Summer Writing Ideas 2014: A Review

This is the first of a new series of blog posts with some ideas which students at International House Santa Clara can try out to practise their writing skills over the summer.

This post sets up a REVIEW writing task based on a feature we came across in a British newspaper about books that visitors to Portugal should read on their holidays here:  Books about Portugal:  holiday reading guide (  Click the link to read the article.  How many of the books mentioned there have you read?  Is your favourite Portugal related book there?  Is there anything on the list that you’d be interested in reading?  What’s missing from the list?

Want to make your own suggestions?  Here’s a writing task that allows you to do just that…

A travel magazine is asking for reviews of books that might interest visitors to Portugal…

Books about Portugal:  a guide for visitors

We will be running a series of reviews in our magazine which will give visitors to Portugal suggestions of books they should read which are related to that country. Therefore, we would like you to send us a review of one or two books which you would think visitors to Portugal might enjoy.  The book(s) you choose to write about can be…

  • works of fiction or non-fiction (e.g. about travel, food, history, culture, sport etc.)
  • written by Portuguese writers or foreign people writing about Portugal
  • written for adult or younger readers

Send us your review which should include the following information:

  • a brief description of what the book is about
  • who it would appeal to (e.g. adults, young people, food lovers etc.)
  • why you think it would appeal to people interested in Portuguese culture
  • what you liked about the book

Write your review and send it to us.  The best reviews will be published in our magazine.

Interested in giving this task a go?  If so, get writing!  If you’re an International House Santa Clara student, you can send your review to us by email: and we will write back with feedback on your text.  We’ll also publish the best texts on our blog!

Notes for students about writing reviews:

You may be asked to write a REVIEW in Part 2 of the writing paper for Cambridge First, Cambridge Advanced and Cambridge Proficiency.

REVIEW tasks in the exam may not necessarily be book reviews.  You might be asked to review things such as concerts, films, plays, computer games, restaurants etc.

Here are some tips for Cambridge First Review writing from Sofia, a student at International House Porto:

Here are details of the word counts for Part 2 Writing tasks for each exam:


  • December 2014 format:  120-180 words.
  • Post January 2015 format:  140-190 words.


  • December 2014 format:  220-260 words.
  • Post January 2015 format:  22o-260 words.


  • 280-320 words.


To read some sample reviews written by students with teacher feedback, visit  Advanced Writing makeover 9

Some general advice for writing for Cambridge English exams from Cambridge English:



Filed under B2 - Cambridge English: First, B2 - Cambridge First Writing, C1 - Advanced, C1 - Cambridge English: Advanced, C1 - Cambridge English: Advanced, C2 - Cambridge English: Proficiency, Reviews

2 responses to “Summer Writing Ideas 2014: A Review

  1. Pingback: Summer Writing Ideas 2014: an Article and an Essay | IH Santa Clara Blog

  2. Pingback: Summer Writing Ideas 2014: an Article – 24 hours in Coimbra | IH Santa Clara Blog

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