Ben Crompton

Writing in the exam: recipes for success

Many students find writing challenging, but with the right focus we can change this. This practical workshop examines how B1 students can adopt a formulaic approach to paragraphing and structure that achieves great results every time, all the while keeping them engaged in this crucial communicative skill.


This workshop is based on several years’ work into how to prepare students more effectively for the writing paper in Cambridge exams from B1 to C2. The method of teaching writing – whereby you focus students first on how to build paragraphs using microwriting activities – has been very successful with students, and can give them a lot of confidence about getting good marks in their Cambridge exams. The workshop is very practical throughout. Participants are given a full pack of materials for the session with an example lesson plan that they can use ‘on Monday’ with their students, and a link to access tonnes more writing resources and lesson plans.

To begin with we take the idea of a ‘target reader’ and think about what they are expecting from a text and how crucial it is to keep them engaged in what you’ve written. Following this, participants follow a method for writing a B2 level paragraph, based on a writing lesson they can use with their students. We use this, along with the idea of keeping the target reader engaged, to analyse the way students should present and connect ideas in their writing.

The next step introduces three levels of organisation in writing and the level they are taught at (linking words at B1, cohesive devices at B2, and organisational patterns at C1), and explore how these can be taught and used at all levels, with a focus on topic sentences.

The final stage of the workshop introduces writing recipes: tried and tested model answers which students can use to guarantee successful answers in the writing test.


Ben Crompton has been teaching since 2007 and has been based in Jaén since 2011. He has a keen interest in training and development which he has honed whilst working as ADoS and DoS, as well as running English summer camps, and is a Cambridge speaking examiner. He believes that exam preparation should be fun, motivating, and engaging for everyone.

Writing in the exam - recipes for success materials.pdf