Tag Archives: berkshire

Cambridge vs IELTS – Which one to choose?

Some of the most common questions we are asked by students are ‘What is the difference between Cambridge exams and IELTS?’ or ‘Which exam should I take?’ They’re the 2 biggest exams in the UK, so have a look at our handy table below to decide which one is best for you.

  Cambridge IELTS
Types of exam Different exams for different levels – KET (A2), PET (B1), FCE (B2), CAE (C1) and CPE (C2) The same exam for all levels, but you choose the Academic English or the General English exam
Grading Pass A-C grade, or fail, although a ‘high’ fail gets a certificate from the level below You receive a band score between 1-9
Papers 4 papers – Speaking, Listening, Writing, Reading and Use of English (this is focused on grammar and vocabulary). 4 papers – Speaking, Listening, Writing, and Reading
Certificate You have a certificate which is valid forever Your certificate is normally only accepted at institutions for 2 years after you take the exam
Purpose To prove a general level of English; accepted by some university courses To go to university in the UK; for some types of visa; to work in the NHS

If you’re not sure, think about why you’re taking an exam – is it to show your general level, or to take a course? To get a job or to get a visa? Check on the website of the specific organisation to find out what they need – often they will accept either type of exam.

At Eurospeak we have extensive experience with both types of exam, so why not come in and have a chat with one of our friendly staff and let us help you find the exam and course which is best for you!

For more information about studying General English, Cambridge Exam Preparation or IELTS Exam Preparation courses with Europeak Southampton or Eurospeak Reading, please contact us on:

St. Patrick Day – Traditions

 

St. Patrick’s Day – St Patrick day traditions

Every 7th of March St. Patrick day is celebrated, this traditional festivity comes from an ancient story and has a lot of symbolic elements. Discover the history and the meaning of them:

  • The Shamrock

The shamrock, which was also called the “seamroy” by the Celts, was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland because it symbolized the rebirth of spring. By the seventeenth century, the shamrock had become a symbol of emerging Irish nationalism.

  • Irish Music

Music is often associated with St. Patrick’s Day—and Irish culture in general. From ancient days of the Celts, music has always been an important part of Irish life. The Celts had an oral culture, where religion, legend and history were passed from one generation to the next by way of stories and songs.

  • The Snake

It has long been recounted that, during his mission in Ireland, St. Patrick once stood on a hilltop (which is now called Croagh Patrick), and with only a wooden staff by his side, banished all the snakes from Ireland.

In fact, the island nation was never home to any snakes. The “banishing of the snakes” was really a metaphor for the eradication of pagan ideology from Ireland and the triumph of Christianity. Within 200 years of Patrick’s arrival, Ireland was completely Christianized.

  • Corned Beef

Each year, thousands of Irish Americans gather with their loved ones on St. Patrick’s Day to share a “traditional” meal of corned beef and cabbage.

Though cabbage has long been an Irish food, corned beef only began to be associated with St. Patrick’s Day at the turn of the century.

Irish immigrants living on New York City’s Lower East Side substituted corned beef for their traditional dish of Irish bacon to save money. They learned about the cheaper alternative from their Jewish neighbors.

  • The Leprechaun

The original Irish name for these figures of folklore is “lobaircin,” meaning “small-bodied fellow.”

Belief in leprechauns probably stems from Celtic belief in fairies, tiny men and women who could use their magical powers to serve good or evil. In Celtic folktales, leprechauns were cranky souls, responsible for mending the shoes of the other fairies. Though only minor figures in Celtic folklore, leprechauns were known for their trickery, which they often used to protect their much-fabled treasure.

 

What’s going on with British weather?

If you’ve been living in the UK for even a short time, you’ll know that the weather is very changeable – sometimes we get four seasons in one day! Whether it’s chucking it down, or we’re having a heat wave, you should be prepared – never leave the house without an umbrella and sunglasses!

But why is the weather so unpredictable? Well, geographically, the UK sits between warm air coming from the topics and cold air from the polar regions. When the two types of air meet, the atmosphere can change very quickly, from mild to freezing in just one day.

This is one of the reasons that we love to talk about the weather so much – there’s always something new to say!

Four seasons in one day – when we experience many different types of weather in a short period of time

It’s chucking it down – it’s raining a lot (informal)

A heat wave – a short period of surprisingly hot weather

Mild ­– not cold (especially after a period when it’s been very cold)

Freezing – very cold

If you want to find out more, watch this fascinating video from the BBC:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/science-environment-17223307/why-is-british-weather-so-unpredictable

 

For more information about studying General English, Cambridge Exam Preparation or IELTS Exam Preparation courses with Europeak Southampton or Eurospeak Reading, please contact us on:

What is Pancake Day?

The time has come for one of the best days of spring – Pancake Day! But why on earth do we have a day to celebrate pancakes?

Pancake Day (or Shrove Tuesday, as it is also called) is celebrated 40 days before Easter Sunday, one of the most important days in the Christian calendar.

On Pancake Day we use all of the nice foods in the house, like eggs, butter and sugar, to make pancakes and then we eat very plain food for the next 40 days. One of the most popular pancake toppings in the UK is lemon with sugar, but you can have jam, Nutella, or even cheese!

An important tradition on Pancake Day is flipping the pancakes – you have to throw them up in the air and then try to catch them in the pan! It takes a bit of practice, but it’s good fun. Some towns even have a pancake race, where people have to run and flip pancakes at the same time!

You can see one of these races on Broad Street in Reading, from 12.30pm on Tuesday 5th March.

