Writing part 2. Book review.

Hello everyone! I hope October has treated you well and you have received November with open arms!

Today, we are starting a series of posts about writing. One of the most common questions when using descriptive language is how to do so, what words and parts of the speech to use and how to organise it.

Hello everyone! I hope October has treated you well and you have received November with open arms!

Today, we are starting a series of posts about writing. One of the most common questions when using descriptive language is how to do so, what words and parts of the speech to use and how to organise it.

Well, we think that it is always better to work hands-on so here I bring you my review about Snow Girl, by Javier Castillo. I have chosen it because I know that it is a book that many of you have read and so you’ll be able to relate to this piece of writing.

There will be four posts in total divided in two blocks: B2 and C1 level. This first one will show a sample of the book review for first certificate and you’ll be asked to read it and give your opinion of the review answering a series of questions, which will be answered and highighted in the text for the second post. The second block will do the same but with a change of focus towards C1.

Let’s go for it! This is the task:

You must answer this question.

An international arts website is looking for reviews of novels for a new section called ‘A Reader Writes’. You have decided to write a review of a novel you’ve recently read for this section. Describe the novel and say what you think about it. Would you recommend this novel to other people?

Write your review in 140- 190 words in an appropriate style on the separate answer sheet.

B2 Sample review task

And this is the sample answer:

Snow Girl

I really liked The Day Sanity Was Lost, by Javier Castillo but with his latest book, Snow Girl, he has surely outdone himself.

The book starts with the 1998 Thanksgiving parade in New York City. Thousands of people wait for the enormous inflatable turkey and amongst them is the Templeton family. Aaron, Grace and her 3-year-old daughter Kiera enjoy the parade before her brother comes along in a few months. Aaron takes Kara to get a balloon she gets lost in the crowd, which leads to a spiral of anxiety, pain and blame, changing their lives forever.

Many journalists become interested in the case, including the undergraduate Miren Giggs, but as years go by without new leads, people lose interest and many in the police department think that Kiera is no longer to be found. However, five years after Kiera’s kidnapping, the Templeton’s receive a VHS film with recent footage of their daughter, who is now eight years old, playing in an unknown room and it won’t be the last one.

I really loved this book, it’s a real page-turner, engaging from the very beginning and keeping you engrossed chapter after chapter. If you like mystery and noir novel, I’d recommend this book as Javier Castillo never disappoints.

So, what did you think of it? Would this get a 5 out of 5 in the B2 First Exam?

Think about the following:

  1. Has the writer answered the questions fully?
  2. Was the text easy to read?
  3. Was it well organised both in paragraphs and using connectors?
  4. Look for adjectives and adverbs in the text, what sort of information do they give you? Why are they important?
  5. How does the reviewer describe the action in the book? Have you learned about main characters and plot twists?

Read the review again and answer these questions, the answers will be discussed in our next post.

Until then, as usual, #staysafe !

Photo by Koshevaya_k from Pexels

Job Hunting Part 3: The Interview

Hello everyone and happy May 1st!

To celebrate international workers’ day we’re posting the long overdue final part of our job interview special. If you missed them here are the links for the first two parts:

Part 1

Part 2

Now we are ready to start. Scroll down for part 3!


The questions

Once you’re sitting down and the (hopefully great) initial impression has been made, now it’s time to answer some questions. We can divide these into 5 categories, depending on their nature:


1. Basic interview questions 

In many interviews, the first question you’ll be asked is “Tell me about yourself”. This is a great opportunity to explain who you are and the value you would bring to the company, albeit you don’t start telling them about your memories of day care or your school friends. Talk about your skills and interests, your achievements and your professional projection being humble and honest.

Other basic interview questions are:

  • What are your strengths / weaknesses?
  • Why do you want this job?
  • Where would you like to be in your career in five years from now?
  • What’s your ideal company?
  • What attracted you to this company?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What do you know about this industry?
  • What do you know about our company?


