Hello, I'm thinking of taking a CPE exam soon, and am practising on sample papers. Most of them are multiple-choice questions that are easy to check against an answer key. Writing assignments, however, are not. Could you please have a look at what I wrote here, and give it an A, B, C, D or E grade, or a percentage? (D and E fail Emotion: wink) And please be honest, and be nitpicky. Any answers from English teachers would be especially valuable. Thanks!

Part 1

Your local council is proposing to ban all cars from the town centre because of problems with traffic, pollution and accidents. However, the following comments were made at a public meeting to discuss the situation:
"My car is the only way I have of taking my children to school safely and quickly."
"The shops in the town centre will close because people will go elsewhere to do their shopping."
"Public transport here is dreadful. We can't rely on it and it is too expensive."
The local council is inviting people to send in proposals in which they express their views of the council's plan and offer possible solutions to people's concerns.
Write your proposal.

To whom it may concern,

I am writing in response to the council's proposition regarding automobile traffic in the town centre, taking into account comments from the public meeting that took place recently. There are three main issues most people seem to have with the strict limitation the council would like to impose.

The first of these is the question of children and their getting to school. That is a trip the children have to make, and if the town wishes to prevent parents from driving their children to school themselves, it should provide a safe and comparably quick alternative, such as a satisfactory network of school buses.

The second issue is related to the shops within the town centre. Although it is a modern trend to remove large-scale shopping to the premises of towns, a ban on all cars in the town centre would make it even harder for our small shops to compete, as people have long since forgotten how to do their shopping on foot. We must decide if we want these shops to stay in town, and if we do, we should somehow compensate their loss, either by simply promoting downtown shopping among the populace, or by directly subsidising them.

The last, and probably broadest issue is one of public transport. Whether or not the council decides to ban cars in the town centre, the low reliability and high prices of public transport are issues that should be of high priority to the council, whenever traffic, pollution or safe streets are being discussed. As experience shows, only very few large cities are capable of creating a self-sustaining municipal transportation system that is reliable and yet affordable to the average citizen, so I propose the companies that offer these services in our town be subsidized as long as they fulfill the standards of quality and affordability the town requires of them.

Thank you for your consideration,

Jenda V.
Now, the papers also provide this for the person giving the exam:Content
The expression of views on the given areas:
  • transporting children to school
  • loss of trade in town centre
  • poor and expensive public transport
Inclusion of possible solutions to the problems above.
Further points:
  • an analysis of why people use their cars so much
  • advertising to show dangers of cars and alternative means of transport
Language for expressing and supporting views, and for making recommendations.

Appropriacy of register and format
Appropriate format for proposal, e.g. clear introduction with possible use of headings.

Organisation and cohesion
Organisation of content into sections. Ideas organised and argument well structured. Adequate use of linking and paragraphing.

Target reader
The local council would understand the writer's viewpoint.

Part 2

The 'Family Page' in your local newspaper has invited readers to write in with descriptions of how they learnt the value of money when they were children. You decide to write a letter describing how as a child you came to appreciate the value of money, and how important money is to you now in relation to other things in your life.
Write your letter. Do not write any postal addresses.
Dear Sir or Madam,
A brief account of my changing perception of money.

Ignorance: I have never needed money before the age of ten, because I never found myself in a place where I could spend it. The only place I spent my monthly allowance of $5 was the school cafeteria, where I occassionally bought a fifty-cent ice cream. The city was gigantic and in comparison, the little human being that was me could hardly achieve anything - let alone go shopping in a world where the only way to move around is in one's very own car.

Appreciation: Since all of my elementary needs have been covered by the resources of my family, the first time I actually felt what having money meant was almost 8 years later, when I spent a year studying in Canada. I worked there for minimum wage, but it was still at least twice as much as I'd make back at home, and it was money I could keep for myself. I only worked for 3 months, but during that time, I made enough money to be able to buy a brand new tenor saxophone when I got back. Although it would take me at least two more years till I found a band to play with again, the great feeling of being able to have my very own, one I didn't have to beg anyone for, remained. The comfort of being able to buy things one wants, besides one's elementary needs, is easy to grow used to.

Consideration: From a theoretical point of view, the way I see money as a law student is as a symbol of merit within society. This means that the more you work or the more others value your work, the more money you recieve (ideally), and it also means that the only valid way of obtaining money is that of providing a service to the society that it requires and/or desires. Interestingly, the institution of heredity causes this symbolic merit to be the merit of families, not individuals, further substantiating the claim that the family is the foundation stone of a state.

Thank you for your attention - I hope my letter will be of use for your newspaper.

Jenda V.
And in the part for examiners:Content
Description of how they learnt about the value of money, e.g. pocket money, small jobs.
Importance of money in relation to other things in life.

Language of description, narrative and discussion.

Appropriacy of register and format
Register and format appropriate for a letter to a newspaper. Register must be consistent.

Organisation and cohesion
Early reference to reason for writing. Clear organisation of points. Adequate use of linking and paragraphing.

Target reader
'Family Page' editors/readers would have a clear idea of writer's experience and viewpoint.
it is <<obscenity removed>> amazing!!!! for real!!! I will take my CPE in december and I'm neither vaguely as good as you. be confident that, provided that you can carry out the other exercises as well as these writings, you will pass your exam with an A.

I would be delighted to chat with you in english, maybe on msn if you want to <<contact informatin removed>> is my address. I hope to speak with you soon

yours sincerely lorenzo losi

<<Please register and provide your contact informatin in your profile if you want others to contact you.>>
I must say your proposal is not very good.

First of all, you should use the formula "To - From - Subject" for the heading. In your case, it would be:

To whom it may concern

From: Jenda V.

Subject: Town Council's plan to ban cars from the town centre

Secondly, you begin your proposal as if it were a letter. It isn't. You shouldn't say "I am writing...". You should refer the purpose of your proposal, for example:

"The purpose of this proposal is to transmit the citizens' views about the Town Concil's plan to ban cars and suggest possible solutions to solve the problems caused by cars, such as traffic, pollution and accidents."

Thirdly, you must start each section with headings. After you use the "To - From - Subject" formula, leave a space line and start your proposal:


The purpose of this proposal is to (...)

Views/Opinions/whatever you think fits best

(people's opinions, as well as yours)


(your own suggestions)





(what was said before)

First Issue


Second Issue


Third Issue

(public transport)


(your own suggestions)



Also, use "will" and "can" instead of "would" and "could", it will impress the examiners because your purpose is to make a proposal you're sure of and these expressions show higher certainty.

Finally, this is impersonal and you should only address the reader directly in certain situations, like "I am sure you will agree with me when I say..." or "I am certain you will take this proposal into consideration.". DON'T write "Thank you for your consideration" separately - it is NOT A LETTER. And DO NOT SIGN, once again it is NOT A LETTER.

I hope I could help you or anyone who reads your post Emotion: smile

Paula Turner (English Teacher)
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Hi. Would you be interested in posting in my blog? www.cpesamplewritings.blogspot.com
I think your samples could help my students a lot. thanks