Tag Archives: Cambridge FCE

Effective Reading Techniques

We all know that reading in a second language can be tricky. Why is this and what can you do about it so that you can become an effective reader?

Let’s first consider obstacles to effective reading. Are you reading something you enjoy? If you wouldn’t read it in your first language, then you certainly won’t want to read it in your second language! So choose something that you actually want to read to motivate yourself to do it more.

Another obstacle is feeling that you need to understand every single word. Well, you do NOT need to understand every word to read effectively. Effective reading is possibly as long as you can understand the important words in a text.

So, how can you be an effective reader? The answer to this depends on why you are reading. You might be reading just to get the gist of a text, in other words, to understand in general what the text is about. If you are reading for this reason, try skimming, which involves reading a text quickly to understand its main ideas, but not to grasp all the details. If you are reading for details, then you should try scanning. When you scan, you take a closer look at the text to find out more information about particular points of interest.

Another key to effective reading is the ability to read at a good speed. If you think you’re reading too slowly, give yourself a time limit when you read – and stick to it! If you don’t finish within your time limit the first time, don’t give up – with practice, you will improve!

It’s also a good idea to practice reading using shorter texts. Taking on a very long text can be daunting, and you might find that you give up reading it. So, read something shorter and more manageable – you’ll feel like you’ve achieved something when you’ve finished it, which will make you feel good and encourage you to read more.

Finally, to be an effective reader you, of course, need to understand what you read. A great way to check your understanding of what you’ve read is to write a summary of it after you’ve read it. If you can do this, then you have understood; if some parts are difficult to write, you can go back to your reading text again for clarification.

So, find something that you want to read, implement these ideas and you’ll be on the road to becoming an effective reader.

At Eurospeak we offer our Cambridge exam students real Cambridge reading material and authentic exam practice material for homework and in class.

We also have a class library scheme for General English classes, so that you can choose the book of your choice, at the correct CEFR Level, and return it once you have finished!

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

Eurospeak Southampton
10 Cumberland Place
Southampton
Hampshire
SO15 2BH
+44 (0) 2380 636494
hello@eurospeak.org.uk
www.eurospeak.org.uk

Eurospeak Reading
29a Chain Street
Reading
Berkshire
RG1 2HX
+44 (0) 1189 589599
info@eurospeak.org.uk
www.eurospeak.org.uk

The Benefits of Language Learning

THE BENEFITS OF LEARNING ANOTHER LANGUAGE

Ever wanted to learn another language but found there was always something stopping you? Well, here are six great reasons to just get on with it!

Career Prospects:

More and more these days employers are looking for people who can speak more than one language. Learning another language can boost your chances of being offered your dream job, but that’s not the only benefit – think of all the exciting foreign travel you might experience through your work!

Cognitive Development:

Learning another language improves your cognition in a number of ways: better memory, increased attention span and reduced risk of mental decline as you grow older. Different words and expressions in your new language can also help you to see the world in different ways.

Other Cultures:

When you learn another language, you also learn about the countries and cultures where people speak that language. This is beneficial in itself, but it also helps to broaden your mind and makes your more open to new people and experiences.

Don’t Get Lost in Translation:

Ever watched something translated into your language and thought, I just don’t get the joke? That’s because so much is lost in translation. If you learn another language, you can watch TV and films, and read books in their original language and experience them in the way they were meant to be experienced, in other words, you will get the joke!

Your Own Language:

Learning another language helps to improve your knowledge of your own language. By learning about the grammar of another language, you will become more familiar with how your own language is structured.

Even More Languages:

Once you’ve learnt one second language, the good news is that it is then so much easier to learn additional languages. You will learn your third, fourth and even fifth language a lot more quickly than your second language because of the cognitive effects learning a language has on your brain and also because you will have developed study skills that you can apply more rapidly to additional language learning.

So, no more excuses! Start learning another language today!

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

Eurospeak Southampton
10 Cumberland Place
Southampton
Hampshire
SO15 2BH
+44 (0) 2380 636494
hello@eurospeak.org.uk
www.eurospeak.org.uk

Eurospeak Reading
29a Chain Street
Reading
Berkshire
RG1 2HX
+44 (0) 1189 589599
info@eurospeak.org.uk
www.eurospeak.org.uk

 

I AIN’T ABLE TO USE AIN’T!

Ain’t: you’ve heard people using this word – and you might even have seen it written down – but you’re not really sure what it means or how to use it. Well, read on and you won’t go wrong!

