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EASILY CONFUSED WORDS

English has a lot of words that can be easily confused not only by those of you learning English, but also by those of us studying English, and by ‘native’ speakers. English is a rich mix of different influences; very little survives of the original Celtic language from the original inhabitants of the British Isles apart from place names such as York; Church Latin brought by the Roman’s persisted until the sixteenth century; the Germanic Anglo-Saxon ‘settlers’ colonised the eastern and southern part of Britain by the 5th century. Then came the Viking invasions in the 9th and 10th centuries; they brought the influence of Old Norse. In 1066, the Norman conquest of England began bringing a heavy Norman French influence. Then with Britain’s expanding trade and eventually Empire new words entered the language brought not only by the British but the Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch empires thought trade.

There are also many inconsistencies in spellings; there are homographs (wind and wind), homophones (capital and capitol) and homonyms (produce the verb and produce the noun).

Confusion can come about when the meaning is misunderstood by the listener. When we learn a new language, or study our own language, enter a new job or read a new book we are confronted by new words that can confuse us in the form of faddy neologisms or jargon.

It took me a few days to stop using the Spanish word coger in South America; I could no longer coger el colectivo I had to tomar el colectivo (take the bus) in South America. In English there are a number of ways we can confuse ourselves; the first are the superficial differences between the ‘Englishes’ usually to do with spelling or semantics – the meaning of a word. For example, there were two computer programmers; one from America and one from England. When the English programmer and finished writing his program, he sat down to watch a TV programme; then, when the American finished her program she sat down to what her TV program. Which program or program you use depends on where you are and what you are doing. In the next two examples the meaning of each sentence is different; In England it is quite acceptable to say “I’ve never seen such a gorgeous ass”; you would be complimenting someone on their donkey, but using the exact same words in the United States could land you in gaol or is it jail? I get easily confused by these two words. There are also confusions brought about by time, for example, until the early twentieth century, it wasn’t unusual for people of a certain education to say, “I’m feeling rather gay today.” This meant “I’m feeling rather happy.” During this time people sometimes said they felt rather ‘queer’ or strange; both gay and queer have different meanings today – in the early twenty-first century; these are prime examples of the semantic shift in words. England also has a fantastic culinary tradition; one such culinary delight is the faggot; I love faggots and regularly eat them – faggots in England are large meatballs by the way. However, I am sure this is still an arrestable offence in some parts of the United States and the wider world.

Time has also changed the meaning of wicked and cool; in the late 1990s they meant something like fantastic or really good. In today’s news media the words snowflake and gammon have taken on a new meaning. These words are often used as terms of abuse in the news media it is debatable how much they are used outside the confines of newspapers and troll or water armies. Confusion can also occur through pronunciation; in the American ABC comedy TV series Modern Family the character Gloria Delgado-Pritchett played by the American-Columbian actor Sofía Vergara is asked by her husband to get some baby cheeses and she orders lots of baby Jesuses. But there is also confusion brought about by homophones; for example, which of the following means to be still or not moving? In her Grammarly blog Top 30 Commonly Confused Words in English, Brittney Ross mentions two confusing words: Complement and Compliment; both words are spelt differently; they both have different meanings but the same pronunciation both for the verb and noun forms. So, what happens when we hear these words, how do we learn how to spell them? Stationary or stationery? Confused? It’s common to confuse these two words even among so-called ‘native’ speakers, so look at the two words in context: The train was stationary, so I popped into the stationery store and got these envelopes and pens. How do I get around the problem? In my head I tend to stress the final vowel in both words and remember the context; that helps me remember the spelling. And there are the principles and principals: There are fundamental principles we all live by; one of them is that we shall not steal. Many school principals have at least a master’s degree is the headmaster of a school. How do you remember which is which? Well you could use spelling mnemonics; for example, my pal is a school principal. The other way of confusing you is the non-transparent spelling system; we don’t always mean or say what is written; in English vowels aren’t pronounced or used. Take, for example, the word chocolate; in Spanish all the vowels are pronounced, in English we are lazier and drop the second ‘o’ vowel sound, so it’s pronounced as choclate.

