Saturday, November 18, 2017

Exam Resource: ECPE Example Essays

Garagani-Robertson Language Schools

E.C.P.E. Michigan Proficiency Example Compositions

These example discursive (C2) E.C.P.E. compositions were written by our students. They have been corrected and in some cases slightly modified so as to serve as a model to help you write better.

Αυτά παράδειγμα λόγου (C2) E.C.P.E. συνθέσεις που γράφτηκαν από τους μαθητές μας. Έχουν διορθωθεί και σε ορισμένες περιπτώσεις ελαφρώς τροποποιημένη έτσι ώστε να χρησιμεύσει ως πρότυπο για να σας βοηθήσουν να γράψετε καλύτερα.


Topic: More and more countries are becoming increasingly dependant on nuclear power generation now that fossil fuels are dwindling in supply. What is your opinion about this? Write a composition that discusses the advantages and disadvantages of nuclear power as an alternative to more conventional fuels.

There is no doubt that nowadays many countries rely on nuclear power generation since fossil fuel supplies are dwindling. Some people believe that nuclear power is beneficial whereas others hold the opposite point of view. Personally, I have missed feelings about this issue.

Nuclear power is believed to be advantageous for several reasons. One of these is the fact that nuclear power is virtually limitless and this can solve and rectify the problem of ever-increasing energy demands. Another one is that nuclear power is the most inexpensive source of electricity these days, which gives poor countries the opportunity not to spend a lot of money on energy. Finally, nuclear plants are far cleaner than conventional fuel power plants as they don’t require the combustion of fossil fuels and therefore do not emit fumes and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Therefore, nuclear power has a very positive influence on both the environment ad countries’ economies.

On the other hand, nuclear power is thought to have many drawbacks for numerous reasons. One of these is the fact that nuclear power has a great diversity of detrimental impacts on both the environment and people, To exemplify, the accident at Chernobyl caused the contamination and destruction of the local ecosystem and, in terms of radio-activity, its consequences in other parts of the globe were both serious and far-reaching. Another one is that nuclear power creates radioactive waste in the form of spent plutonium and the problem of its disposal is insolvable as it remains radioactive for thousands of years.

To recapitulate, nuclear power generation has both advantages and drawbacks. On a personal level, I support that nuclear power is very beneficial but recognise that it could catastrophic as well, particularly if something goes wrong. As to whether any given country should opt for nuclear power or abolish pre-existing plants, I believe only the citizens have the right to decide, but the onus is on governments to ensure that it is a fully informed decision.

- Kostas Dinas (2011)


Topic: Many countries are turning to nuclear power generation because of the problems using conventional fuels cause. Nuclear power is, however, not without its problems. So, should countries choose nuclear or not? Write a composition which expresses your views.

In contemporary times, it seems that an increasing number of countries have started to adopt the nuclear fusion process, making it a source of energy for their power grids. Some people believe that this is really advantageous, whereas others would go to any lengths to prove the opposite. For my part, I consider nuclear power plants to be indispensable in this day and age.

I am a fervent supporter of the use of nuclear power generation for a bewildering number of sensible reasons. My main point concerns the matter of quantity. Nuclear energy is known for being virtually limitless. This is of vital importance as energy demands continue to soar to unprecedented levels. Another point to consider is the cost. Not only is nuclear energy inexhaustible but it is the most inexpensive source of energy, which is really advantageous for the global economy. Nuclear power plants are also very clean compared to conventional plants which burn fossil fuels and pollute the atmosphere with toxic fumes and greenhouse emissions while doing so.

On the other hand, those who are against nuclear power generation base their opinion on the dire and adverse consequences nuclear accidents such as the one on Chernobyl cause. However, their ideas are flawed as they fail to realise that the safety record for nuclear power is actually very good and that new technologies are constantly being developed to ensure that even become better.

To recapitulate, it seems that the advantages of nuclear power far outweigh the disadvantages. Therefore, in my view, the onus is on each and every single one of us to support the use of this highly beneficial source of electrical energy.

- Mary Kanaki (2011)


Topic: Tourism has become increasingly popular in recent years. Why do you think this is so? Do you think that it is worth the effort and environmental damage it causes? Is it ultimately beneficial to those who travel? Use specific examples to support your opinion.

