Cambridge English Southern Europe

Experts in Language Assessment

Practical classroom exam tips and ideas for the preparation of Cambridge English FCE No 9.

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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.

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.

This is the ninth post with teaching tips for Cambridge English: FCE.

Alena Klimova, Slovakia 

Job role:
Teacher, Cambridge English: First (FCE)

Exam preparation idea for:
Cambridge English: First (FCE), Use of English paper, Part 3, word formation

1. Divide students into teams of three or four.
2. Give each team a set of different sentences with a missing word and the relevant stem words written next to the sentences.
3. Call out all possible variations of the stem words and ask the teams to complete their sentences with the correct word.
4. Ask students to shout ‘bingo’ when all their sentences are complete.
5. Encourage students to read the sentences to the rest of the class – they should check, evaluate and discuss the new words.

Materials needed:
Pre-prepared bingo cards for the game

Word formation
“I focus on practising word formation in several stages. Firstly, I show the students all possible variations of a stem word: verbal forms, noun (-s), adjective (-s), adverb, negative form, forms with prefix(-es)/suffix(-es). Example: Stem word: PLAY.

Task for students:
1. Form verbal forms – plays, playing, played.
2. Form nouns – player, players, plays, playfulness.
3. Form adjective – playful etc.

Next, the students are asked to form new words from other stem words (five or six) in groups of three or four. It can be a competition with a focus on a different part of speech that students find more troublesome, e.g. nouns or words with prefixes/suffixes. When students are aware of all possible variations, the ‘preparatory’ or brainstorming stage is followed by practice. One of the popular games is bingo, which I use to practise word formation. Students are divided into teams of three or four people. Each team is given a set of different sentences with a missing word and the same stem words written next to the sentences. The teacher calls out all possible variations of the stem words. The teams have to complete their sentences with the correct word. As soon as they complete all the sentences, they shout ‘bingo’. Then the students read the sentences to the rest of the class – they all check, evaluate and discuss the correctness of the new words. To practise word formation more, I prepare a text with incorrectly completed gaps – students have to find a mistake, change the word and justify their decision. This exercise can be done individually by each student, who can be motivated with a good mark if the exercise is error free.”

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

Written by Cambridge English Southern Europe

April 13, 2013 at 10:00 am

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