Exam classes

Hello everyone!

First of all, we’d like to thank you for the extra popularity this blog is experiencing. Last Saturday was the best day of the week with an increase of 1475% in visits! You’ve made us all proud. Thank you so very much! 😀

Today we welcome a new week #athome full of hope that we’ll be able to see each other soon. 🙂 Continue reading “Exam classes”

The Passive Voice (Part 2)

Hello everyone!

Last January we wrote a post about the passive voice (you can check it out here) but we told you that it was part 1! So today we are going to take a look at 2 other types of passives (usually for Intermediate students and above) which can be quite tricky to master.

Let’s take a look at the following active sentence: Continue reading “The Passive Voice (Part 2)”

Each step counts

Hi folks!

How’s the weekend going? I hope you have enjoyed our quiz on idioms in the previous post, our students surely have! And as promised, here are the answers: 1B, 2A, 3A, 4C, 5A, 6B, 7C, 8A, 9A, 10B, 11A, 12C.

Today we have a post about the younger students, our kiddies. Carol Banet (Head of Junior Department) has written the following article to shed some lights on the YLE exams, why they are becoming so popular and her experience when students prepare and take these exams. Enjoy!

How many times as a teacher or as parents have we asked ourselves ‘How can I motivate young children to study English?’ ‘What can be done to maintain their interest?’ ‘How can they be motivated?’ ‘What about making the time spent at school more enjoyable and entertaining?’

Cambridge Young Learner exams can be one of the ways to answer these questions.

What are Cambridge Young Learners exams?

Cambridge Young Learner exams are tests specially designed for children at primary and lower- secondary school. These tests are an excellent way to motivate our students to learn English, build their confidence using a foreign language and  show parents the progress the students make.

Why should students take Young Learners exams?

These are not the classical tests students normally do at their schools. These are activity- based tests which focus on putting into practice English for everyday situations, covering familiar and interesting topics for the students specially designed to develop the skills students need to communicate in English as a second language in a natural way.

Tests where the most important thing is not what students cannot do but what they can do!

What level are the exams?

There are three levels: STARTERS, MOVERS & FLYERS. All of them designed so students improve their English following a well planned, interesting syllabus. These exams are aligned with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

The exams are divided into three parts, covering all language skills appropriate to each level: Reading & Writing, Listening & Speaking.

What do students get after doing the exam?

All students will receive an award. They will be awarded a Cambridge Certificate which will show a number of shields, according to the student´s performance in the different parts of the exam.

Personally speaking, I really think that this is an excellent way to motivate students to see how they can make the study of a subject something more interesting, enjoyable and practical. Soon students at this early age will not be afraid of taking exams and they will see them as something natural and normal in their education. Parents would be surprised if they knew how many times students who have done one of the tests are asking when they will be taking the next.

Written by Carol Banet

Deconstructing sentence transformation

Hello everyone!!!!

Today we have a very special post prepared by our Director of Studies about sentence transformation but, before that, you need the answers for the passives exercises, don’t you?  How do you think you did? Let’s take a look! 😉

Exercise 1:

1.- The game has been won by Manchester United

2.- The last piece of cake was had/taken by Mark and Kevin

3.- An umbrella is being carried by Jane

4.- My book has been stolen (we omit the agent)

5.- The police are being phoned by my neighbours.

Exercise 2:

1.- A message will be sent…

2.- … ball was kicked over the…

3.- … had clearly been broken…

4.- … have been met by…

5.- … being repaired by the technician…

And now… Welcome to the world of sentence transformations!!! Enjoy!!! 🙂

Deconstructing Transformations

Transformations can be found in various different Cambridge examinations and, for many students and candidates, they represent one of the greatest challenges in Use of English. One reason for this is that many transformations test not only a particular grammar point, but also vocabulary. Although the word limit differs, the same basic technique can be applied to FCE, CAE, CPE and to some extent, PET.

Technique: Deconstructing a transformation

Steps:

1. Read the instructions. Across the levels, the instructions are the same; complete the second sentence so that it has a similar meaning to the first, using the word given (except PET, where no word is given). What changes is the word limit:

PET 1 – 3 words

FCE 2 – 5 words

CAE 3 – 6 words

CPE 3 – 8 words

Remember, a contraction (e.g don’t / he’s) counts as 2 words.

2. Read the original sentence in this example.

What is the time reference (past / present /future)?

Example: They are building a new supermarket in the town centre

(FCE) BEING (word given)

A ………………………………………………………….. in the town centre.

Answer: present.

3. Compare the 2 sentences. Underline the words which appear in both.

They are building a new supermarket in the town centre

BEING (word given)

A ………………………………………………………….. in the town centre.

By doing this, you focus on what exactly needs to be changed, ‘..are building a new supermarket..’

