Summer Writing Ideas 2014: an Article – 24 hours in Coimbra

This is the third and final post in our series of writing tasks for our students to try out over the summer.  For the other tasks, click here:  Task 1, Task 2.

This post sets up an article writing task in which you’ll write a travel feature about your city giving suggestions for how visitors can best spend 24 hours there.  It is based on these authentic texts found online:

Here are the task instructions:

An international magazine for travellers has asked readers for articles for a series entitled 24 hours in…

24 hours in Coimbra

What should visitors to your city do if they only have 24 hours to spend there?  We’d like to hear about how you think visitors should spend their morning, lunchtime, afternoon and evening in your city.  Your article should give suggestions about what to see and do and where to eat.  You can target your article towards a specific groups of travellers if you wish (e.g. Visitors with family, travellers on a tight budget, backpackers, culture  lovers, party animals etc.) or keep it general if you prefer (note:  if you choose a specific group, state who you’re writing for early in the article).  When you suggest places to visit and things to do, you should also give plenty of reasons about why visitors should do these things.

24 Hours in Coimbra - How should visitors spend a day in your city?

24 Hours in Coimbra – How should visitors spend a day in your city?

 Advice to writers

Some suggestions for those of you who’d like to try this task out…

  • Follow the links above to the texts from The New York Times and Time Out to get an idea of how to organise and lay your text out.  Brainstorm possible headings for different sections of your text.
  • Think about the content of your text and your reader.  Decide who your text is aimed at and think of places to visit, eat, relax and things that your reader would enjoy doing.
  • When you have some ideas of things to do, try your day out!  Do part of your itinerary and get a fresh insight into things your reader would experience and write down ways to describe it in an interesting day.
  • Think about the language you’re going to use.  Do you need to look up any translations of key words for your text in an online dictionary?  Think about descriptive language that you can use to make your article as interesting as possible.  Think about the style you’re going to write in;  Are you going to address the reader directly or just describe your itinerary in a more general way?  If you’d like to explore some texts in which travel writers write about Coimbra, visit our pinterest board.  You can pick up some ideas about the styles you could use to write your text and some interesting vocabulary for describing places and experiences from these texts.

  • Be ambitious with the language you use when writing.  Try out different ways to say things until you feel you’re pushing the language level beyond the basic.  Watch our tips video for some advice on how to do this.

Candidates taking Cambridge English:  First, Advanced (up until Dec ’14 but not from Jan ’15) or Proficiency could be asked to write Articles in Part 2 of the Writing paper.  To make the task more exam-like, aim to write within these word limits:  First:  around 190 words, Advanced:  around 260 words, Proficiency:  around 320 words.

So, why not take this opportunity to practise your Writing skills?  We’d love to read the results.  International House Santa Clara students can even get feedback on their texts.  All you need to do is type them and send to us at  Happy writing!


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

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