How to Pass FCE Writing part 2 “REPORTS”

1. Tense. Read the question carefully. What tense should the REPORT be in?
2. Layout. (Mise en page) This should be very tidy and well organized with underlined sub-headings. (I have put my subheadings in bold)
3. Imagine that the report is real!

Example Question:
The school where you learn English has decided to buy some DVDs in English. You have been asked to write a report for the Principle suggesting what kinds of DVDs the school should buy. In your report you should also explain why students at the school will enjoy these DVDs.

OK, so if this was a real situation, you would probably ask all the students what sort of DVDs they would like. You would maybe do this with a questionnaire. Also, if the situation was real, you would probably have a budget. How much do DVDs cost? What is the situation at the moment? Are there already a few DVDs or none at all? You have to use your imagination.
So, I’m going to answer the question using the Present Simple in the Introduction. I’m going to use the Simple Past (and Passive) in the second part, and I’m going to use some modal verbs in the conclusion. (I want to show the examiner that I can use a lot of different tenses.)
Remember – this is a REPORT to the Principle, NOT a letter!

Example Answer:

English Connection School of English intends to buy a selection of DVDs for the school library. This report examines what sort of DVDs are appropriate.

Current Situation:
At the moment there are more than 100 videos in the school library. However, not many students still possess a video recorder therefore no-one borrows them.

Student’s choice:
All students were given a questionnaire which asked what sort of DVDs the students would like to see. The results are as follows: More than 75% of students wanted to see British films. Although they prefer American films for their action, almost everyone agreed that British films are easier to understand. Suggested films include “Harry Potter”, “The Queen” and “The King’s Speech”.
Students are also interested in documentary and factual films, particularly documentaries about science, nature, animals and history. These films have a slow and clear commentary and at the same time they are educational. Films of this sort include “Into the Wild”.

A full list of requested films is attached.

• DVDs currently cost between 5 and 20 Euros each, depending on the age of the film.
• I suggest buying 100 DVDs to replace the videos which are no longer used.
• Buying at least 3 copies of the most popular films would be sensible.
• This should be possible with a budget of 1,000€.

213 Words

(I have put in the answer that “a list of requested films is attached” – of course, I am only pretending. I will not really attach a list of films.)

The examiners are looking for a clear and logical answer.
Start with “Report on ……..” Then write your introduction.
Finish with “Recommendations” Then write your conclusion.
The other sub titles depend on the question.

Let’s look at another report question:

A group of language students age 14 – 18 is going to visit your town. You have been asked to write a report on different places to eat, both for them and their teachers.

Report on Restaurants in Vannes, Brittany
Vannes is a pretty medieval town with a Port which attracts tourists all year round. There are plenty of places to eat for all types of budget.

Galettes and Crêpes
For students on a tight budget, the best place to eat is in a Crêperie. You should try these pancakes which can be filled with anything you like, such as cheese and ham; and then try a sweet crêpe with, for example, chocolate, lemon or apples. The menu is long so there will be something for everybody.
Each Galette or Crêpe costs between 3€ and 7€. Try “Le Dan Ewen” in the Saint Patern part of town.

Salon de Thé
Alternatively, why not try “Le Salon d’Agnès” in rue Noé? Agnès makes wonderful homemade quiches and salad and cakes. Go early (12 o’clock) to get a table. This is also the best place to go if you just want some hot chocolate, or coffee and a cake.

There isn’t a McDonald’s in the town centre, but there are places near the Port where you can buy sandwiches. For a really cheap meal, try the pasta shop in rue Thiers. You choose your pasta and your sauce and you can either eat it there or take it away. Most local students find a place to sit down at the Port.

Italian & Pizza restaurants
There are plenty of these throughout the town, but “Le Cosy” in rue Thiers is particularly good.

Fish & Seafood
Brittany is well known for its seafood. Try a plate of “Moules Frites” in one of the restaurants at the Port.

