5 tips for passing your Cambridge writing exam

We had such a great response to our “5 Tips for Passing your Cambridge Speaking Exam” that we thought we’d share some tips for the written exam. These apply for every level and some are useful for any written exam!  You can thank us later ;)

  1. Answer ALL the questions

Sometimes nerves get the best of us, but the best way to approach this exam is to stay cool, calm and collected – and make sure you fully understand and answer the ENTIRE question. Not just a portion!

Take your time and break the question down if you need to. Just make sure you fully comprehend what they are asking you to do.

  1. Make a plan

This applies to any written exam! The key to success is a roadmap. Before writing your answer, scribble down a little plan of what you intend to say, and how. This will also help you form a solid structure.

The rest is just filling in the words.

  1. Use linking words

Speaking of words! Remembering your vocabulary. You’ve been preparing for this all year and now’s your time to shine. Link your points together with the correct words. Such as, therefore, whereas however and everything in-between.

  1. Don’t be a hero!

We like to think we’ve taught you a great deal of new vocabulary this year, and to prepare, it’s a good idea to memorise some of these words to use in your written exam. If you get to the day, and draw a blank, don’t be a hero! Don’t try and use long words if you’re unsure of the meaning, or they seem unnecessary in the context.

Here’s a new word for you:

Sesquipedalian – (adj) someone or something that overuses big words.

Don’t be that guy!

  1. Count your words

The written exam answers will have a word count attached to them – one that you need to make. You don’t want to be more than 10% under or over that word limit. So count your words! While you’re studying for the exam, get into the habit of counting your words so you know what 100 word looks like, and what 1000 words look like! Then, when it comes to the day, be sure to count to make sure you hit your goal.

That doesn’t mean count every word! You can get an approximate value by counting the number of words across the line, and times that by the number of lines you’ve written on.


If this sentence has eight words in it.

And I have written about the same

for every line. Then, I just need to

multiply 8 x 4 and I know it’s around 32 words.



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