So, knowing how a word is pronounced and practicing can often help our spelling, but there is also the problem of the spell check; how many of us have used the spell check and this marvellous device has sent the wrong word making us look completely illiterate? Embarrassing isn’t it! As Brittney Ross says in her Grammarly blog Top 30 Commonly Confused Words in English ‘your word might be spelled right, but it may be the wrong word.’ We also have the double entendre is a figure of speech that has two meanings or interpretations; this form of ambiguity can cause confusion in meaning, for instance, newspaper headlines are notorious for this; take for example this headline, ‘Strikes to Paralyse Travellers’; does it mean that travellers will be physically paralysed or does it mean that the infrastructure will be paralysed and travellers won’t be able to travel? Anther confusing example is that 21 taxes choke tourism operators – Parliament cries; a parliament crying because tourism operators were choked by twenty-one taxes!

Chris Scott February 2020

Reference List

Brittney Ross [n.d.], Top 30 Commonly Confused Words in English, Grammarly blog, viewed 30 December 2019, < https://www.grammarly.com/blog/commonly-confused-words/ >.

Mirror.co.uk 17 August 2016, Strikes to Paralyse Travellers, Mirror, viewed 30 December 2019, < https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/strikes-to-paralyse-travellers-638297 >

Richard Annerquaye Abbey January 24, 2019, 21 taxes choke tourism operators – Parliament cries, viewed 30 December 2019, https://thebftonline.com/2019/editors-pick/21-taxes-choke-tourism-operators-parliament-cries/

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Critical Thinking

Ever since I went to college many years ago, I’ve been hearing the term critical thinking; it keeps popping up from time to time, but do we as teachers and students sit down and think about what this means, and do we use critical thinking outside the confines of academic study? Do we use this in our everyday lives?

For me, critical thinking is challenging the assumptions we have about the way we think, what we believe, what we read in the newspaper, what we are told, see on TV or the internet and hear in the world around us and not just in the classrooms; it’s about challenging dogma; it’s about looking at the preconceptions we and others have of the world around us; it is about challenging what we believe and how we behave.

Levels of Critical Thinking

For Chia Suan Chong (2019) it is about promoting meaningful and positive relationships and building empathy as well as developing one’s academic potential. But how can we use this in the classroom and in our everyday lives? What benefit does it give our students or us as learners?

Blooms Taxonomy (Bloom cited in Pineda-Báez) is most often cited when attempting to define critical thinking. According to Benjamin Bloom, there are six levels of critical thinking.

The first level is Remember; it is the ability to recall dates, people’s names, places, quotations and formula.

Level two is Understand; this is to comprehend what you are reading; it is to understand newly acquired information, to describe, classify and explain it, e.g. what is the difference between a cat and a lion.

The next level, level three, is called Apply; this is where we use this new information, solve problems, demonstrate, and interpret information.

Level four is Analyse; it looks at materials and decides what the overall purpose is; what is its relationship with other parts in society and the world in general. It is to differentiate, organize, and to relate information to the wider world, and compare or contrast.

The fifth level is Evaluate; this is to form an opinion or judgement based on standards and criteria; it seeks to appraise, argue and defend a point of view or opinion; it judges, selects, support, and critiques information.

The final level is Create; it is to use conjecture, formulate new ideas, and to investigate; it is to put all the information you have and create something innovative.

Critical Thinking Based on Reason

Another simpler definition of critical thinking is which I like is from Tim Moore (cited in Schmidt); According to research conducted by Moore, critical thinking is based on reason; in today’s world basing an argument on reason as opposed to reactionary opinions that are so prevalent in the news media and politics today is a good thing; it allows us to decide if something is good or bad, true or false, it allows us to consider the validity of something; it is thinking sceptically; critical thinking involves thinking productively, challenging ideas and producing new ideas; it involves coming to a conclusion about an issue or issues; importantly for me and something I feel strongly about; it is about looking beyond a reading or listening text’s literal meaning.

Critical Thinking in the EFL classroom

When we look at these levels, we see that we as students use most of them in the EFL classroom; those of you preparing for the IELTS and Cambridge English exam use them all the time; it is a valuable skill that students use when they enter institutes of higher education.

Regardless of your background we use critical thinking skills when deciding what to what, buy in the supermarket or believe in the newspaper.