Gastronomic Restaurants
You will find several restaurants which serve traditional French dishes. You could try the Alsace restaurant at the Port, or go to the Saint Patern part of town where there are lots of good restaurants. Le Terroir has a very nice, cosy atmosphere, especially in winter as they have a log fire.

• Always book on a Friday or Saturday night, especially if a large group is going.
• All prices include service.
• Don’t have wine with your Galettes and Crêpes, drink Breton Cider instead.

Note the use of “bullet points” in the final RECOMMENDATION paragraph. You don’t have to use them, but it looks more like a report if you do.
If you don't know the name of real places - invent them.

Finally, and this is REALLY IMPORTANT, check your spelling and grammar for stupid mistakes such as “he have” or “you can to buy a sandwitch”.


Mulled Wine

TO MULL verb (pronounce the "U" like sun, run, fun, mum NOT like pull)

1. followed by "over" to think about, to consider eg: I don't know whether to leave my job or not. I need to mull it over.

2. to heat and sweaten wine with spices. (MULLED WINE)

At Christmas time English Connection offers every adult student a glass of MULLED WINE.

There are lots of different recipes for this hot winter drink - but as many of you have asked for my recipe - here it is:-

You need: Red wine, orange juice, sugar, an orange and the following spices:

blogging 1 193.jpg

Quantities? I'm afraid there is no exact science to this - because everyone has their own preference. You just need to add a little bit of this & a little bit of that, add quite a lot of sugar, mull the wine gently for at least 1 hour and keep tasting it until it tastes good!

I usually start by warming 1 bottle of red wine & half a litre of orange juice. Add 100g of sugar. Add 8 cloves, a spoonful of nutmeg and half a cinnamon stick. Slice an orange and add that too.

blogging 1 194.jpg

After half an hour, taste the mulled wine and adjust the flavours. You will almost certainly need to add more sugar and possibly more spices.

Mull for another 30 minutes and taste again.

I usually mull the wine for 2 hours, keeping the heat low, tasting & adding from time to time. This gives a wonderful Christmassy smell to the whole house.

You can keep any left-over wine and re-heat it the following day, but if you do this, take out the orange & all the spices otherwise you will get a sediment.

You can use Port instead of wine. In this case you don't need quite so much sugar. You can also add a drop of cognac.

For students living in Vannes, you can buy the spices you need in this lovely little shop in one of the narrow streets in the old town. (Buy them individually - not the ready prepared mix for 'vin chaud'. It's cheaper & you can adjust the taste yourself.)

ville historique, vannes


We wish you a Merry Christmas!

Cours auprès des enfants en primaire: Objectifs - apprendre le vocabulaire de Noël, éveil sur la culture britannique, fabriquer une carte de Noël.


Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer

rudolf cards

Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer cards - CM1

Rudolf Xmas card

Make Rudolf cards

Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer cards - CM2

Sing the song!

flashcard xmas tree

A Christmas Tree

Xmas tree card

Christmas Tree card - CE2

blogging 1 146.jpg

A snowman

make a snowman xmas card

Snowman Christmas card - CE1

flashcard Father Christmas

Father Christmas

homemade xmas card

Father Christmas card - CP

flash cards, christmas

Baby Jesus. A star.

making xmas cards

Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus and a star Christmas card - 6ème

Here is some more Christmas vocabulary:

flashcard xmas pudding

A Christmas Pudding le célébre "pudding" de Noël flambé, consiste des fruits secs trempés en cognac - pas pour les enfants!

flashcard Robin

A robin (note aux parents : le rouge gorge répresente Noël aux anglais)

flashcards, christmas cracker

A Christmas cracker (pour animer le repas du 25 décembre - les "crackers" comprendent un pétard, un cadeau surpris, une couronne et des blagues.)

La classe de CP chez English Connection

Voici un petit aperçu sur le travail de la classe de CP.
Les cours se déroulent les mercredis à 14h.