It is a fact that in contemporary times that tourism has become an ubiquitous issue. A great number of people consider its existence to be an advantage to citizens while others would go to any lengths to prove the opposite, From my point of view, I suppose that its effects on the local environment can be devastating.

I am a fervent supporter of the idea that any kind of tourism, even eco-tourism, should be restricted for the essential reason that the destruction of the environment is unavoidable. To explain, being a swamped by tourists, pristine areas such as Hawaiian beaches  or  Amazon forests rapidly become modified beyond recognition due to the demands for food and accommodation tourists bring with them and the pollution and garbage they leave behind when they leave.

A second point concerns the disturbance of the indigenous people. To elaborate, as bus-loads of tourists poor into cities on sightseeing tours or flock to local beaches in hordes, inhabitants are disturbed by the commotion and noise they make. Hence, citizens have the right to get indignant with tourists who, more often than not, have no regard for local customs or sensitivities.

On the whole, it seems that the disadvantages of this issue far outweigh any possible advantages. To my mind, tourism is only eminent nowadays because people are more concerned with the money it generates than the environment it destroys. Therefore, I believe that something must be done to redress this imbalance.

- Iro Kiriakopoulou (2011)


Topic: Excessive consumerism has resulted in the creation of huge amounts of garbage which cannot be easily disposed of. Write a composition which describes the main problems of garbage disposal. (Do not write an argument nor offer any solutions)

There can be no doubt that in our contemporary times that trash disposal is a major problem which prompts great environmental damage. Extravagant consumerism has triggered the creation of enormous amounts of litter and yet the methods of disposal employed cause detrimental repercussions that cannot be easily rectified.

One widely adopted way of disposing of rubbish is directly throwing it away in the sea. This has many negative effects on marine life including the fact that toxins become part of the marine food chain. As a result, the health of those who rely on sea-food as a protein source is at risk.

Another disposal method is to dump litter into landfills. This is, however, a far from adequate way of dealing with the problem as rainwater washes through the half-buried garbage, causing toxins to seep into the ground water below. This contaminated water is then used to irrigate crops, or worse, as drinking water with inevitable consequences. It also affects marine life as it makes its way down river systems and eventually to the sea. Additionally, not only do landfills take up considerable areas of land that could be used for other purposes such as agriculture or housing, but the  stench given off by rotting garbage is intolerable.

Finally, there is another way which entails incineration. In other words, garbage and industrial effluence is disposed of by burning. This, however, also has its drawbacks. Incineration causes direct atmospheric pollution which results in respiratory problems. It also releases huge amounts carbon dioxide, thus adding to the greenhouse effect and global warming. Moreover, there is no way of getting rid of the resultant ash which is highly toxic and therefore a dangerous pollutant.

To recapitulate, it seems that there are a diversity of problems caused by current garbage disposal methods. They each have negative impacts on the environment and yet there are currently no viable alternatives or solutions. The onus, therefore, must be on the government and scientists to find an answer to this desperate problem. Certainly, unless something is done, the modern habit of throwing things away is going to become the impetus for our own destruction.

 - Kostas Dinas (2011)


Topic: Excessive consumerism has resulted in the creation of huge amounts of garbage which cannot be easily disposed of. Write a composition which describes the main problems of garbage disposal. (Do not write an argument nor offer any solutions)

It seems that in contemporary times, the problem of rubbish disposal is becoming increasingly desperate. No viable solution has been found, and yet the environment is under a distinct and very real threat. The question is if something can be done or are we to bury our future under the piles of rotting garbage that modern society seems insistent on creating? Now more than ever, an exhaustive analysis of the problem is really crucial if any hope remains.

The problems associated with garbage are innumerable and mostly irreversible. A first one to consider is the issue of air pollution. Incineration is certainly an inefficient way to dispose of trash as the fumes and toxic gases produced by burning damage and pollute the atmosphere and, in turn, lead to respiratory problems and ill-health.

Another devastating problem is the one related to the contamination of water. To elaborate, dumping at sea seems to be a quick and easy alternative but it is far from an effective method of disposal. Marine life and ecosystems are adversely affected, resulting in the disruption of the food chain. Predators, including people dependant on seafood, are at risk.

Landfill dumping should also be considered. Toxins from deposited trash seep into the ground water below landfill sites, thus contaminating it. This same water is then used for irrigation and drinking.