4. Compare the order of the words in both sentences. If the order differs, why do you think this is? In the example, the transformation does not begin with the subject pronoun ‘They’, but with the article ‘A’. This would suggest a passive form.

5. Look carefully at the word given. What kind of word is it?

BEING (_ing form of the verb ‘be’)

Could this be the first word you need to write? ‘A BEING……..’

No. This would not make sense in the context of this transformation, but why not?

The article ‘A’… means a countable noun is probably required. Is there a countable noun in the original sentence?

Yes: ‘…a new supermarket..?

Is the adjective ‘new’ necessary?

In any transformation, if you are not sure whether to include the adjective or not, check the word limit. If it can be used without exceeding the word limit, use it. Remember step one: the second sentence must as similar as possible as the first sentence.

A new supermarket …………………………………. In the town centre

6. Look again at the word given: BEING. Can this word be used next? No, but why not?

Which auxiliary verb is needed to form a continuous tense?

Answer: is/are was/were

Remember step 2: time reference (in this case, present) = is/are

Is there a singular or plural reference? (in this case singular; ‘A new supermarket…) = is

A NEW SUPERMARKET IS BEING………………..in the town centre

By this point, 4 words have been used. If you have managed to get this far, you will know that this is a passive sentence so what is missing is a past participle. The original sentence uses the verb in its continuous form ‘building’. Is the verb ‘build’ a regular or an irregular verb?

Answer: irregular = BUILT

A NEW SUPERMARKET IS BEING BUILT in the town centre

This answer would receive 2 marks.

At FCE / CAE / CPE, each transformation is worth up to 2 marks. This means that if you have part of the transformation correct, you can still receive 1 mark. You do not lose marks for writing an incorrect answer, so always write something, using the word given, after all, 1 mark is better than 0!

Good Luck.

Andy (DOS)

The Passive Voice (Part 1)

Hi  guys!!!

How’s 2016 treating you?

Today we are going to take a look at “The Passive Voice” as most students at Intermediate level struggle with them and, without a good base, even upper intermediate and First Certificcate students find it confusing when it comes to sentence transformations.

What is the passive voice?

When we form a sentence we tend to do it in active voice (Subject + verb + direct object), focusing the reader’s attention on the person performing that action. E.g.: “Steve eats an apple”

On the contrary, the passive voice focuses on the receiver of the action (in this case “an apple”). E.g.: “An apple is eaten by Steve”

Notice that both sentences have the same meaning despite having a different structure.

How is the passive formed?

Take a look at how the structure changes:

1.- The subject in active voice is now after the verb, we call it “Agent”

2.- The direct object (an apple) is now at the beginning of the sentence (it has become the subject)

3.- The verb stays in the same place but…. Why are there two words now? ❓

Passive tenses:

In the active voice sentence (“Steve eats an apple”) the verb is in present simple and, believe it or not, so it is in the passive voice one (“An apple is eaten by Steve”).But, why have we got two words now?

Notice how the verb carrying the tense is now the verb “to be” and how the main verb (carrying meaning) is now in Past Participle.

Knowing this, we can now form passives in any tense we want.

E.g.:

PRESENT CONTINUOUS: “Steve is eating an apple” vs “An apple is being eaten by Steve”

PAST SIMPLE: “Steve ate an apple” vs “An apple was eaten by Steve”

PAST CONTINUOUS: “Steve was eating an apple” vs “An apple was being eaten by Steve”

PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE: “Steve has eaten an apple” vs “An apple has been eaten by Steve”

Notice how, independently from the tense, in the passive the main verb is always in past participle.

So, would you like to give it a go? Here it is an exercise for you to practise the passive voice and, to avoid temptation, we will post the correct anwers in the next post! 😉

EXERCISE 1:

Turn these active voice sentences into the passive voice:

1.- Manchester United have won the game

2.- Mark and Kevin had the last piece of cake

3.- Jane is carrying an umbrella

4.- Someone has stolen my book

5.- My neighbours are calling the police

EXERCISE 2:

Complete the second sentence, with a minimum of 2 words and a maximum of 5, so that it has a similar meaning (the closer the better) to the first one  using the word given:

1.-My secretary will send you a message next week.

SENT

_____________________ to you by my secretary next week.

2.- John kicked the ball over the fence

WAS

The ______________________ fence by John

3.- Someone had obviously broken the glass on the floor

CLEARLY

The glass ______________________ on the floor

4.- The class have met many famous people on the school trip

BY

Many celebrities ______________________ the class on the school trip.

5.- The technician is fixing the computer now

REPAIRED

The computer is _______________ now.

Steve eats an apple

An apple is eaten by Steve

We're back!!!!!

Hi people!!!

How is the summer going? It is September already!

In Euroschool we’re already preparing the new school year and today we would like to show you a little bit more about us. So let’s get started with a few words from our Director!