How can they be used more in the EFL classroom or our own language learning? In her article Ten ways to consider different perspectives, Chong suggests a number of activities where critical thinking can be applied to classroom activities; one activity is ‘What would their day look like? Where the students select a photo of a person, animal or inanimate object, do a little research and give a little presentation to the rest of the class; another activity is the classic debate where you could divide the class into opposing teams; Chong suggest having students argue for or against something they would normally oppose or disagree with. This is a good way for students to try to understand something from another’s perspective.

Most of the activities involve trying to see life through someone’s else’s eyes. I saw a similar activity in Buenos Aries a few years ago when students used shoes to imagine the shoes lives.

by Chris Scott, January 2020

Reference List

Chia Suan Chong 17 July 2019, Ten ways to consider different perspectives, English Teaching Professional, viewed 30 December 2019, < https://www.etprofessional.com/ten-ways-to-consider-different-perspectives>.

Clelia Pineda-Báez December 2009, Critical Thinking in the EFL Classroom: The Search for a Pedagogical Alternative to Improve English Learning, ResearchGate, viewed 30 December 2019, < https://www.researchgate.net/publication/277834572_Critical_Thinking_in_the_EFL_Classroom_The_Search_for_a_Pedagogical_Alternative_to_Improve_English_Learning >.

Anthony Schmidt [n.d.], CRITICAL THINKING AND ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING PT. 1, EFL magazine, viewed 30 December 2019, < https://www.eflmagazine.com/critical-thinking-english-language-teaching/ >

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Akademisches und Allgemeines IELTS – Was ist der Unterschied?

Es gibt zwei Versionen der IELTS-Prüfung: Akademisches und Allgemeines. Hier ist ein kurzer Guide zu den Unterschieden (und Ähnlichkeiten) zwischen den beiden Arten 

Beide Versionen der IELTS-Prüfung bestehen aus vier Abschnitten: „Hören“, „Lesen“, „Schreiben“ und „Sprechen. Die Abschnitte Hören und Sprechen sind in beiden Versionen gleich, Die Abschnitte Lesen und Schreiben sind  jedoch unterschiedlich.  

In beiden Versionen hören Sie im Bereich Hören insgesamt vier Monologe und Gespräche und beantworten dazu eine Vielzahl unterschiedlicher Fragen. Sie werden die Aufnahme nur einmal hören und der Test dauert ca. dreißig Minuten.  

In beiden Versionen beantworten Sie im Bereich Sprechen Fragen zu vertrauten Themen. Sprechen anschließend ein bis zwei Minuten lang kontinuierlich über das Thema und beantworten Fragen zu abstrakteren Themen. Die Sprechprüfung findet individuell mit einem Prüfer statt. Sie ist elf bis vierzehn Minuten lang.  

Für Academic Reading lesen Sie drei längere Texte und beantworten eine Vielzahl von Fragen dazu. Die Texte sind eher akademischer Natur. Sie haben eine Stunde Zeit, um den Test abzuschließen.  

Für General Reading lesen Sie ebenfalls drei Texte und beantworten eine Vielzahl von Fragen zu diesen. Allerdings beziehen sich diese Texte mehr auf arbeitsrelevante Themen und allgemeine Interessen. Dieser Test dauert ebenfalls dreißig Minuten.  

Für Academic Writing schreiben Sie zwei TexteDer erste ist eine Zusammenfassung der Informationen. Möglicherweise werden Sie aufgefordert, Informationen aus einem Diagrammeiner Grafik oder einer Tabelle zusammenzufassen, welche einen Prozess, ObjekteKarten oder Pläne zeigen könnenDer zweite Text soll ein Aufsatz sein. Sie haben insgesamt eine Stunde Zeit für beide Schreibaufgaben.  

Für General Writing müssen Sie auch zwei Texte verfassen. Die erste Aufgabe ist ein Brief und die zweite Aufgabe ist ein Aufsatz. Die Dauer der Prüfung beträgt auch hier insgesamt eine Stunde für beide Schreibaufgaben.  

Jetzt wissen Sie etwas mehr über die Unterschiede und die Ähnlichkeiten zwischen Akademischem und Allgemeinem IELTS.  

