as you all know, we’re in the middle of exam simulations. I will do them during all my lessons this week. I guess that means that the last “round” will be Friday morning with the B2A’s.
As I explained to you during the simulations, the texts are tough. It is normal during the simulations that people don’t perform as well as they expect. I repeat to you – THIS IS NOT THE EXAM – THIS IS A SIMULATION!!!! That means, it’s like going to the gym for the first time. You can’t expect to be able to bench-press 100 kg on the first day. That’s why we do the simulations! It takes practice, and you STILL have almost 2 months before the real exam!!! THAT’S WHY WE DO THE SIMULATIONS EARLY!!! So, DO NOT worry if you didn’t do very well – that’s very normal!!!! It is statistically proven that from the first simulation to the exam itself, most people improve dramatically – PARTICULARLY IF THEY COME TO CLASS!!!
On the topic of coming to class – DO come to class!!! Why, when all the material is available here? Answer: there is NO substitute for coming to class. Literally, it’s like the gym. You can watch all the exercise programmes you want on TV, and even do the jumping jacks, but you need the practical exposure to the language in order to learn it properly. Some people manage to get this through other channels, which is great. You all should be trying to maximise your exposure to both your chosen languages! TV, movies, friends, Erasmus students (want to learn the language – offer an Erasmus student a beer!). For the sectoral language, however, there is no substitute to coming to class (ok, except maybe many hours a day of CNN or CNBC – plus a religious reading of the Financial Times and the Economist.) Some people have said, “but it is hard to follow the lessons”. That is true, and I ask you to work with me on understanding WHEN you don’t understand. I do ask, and sometimes people respond, but often not. Lessons are supposed to be difficult, that’s how you learn and that’s why you’re here. DO not get discouraged! It is important to contextualise what you are doing. The way I teach may confuse the issue, because you are in front of cultural and economic subjects taught in English, so you are paying close attention to the content – or at least trying to. This makes it MORE aggravating (bothersome) when you can’t understand a word or an expression. IT is YOUR job, at that point to tell me! It is my job to check periodically that you are following the lesson! Many of you have given me great feedback over the past few weeks, and I’m really pleased with the way it is going. I will work to improve some of the things we have spoken about and will work with you to improve your learning abilities. This system presents many challenges, we must work together to get the most out of it!
This is why we do the simulations. I ask a great deal of you, and I expect to get it from you, because I know you are capable – all of you. In fact, the average performance for the simulations was quite good, much better than previous years. I don’t know why. Each group is different. At any rate, I’m proud of all of you – no matter how well you performed on the simulations. This is only the first round – we will do another round of simulations during the last week of lessons. YOU WILL see an improvement. At the same time, I WILL make sure that the texts are appropriate for the B1 and B2 exit levels.
In the listening exam REMEMBER – listen strategically! You have the questions in front of you, which means you need to listen SELECTIVELY – you don’t need to understand every single spoken word, you need to understand the concepts and be able to identify WHERE in the text you will find YOUR answer! That’s communication for you! At any given time, you can’t repeat exactly what you hear – or at least it’s very difficult – in ANY language. In your own language you listen for key words and associations. USE that strategy! WE will talk more about this in class.
SO – back to the gym with everybody! ME TOO!
DO have a great day (fog and rain notwithstanding) and DO NOT HESITATE to contact me for anything. You have my e-mail, you can always comment on the blog, or stop me in the street etc.
All the best! Pete