2. Behavioural questions

They are designed to learn about your professional life but also to analyse your personality. For example, if asked “What was the last project you headed up? What was the outcome?” the interviewers may be more interested in what image of yourself you’re portraying than in the project itself and if asked “can you describe a time when your work was criticised?” you are being assessed on your self-criticism, on how well you receive others’ opinion and whether you’re able to change your way when things are not going well.

Other behavioural questions are:

  • What is your greatest failure, and what did you learn from it?
  • What irritates you about other people, and how do you deal with it?
  • If I were your supervisor and asked you to do something you disagreed with, what would you do?
  • What’s the most difficult decision you’ve made in the last two years and how did you come to that decision?


3. Career development questions

This is the time when you should bring up professional experience and achievements relevant for the position you’re applying for as well as your future projection and ambitions. Some of the questions you may be asked are:

  • What are you looking for in terms of career development?
  • How do you want to improve yourself in the next year?
  • What kind of goals would you have in mind if you got this job?
  • If I were to ask your last supervisor about your training approach, your dedication or commitment, what would they say?


4. Salary related questions

This is a tricky area, should you be honest about how much you want to earn? Should you ask for a certain amount? Well, the answer depends on the job application and the description of it. If the salary was part of the job advert you already know what you are going to earn and, supposedly, you agree with that number or you wouldn’t be there. On the other hand, if the ad did not mention anything about salary, make sure you do your research and go to the interview with an estimate of how much people in your position earn. You may want to ask for more but you should offer a good reason for it.

Some questions you may be asked in this area are:

  • What salary are you seeking?
  • What’s your salary history?
  • If I were to give the salary you requested but let you write your job description for the next year, what would it say?


5. Other questions

This is a miscellaneous category where the interviewers will find out additional information in any of the areas they feel thay need to and these are some questions to give you a general idea:

  • How would you describe your working style?
  • What would be your ideal working environment?
  • What do you look for in terms of culture – structured or entrepreneurial?
  • If you were interviewing someone for this position, what traits would you look for?
  • List five words that describe your character
  • What is your greatest fear?
  • What is your biggest regret and why?
  • Tell me one thing about yourself that you wouldn’t want me to know


After this, all we can do is go home and wait for that phone call or email giving us the answer. Just remember, not all companies reply and if you do not receive any notification from them in 4 weeks, it is understood that you have not been selected. That’s ok, just keep up the good work and you’ll get there! 😉


What’s your opinion of our job hunting special? Have you found it useful? Let us know your opinion in the comments section below!

Have a great May!



I want it all and I want it now (Part 2)

Hello everyone!

Welcome to the second part of the post that topped the charts last week! Continue reading “I want it all and I want it now (Part 2)”

Academic English, what’s that?

Hello everyone!

How’s the week going? This Friday we bring you a website  that we really think  you are going to love: the Cambridge blog on “Academic Perspectives”. Did you even know this exists? Continue reading “Academic English, what’s that?”

I want it all and I want it now

Hello guys!

Today we are very excited to bring you a collaboration post about all of those questions students often ask about exams: Continue reading “I want it all and I want it now”


Hello everyone!

Today we’re going to talk about typical mistakes made by Spanish students. Continue reading “Spanglish”

Let’s talk about job hunting…

Hello everybody!

January is finally over! 😀 That was a long month, wasn’t it? Anyway, it’s given us the time to set our goals for 2020, right? Continue reading “Let’s talk about job hunting…”

It’s exam time!

Hello everybody and happy December!

It’s that time of the year again, and I don’t mean Christmas! Continue reading “It’s exam time!”

Happy October!

Hello everyone!

I hope you’ve had a great summer break! We surely have and we’re back stronger than ever and with plenty of news Continue reading “Happy October!”

It’s exam time

Hello everybody!

I hope you’ve had a great Easter and a fantastic beginning of May. 🙂 Continue reading “It’s exam time”

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