 

English version:

Academic or General IELTS?

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Musik zum Lernen verwenden

Wie oft hast du dich zum Lernen hingesetzt, nur um dich von Videos auf YouTube oder Songs im Radio ablenken zu lassen?

Wenn es dir so geht wie uns, dann war es bereits sehr oft! Allerdings ist vielen Menschen nicht klar, wie nützlich Musik für das Sprachenlernen sein kann. Es gibt so viele Kombinationsmöglichkeiten von Musik und dem Lernen von Englisch.

Als Erstes: YouTube

Natürlich ist YouTube bereits eine fantastische Ressource um eine Sprache zu lernen, da Tausende von Lehrern auf der ganzen Welt ihren Unterricht auch online bereitstellen. Allerdings können Sie es auch nutzen, um nach der Karaoke-Version eines Songs zu suchen. Dadurch können Sie anschließend das Mitsingen zu Ihren Lieblingssongs auf Englisch üben, Ihre Aussprache verbessern und gleichzeitig Ihre Nachbarn unterhalten!

Notizen machen während Sie einen Song hören

Eine weitere gute Möglichkeit, Musik-Streaming-Dienste für Ihr Englisch Lernen zu nutzen: Schreiben Sie die Wörter die sie heraus hören, mit. Falls nötig, pausieren Sie den Song einfach oder spielen die Stelle nochmal ab. Nachdem Sie denken, dass Sie so viel wie möglich mitgeschrieben haben, suchen Sie bei Google nach den Texten und überprüfen Ihre Mitschrift auf Richtigkeit (vor allem bezüglich der Rechtschreibung).

Lyricstraining

Eine großartige Website, die Ihnen hilft, das, was Sie hören, mit dem geschriebenen Wort zu verknüpfen. Diese Website/ App bietet Tausende beliebte  Songs in vielen Sprachen. Wählen Sie einen aus, und geben dann die richtigen Wörter ein bzw. wählen diese aus, während der Song läuft. Machen Sie es zu einem Wettbewerb mit Ihren Freunden und schauen Sie, wer das beste Gedächtnis hat!

Lokale Musikabende

Sowohl Reading als auch Southampton haben viele großartige Live-Musikveranstaltungen. Diese sind der perfekte Ort, um englischsprachige Musik zu hören und Menschen mit ähnlichen Interessen zu treffen. Wir empfehlen Sub89, The Oakford Social Club, South Street Arts Centre, The Face Bar und The Global Café in Reading, oder The Joints, Engine Rooms and the Guildhall in Southampton.

Chor beitreten

Eine weitere großartige Möglichkeit, Menschen kennenzulernen und deine Leidenschaft für Musik zu teilen, ist die Teilnahme an einem Chor. Es gibt viele Chorgruppen in ganz Großbritannien, die von den traditionelleren, klassischen Chören bis hin zu denen, der moderneren Popmusik reichen.

Musik als Hintergrund

Natürlich gibt es Zeiten, in denen man komplette Ruhe braucht und sich konzentrieren muss. Auf der anderen Seite, kann Musik einem aber auch dabei helfen! Es gibt mehrere Studien, die zeigen, dass klassische Musik Ihre Konzentration verbessern kann. Probieren Sie doch diese Vorschläge der BBC.

 Viel Spaß beim Ausprobieren!

English version:

https://eurospeak.org.uk/eurospeakblog/2019/04/29/using-music-study/

 

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Willkommen in Southampton!

Southampton ist eine Großstadt an der Südküste des Vereinigten Königreichs, etwa 110 Kilometer südwestlich von London gelegen. Southampton ist eine geschichtsträchtige Stadt und aufgrund ihrer weitreichenden Beziehungen ein wichtiges Geschäftsviertel. Tatsächlich war Southampton eine der wichtigsten Hafenstädte unter dem Römischen Reich und unzerstörbar während des Zweiten Weltkriegs.

Besonders bekannt ist Southampton für seinen Hafen, in welchem die Titanic 1912 zu ihrer ersten und letzten Reise aufbrach. Außerdem war der Hafen auch der Ausgangspunkt für Mayflower-Pilger nach Amerika.