`April is the cruelest month……….´or at least that´s what the esteemed poet Thomas Stearns Eliot believed. I´m not sure if schoolchildren around the world  who are now returning to their desks or adults who are returning to their respective jobs would agree. September….they may argue, seems a much crueler deal. After a month or more of enjoying the long, lazy “glorious” days of summer, it is once more unto the breach and no more onto the beach (to paraphrase good ol´Henry V).

Fortunately, here at Euroschool we face no such dilemma. Now that the school is open all year round each day seems like a good day and while each term brings its own challenges we take great pride in being able to offer our services to  those who need them….when they need them.

Speaking of which, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the teachers and students who worked tirelessly throughout the summer and offer my Congratulations to those students who were successful in their exams and my commiserations to those who fell short. Indeed, we are all immensely proud of the June Exam Results in which we managed to maintain our overall pass rate of 85%.

Congrats and thanks must also go to all our teachers and students who took part in our off – site summer courses : England, Southsea; Manzaneda, Galicia and The Big, Fat, Fun Urban Camp, Los Castros. The feedback has been incredibly positive and for that we are eternally grateful.

And so to THE FUTURE. I´m sure you´re all anxious to know what we have planned next. Well, more of the same for one thing and MORE of the new for another. Plans are afoot to relaunch our cinema club, open a conversation club and put into practice any of the ideas you may come up with. So put your thinking caps on and get ready for another GREAT YEAR at EUROSCOOL.

Remember: What we achieve tomorrow depends on what we do today.

Excelsior.

Terence James Paul.

Now, do you want to take a look at our school? Well, you know you just have to ask!


This is us!

Image result for arrow down

Euroschool of English, because “What we achieve tomorrow, depends on what we do today”

So go ahead and contact us via the comments section on this very page, web (www.euroschoolofenglish.com), Facebook, phone (981140024) or just come and visit (Fernando Macías Nº13), we’ll be more than happy to help and welcome you aboard!

I’m sure we’ll see each other very soon! 😉



Reading and Use of English Paper (Word formation)

EXAM COUNTDOWN – STRATEGIES AND ADVICE

PAPER 1:  Reading and Use of English  PART 3:  Word Formation

*This is a task with eight gaps, based on a text of between 150-170 words

WHAT’S TESTED?

This is a test of your ability in word formation.  The focus is on vocabulary and the formation of words from a root, using prefixes and suffixes, internal changes and compound words.  There may also be a grammatical element (such as plural forms, verb tenses and participles) to the changes that need to be made.  Some of the words you have to form may be part of fixed expressions or collocations.

You may be given a noun and have to transform it into a verb, or produce an adjective from a noun.  It is important that you know the meaning and the functions of the many different prefixes (e.g. un/in/dis/re-) and suffixes (e.g. -ally/ion/able/ment) and that you are familiar with compounds (e.g. worldwide/outcome/downsize).

STRATEGY

Always read the title and the whole text carefully, ignoring the gaps for the moment, to get an overview of the topic and to understand the main points of each paragraph or group of sentences.

SYNTAX

Use your knowledge of grammar to understand what part of speech the missing word is (e.g. noun, verb, adjective, adverb) and think through the range of possible affixes, negative prefixes and suffixes.

SEMANTICS

Look carefully at the way the sentence is constructed to decide whether the missing word should be positive or negative.  Look for evidence of two opposing ideas.  When the root presents several possible derivatives, look at the context carefully to check that you have the derivative with the correct meaning.  Remember that more than one change to the stem word can often be required.

EXAMPLES

Let’s look at the verb DECIDE and it’s derivatives. Look at these two sentences and think about syntax.

  1. The people couldn’t believe that once again their Prime Minister was shown to be a weak  and ___________ leader.

  1. Even after she had asked her friends and family for advice, Nadine was still ____________ whether to go to college or not.

In both sentences we need an adjective.  Here are the possibilities……

decided

undecided

decisive

indecisive

deciding

….now think about semantics.  We can see from the meaning and construction of the sentences that we need a negative adjective in both.  Now check the meaning of both derivatives.

a) undecided: (not before a noun) not having made a decision about something important

b) indecisive: 1. unable to make clear decisions or choices 2. not having a clear result

ANSWERS 1(b)   2(a)

Now look at these two sentences and think about syntax:

  1. Due to internal disagreement there were weeks of __________ about who would get the promotion and when.
  2. It was a maddening trait of his, this __________, which in his case was complicated by his extreme politeness.