Objectif: Apprendre deux comptines en anglais.


fiche de travail

dicky birds

Two little dicky birds
Sitting on a wall
One named Peter
One named Paul
Fly away Peter
Fly away Paul
Come back Peter
Come back Paul

(cliquez pour réciter la poésie avec Bronwen)

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CP English Connection

classe de CP english connection vannes

arts plastiques chez english connection vannes

CP avec la maîtresse english connection


Naughty pussy cat
You are very fat
You’ve got butter on your whiskers
Naughty pussy cat!

(cliquez pour écouter la poésie, puis chantez avec Bronwen !)

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Note linguistique aux parents: Les mots "Pussy cat" et "Dicky bird" au lieu de "cat" et "bird", sont les mots employés pour et par les enfants. D'autres exemples : "Bunny rabbit" et "Puppy dog"

Simple Soup


There is some dispute as to who invented Vichyssoise soup.
Some say it was invented in New York in 1917 by a French chef called Louis Diat.

He was working at The Ritz – Carlton hotel when he remembered a soup made by his mother and grandmother in his home town near Vichy. The soup was made from leeks and potatoes and he and his brother used to put milk in it to cool it down. He decided to recreate the soup for the diners at the hotel and, originally, Crème Vichyssoise was served cold.

However, there is also an earlier recipe which was first published in 1869 in a book called Le Livre de Cuisine by the French chef Jules Gouffé. His book was also published in English under the title “The Royal Cookery book”. In 1872 he also published Le livre de soupes et des potages,which contained more than 400 soup recipes.

Whoever invented Vichyssoise soup, it is delicious and very easy and cheap to make and you can serve it hot or cold.

If you have never made soup before – the one essential bit of kitchen equipment you will need, however, is a blender.

electric soup blender

The reason that soups are easy to make is that you don’t need to worry too much about exact quantities.

To make Vichyssoise for 2 – 3 people:-

2 big leeks – chopped and carefully washed
2 big potatoes, peeled and chopped.
Milk & cream ( crème liquide ou crème fraîche)
Salt & pepper

Put the leeks & potatoes into a saucepan with enough water to cover them, some salt & pepper & a knob of butter.

leek & potato soup

Put a lid on and bring to the boil. Simmer (gentle boiling) for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are very soft. Take the saucepan off the heat and add a splash of milk.

preparing vichyssoise soup

Use the blender to make a thick soup. Add more milk if the soup is too thick. (You can also add a spoonful of crème fraiche, if you like.) Taste it, and add more salt & pepper if necessary.
Reheat, and serve with some cream, if you haven’t already added it.


Pumpkin Soup

We don’t really know who invented pumpkin soup, but we do know that this vegetable was native to North America before it was brought to Europe. Its name comes from the Latin “Pepon” meaning “big melon”, which was given to it by the French explorer Jacques Cartier in 1584 when he used it to describe the strange vegetables he had seen growing in the Saint Lawrence region of what is now known as Canada.

This name was later changed to “Pumpkin” by the British Pilgrims who arrived in 1620. They used pumpkins to make pumpkin pie and pumpkin beer.
Later, during the American War of Independence, the French army were sent to help the Americans fight against the British and pumpkins began to be imported to France – but they were not at all popular in England. In fact, “Pumpkin Pie” was, and still is, considered to be an American speciality and not at all British.

However, several hundred years later, pumpkins are slowly creeping onto menus in trendy London restaurants – especially at this time of year.

Pumpkin soup is easy to make and, as with the Leek & Potato soup, exact quantities are not very important.

pumpkin soup

½ or ¼ pumpkin, (it depends how big your pumpkin is!) peeled and chopped into large pieces.
1 large onion.
Salt & Pepper, cream, milk

Put the pumpkin, onions, S&P into a saucepan with a knob of butter and enough water to cover. Simmer for 15 -20 minutes until the pumpkin is soft.

preparing pumpkin soup

Blend to make a thick soup, adding a drop of milk and some crème fraîche.

making pumpkin soup

Taste it & add salt & pepper if necessary. Reheat and serve with a swirl of cream. (Crème liquide)

If you want to really impress your guests, you can serve the soup in the hollowed out pumpkin.