Durch die Nähe zum Meer ist das Klima angenehm. Die Temperaturen in Southampton sind im Allgemeinen höher als anderswo: Die Sommer sind heiß und die Winter mild.

Southampton ist bekannt für seine Fußgänger- und Fahrradfreundlichkeit, die so jedem die Möglichkeit bietet, (günstig) die Umgebung zu genießen.

Einige Gründe, Southampton zu besuchen:

Atme frische Luft ein!

Die Stadt ist voll von Grünflächen, vor allem im Stadtzentrum. Die in den 1860er Jahren geschaffenen Central Parks (West Park, East Park, Palmerston Park, Houndwell, Hoglands und Queen’s Park) erstrecken sich bis ins Herz der Stadt und sind von „English Heritage“ (Wohltätigkeitsorganisation, die über 400 historische Denkmäler, Gebäude und Orte verwaltet) als historische Parks und Gärten aufgeführt. Diese sind ideal für einen Spaziergang unter freiem Himmel und gleichzeitig kannst du die schönen Landschaften betrachten und das Grün genießen.

Bleiben Sie in Form!

Southamptons Fußballmannschaft spielt in der ersten Liga und der Sport ist für Southampton im Allgemeinen von großer Bedeutung: Überall in der Stadt gibt es Sportzentren für Fußball, schwimmen oder andere Aktivitäten.

Historisches Umfeld:

Die Stadt hat mehrere interessante Museen wie z. B. das Archäologiemuseum, das „SeaCity Museum“ und das „Tudour House and garden“. Das Archäologiemuseum beherbergt eine der überraschendsten Sammlungen Großbritanniens. Du kannst z. B. in das, Mayflower Theatre“ gehen, welches direkt nach den Londoner Theatern das bekannteste Theater in Großbritannien ist. 

Freizeit:

In der ganzen Stadt werden verschiedene und abwechslungsreiche Konzerte organisiert, so ist gewiss für jeden Geschmack was dabei. Darüber hinaus beherbergt die Stadt einen der wichtigsten Freizeitkomplexe an der Südküste: “Ocean Village“, mit Restaurants, Bars und vielem mehr.Southampton ist eine ruhige, aber dynamische Stadt. Nicht zuletzt dank ihrer Lage, die sie bietet, und der Studenten, die von den Universitäten angezogen werden. Alles in allem ist die allgemeine Lebensqualität in Southampton ausgezeichnet.

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FREE APPS TO LEARN ENGLISH

Some of the best and most enjoyable ways to practise your English are also completely free! All you need is a mobile phone and an internet connection, and you’ll have access to an amazing selection of apps that can help you to improve no matter where you are. Here are some of our favourites:

  1. Memrise – This app was designed by a Grand Master of Memory (Google it – it’s very impressive) and a neuroscientist to help people to learn languages more efficiently and to be able to remember more. You can choose from a set of vocabulary, or you can create your own!

www.memrise.com

  1. Quizlet – This also help you to learn vocabulary, but with flashcards. You can study the words first, and then test yourself in lots of different ways. If you have a list of words that you need to learn for class, or for an exam, then you can enter it into the app and learn in no time at all!

www.quizlet.com

  1. Wordreference – We all use Google Translate to help us understand new words, but this dictionary app is much better. It includes lots of different languages, like French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and more! It also helps you to understand more about the grammar of the word and gives you example sentences.

www.wordreference.com

  1. Macmillan Sounds – This is a great app for pronunciation, as it shows you all the different sounds we use in English. You can press on a sound and then repeat it until you are happy with your pronunciation.

http://www.macmillaneducationapps.com/soundspron/

Are there any other apps that you like? Tell us about them!

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5 IMPORTANT REASONS WHY YOU NEED TO TAKE BREAKS

5 important reasons why you need to take breaks

  1. Increased Productivity

A small diversion once an hour or so can actually help your brain perform better. Working for long periods without a breather can cause our brains to perceive the task as less important and we lose concentration.

  1. Personal development time

Short breaks are a great way to switch tasks and do something for your personal growth. This can make you more valuable to your workplace over time.

