Writing in your only language can be a challenge, but writing in another language can be a complete nightmare ! Where do you even begin?

If you are taking your Cambridge B2 First exam you’ll have to write two texts in an 80-minute period. In part 1 you must write an essay but in part 2 you will be able to choose between a number of options. This could be could be an email, a letter, a report, a review or an article.

Read more about the format of the Cambridge B2 First exam.

In this writing guide, we’ll focus on how to write an article for the Cambridge B2 First Writing paper – part 2. We’ll also share with you some tricks and tips for passing this part of the exam. You’ll learn how to plan your article, structure it, use rhetorical questions, exclamation marks – and lots more. By the end, you’ll have the confidence to write an amazing article in English!


What is an article and how do you write one for the B2 First?

You’ll find lots of examples of articles in magazines, newspapers and internet blogs. In these texts, writers share information, guides and opinions on specific topics. The idea is to write in a way that grabs the reader’s attention and keeps them interested until the very end.

In the Cambridge B2 First Writing Paper – part 2, you could be asked to write about a variety of topics. However, it’s often something you’ve recently learned to do or know a lot about. For example, the question might be about a concert you’ve been to recently, you favourite hobby or your hometown.

Here’s an example of a B2 First article question.

How to write an article - Cambridge B2 First | Oxford House Barcelona

Now let’s look at how to get started!


How to write an article in three simple steps

You’ve got the question in front of you, so now it’s time to start writing your article, right?

Wrong! If you do that, you’ve missed an essential stage: planning.

You can compare writing an article to preparing your favourite meal. No good tortilla de patatas was ever made without carefully preparing the ingredients first. It’s exactly the same with your writing – only, you’ll need fewer onions. Time management is also important. You only have about 40 minutes total so you need to plan your time carefully.

Here’s how to do it:


Step 1: Make a plan (10 minutes)

Think about the question

Really focus on the question. Decide who your role model is. Is he or she a sporting hero you really admire? Or someone closer to home? It could be a family member that you look up to or a person in the community who’s done something amazing. Think about why they inspire you and make some notes on your ideas.

Think about the tone

Consider the best blogs you read on the internet. Are they relaxed and friendly? Or do they sound like boring school essays? The truth is most articles are quite conversational. They are somewhere between semi-formal and informal. They are often informative, whilst entertaining and engaging the reader. You can also try to add some humour in too!

Think about the structure

Structuring your article is key and there’s normally more than one way to do it. Decide which structure makes sense for the question. Try to keep it logical and include different ideas in different paragraphs.

Here’s an example structure:

  • Paragraph 1 Introduction Start with a catchy opening line to hook the readers. Then introduce your role model.
  • Paragraph 2 – Describe what makes them special Giving examples and developing your answer.
  • Paragraph 3 – Why you chose them as your role model This should be like a conclusion and give the reader a lasting comment or a question to think about.

Note: For many articles four paragraphs will be more appropriate – it depends on the question you are given.

Linkers are a fantastic way to organise your ideas. Experiment with some of these in your next article:

For a start…

Not to mention…

On top of that…


*Remember, you don’t need headings or titles in the article it should read as one continuous piece of work.

Think about vocabulary

Brainstorming vocabulary is a great way to get your ideas flowing. What are some great words related to the topic? List some adjectives for being a good role model. Pick out some verbs related to motivation or any good nouns or collocations you think would work. Throw some phrasal verbs and idioms in there too!

Here’s an example for the question above:

Write an amazing Article - B2 First | Oxford House Barcelona

Think about ways to personalise your writing

Articles tend to have a personal touch. You can be a lot more familiar with the reader addressing them personally with pronouns like ‘you’ and ‘I’. Give your own opinion and also use contractions. Here are some more ways to sound personal:

Have you ever wondered…?

I’m sure you can imagine…

Can you believe…?

I will never forget…

There’s nothing more amazing than…

If you ask me…


Step Two: Write it (25 minutes)

An interesting introduction is the key to a first-rate article. You want to capture your audience’s attention whilst making it clear what it’s going to be about. Start with an opening line that sets the tone of the topic. Try to catch the attention from the first word. Here’s an example:

Firefighters and superheroes are obvious role models. But sometimes the person that inspires us the most is so much closer to home. I have never had a favourite singer or sports star but my father has always been an important inspiration for me.

Next, think about the original question. What makes your role model special? Remember to keep it interesting and include some personal feelings. Use exclamation marks like this:

One of the things that makes my father so special is that he always does everything for his family, and he’s an excellent listener too. Whenever we have a problem he’s always there for us. Not to mention the fact that he’s also really fun-loving! If there’s a party, my dad is the first person on the dancefloor.

But only include one or two exclamation marks in the article or they’ll lose their impact.

Finally you want to tackle the last question. Why did you choose him as your role model? A great technique here would be to address your reader personally and even include a rhetorical question at the end. This gives them something to think about. A little bit like this:

I think my father is the best role model because he is the most hardworking person I know. He has a really difficult job as a doctor and is always saving lives. That’s so inspiring for me!

I really look up to him and he really pushes me to be the best I can be. Wouldn’t you want a role model like my dad?


Step Three: Check it (5 minutes)

Everything has come together and you’ve got your final article. Now you can sit back, relax and put your feet up until the examiner says stop. Wait, not quite!

You’re missing the last important step. Always check your writing. You’d hate for all your hard work to be wasted at the last moment. Here are some things to check for.

  • You included everything in the question
  • You’ve used a variety of sentence lengths
  • The spelling is correct
  • It’s personal and engaging
  • You haven’t repeated the same vocabulary too often
  • It’s not too formal

What are the examiners looking out for?

To get the very best results, you need to know what the examiners are looking out for when they are marking your writing.

These are the four most important things to consider:

How to write an article - B2 First - What are the examiners looking for | Oxford House Barcelona

Ask yourself these questions when checking your work and make any necessary changes before the time is up!


Any other advice for writing an article?

Read, read, read. Go online and search for blogs in English that interest you. If you love sports, look at the sports news. If you prefer fashion, find fashion articles. Whatever it is read real examples for real inspiration!

If you’re still not confident about writing in English, or you want some help preparing for the B2 First exam, take a look at our exam courses.

You can also check out our articles on how to write an Essay or a Review in the Cambridge B2 First.

Good luck!


Glossary for Language Learners


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

Nightmare (n):: a bad dream.

Rhetorical question (n): a question that doesn’t need to be answered, for dramatic effect.

Time management (n): the way to use your time effectively.

Look up to somebody (pv) : to admire someone.

Humour (n): something amusing or funny.

To hook (v): to attract and captivate your attention.

To flow (v): to move steadily and constantly.

First-rate (adj): excellent, top quality, well made or done.

An exclamation mark (n): this punctuation symbol: !.

To tackle (v): dealing with a challenge or something difficult.

To put your feet up (exp): to rest and relax.


n = noun

pv = phrasal verb

v = verb

adj = adjective

exp = expression

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