connected with lots of useful language and the right tone for a report. Examiners will love it.
Have a go! These are extra exercises for the grammar on Reported Speech we have seen in Unit 12 of our Coursebook : Language focus 3 ( page 156)and language focus 4( 157).
INTERACTIVE SET 1) https://www.perfect-english-grammar.com/reporting-verbs-exercise-1.html
INTERACTIVE SET 3) https://www.esl-lounge.com/student/grammar/4g11-reporting-verbs-exercise.php
Let´s dive into it!!!
We are going to work with this pics and instructions today!
TIPS for the speaking tasks
Let´s record our vocabulary leads for this activity. Leave your comments!
LOOK AT THESE TIPS TO DEVELOP YOUR ESSAYS
Should include a discussion of both the points in favour and against zoos. Include a short conclusion giving your opinion and offering an idea of your own.
Semi-formal. The teacher would be informed and would know what your own opinion is.
Could include a brief introductory paragraph. The points in the main body of the essay should be in a logical order, i.e. the positive role of zoos to begin with, the negative view later. The final paragraph should be a conclusion with an idea of your own.
Language of opinion ('In my view....'), and argument and comparison ('On the one hand....'; 'However, a major criticism is ....'). Aim for a variety of language (e.g. advantages and disadvantages = pros and cons; pluses and minuses). Should not contain major errors that lead to misunderstandings or that irritate the reader.
Work in teams and answer the following
1) What is the theme of the story?
2) What do the following symbolise? the house- the cab- the elevator
3) What does the narrator say about Mrs Foster? What can you say about her personality?
4) What does the narrator say about Mr. Foster?What can you say about his personality?
4) how many words related to nervousness can you find in the story?
Let us put our knowledge to the test!
Modals of Deduction: here are some self-correction exercises and funny notes! have a go!
Funny notes on Modal verbs of deduction: https://www.slideshare.net/DavidMainwood/present-and-past-modals-of-deduction
FCE training 2: go about this interactive reading exercise
SOCIAL NETWORKS: FRIENDS OR FOES?
Test your knowledge.
DOWNLOAD THE AUDIOS. WE WILL WORK WITH FILES 1-18 FOR THE LISTENING TEST PART 1
Let´s have a go to these exercises. Choose 1 word from each exercise ( no matter whether it is a NOUN, a VERB, an ADJECTIVE, etc.) combine the three of them in a sentence. Leave your sentence in the "comments" section below. Leave your name and surname.
Here you will find the activites in chronological order.