Introduction:

  • How long does the course last?
    • A prep course usually lasts between 30-50 hours total, with class times ranging from 90 to 120 minutes.
    • Usually, schools will provide us Cambridge exam prep books, which will be provided to you
      • Sometimes these books contain only practice tests, Trainers, and other times they are workbooks which contain grammar and exercises that you can go through.
    • Classes, mainly at Tito Livio, are split between 1 and 2 (i.e. FCE1 or FCE2)
      • 1 is the first year of their journey, meaning they will not take the test:
        • Here you will focus mainly on grammar and foundations through a mixture of our own material and student workbook. Test material will be held to a minimum, but still done.
      • 2 is the final year, meaning around May or June they will take the test
        • Here you will focus on recapping the grammar from last year, as well as our teaching material, but with a heavier focus on test preparation.

Common questions students ask:

  • Questions that we do not have the answer to:
    • Location
    • Date of test
    • When they will do speaking (will it be first or after)
    • Special requests
  • These questions are answered by the person responsible for administering the test.

How to use Google Classroom:

  • If the school gives you a Google Classroom, you can make a classroom for your class. More information is found on this link on how to set one up – https://scrambledeggsinglese.it/uploading-files-to-google-classroom/

 

  • TIPS FOR PREP COURSES:
    • On Google Classroom you will be able to add homework, send links or give them any other materials you would like.
    • A great idea is to have students submit their writing assignments on the ‘compito or homework’ section. From there, remind students to either type or take a picture of their written work so that you can have it all in one place to makr, rather than carrying sheets of loose paper around.

How to use the Excel:

  • On the Excel you will find the dates and hours already filled out for you.
  • You will also find a skeleton of what you should be doing on each day. This is only a guideline! As you progress, you will get to know your students more. Thus, you can adjust as you see fit, as long as you are following the general overview (a mix of our material, test prep, workbook)
  • In the box below the guidelines, you should write what you actually did in the class and any feedback you may have.
  • Don’t forget to take attendance! Enter it on the Excel as you take it at the beginning of each class.

Useful links:

  • Here you can find the format of each test. Make sure you are familiar with the format of the test before you start a course:
    • CAE: https://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams-and-tests/advanced/exam-format/
    • FCE: https://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams-and-tests/first/exam-format/
    • PET: https://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams-and-tests/preliminary/exam-format/
    • IELTS: https://ielts.org/take-a-test/test-types/ielts-academic-test/academic-test-format-in-detail
  • Here are some useful sites for practice material:
    • https://www.flo-joe.co.uk/ A link that will help you will all Cambridge exams.
    • https://engexam.info/ielts-cae-practice-tests/ A link that will help you for FCE, CAE and IELTS (not pet) practice.
    • https://www.examenglish.com/ more practice tests for each of them.
  • If you are in doubt for a great game idea, Kahoot is always a hit. You can search the name of your exam on the ‘Discover’ page.
    • Also, Jeopardy. Again, simply search ‘B2’, ‘IELTS’, or whatever is appropriate for your class – https://jeopardylabs.com/browse/

Mock exam:

  • In November/December you will be doing a mock exam, which will be used as a progress report for you, and in some cases, it will be used by the school to determine if a student is ready to take the exam
    • For example, Tito Livio asks that we record the scores of each section of the mock exam for each student, which the teacher should note on the Excel register. Then, we must give Tito Livio a report on which students are ready to take the exam.
    • For the Reading/Use of English and Listening sections, precise marks are given. If they pass, they are ready. If they get close, they will be ready by the time the course is finished.
    • For the Writing and Speaking sections – this is done by you and at your digression, and you can use the same process as above (ready, close or not close).
  • At the end, you will make a Word or Excel document with each students’ name, followed by GREEN, YELLOW, RED (ready, almost, not ready). You must be fair and honest with this evaluation, as we’ve had negative feedback before when students who were clearly nowhere near the level required were put forward for an exam and then failed badly.

How to go over exam answers during an exam prep course:

  • You will always go over the answers with the class – whether on the mock test or on any other subsequent practice exam you do.
  • Go over the answers one by one with the class.
  • When going through the questions, try to have the students give the answers first, maybe one student at a time, before you give them the correct answer to prevent them from just agreeing with what you say.
    • Some students might be a bit nervous to say if they got a question wrong, so it’s important to go over each answer regardless of if they got it right or not.
    • A good idea is if the class all claims to have gotten the answers all right, pick one student (preferably a stronger one) to explain why this is the correct answer.
    • Use discretion here, if the question is very basic it might not be necessary.
  • It is important to highlight some grammatical concepts that you might see in the exercises, for example phrasal verbs or collocations, by writing them up on the board. These might transfer over to different questions and students should make a note of it.
    • This could be a good teaching moment in which you can review (quickly if you don’t have time) the concept and give other examples, and even ask for further examples from the students. Could also be done later.

 

For the last 10 lessons of each course, do at least 1-2 exam exercises per lesson. The last 5 lessons should be full on simulations.

  • As noted on the file, the last 10 lessons should be focused on exam prep (if the class is taking the test)
  • FROM 10-5 left: At this point in the course, the class should already know about the test and what is to be expected. So, you should mainly focus on specific sections (for example listening) that you can do together and answer any questions.
    • This way they can be really secure with what they have to do per question
  • REMEMBER: students might not want to tell you if they do not understand something, so it’s best to have a guideline for what parts to go over with them.
  • FROM 5-END: these last 5 classes should be similar to the practice test you did around the halfway point. You should dedicate this time to full simulations.
  • In past classes we have done it one of two ways:
    • Have students take some responsibility and choose their own parts of the test to work on individually – for example, if Andrea feels that he is worse on the Reading than the Writing, he might want to do focus on Reading practice in lesson, whereas another student might need to focus on writing. At this point, they will know what they are good and bad at, and you can allow students to focus on different things in class. You can ask us for guidance if you want to use this approach!
    • Do a simulation all together as a class: This is also a good idea, as you can control more of it (the time and the atmosphere) and make it more realistic.

Whichever way you choose, just be sure to make sure students complete the tasks alone during these last 5 lessons rather than working in pairs! This makes sure they don’t rely too much on their classmates. They will, after all, be alone in the exam.

 

General advice found to be helpful

  • Make sure to give students feedback regularly, this will show them their progress and give them a bit of confidence.
    • I like to write their scores down on the Excel sheet, constantly updating it after each quiz/portion they do, letting them know if/by how much they have been improving.
  • Encourage peer collaboration between students -> at the beginning of the class, after the test has been introduced, group work with small groups can help students work on test sections and solve problems. However, this can be a bit counterproductive in the last 10 lessons as they may rely too much on others.
  • Try to reassure students and set realistic goals -> not all students are able to achieve the best grades, so it is important to personalize goals for each student.
    • For example, if one student is clearly struggling with speaking, try not to put them with a student who is speaking at an exceptionally high level as I found this to discourage them. Instead, put them with like-skilled people and give them tips or suggestions that would allow them to grow at the same pace.