Come and join us for the Eurospeak Pancake parties this week –

Southampton – Tuesday 5th March, 1pm

Reading – Thursday 7th March, 4pm

For more information about studying General English, Cambridge Exam Preparation or IELTS Exam Preparation courses with Europeak Southampton or Eurospeak Reading, please contact us on:

WHY ENGLISH CAN BE HARD

English can be difficult because sometimes words with the same spelling can have different meanings and / or pronunciations.

Here are some examples for you to try to figure out:

  • The bandage was wound around the wound.
  • The farm was cultivated to produce produce.
  • The dump was so full that the workers had to refuse more refuse.
  • We must polish the Polish furniture.
  • The soldier decided to desert his tasty dessert in the desert.
  • Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present to his girlfriend.
  • A bass was painted on the bass drum.
  • I did not object to the object which he showed me.
  • The insurance was invalid for the invalid in his hospital bed.
  • There was a row among the oarsmen about who would row.
  • They were too close to the door to close it.
  • The buck does funny things when the does are present.
  • A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer.
  • To help with planting, a farmer taught his sow to sow.
  • The wind was too strong to wind the sail around the mast.
  • Upon seeing the tear in her painting, she shed a tear.
  • I has to subject the subject to a series of tests.
  • How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Testimonials 3.

IMG_20160331_125206My name is Elf, I am from Thailand and I am very happy in Eurospeak because we use the newest teaching materials and the most modern interactive white boards, and the people is very nice, also Reading have a excellent transport links of the UK and I can travel around the country. And now I know a lot of places.

Testimonials

IMG_20160331_125140

My name is Miriam, I am from Mexico, I am 28 years old and I am living in Reading, I have studied Graphic Designer, and the best option for my job is learn English. Classes are fun and productive because the students are friendly and my teacher is amazing, we are a multicultural student community and great learning atmosphere.

 

 

Studying at Eurospeak – Visas & Immigration

Do I need a visa to study at Eurospeak?

If you are from one of the 28 countries in the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) then you do not need a visa to study English at Eurospeak.

Please find a list of these countries here.

If you are from outside of the EU and the EEA, you need a visa to study English with us at Eurospeak.

Which type of visa do I need?

Up to 6 months study: Student Visitor Visa
6 to 11 months study: Extended Student Visitor Visa

 What documents do I need to apply for a Student Visitor Visa?

1. The completed application form.

2. A valid passport (or travel document).

3. Two passport sized colour photographs.

4. Visa Letter from Eurospeak – you will receive this from us after you have paid your complete fee.

5. Evidence of money to support yourself – you must have enough money to pay for living costs without working (bank statements or payslips).

How much does the visa cost?

The current application fee is:

Student Visitor Visa: £83
Extended Student Visitor Visa: £150

How long does it take to get the visa?

You should get your visa within 3 weeks.

For more information, check information about Student Visitor Visas on the UK Government website.

If you would like to study with us, please complete our online application form here: Eurospeak Application Form, or contact Andrew on: international@eurospeak.org.uk.

Is the NOCN Entry Level 3 ESOL Qualification accepted by the UKBA?

If you are planning to apply for Indefinite Leave to remain (ILR) or British Citizenship, you will need to take the B1 ESOL Entry Level 3 Speaking & Listening Exam. This exam is purely for candidates who wish to apply for ILR or Citizenship, and there are a number of different awarding bodies who issue acceptable certificates.

In accordance with the UKVI website:

“You can prove your knowledge of English by having an English level B1, B2, C1 or C2 level qualification that’s one of the following:

  • an ESOL qualification at Entry 3 or higher (eg Level 1 or 2) on the Ofqual register taken in England, Wales or Northern Ireland
  • an ESOL qualification at Scottish Qualifications Framework levels 4, 5 or 6 awarded by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and taken in Scotland
  • on the Home Office’s list of recognised English tests and qualifications

Therefore, the NOCN Entry Level Award in ESOL Skills for Life (speaking and listening) (Entry 3) (QCF)  qualification meets the requirements as it is Entry Level 3, and is on the Ofqual register.

Here is the link to the Ofqual register which outlines the qualification details: http://register.ofqual.gov.uk/Qualification/Details/601_4011_2

If you are interested in taking this exam in Reading, Berkshire or live in a neighbouring county, like Wiltshire or Oxfordshire, please contact us for more information.

Update: We no longer run the B1 Exam at Eurospeak, due to changes made by the UKVI from November 5th 2015. To book your B1 Exam Preparation class, please click here.

Learn English in 2015!

Why learn English in 2015?

We all know that English is the international language, but there are many other great reasons to learn English this year..

The Internet

It is no secret that English is the language of the internet. Of all the languages used on the internet, English is the overwhelming favourite.

Internet Languages
Internet Languages

 

 

 

 

 

A study made by W3Techs showed that in April 2013, almost 55% of the most visited websites used English as their content language. Although, the number of non-English pages is rapidly expanding. According to Alexandru Rotaru, the use of English online increased by around 281% from 2001 to 2011, a lower rate of growth than that of Spanish (743%), Chinese (1,277%), Russian (1,826%) or Arabic (2,501%) over the same period.

Music

English music sells well, nobody can argue about that. Not only is English language music popular in English speaking countries, but people from Portugal to Japan, Nigeria to The Phillipines, who has not heard of The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Madonna or Adele? Many foreign singers also like to use English to express themselves in song, for example, Gangnam Style and

English speakers  do not have a better musical sense or make the most romantic or poetic songs. Italian and French songs are arguably better in that respect. As far as English lyrics are concerned, most English songs are not concerned with poetry and language exploration. For example, have you ever heard ‘Barbie Girl’…!?