To recapitulate, each method of disposal has its inherent problems. With no alternatives available, the onus is on each and every one of us to reduce our extraneous needs and therefore the amount of garbage that has to be dealt with. It seems that reducing consumerism is the only thing that could save the world.

- Mary Kanaki (2011)


Topic: Excessive consumerism has resulted in the creation of huge amounts of garbage which cannot be easily disposed of. Write a composition which describes the main problems of garbage disposal. (Do not write an argument nor offer any solutions)

There is no doubt that one of the most important problems in contemporary times is garbage disposal as people are yet to invent an effective and environmentally friendly way to discard their waste. That, of course, has spelt disaster in many ways.

One method of disposing of litter is dumping it in a landfill, without any insulation against heat, rain or other natural phenomena. To elaborate, in cases of soaring temperatures, landfills can emit toxic substances into the atmosphere, thus greatly contribute to air pollution which is the leading cause of respiratory problems and asthma attacks. Furthermore, garbage is left there indefinitely, which allows toxins to slowly seep into the ground water through the soil below the landfill and contaminate it. This, however, is the very same water people drink or use to irrigate crops.

Another way is incinerating rubbish, which is thought by many to be the best solution as it is space-saving. What those people fail to realise, though, is that reducing it to ashes does far more harm than good since it too releases toxins that are deadly to any living organism.

The last method is dumping at sea. It is obvious that, in this way, it directly contaminates the water, thus threatening marine life, which is of great significance to both animal and human life as the extinction of any given species of fish wrecks havoc on the food chain, hence putting other species at risk. Moreover, swimmers are strongly affected by the level of pollution of the sea they swim in. It simply is no longer be safe for them to swim in vast radiuses around any dumping site.

To recapitulate, garbage disposal is a problem that many generations have had to deal with and yet no successful solution has ever been found. To my mind, the onus is on us to resolve the problem before its devastating consequences have an irreversible impact on our planet.

- Nicoletta Fraggou (2011)


Topic: It has often been suggested that the re-introduction of capital punishment would deter the ever increasing rate of serious crime. What is your view? Do you think that capital punishment should be reinstated?

It’s an indisputable fact that the crime rate has increased dramatically. Not many people can stand this situation, so they suggest that capital punishment should be re-introduced. However, others have the opposite opinion. From my perspective, people should not be punished by being killed.

There are several reasons as to why the death penalty should not be legalised. The most significant one is that killing criminals makes things worse due to the fact that neither their crimes can be corrected, nor can they offer things to humanity in order to compensate for what they have done. To exemplify, a person that has been arrested and convicted for murder cannot make the dead person live again by being killed, so execution helps nobody apart from the relatives who might what the guilty person to die out of a sense of revenge. Another important reason is that sometimes people who feel guilty and depressed are willing to die so, in this case, the criminal seems to be alleviated by this action. To elaborate, capital punishment does not seem harmful for them, so far from being a punishment it is a source of relief.

Not withstanding these facts, there are those who support that by killing criminals, danger to society as a whole is being reduced. This idea is flawed, however, because of the fact that they fail to realise that criminals that have committed serious crimes inevitably get life-sentences and are never released back into society, thus ensuring the general public’s safety.

To recapitulate, it seems that there are strong arguments to support the re-introduction of the death penalty, despite the concerns of some. I certainly think that capital punishment is both inhumane and unnecessary and therefore should not be considered as a viable solution to increasing criminality.

- Helen Kiriakopoulou (2011)


Topic: Many think that the achievement of success is due to hard work while others think it's more of a matter of chance. What do you think success can be attributed to? Write a composition expressing your view. Support with examples.

It is often argued that success may result from a variety of contributory factors. While a bewildering number of individuals embrace the idea that success is a matter of chance, others advocate that it is a matter of planning. My firm conviction is that success can only come when somebody is well organised and prepared.

It goes without saying that should a person be contingent on nothing more than chance, the game is lost. Life and success are all about goals. Whether an individual is concerned with a small task or a challenging goal which requires time and effort, setting goals results in creating a purpose. This, in turn, leads to the individual expecting to achieve the goals and fulfil the purpose. For instance, if a teacher is eager to alter the relationship he has with students by setting a goal, chances are that he is more likely to accomplish that in comparison to a teacher who expects things to unfold by making zero effort. This should be considered in conjunction with a second area to consider; what people regard success as being and how much they fight for it. To explain, it is thought to be advantageous for people who dream of success to actively fight for it, simply by putting a stop to procrastination and starting to act on things they wish to obtain, not just long for them to come.