So, what did you do at the weekend? 2

Rennes Air Show 2010

Rennes airshow 2010

BC: What did you do at the weekend Romain?

Romain:I went to Rennes airport to see an air show which commemorated The Battle of Britain from World War 2.

BC:Did you have a good time?

Romain:Oh, yes, it was great! It was really beautiful watching the planes moving in the sky, in 3D, in freedom.

 Red Arrows at Rennes

BC:What sort of planes did they have there?

Romain:There were old war planes, such as the Spitfire, the Zero and the Messerschmitt. There were also acrobatic demonstrations by the Rennes aero club instructor and the French Air Force acrobatics team. They had old planes such as the DC-3, and Air Force planes such as the TBM 200 and the Rafale.

BC:As the air show was to commemorate The Battle of Britain, were there any other British planes there, apart from the Spitfire?

Romain: Yes, the famous Red Arrows were there! They are considered to be the best aeronautical acrobatic team in the world so it was an honour to see them. During the demonstration one of the pilots stayed down to explain the different acrobatic figures, and as the Red Arrows came in front of us he said through the microphone: “Ladies and Gentlemen, we are proud to present THE ENGLISH RED ARROWS!”

Red Arrows Rennes air show

BC: You took some very good pictures too, I see.

Romain: Yes, I took a lot of photos. It was a wonderful day out which I’ll never forget and I’d like to thank all the demonstrators who took part. One day, I hope that I’ll be on the other side of the barrier – because I really love flying too and my aim is to become a professional pilot.

BC: Thanks for telling us about your weekend, Romain - and I hope your dream of becoming a pilot comes true!

To have a little taste of the Rennes Air Show which took place on 25th & 26th September 2010, click on the link below. The Red Arrows performance comes at the end of the clip. It's certainly worth watching.

Historical note: The Battle of Britain was the name given to the air campaign (Luftwaffe against the Royal Air Force) which took place over the English Channel and the Home Counties (Surrey, Sussex, Kent) between 10th July & 31st October 1940. For more information about this decisive battle, click on the link below:


So, what did you do at the weekend? 1.

Weekend of Sat 9th & Sun 10th Oct 2010

Bronwen: So, what did you do at the weekend, Florian?

Florian: I went to Bordeaux to surf the mascaret

Bronwen: Sorry? You went to Bordeaux to do what?

Florian: To surf the MASCARET

Bronwen: What’s that?

Florian: It’s a special wave in the river which comes every month for 2 or 3 days, twice a day and you can surf on it for 4 or 5 minutes. This month it was on Saturday and Sunday.

Bronwen: Hang on – are you telling me that you went surfing in a river?

Florian: Yes, in the river Dordogne.

Bronwen: How is that possible?

Florian: It’s a tidal phenomenon which happens once a month. It happens when the water is shallow in the river combined with a high tide. I filmed it – I’ll send it to you, if you like.

And here is Florian’s film which he took while on a surfboard on the river travelling at about 30Km/hour.

Bronwen: That’s amazing, but the water looks really filthy!

Florian: The water is brown due to the earth from the river bed.

Bronwen: What happened at the end? Did you fall in?

Florian: Yes, you have to fall in the water to stop yourself, otherwise there will be a very long swim or walk back up the river to the car park.

Bronwen: So, are you going to do it again?

Florian: Yes, in fact I’ll probably go again next month.

Bronwen: Thank you, Florian, for telling us about your weekend.

A Postcard from Cornwall

Hello everyone!

Are you all having a lovely holiday? Richard & I are in Cornwall at the moment. It is a wonderful place with a rugged coastline; crashing Atlantic waves; tiny fishing villages; stories of pirates & witches; pretty pubs; Cornish Cream Teas; lovely, golden, sandy beaches and fabulous restaurants owned by celebrity chefs.

