Book Post

Do you want to encourage your students to read more?  In two of the Cambridge Assessment English qualifications, students can prepare a Set Text before the exam and write about it in Part 2 of the Writing component.  This month’s blog post offers you 6 interesting titbits of information about the Set Text option!

  1. Although it used to be an option in several exams, the Set Text question is only currently available for two of the Cambridge Assessment English qualifications:
    • B2 First for Schools
    • C2 Proficiency
  2. In order to answer the question well, students must be familiar with the Set Text, so if you are not taking this option, remember to tell your students that they shouldn’t attempt the question!
  3. If your students are more motivated by film rather that printed text, you can also study a film version of the Set Text instead of, or in addition to the printed version.
  4. For the B2 First for Schools, the recommended edition of the text is most often an abridged version of the original. At C2 Proficiency level however, candidates are expected to study the original.
  5. The range of tasks types that students may have to tackle for the Set Text question is similar as for other questions in Part 2: article, essay, email/letter or review. Here’s an example from a B2 First for Schools paper:

Answer the following question based on the title below.

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

In your English class you have been discussing the story of Macbeth. Now your teacher has asked you to write an article for the school magazine. Write about an important relationship in Macbeth. How does the relationship change?

Write your article

  1. The titles of the Set Texts change every two years.
The current text for B2 First for Schools is: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (Oxford Bookworms Edition) and this title will remain until December 2020
The current texts for C2 Proficiency are: b Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín (any edition)
 lbo or The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman (any edition)
In January 2020 the C2 Proficiency texts will change to:  nh About a Boy by Nick Hornby (any edition)
 cc or I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (any edition)

So, there you have it – all you need to know to introduce the Set Text option to your students! We’re sure they will find it a motivating choice and studying the text will not only expand their options in the Writing paper but have a positive effect on their performance in the Reading and Use of English and other components as well.  Even the Listening, if you opt to use the film version of the text!