Nonetheless, many are at odds with this idea, They view that success comes from opportunities and chances, irrelevant to goals or fighting for them. While this strikes me as being a comfortable point of view, how is a person expected to attain the desirable outcome when not even trying to reach it?

On the whole, it seems that success is a weighty issue, having a great many aspects to consider. My firm conviction is that not only success but day-to-day activity is unlikely to be regarded as feasible, if one is not prepared to instigate a serious plan for it.

- Sophia Petsi (2012)


Topic: Many think that the achievement of success is due to hard work while others think it's more of a matter of chance. What do you think success can be attributed to? Write a composition expressing your view. Support with examples.

There is no doubt that a host of factors are involved in success in somebody’s life. A group of individuals is convinced that success results from careful planning, whereas others of aggressive opponents of this belief and advocate that it comes from taking risks and chances. From my point of view, success is uniquely owed to careful planning of one’s future.

Planning has certainly proved to be a successful strategy. By organising the future, somebody is able to avoid unpleasant situations for the simple reason that they have already been predicted. For instance, a business by organising and planning its economic well-being, will undoubtedly not face the danger of bankruptcy. Moreover, careful planning gives individuals an advantage. Those people are sure about their goals in life and won’t be misled or make a wrong choice that will probably destroy their plans.

On the other hand, numerous individuals are opposed to this belief and strongly support the idea that success is a result of risks and chances. They base their arguments on the fact that making the correct choice will lead to a bright future. But their ideas are flawed because they fail to realise the fact that risk taking is inherently dangerous and can easily destroy any chance of successful achievement.

To sum up, success in life is based on numerous factors. However, planning and organising are methods that will hardly ever disappoint a person for the reason that they do not involve risk, which is something that could ruin an individual’s future.


- Panos Zavitsanos (2012)


Topic: Many think that the achievement of success is due to hard work while others think it's more of a matter of chance. What do you think success can be attributed to? Write a composition expressing your view. Support with examples.

There is little doubt that thorough planning is a form of discipline and organization. Several individuals consider careful organization a very beneficial way of ensuring success, while others regard luck and taking risks the right method of provoking success. As far as I am concerned, I fervently advocate the concept of trusting luck and argue that it is an advisable way of achieving success.


There are a host of reasons why I have adopted this opinion when it comes to this highly debated topic. The first of them concerns the matter of self-esteem. To elaborate, when a person takes risks, he/she feels confident owing to the fact that he/she has faith in him/herself and his/her decisions. To elaborate, a risky but simultaneously successful decision is likely to make a person gain self-confidence, Hence, this may result in being more decisive and the positive outcome of a risky decision, such as winning in gambling, is capable of changing the entire life of a person.


Furthermore, another not only fundamental but also significant reason entails the fact that when taking risks or exploiting opportunities of chance, people feel independent. To justify, people feel far freer to do anything they desire when their actions are not part of a specific program or plan. Thus, this factor is able to contribute to people having a sense of enjoying their lives and making the most of the opportunities they are provided with.
Last but not least, there is also another reason which is no other than the, matter of challenge and suspense. When a person puts everything on the line with unsound or dicey decisions, he/she risks winning everything or losing it all. Although failure is possible, if it were not for such risks, people’s lives would be dull and monotonous, perhaps even robotic.


To recapitulates, although taking risks is not as safe as planning, it provides people with the mandatory thrill and excitement and is highly likely to provoke serious success. Now, the onus is on each and every single one of us to decide whether we desire to enhance our lives by risking a little more or experience the boring certainty of systematic and methodical plans.

- Stavos Dinopoulos (2012)


Topic: Many think that it's important to experience failure in order to learn from it. To what extent do you think this is true? Describe an incident when you failed and what, if anything, you may have learned from the experience.

Life is full of challenges. These challenges give rise to our strong desire to achieve goals which, sometimes, are unlikely to happen. Most people get to experience such moments of disappointment during their lives, and I am no exception. Of the number of times I had to accept that things would eventually not work out, the one during which I faced the most severe disappointment was when I struggled to convince my parents to purchase a bike for me.