We are staying with friends who live in a fishing village called Padstow. It is a very lively place with lots of shops and restaurants, the most famous (and expensive) being “The Seafood Restaurant” which is owned by Rick Stein who is a famous chef with his own TV series.

the seafood restaurant, Padstow

However, the cheapest place to eat in the UK is in the pub. Good “pub grub” can be found in most villages. English pubs are usually very friendly, comfortable places and the food is usually home cooked. In Padstow, the pubs compete to be the most charming. Which of these three would you choose to go to?

padstow pub

padstow pub

padstow pub

You can take the ferry over to Rock, and if you are lucky you might see Prince William & his friends there.

padstow ferry

The beaches are lovely! (This photo was taken from Rock looking over to Padstow)

cornish beach

Don't forget your bucket and spade!

buckets and spades

There is also a very pretty little church in Rock which was entirely covered in sand in the 1800s. It was rediscovered after a storm revealed the spire of the church.

In the graveyard is the final resting place of Sir John Betjeman, who was a famous British poet. (In fact I had to study his poetry for my English exams at secondary school!)

church at Rock

Returning to Padstow, you will always find some sort of street entertainment to watch and listen to, as the port is very lively.

street entertainment Padstow

padstow, the port

There is also a large and majestic hotel which serves wonderful Cornish Cream Teas. The cream is special Cornish clotted cream which is really delicious.

cornish cream teas

 cream tea

Further up the coast are two interesting villages.

Boscastle: which is famous for its witches!
There is a Museum of Witchcraft. Outside the door the sign says “Witches, please park your brooms here.”

Boscastle 1.jpg

Boscastle 2.jpg

Boscastle 3.jpg

Boscastle shop.jpg

BC 2.jpg

But the most famous Cornish village is probably Tintagel, which is visited by thousands of tourists every year from all over the world as it is the centre of Arthurian legend. You can climb over the ruins of the 12th Century castle which juts out to sea. However this castle was built on an even older one, which is claimed to be the home of King Uther Pendragon and his son, King Arthur.

Tintagel castle

Tintagel castle


This is the church in Tintagel.

church, Tintagel

And this is the old post office.

Tintagel, old post office

See you soon,
Love from Bronwen

Travel Info: To get to Cornwall, go with Brittany Ferries from Roscoff to Plymouth. It takes about one and a half hours in the car to reach the northern Cornish coast. Weather: variable - take swimsuits and rain macs! Good walking shoes are also essential as the coastline is very rugged.

Mini Sagas 2

Here are the Mini Sagas which have been written by English Connection students.
As I explained in a previous post, Mini Sagas are a complete story in exactly 50 words.
We hope you enjoy them!

Soulmates by Jeanne

Blind Naina and Officer Toby had been childhood sweethearts before marrying one Christmas Eve.
One day Toby disappeared, leaving Naina shattered.
As years passed by she befriended an old beggar who seemed strangely familiar.
But that Christmas Eve the beggar had left. All that was found was his wedding ring.

A Flat Tyre by Frédérique

I was already late. I started my car and drove fast. Suddenly I lost control and the car ran over something which burst the tyre. I got out of my car and discovered the cause of the puncture. I was extremely angry.
The idiot had a bottle in his pocket!!

The Storm by Alice

The night was rainy and windy but everything was too quiet in my flat. Suddenly I heard a terrible noise. I jumped out of bed and switched on the light. In front of me, everything was on the floor. What’s going on?

Only my cat knocking things from the shelf!

The Storm by Claire

I was walking along a railway track in spite of a terrible storm.
An unbelievable gale uprooted a tree which fell on me. I was nearly unconscious and stuck in the middle of train lines! Suddenly a loud whistle... GOD! The train!

“Cut. That’s it for today”, said The Director.

The Holiday By Anne-Sophie

She was so excited! For her fortieth birthday, her husband offered her a trip to Marrakech with her best friend. A last check to her luggage; is everything ok? She arrived at the airport and joyfully met her friend.
But who is crying? No! Her daughter is having a nightmare…

Bad – Worse – Worst by Sophie

One day a ripe apple looked down and saw some cow dung right under her tree. “I don’t want to fall on you”, she said to the dung, “You are repulsive!” Finally, she fell next to it, but was swallowed by the cow. “See you soon!” the dung said mischievously.