This time we need a noun in both sentences.  Here are the possibilities:

decision(s)

indecision

decisiveness

indecisiveness

…The semantics tell us that we need a negative noun in both sentences.

a) indecision: the state of being unable to decide what to do

b) indecisiveness: describing a person’s inability to make clear decisions or choices

ANSWERS 1(a)   2(b)

To sum up, don’t forget these TOP TIPS:

1)      Analyse the text on two levels:  SYNTAX and SEMANTICS

2)      Check to see if the word is plural or singular

3)      Remember the root word ALWAYS has to be changed

4)      Brainstorm the root word to see how many forms you can think of…

5)      Remember….TIMING.  Don’t let the clock tick away for the want of ONE WORD. Take an educated guess.

PET exam: Reading Part 2

Hi everybody!

We are back as promised to give you a hand with the practice for the PET exam (B1 level).

In this exam you will have to go through 8 different parts in 1h30 minutes and therefore timing is one of the biggest problems for candidates. In today’s post we will talk about how to address Reading part 2 so you can do it in approximately 10min! 😉

http://www.slideshare.net/EuroschoolOfEnglish/slideshelf

I am positive this will help your preparation for the exam and we are looking forward to hearing your feedback but in the meanwhile, why don’t your try this technique with a brand new Reading Part 2? 🙂

http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams/preliminary/how-to-prepare/

How to write an essay (First Certificate Level)

Hi everybody!

I know that a lot of you are going to take a Cambridge Exam in the following months and that’s why, throughout the next four weeks, all our posts in the category “Teacher’s Corner” will be about that.

Today we start with the compulsory writing part 1 in First Certificate: How to write an essay.

This is the task we will be working on:

We have broken the planning into pieces and organised it in different steps and I think it will be useful so, come on! What are you waiting for? Take a look and give it a go! 🙂


STEP 1.- Understanding the task

What is one of the most common problems when it comes to starting a writing task? It doesn´t matter if we are students or professional writers, everybody has experienced the “blank page fear”, wondering “But, how am I supposed to write 140 to 190 words about this? I don’t have a clue where to start! I can´t think of anything to say!” Don’t panic, we are going to give you a hand with that! 😉

Usually we only read the part in the “notebook” area but today I am going to ask you to start paying attention to the very first lines. It says:

“In your English class you have been talking about the environment.”

This sentence, usually overlooked, is the key to come up with ideas so we can start planning our writing! Actually imagine you have had a discussion about the topic given in class, think about your classmates, what do you think their opinion would have been?

Here’s my example about ideas that may have come up in the class:

PROBLEMS CONSEQUENCES POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS
–          Polluted seas

–          Polluted water

–          Cars = Polluted air

–          Trees and vegetation damage

–          Bad air quality

–          Pesticides

–          Ozone layer damage

–          Greenhouse effect

–          Dirty beaches = skin problems

–          Cost: purifying water so it is potable.

–          Less oxygen in the air

ß

–          Ashtma and breathing problems (Tokyo) Þ The more patients the higher social security costs

–          Contaminated food / Recent research Þ Possible cause of illnesses such as cancer

–          Harmful sun: Skin problems

–          Higher temperatures, changes in weather (harmful for crops), ice caps melting, raising sea levels

–          Industry residue control

–          Industries residues control

–          Better public transport system so as people won’t use their cars.

–          Exhaust fumes control

–          Promote bio food by helping farmers (grants…)

–          It cannot be undone but we can prevent it from getting worse.

How? ß

  • Recycling
  • Educating in schools
  • Educating in awareness of current environmental problems
  • Encourage: Using public transport, eating bio food, not using BFC’s, taking care of nature when outdoors.

STEP 2.- Lay-out

Or, how am I going to put all these ideas in the same text cohesively and coherently?

I know my essay should look more or less like this:

This being the content:

STEP 3: Language

Part 1.- Style In this case I am going to write in a neutral to formal style as this essay is for my English teacher.

Part 2.- Linking words Organising my ideas. In this part I am aiming to show a range of vocabulary so as to raise my mark in the writing part. In this way, it is useful to include: A variety of linking words and expressions, passive, conditionals, etc.

  • INTRODUCTION

Opening: Impersonal passive …

Supporting the topic: It’s important to realise, as an illustration…

Expressing cause and effect: Conditional.

  • PARAGRAPH 1

Opening: Firstly, …

Adding information: In addition

Explaining the reason: Due to

Expressing consequence: As a result

  • PARAGRAPH 2

Opening: Secondly, …

Adding information: Not only … but also….

Explaining the reason: Given that….

Emphasising: With this in mind, indeed

  • PARAGRAPH 3

Opening: Having considered… it is also reasonable to look at …

Introducing the point: Given that…

Expressing consequence: Consequently

  • CONCLUSION

Opening: In the final analysis, …

Emphasising: What is more…

Expressing consequence: Under these circumstances…

Now, you just have to put the pieces back together to get an awesome essay! 🙂 Next week I’ll post a sample but, why don’t you write yours first? Leave them in reception and we will correct them!