How to write a review

How to write a review


Much of the information is taken from the preparation book for the Cambridge Advanced English Certificate, edited in my own way.

  1. The title

This is the title of your review, so include the basic information to identify what you are writing about. You will often be required to underline it. E.g:

 “The Jewels of Paradise” by Donna Leon


  1. First paragraph

The easiest way is to open with a question but it can also be anything else to quickly interest the reader.

  • “Did you know that…? I certainly didn’t until….”
  • “You don’t often find a book which is…”
  • “Do you like…? If you do, then…”

Follow with a short summary of the content. Roughly 10 to 20 words are enough.

  • “‘___’ by ___ reveals the fascinating world of….”
  • “The film ‘___’ displays the….”


  1. Second paragraph

What you learnt from the book/film, why it was good and why you recommend it to others.

  • “The book is full of…”
  • “The comical way the author guides you through the story captivates…”

If you would like to include some negative review too, then you can do it like this:

  • “Despite the lack of acting skills of some actors, the film is still…”
  • “Perhaps a little more detail on the surroundings would have been good but…”


  1. Third paragraph

It can be a continuation of what you did in the second paragraph, but it can also be used in other ways. For example, you can:

  • Write that it’s not only about ___ but contains this and that too, so anyone can enjoy it
  • Put in a bit more background information to add some depth to the content


  1. Final paragraph

In one or two short sentences, write a final encouragement to read the book, mentioning the title again:

  • “___ is an excellent book, being both informative and entertaining, and I highly recommend it to anyone seeking___”
  • “If you are looking for___, then I can definitely recommend ___, which was one of the best___ I have seen so far.”


Unlike a summary, use flowery, exciting language to show your enthusiasm (whether it’s true or not…). Try and address as many different topics as possible but don’t jump back and forth between topics. Organise it well.

Just like any other essay, decide on and memorise some phrases which you are going to use in advance.

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