An Unforgettable Holiday (a true story) by Armelle

A couple wanted to see their son in Thailand. They even managed to buy some low cost tickets so they arrived happily at the check-in desk.
“Sorry, these tickets aren’t valid because the plane left yesterday.”
They had got the day wrong and had to buy two full price tickets!

The English Lesson By Bronwen (because I enjoy writing Mini Sagas too!)

The English teacher frowned. Something wasn’t quite right. The students were working in absolute silence; some were reading, some were writing, some were looking in a dictionary. Everyone was occupied, so what was on earth was wrong? She checked her timetable. Yes, she thought so…
This was a CONVERSATION class!

The Holiday By Marie

Today is D-day. We’re going to leave the house for summer with all the family, cat and dog too. Right! Is everybody in the car? Here we are, so let’s go!
At lunch time, after driving 100 kilometres, we stop for a picnic. And that’s when we notice…

No luggage!

The Storm by Brigitte

She sat down on a paradise beach. The sun was shining, the landscape was marvelous. Suddenly the wind got up. It was raining cats and dogs and the sea was raging. She stood up, but a huge wave knocked her over. She shouted and….woke up!
It was just a nightmare.

Science Teacher’s Revenge by Bronwen (For Gilles – who I hope will enjoy his retirement!)

It was his last day. He had worked in the same dusty old place for 30 years and the most galling thing of all was that his replacement was going to walk in to a new, shiny, cutting edge laboratory.
Suddenly, a thunderous “BOOOOOOMMM!!!”

He’d always wanted to do that!

Now here come two really good ones......

The Star By Sabrina

I filmed myself singing in my bubble bath:
“I’m much sexier than Carla Bruni / I’d put Sarkozy in my hot Jacuzzi”

I put this music video on You Tube. A few days later I became an Internet Star!

And Nicolas Sarkozy personally phoned me…..and asked when we could meet.

And the winner is.....

Till Death Do Us Part By Aurore

Her husband was very sick. She sat by him and he said: “You were there to support me through everything; when I got fired, when my business failed, when I got shot, when we lost the house, and when I got sick...... You know what?......

You bring me bad luck!”

Aurore, who is in "seconde", wins a FABULOUS English Connection prize! (She laughed when she saw it - I wonder what that can mean??!!)

Thank you to everyone who participated in this exercise. I look forward to Mini Sagas 3 this time next year.

Mini Sagas Part 1

A Mini Saga is a complete story, often with a twist in the tail which is composed of EXACTLY 50 words. Contractions count as one word. The English must be grammatically correct.

Here’s an example:

Revenge by Bronwen

Maria had wanted her husband dead for years. She smiled wickedly as he poured out the tea she had poisoned.
Neither of them spoke. “Go on”, she thought, “Drink it!”
She finished her own cup of coffee, which tasted strangely bitter.
For Stephano had wanted her dead for years too!

Last year, English Connection students studying at B2 wrote some excellent Mini sagas. Here are two examples:

Never Again is by Gilles:

Outstanding wines were maturing in Charles’ cellar. Unfortunately, some bottles had a sour taste. Charles was disappointed. Suddenly, a brilliant idea came to his mind. He’ll give them to John!
Later, Charles was invited to John’s party. Coming back home, Charles was frantic.
John had served the wine he’d given...

And A Holiday Romance is by Frédérique

I was alone on a heavenly beach. Suddenly, a beautiful man came towards me. I immediately fell in love at first sight. We started a friendly conversation and we became, in the course of the holiday, extremely close.
Naturally we exchanged phone numbers.
Back home, I called him.
Wrong number!

It’s time for a new collection of Mini Sagas. Send them to me at and I’ll publish the best in Part 2 of MINI SAGAS.

PS: A story with a "Twist in the tail" is a story which has an unexpected or surprising end.