  1. Better retention rates

Breaking from focus mode helps our brains integrate the information working with and learning. This helps up to retain more information for later use.

  1. Better stress Management

Taking breaks helps you manage stress. Bonus points if you spend the time power napping. Studies have shown that taking a 20-minute nap in the afternoon actually provides more rest than sleeping an extra 20 minutes in the morning.

  1. Team Building

Taking Group breaks can help your team collaborates & bond while building stronger relationships and boosting morale. This helps teams problem-solve better

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:

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8 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT STUDYING IN THE UK

  1. There are more than 395 universities and colleges, offering 50.000 undergraduate-level higher education courses across the UK
  2. UK higher education applications are made through UCAS (The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service which is a UK-based organisation whose main role is to operate the application process for British universities.)
  3. There are different deadlines for applying for different courses, and to different universities ( you should visit the University website to learn more about deadlines)
  4. You will need to pay tuition fees – these vary depending on the uni or college and course you choose. You may be able to get financial help with your tuition fees, or a scholarship. However, EU students are not subject to tuition fees in Scotland.
  5. The amount of money you will need to cover living costs will vary based on where you study. London and other large cities tend to be more expensive.
  6. Many international students need to apply for a visa to study in the UK, and there are work permit restrictions and some English language qualifications you may need.
  7. Universities advise all applicants what standard of English is required for their courses. Most course providers will ask you to demonstrate proficiency in English, or to take an approved English language test if English is not your first language.
  8. First year students tend to live in university halls of residence (university accommodation) – but there are more accommodation options.

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:

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TIPS TO HELP YOU REMEMBER VOCABULARY

    1. First of all, keep an organised vocabulary notebook, write down every unknown word.
    2. Look at the words again after 24 hours, after one week and after one month to ensure that you have learned them.
    3. Read, read, read. It’s easier to remember a word if you see it and especially if you read it loudly.
    4. Use the new words! You need to use a new word about ten times before you remember it! So try to make sentences with the new words.
    5. Try word games like anagrams, quizzes, crosswords.
    6. Find playful ways to practice your vocabulary and new words, write colourful cards with the most difficult words for you, take them with you and read them whenever you have time.
    7. Learn words with a friend! It can be more fun & easier to learn with someone else, make sentences with the new words and try to use them in your conversation 😉
    8. Try to learn 5-8 new words per day. A small number of words is easier to remember.

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:

 

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EXAM PREPARATION: 5 IMPORTANT STUDY TIPS

We all know how difficult & stressful the days before exams can be. We are impatient for the end of this nightmare. But there are some really good tips that will help you face this situation with confidence.

1. Organize your study space!

Make sure that you have enough space to spread your textbooks, notes and your pc. Put the right light for your room and take one comfortable chair. Get rid of all distractions and make sure you feel as focus as possible. For some people, this mean almost complete silence, for others, background music helps. Put your mobile phone on silent & try not to spend your time playing games or on social media.

2. Drink plenty of water!

Remember that being well hydrated is essential for your brain to work at its best. Make sure you keep drinking plenty of water throughout your revision, and also on the exam day.

3. Organize study groups with friends!

Get together with friends for a study session. You may have questions that they have the answers to and vice versa. As long as you make sure you stay focused on the topic for an agreed amount of time, this can be one of the most effective ways to challenge yourself.

4. Practice old exams!

One of the most effective ways to prepare for exams is to practice taking past versions. This helps you get used to the format of the questions, and – if you time yourself – can also be good practice for making sure you spend the right amount of time on each section.

5. Regular Breaks & Snacks!!!

And finally, of course we have to mention two more really important tips which are to take regular breaks & snacks!

Studies have shown that for long-term retention of knowledge, taking regular breaks really helps. Everyone’s different, so develop a study routine that works for you. If you study better in the morning, start early before taking a break at lunchtime. Or, if you’re more productive at night-time, take a larger break earlier on so you’re ready to settle down come evening. You may feel like you deserve a treat, or that you don’t have time to cook, but what you eat can really have an impact on energy levels and focus, so keep away from junk food. Keep your body and brain well-fuelled by choosing nutritious foods that have been proven to aid concentration and memory, such as fish, nuts, seeds, yogurt and blueberries.

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: