|EE-025c| B1: Preliminary – Writing [Part 2b: Writing a story]

Hello Exam Seekers,

Today I’m going to continue talking about the Cambridge English B1 Preliminary (former PET).

As you know, I have already written about the B1 Preliminary Reading and Use of English Exam, which is divided into six parts. If you haven’t read them yet, make sure you do:

Then, I started talking about the Writing Exam, which is divided into two parts:

In part 1, candidates have to write about 100 words answering an e-mail. There is no other option. For part 2, candidates have to choose to write an article or a story based on the guideline. So, candidates must write 100 words, answering one of the questions, and if they do it properly, they can get up to 20 marks.

Today I’m talking about the second option: Writing a Story.

Cover for Cambridge English B1 Preliminary Writing Exam part 2 writing a story

Here is the third question with the sentence to start your story:

Cambridge B1 Preliminary Writing Exam Sample - Writing a story
Cambridge B1 Preliminary Writing Exam Sample – Writing a story

As you can see, the story has to start with the sentence, As the plane flew lower, Lou saw the golden beaches of the island below. This means that, when writing this story, you have to mention something related to flying a plane, going to, being at, or passing by the beach, and something about an/the island.

If the story they ask you to write involves these elements, there is no reason why you would write something else like cooking, studying, sports, etc. Stick to the topic.

Remember that you have to write up to 100 words or so. If you write 90 to 110 words, it’s not a problem. I’d try to use 110 words instead of 90 because using the maximum number of words available usually shows that you know more. Also, be careful because the more you write, the more mistakes you can make.

So this is how I would do:

As the plane flew lower, Lou saw the golden beaches of the island below. It was still small from where he was, but it looked inviting. Lou could also see tiny people from the plane. They seemed to enjoy the water and the sand. He then decided to enjoy the beach himself, so he tried and landed the plane on the ground.

He got undressed and jumped on the sand. As his feet touched the soft sand, he felt good. The beach was almost empty. There was no noise. Also, the island was so clean. He decided to spend the day there and enjoy himself. It was a great day, after all.

As you can see, there are 112 words. As I mentioned, if you are taking the paper-based exam, 112 is not problematic. But if you take the computer-based exam, you might not be able to write more than 100 words.

In my post about Paper-Based x Computer-Based exams, I mention the advantages and disadvantages of both. Also, you will find techniques on how to count words and write shorter/longer texts.

Well, if your text is too long, read again and eliminate words or change them. Here is another sample of how I could write using fewer words:

As the plane flew lower, Lou saw the golden beaches of the island below. It was so beautiful and so inviting. He found the right spot and landed the plane on the ground. As soon as his feet touched the soft sand, he felt good. Then, he took away his T-shirt and ran to the ocean. The clean and clear blue water felt so good when it touched his body. He decided that he would spend the entire day there, feeling the heat of the son on his face and the cool water on his feet.

As you can see, now I have 95 words, which is a good count.

There are four important things that you have to pay attention to when writing:

  • Word count: write about 100 words;
  • Mistakes: read and re-read to make sure you didn’t spell anything wrong;
  • Cohesion and coherence: make sure your text makes sense with the proposed sentence and that it has a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Use the sentence provided: the activity says “your story must begin with this sentence“, so you must put this sentence into your first paragraph. It’s mandatory.

You don’t need to use fancy words, although Cambridge pays attention to the words you use. So if you want to practice writing, below, you can find a B1 Preliminary Vocabulary List pdf file to help you write using the CEFR B1 level vocabulary.

Now, why don’t you try and write a story? Write in the comments below, and I’ll make sure to check it!

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Have a great week,
Patricia Moura

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