Did you know that there are two parts to the C1 Advanced Writing exam?

Part 1 is always a mandatory essay.

Part 2 has three different tasks, however, you only need to choose one of them to write about. They can be:


In this blog post, we’re going to focus on how to write letters and emails for the C1 exam. They’re both pretty similar and follow exactly the same writing process, so you’ll save yourself a lot of time by covering both of them here!

Let’s start by taking a look at the differences between a C1 letter and email.


What is the difference between the C1 Advanced email and letter?


Emails and letters in the C1 Writing exam are very similar. Once you learn how to write one, you’ll find the other one a breeze to write!

For now, we’re going to keep things simple and just focus on how to write a C1 letter, however, the steps below are exactly the same for an email.


Three steps to write a C1 Advanced email/letter


Step 1: Plan it

Take a look at the exam question below.

How to Write a C1 Advanced Email and Letter_Plan it

Source: Cambridge English

While reading the task, you need to keep these questions in mind:

  • Who am I writing to?
  • What is the topic?
  • What exactly do I need to include?

Let’s underline the answers to these questions in the exam task.

How to Write a C1 Advanced Email and Letter_Plan it_

Source: Cambridge English

For this task, your reader is an English friend (red), so you need to make sure that your language is informal. If you’re ever unsure whether you need to write formally or informally, pay attention to the kind of language that’s used in the original letter/email. If they write informally, then you need to write informally.

The topic (orange) is that your friend is coming to town for a week. This is the perfect time to start thinking of expressions, grammatical structures and vocabulary that you want to include in your writing.

Lastly, you need to mention where your friend should go, what they should do, and why (blue). You can get really creative here and invent some places and activities.

So, now that you understand the task and have your plan ready, let’s start writing!

Step 2: Write it

Your letter/email should follow this structure:

  • a greeting and opening paragraph
  • topic paragraphs
  • a closing paragraph/statement and goodbye

Let’s take a look at the example answer below written by a candidate.

How to Write a C1 Advanced Email and Letter_Write it

Source: Cambridge English

The greeting is informal and the opening paragraph (red) is a short response to what was mentioned in the original letter. Your opening paragraph should always clearly state why you are writing or at least reply to something that was mentioned in the original letter.

Next, we can see that the candidate wrote three topic paragraphs (blue) which suggest places for their friend to visit, things they can do there, and reasons why their friend should go. They include phrasal verbs, contractions and informal language, which are all appropriate for this specific task. Also, notice how the candidate invents things about their friend. So long as you don’t go off on a tangent, adding little details like in the example can be a great way for you to show off some idioms and vocabulary to the examiner.

The closing paragraph (orange) wraps up the letter nicely before finishing off with a friendly and informal ‘take care’. A top tip for the closing paragraph is to include something you want your reader to do. This can be giving you a call, visiting you while in town, writing back with information, etc.

Step 3: Check it

Now that you’ve finished writing your text, it’s time to check it. Make sure to give yourself at least 10 minutes to check your writing.

Here’s a quick checklist of things to keep in mind:

  • Have you done what the task asked you to do?
  • Is your style of writing and tone appropriate?
  • Is your vocabulary appropriate?
  • Is your text well connected and organised?
  • Have you checked your spelling, grammar and punctuation?
  • Have you used a good range of vocabulary and grammar?

Useful Language


The text we looked at in this blog post was quite informal, however, sometimes you need to write something that’s more formal. To make things easier for you, here’s a handy table which shows what you should and shouldn’t do for each style of writing.

How to Write a C1 Advanced Email and Letter_Useful language


Top Tips to pass the C1 Advanced Writing Exam


  • The writing exam is 90 minutes in total, so split it evenly between Parts 1 and 2.
  • For Part 2, give yourself 10 minutes to plan, 15 minutes to write and 10 minutes to check your writing.
  • Write approximately 220–260 words.
  • Your reader could be a family member, company director, school principal or an editor of a magazine, so learn to use the correct level of formality.

Time to practise your writing


Now it’s your turn to start writing!

Have a go at the task below. Just follow the steps and tips that we’ve mentioned above and you’ll be fine!

How to Write a C1 Advanced Email and Letter_Practise

Source: Cambridge English Advanced 1 Certificate in Advanced English with answers, Cambridge University Press and UCLES, 2014

Looking for more help with your C1 Advanced exam preparation?


If you’re looking for feedback on your writing and further guidance on your C1 Advanced exam preparation, why not check out our exam preparation courses? Our classes are dynamic and practical, and our friendly professional teachers will help you get the score you need.

Glossary for Language Learners


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

be a breeze (id): to be very easy.

go off on a tangent (id): to start talking about something that’s only slightly related to the original topic.

show off (pv): to do something to impress someone.

wrap up (pv): to conclude.

handy (adj): useful.

split (v): to divide something.


adj = adjective

id = idiom

pv = phrasal verb

v = verb

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