Are you preparing for the Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE) writing exam? If those pre-exam jitters have started to appear, don’t worry! Allow us to help you overcome those fears, as we talk you through the Cambridge C2 Proficiency report.

By the end of this blog, you’ll know what a typical Cambridge C2 report question looks like, what to include in your plan, what grammar and vocabulary you should incorporate and how you can best prepare for this part of the C2 Proficiency writing exam.

Of the four skills that make up the exam, writing is arguably the one you can prepare for the most. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s go!


What is a report?


According to the Cambridge C2 Proficiency exam page:

Guide to the Cambridge C2 Proficiency Writing Exam – Part 2: report |  What is a report-C2 Proficiency | Oxford House Barcelona

The report is one of six options you can choose from in the C2 Proficiency Writing paper Part 2, along with the mandatory essay that you’ll complete in Part 1, which we covered in our Guide to the Cambridge C2 Proficiency Writing Exam – Part 1: Essay blog post.


Report format


  • Word count: 280–320.
  • Register: formal.
  • Main purpose: inform, compare, comment on, recommend, analyse.
  • General structure: title, introduction, two main paragraphs – each with a subheading, and conclusion.
  • Common themes: the success (or failure) of events, the quality (or lack) of facilities, the availability (or unavailability) of features.

What does a report task look like?


Below is an example task from the Cambridge website. We’ve underlined the key features of the question which will help you know what to include.

Guide to the Cambridge C2 Proficiency Writing Exam – Part 2: report | Report Example Task | Oxford House Barcelona

So, underlined in red is the general theme of the task, and what you’ll talk about in your introduction and use as inspiration for your title. In yellow, you can see who the target reader is, and this will give you ideas on how formal your writing should be. In blue, you can see the bulk of your report. In this case, the two or three ideas which will form your main paragraphs, each with their own subheading. Finally, everything underlined in green is the basis of your conclusion.


How should I structure a report?


As shown through the underlined sections in the task, a report can be separated into parts. Therefore, the structure should be easily organised into these corresponding sections.


  • Title
  • Introduction
  • Subheading 1
  • Main paragraph 1
  • Subheading 2
  • Main paragraph 2
  • Subheading 3 (conclusion)
  • Conclusion

What should I include in each section of my report?


Reports are purposeful. So, the title should be simple and straightforward. This will give the reader a clear indication of what they are going to read. In your introduction you should set out what you aim to achieve. Here are some useful phrases you can use:


The aim/goal/purpose of this report is to…

This report is intended to show/analyse/evaluate/discuss…


A report is usually based on a fictional event, and in this case, with an instruction to include your opinion in the evaluation. Therefore, you have some freedom to be creative when talking about what you are actually reporting on. This means you can be a bit crafty! Now could be the time to use all those fantastic collocations and set phrases that you have up your sleeve!

Here are a few of the typical topics we see in reports and some go-to collocations:


Educationto pursue higher education, to broaden one’s horizons, to enhance critical thinking, to foster lifelong learning, to acquire knowledge.

Jobsto secure gainful employment, to climb the corporate ladder, to embrace professional development, to excel in one’s career.

Facilitiesstate-of-the-art facilities, cutting-edge research facilities, meticulous attention to detail, substandard construction.


In terms of the grammar which is appropriate for a C2 report, here is a golden opportunity to use those amazing grammar points you have on tap. Here are a few ideas:


Negative inversionsNot until later did the job seekers discover the lack of networking opportunities at the job fair. Little did the organisers anticipate the overwhelming crowds at the job fair.

Conditional structures with alternatives to ‘if’Had there been more companies in attendance at the job fair, participants would have had a wider range of job opportunities to explore. Were the job fair held in a more convenient location, a greater number of professionals would have attended.

Impersonal passiveIt is often noted that valuable networking connections can be made during the job fair. It was expected that a variety of job opportunities would be showcased at the job fair.


When it comes to writing your conclusion, you should be as direct as in your introduction. This is the opportunity to explain the findings of your analysis. Time to wrap up what you’ve discovered and include your recommendation. Here are several phrases to include:


Based on the findings of this report, I would suggest/recommend (+ gerund)…

It would be highly advised to…

It would be strongly encouraged to…


In the example task taken from the Cambridge website, the target reader is a college website. So, this tells us that the readers will likely be college students, teachers and parents of students. Therefore, we can use a formal to semi-formal register. This means contractions are okay, you can use phrasal verbs where necessary, but you should avoid colloquial expressions and idioms.


What else can I do to prepare?


Well, now you have the foundations of a plan, and some ideas of how to build your house, it’s up to you to decorate the walls! Reading is a fantastic way to boost your vocabulary and consolidate grammar doubts. With summer approaching, there’s no better time to get stuck into that novel you’ve had since Christmas!

Now, you’re ready to practise! Time to get writing! But, one more thing … don’t forget to check, double-check and then triple check your report once you’ve finished! Don’t let silly mistakes cost you valuable points!


More helpful C2 Proficiency resources


Guide to the Cambridge C2 Proficiency Listening Test

Passing Cambridge C2 Proficiency: Part 3 Reading and Use of English

Passing C2 Proficiency: A Guide to Reading Part 6

Shadowing: A New Way to Improve Fluency at C2 Level


Looking for further support?


If you’re interested in preparing for the C2 Proficiency exam but don’t know where to start, get in touch with us here at Oxford House today! We offer specific courses that are designed especially to help you get ready for the exam. Let our fully qualified teachers use their exam experience to guide you through your learning journey. Sign up now and receive your free mock test!

Glossary for Language Learners


Find the following words in the article and then write down any new ones you didn’t know.

Jitters (n): signs of nervousness.

Make up (pv): make an amount of something complete.

Bulk (n): large size.

Set out (pv): start an activity with a specific aim.

Crafty (adj): clever, especially in a secretive way.

Have something up your sleeve (id): have secret plans or ideas.

Go-to (adj): used to describe the best person, thing or place for a particular purpose or need.

On tap (id): available.

Findings (n): results, discoveries.

Wrap up (pv): complete something successfully.

Get stuck into (id): start something enthusiastically.


n = noun

pv = phrasal verb

id = idiom

adj = adjective

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