Over the years, the number of things I would like to have owned was limited, though at that time a bike seemed like a dream which just had to come true. Being too young to be trusted with an independent vehicle, I had to cope with denial and long frustrating discussions over the danger bike ownership involved, even if such arguments were sensible enough. Notwithstanding the fact that neither my father nor my mother would agree to expose their young child to the danger of transportation via such a form, I remember spending most of my time doing research on bikes of high quality, comparing prices, and befriending people who owned one. Eventually, there came a point when I wished to hear no more of their objections and merely went out bought the bike.

Although I never succeeded in persuading them to actually buy me one, the experience was far more valuable than I expected. During the bleak, hopeless hours that I spent while doing my best to get what I truly wanted and despite the fact that it turned out to be a “waste” of time, it really was not. To elaborate, while I tend to laugh whenever such memories are evoked, I strongly believe this incident was one of the most precious lessons I have ever come to acquire, simply for the reason that it made me realise that how hard you try to achieve a goal only makes you stronger with more will-power.

To recapitulate, lessons can be learnt from the hardest of times. Maybe that is what makes us go on in the end; the never-ending hope for something better.

- Sophia Petsi (2012)


Topic: Many think that it's important to experience failure in order to learn from it. To what extent do you think this is true? Describe an incident when you failed and what, if anything, you may have learned from the experience.

Like almost everyone else in their life, I have experienced a moment when things didn't go as well as expected. And that incident was when I failed an English exam, for which I had been well prepared.

First of all, before sitting for this difficult and important exam, I tried my best to be properly prepared so as to succeed. I made sure that I had studied for every lesson and that I did not miss any classes. I pushed myself to be among the best students in class, something that would ensure my success. However, the problem was not the theoretical or written parts of the exam, but the orals. For an illogical reason, I felt extremely anxious, even though the interview was not considered to be an extremely important or difficult exam component. Therefore, I did not do as well in class in that part of the exam, though I did try to improve on my performance in it as well.

The day of the examination eventually arrived. There was no problem whatsoever with the written part. Indeed, I believed that I had obtained a very high score in that. But when it was time for the interview, my anxiety took over, although my teacher kept telling me that my fears were unfounded and that there was no reason at all to feel uneasy. When my turn to be examined came, I vehemently thought I would not manage to succeed. The theme of the interview seemed enormously difficult, causing me to sweat and falter. I could hear myself stuttering and not speaking fluently. The examiners, however, gave no indication that they understood my discomfort and looked neither impressed or disappointed. Nevertheless, I was entirely uncertain of whether I had been good enough to pass as I walked out of the interview and began a long, anxious wait to learn the results.

Several months later, my teacher called me and told me that I had failed the entire examination due to the orals. I was devastated and couldn't help thinking of giving up. However, it eventually dawned on me that I should learn from the failure and make sure that I was well-and-truly prepared next time. Encouraged by this insight, I vowed to try again. I studied for more than six months, placing particular emphasis on the orals. In the end, when I did re-sit the exam, I actually achieved a better grade for the interview than the written parts of the exam.

This incident definitely taught me not to stop making efforts and doing the best I can so as to succeed. I learned that failure is always a possibility in people's lives but it should not act as a deterrent and people should not be discourage by it. In fact, failure is a great motivator and should not be regarded as confirmation of defeat but an instigator for success.

- Christine Mylonaki (2012)


Topic: Many think that it's important to experience failure in order to learn from it. To what extent do you think this is true? Describe an incident when you failed and what, if anything, you may have learned from the experience.

There can be little doubt that failure is an integral part of everyone's life. Indeed, it is inevitable not to undergo such unpleasant situations. As far as my experience is concerned,  I have faced failure many times. One of the most remarkable ones is last year's final term examinations.

There are many factors which led to this negative experience. Actually, I used to have a condescending attitude towards examinations and I felt the level was very low. Thus, my efforts were insufficient and inadequate. Seldom did I devote time to study right up to just before the examination period. Only then did I suddenly realize that time had passed extremely swiftly and that I had totally failed to exploit it. Understandably, my results where disappointing and I failed to obtain the required grades to pass the year. I was forced to re-sit the exams over the summer period at great inconvenience and personal embarrassment.

