How to write a formal application letter for New FCE exam

How to write a formal letter of application for the New FCE exam? Here’s a sample topic that has been divided into paragraphs and each of the sections explained. 

Part 2 

You must answer this question.

You want to attend a course in English and American Studies in an English-speaking country and you see this section in a college prospectus:


Every year, two scholarships are offered to candidates from overseas who can show how our one-year course would help their career. Scholarships cover fees, accommodation and food, but not transport or personal spending money.

Apply in writing, explaining why you think you deserve a scholarship.

Write your letter. Don’t include any postal addresses. Write your answer in 140- 190 words in an appropriate style on the separate answer sheet.

Sample answer:

Dear Sir/ Madam,
I would like to apply for one of the scholarships I saw advertised in your prospectus.

You start with Paragraph 1- Introduction
In the introduction you :

– say why you are writing and what you are responding to (e.g. an advert, a prospectus).

– begin Dear Mr Johns/ Dear Ms Jones etc. if you don’t know the name of the person write Dear Sir/ Madam

-say which job you’re applying for

– say where you saw the advert ( you can invent a newspaper and/or date if you need to)

Phrases you can use in the introduction:

* I would like to apply for the position of … which I saw advertised …
* One of my reasons for applying is….
* I am writing with reference to…
REMEMBER: It’s a formal piece of writing that means:  use a formal, neutral style: no contractions, no colloquial language, no direct questions, no informal punctuation such as exclamation marks.

At present I am training to be a secondary school teacher of English and I finish my course at the end of June. However, I feel I still have a lot to learn about the language and culture of the English-speaking world and would benefit considerably from a course in an English-speaking country.

In the 2nd Paragraph you :

– briefly describe you/ your situation ( you can write about: Where you come from/  Knowledge of the area / Training/qualifications /  Previous experience /  Other skills (e.g. computers) / What kind of person you are)
– organise your application so that you mention each of the areas in the advertisement

Phrases you can use to in the 2nd paragraph:

* At present I am …. ( working for./ a student at ..)
* I have a reasonable command of …. ( English)
* I have a good ….  knowledge of …..
* I regret I have has no experience of…. ( this kind of work)
* For the last (two) years I have been… ) studying/ working..)
* When I was at .. I…
* I very much enjoy .. (working with people/travelling)

The reason I am applying for a scholarship is that I cannot afford the cost of studying abroad. I have no income except for my student grant, so if I am fortunate enough to be given a scholarship, I would have to work part-time to save some personal spending money. My parents will borrow some money for my airfare if I am successful. Knowing my family is going to support me gives me even more confidence and enthusiasm that I would be a suitable candidate for this position because I would be able to commit myself fully to the course you offer. 

In the 3rd Paragraph you :

– make it clear why you are applying for a scholarship and why you would be a suitable candidate.
– cover all the points in the question
– mention that you are suitable

Phrases you can use in the 3rd paragraph:

* I feel I would be suitable for the job…
* I think I would be suitable candidate for… because..
* The job would give me the opportunity to… ( get work experience during the summer.0
* I have always been interested in (…)
* One of the main reasons I am applying for this job is that….
* I have a lot of experience of ( dealing/ working)

I am available for interview at any time. I can be contacted on 07935033195 after 6pm every evening.

I would appreciate being given the opportunity to study at your college and would be very grateful if you would consider my application.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Brown

Paul Brown

In the last paragraph you :

– say when and how you can be contacted
– should be polite but not too much
– use formal ending ( Sincerely/ Sincerely yours / Kind regards / Yours truly etc. )
– sign your name and then print your name clearly underneath

Phrases you can use to end the letter

* I am available to (start work/ attend an interview) …
* Thank you for considering my application.
* I would be grateful/ happy/ free/ able to ..(attend the interview/ provide reference.)
* I can be contacted on (07935033195) at any time
* I hope you will consider my application.
* I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

Over to you:

You see this advertisement in a local English language newspaper.

We are looking for students of English to spend two mornings a week helping in the local tourist office.

Good pay and conditions for the right applicants.

Write to us, giving information about your level of English, and explaining why you would be a suitable for the job.

You must answer this question. Write your letter in 140- 190 words in an appropriate style on the separate answer sheet.


Now, it’s your turn. Here’s another topic:

You see this advertisement in an international  newspaper.


We are looking for an enthusiastic and committed person with a good knowledge of the European financial markets to work as a trainee manager in our new Madrid branch. This is a challenging and demanding position for banking and finance graduates.

We offer flexible working hours, a fully-supported staff development programme, a clothing allowance and intensive language course in English and/or Spanish. Excellent prospects for promotion. 

Salary  € 25,000- € 35,000- a year depending on experience.

Send a letter of application to: Marianna Hardy, 349c High Road, London, UK

You must answer this question. Write your letter in 140- 190 words in an appropriate style on the separate answer sheet.


Read the task through carefully and underline key words and phrases in the advertisement and the notes.

Use a formal style and include the following information in order:

1. Why are you writing, where you saw the advertisement and which position you are applying for

2. Why are you a suitable candidate (your skills and qualifications).

3. When you will be available and how you can be contacted.

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