 

Here’s the short explanation:

ain’t = am not / isn’t / aren’t

OR

ain’t = haven’t / hasn’t

And here’s more detail:

Ain’t exists in the same form for all persons:

I ain’t

you ain’t

he / she / it ain’t

we ain’t

you ain’t

they ain’t

You can basically use it any time when you would normally use am not / isn’t / aren’t or haven’t / hasn’t:

We ain’t finished yet. = We aren’t finished yet. OR We haven’t finished yet.

Ain’t you finished yet? = Aren’t you finished yet? OR Haven’t you finished yet?

You ain’t gonna be finished on time. = You aren’t going to be finished on time.

(More on gonna in a future post!)

Ain’t also exists in some fixed expressions, for example:

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. = If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

(Yes, this fixed expression does contain a grammatical error –  broke instead of broken!)

And there even used to be a comedy TV show in Britain with ain’t in the title:

It Ain’t Half Hot Mum

Ain’t only exists as a contraction – there is no full form. Contractions are informal; full forms are formal, so you can deduce from this that ain’t must be a pretty informal word. In fact, it is extremely informal – use it with your friends, maybe post it on social media, but definitely don’t write it in an academic assignment for university!

So, the next time you’re using English in a very informal situation, try using ain’t. There ain’t nothing stopping you!

 

Cambridge FCE Exam tips – Use of English

Use of EnglishHere are some useful tips to do well in the ‘Use of English’ section of the Cambridge First Certificate in English.

This part of the exam lasts 45 minutes and consists of four parts.

• The first part is a gap fill – so as with the other parts of the exam – read the text (do not look at the answers) and try to think of which words could fill the gap yourself. After this you should look at the possible answers (do not read these first as they are made to confuse you).
• The second part you should read the text quickly and understand the topic, the writing style and the opinion/s of the writer. Then read the text and try to think what the missing words are – Think of the grammar term we should use here – auxiliary verb/pronoun/phrasal verb…
• In the third section you must change some given words – so here the best idea is to read the text and understand the meaning/style/opinions and then start to change the words. There is usually one word that must be made negative so look for this.

After this read the text through again and make sure it makes sense!

• In the final (and most important) part of the use of English part of the exam you should allow yourself at least 15 minutes to complete this section. Each question is worth two points – one for using the key word correctly, and one for identifying the remaining grammar or vocabulary needed to complete the sentence. So for this you must use the word given and use two to five words to complete the sentence. Always write something on the answer sheet as you can still get one mark!

So what are you waiting for. Start your FCE preparation classes at Eurospeak to get the result you want. Check out our special FCE discount offer.

Here are some useful links for preparation on other FCE exam sections:
Cambridge FCE Exam Speaking Tips
Cambridge FCE Exam Writing Tips

Cambridge FCE Exam tips – Speaking

cambridge-fce-speaking-examHere are some useful tips for the Cambridge FCE Exam.

Do not speak too fast or worry about your accent – this will not affect your results. You will speak with another candidate and the examiner.

The speaking part of the exam is based on 5 things: Grammar, lexis, discourse, pronunciation, and interactive communication. There is also a final mark for Global achievement – overall effectiveness in responding to the tasks in the different sections of the speaking test.

If you are given any materials – read them carefully. Also listen carefully to what the examiner and the candidate say in the exam.

• The first part of this test you will be asked questions about yourself – home, school, work, hobbies, habits, interests, and future plans. Just speak normally during this phase and listen to your partner as you can’t repeat their answer.

• The second part you will have to speak for one minute about two minutes – you must compare and contrast the pictures. You will also have to answer a short question about your partner’s pictures so listen to them. This will be opinion based. You will have to answer a question about the photos which will be given to you on a card – answer this and compare the photos. Use the examiners question to structure your answer. DO NOT DESCRIBE THE PHOTOS – ONLY COMPARE THEM – but, while, however, whereas….
For the question about your partner’s pictures try to use words they did not use.

• The third part of the exam you must complete with your partner. You will be given a number of pictures and have to discuss them, give your opinion, and make a decision about the pictures with your partner. Involve your partner – don’t just talk to yourself – ask them questions and encourage them to ask you questions. Discuss all of the pictures then make a decision. If your partner talks too much just interject and ask if you can give your opinion. If they don’t speak enough try to encourage them to speak.

• The final part of this exam the examiner will join the conversation you and your partner are having from part 3. They will ask open questions for you both to discuss.

When the exam is over – behave as if it were a job interview – just say thank you and leave – do not ask your score or express your relief at the exam being finished.

Prepare for your exam with expert FCE exam tutors at Eurospeak Language School in Reading. Our Cambridge exam classes are very popular and students consistently get great results.