Category Exams

Using pictures to study Sentence Transformations

It doesn’t matter how often I go to Cairo, I´m always struck by the beauty of the Pyramids. No matter how many times I go to Cairo, I´m always struck by the beauty of the Pyramids. Some people say that there’s no place for an exercise like Sentence Transformations in an assessment of English ability, but there […]

Power Pose (How to pretend to be a confident speaker)

I’ve had a bit of a holiday from writing blog posts, but I’ve still got lots of ideas to share and I’m aiming to post something every week for the rest of the summer. Here’s the first: Before their FCE exams in June, my intelligent but quiet Spanish teenage students (all girls) all expressed that they were […]

A low-prep, low-tech, effective game for revision

In this activity, pairs or small groups of students compete against other groups to answer written questions. It could be called a low tech version of a Socrative quiz. It’s most easily done with a whiteboard and projector but it could certainly be done with a blackboard instead. You just need a list of 8-12 […]

Useful CPE sites (2013 exam)

There’s not as much useful stuff out there for Proficiency, is there? A lot of what’s there relates to the old CPE exam, too. In this post, I’m listing websites which are useful both for teachers and students of CPE (2013). I’ll try to keep adding to this list, so if you have any recommendations of sites or […]

Text summary and analysis

This is a great way to get Proficiency students (although it could be adapted for Advanced or FCE students) reading, finding useful vocabulary in the text and sharing it with each other. I got it from the inspiring Elspeth Pollock who gave a talk on teaching CPE students in Seville in February.  She reminded us that […]

Spelling Bee: dictogloss and games

Whilst marking my students’ exams, I was thinking about how often they lose points not for lack of knowledge or comprehension, but due to misspelling the answer. Then I thought about how often we have spelling tests in class: never! So I came up with this lesson about spelling bees involving a dictogloss and spelling […]

CPE Exam Practice Record

Following on from my recent post about exam classes, I have produced, in collaboration with my students, this CPE exam practice record. We’ll see how it goes. I hope they can use it to keep track of what they’ve done, to note how to help themselves improve and record their improvements. Feel free to try it […]

Do you teach… A) the book B) the exam C) English D) your students?

(This post is a bit of a break from the norm – it’s some thoughts, ideas and questions aiming towards a resource for planning, rather than an activity.) It’s exam time at my school (Academia Britanica, aka IH Huelva), and my FCE and CPE students and I are preparing for the exams with a view […]

New Year’s resolutions + needs analysis

Happy new year! I hope you’ve had a good break. I know I have! Have you made any new year’s resolutions? I’ve vaguely made some, one of which is to spend a bit less time attached to my laptop, so I will be aiming to post weekly rather than daily from now on! Having said […]

All I want for Christmas is… Now with elementary YL version too!

Everyone loves presents.  But what’s the one thing you REALLY want? And can you make a good case for it to Santa Claus? This lesson involves some Christmas vocab, open-cloze, listening to a song, pronunciation and speaking and culminates with giving a convincing speech to Santa Claus about the one thing you really want for […]