Cambridge English Southern Europe

Experts in Language Assessment

Practical classroom exam tips and ideas for the preparation of Cambridge English YLE No 1.

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Cambridge English Language Assessment UK and Bell ran a global competition inviting teachers of English from all over the world to submit written practical teaching ideas for preparing their candidates for a range of Cambridge English examinations.

These teaching ideas had to focus on one of the four skills that students would encounter in the exam: reading, writing, listening and speaking. The four competition winners each received an all-expenses-paid trip to Cambridge with a place on a two-week residential teacher development course at Bell Teacher Campus based at Homerton College, part of the University of Cambridge.

Starting with YLE, we would like to share with you these teaching ideas as in a series of posts in our blog as we believe they are practical and useful tools to integrate into your classroom experience and will help to inspire you now and in the future. Cambridge English Language Assessment would like to deeply thank the winners as well as every teacher who contributed to this competition with their own ideas, based on their own daily experience in the classroom.

Winner of the Teacher Competition 2012

Natalia Cheskidova, Russia

Job role:
Teacher, Cambridge English: Young Learners (YLE)

Exam preparation idea for:
Cambridge English: Young Learners (YLE), Cambridge English: Preliminary (PET) and Cambridge
English: First (FCE) Speaking tests

1. Divide the students into teams and ask each team to select an ‘artist’. The artists then leave the room.
2. Provide each team with an image, then ask the artists to return to the room.
3. Encourage each team to describe the picture to their artist.
4. Ask the artists to draw a picture following their team’s instructions.
5. Compare the pictures against the originals and award points.

Materials needed:
Paper, and pens or pencils

Picture perfect
“This activity will help prepare students for the Speaking test, specifically the part using visual prompts.

The students are divided into teams and each team appoints an ‘artist’. After that the artist leaves the room and the team receives a picture. Alternatively, the team can draw a picture themselves. The artist comes back into the room and the team members describe their picture. The artist follows their instructions and draws a similar picture. The goal is to draw a picture as close to the original one as possible.

Then the rival team compares the two pictures and finds as many differences between them as they can. The number of differences identified is the number of points that the rival team wins. The visual prompts may be different. The students may be asked to draw whatever they like or a certain theme may be set. The theme itself may be quite simple, for example, describing a room or a place, a person’s appearance, etc. However, depending on the students’ level, you can speak about more complicated issues while doing this activity. For instance, I used this task with my Sociology students when we were working on the topic ‘Non-Verbal Behaviour‘. They had to describe a face expression for the artist so he/she could recognise the emotion that the face was expressing. This activity enables students to focus on the target language for describing pictures and photos, and speaking about differences between them.

The element of competition makes it more exciting, especially with children.”

If you have any further teaching tips please submit these to:

Written by Cambridge English Southern Europe

February 22, 2013 at 10:00 am

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