What I learned from this event was of great magnitude. It is a gross misconception to take anything as read and therefore not try to ameliorate ourselves and out capacities. The fact that I did not pay the attention that was required deprived me of the gratification that I would have experienced, had I passed the first time. Fortunately, I took advantage if this in convenient situation and I benefitted form it by avoiding the duplication of such a mistake.

Obviously, it is not always convenient to achieve one's goals without effort. Via similar experiences, each and every one of us can benefit by analyzing profoundly his/her mistakes, which should have a great influence so as not to repeat them.

- Matina Skoutida (2012)


Topic: Some people prefer to multitask. They often do more than one thing at the same time, whether it's listening to music and doing homework or working on two or more task at the same time in the office. Others prefer to just focus on one thing at a time, without distractions. Consider one of the two styles, and discuss why that style works or doesn't work for you.

There can be little doubt that nowadays each and every single one of us is inevitably charged with some responsibilities. Although a bewildering number of people advocate that focusing on one task is beneficial, others are conscientious objectors to this notion. As far as I am concerned, I firmly believe that performing two or more tasks simultaneously is far more propitious.

Working by executing many tasks at the same time is efficient. This style of work tends to be less time-consuming and less wasteful of one's precious and irreplaceable time. Doubtlessly, in our contemporary times, our modern way of life involves and demands too many responsibilities to be able to cope with easily. To illustrate my point of view, imagine a child whose spare time is restricted, On a daily basis, he/she is charged with tons of homework, forced to study and so on. It would be a great deal more efficient, for example, to have a meal in tandem with studying in extreme cases. Consequently, the time dedicated to the meal and other similar activities would be accumulated in order to devote it to something more crucial.

One the other hand, there are some individuals who ignore this point and subscribe to the idea that focusing completely on one task is favorable. In my view, it is a gross misconception as they fail to perceive that time is restricted and normally not adequate for one's needs.

To recapitulate, it is apparent that the positive aspects of the simultaneous execution of tasks overwhelmingly outweigh the negative ones. This is a vital part of our life and, therefore, the onus is on us to organize it as we wish. From my point of view, however, I am an ardent supporter of the most efficient way of doing things; that is multi-tasking.

- Matina Skoutida (2012)


Topic: Research shows that some people are reading and writing more than ever due to blogs, e-mails and instant messages. Others worry about the quality of these people's writing. Do you think technology can be a help or a hinderance in promoting literacy? Discuss with examples.

There is no doubt that the majority of people write more than ever due to the constant development of technology. Forums, blogs and websites where one is able to chat with others encourage writing. Some individuals are fervent supporters of the belief that writing under those circumstances is not beneficial and in that way literacy will vanish from peoples abilities, whereas others are aggressive opponents of this belief, claiming that writing, chatting and blogging are constructive. From my point of view, literacy is not at all affected but the internet but, contrarily, enhanced and improved.

To begin with, writing on the internet and exchanging views through forums is undoubtedly beneficial. Individuals when writing for blogs or forums read first what is published and then express their opinion on any given topic. In that way, numerable ideas and beliefs can be observed and read by the user. Consequently, one is capable of enriching his/her knowledge on a topic and acquiring information by the debate created there. In addition to this, the diverse opinion expressed in blogs and forums may make the individual consider his/her permanent beliefs and draw new and accurate conclusions.

Furthermore, the people writing in serious internet pages always express their view by using advanced vocabulary and literacy. As a result, the individuals can be benefitted from the simple procedure of reading what is published. They learn and retain the new words or expressions, which is something that leads them to develop their own language skills, thus acquiring the skill of writing proficiently.

On the other hand, a large group of people is a convinced that writing on the internet is not only pointless but harmful. They base their arguments on the fact that on the internet, many badly-written texts are published which often include contracted forms of real words and that the reader deliberately embraces these bad expressions. Their ideas are flawed, however, because they fail to realize that bad expression is something that repels readers from setting their eyes on the text and in that way, they are protected from any bad influences.

To sum up, it is a fact that more and more is written in blogs, forums and chatrooms - media only made possible by technological advances and the internet. Personally, I believe that exposure and participation in such media can only improve the level of language and literacy.

- Panos Zavitsanos (2012)


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