ANZAC Day

As we approach the 25th of April, another public holiday, you might see these words written upon businesses, signs on the street, or even on social media like Facebook and Twitter:

 

LEST WE FORGET

 

But what does this mean? Well, the 25th of April is ANZAC Day. The ANZAC, or the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, were a significant group of soldiers who fought in World War 1. On this date, 102 years ago, there was a battle known as The Gallipoli Campaign, where many ANZACs lost their lives. We honour their sacrifice on ANZAC day, as well as the continued sacrifice of other soldiers throughout the ages.

 

While we all enjoy public holidays as a time to relax, ANZAC day is a solemn day, intended for remembrance. Many Australians attend a Dawn Service, an organised march which begins as the sun rises, and continues into a ceremony with a minute of silence. You can find information on nearby dawn services on the internet, if you are interested in taking part in this annual tradition.

 

So, while you are enjoying your day off, keep in mind the sacrifices made by Australian soldiers over one hundred years ago, which united us as a country and cemented the values of mateship and trust.

 

Jeremy


What Pre-Intermediate A Did This Week

Week 3 was a super busy week for our Pre Intermediate classes, beginning with a practice PET test and ending with an Easter celebration.

Our students dived straight into the serious business of sitting the practice PET for Reading and Writing. Following this we revised the first 4 units of the course, covering topics from food and recreation to working life, and mastering (almost!) present and past tenses…All of this in just 3 days of classes!

Well done to our Pre A students for powering through such a huge week. They have truly earned a long weekend filled with lots of chocolatey goodness!

Che ☺


Easter In Australia

The Christian story of Easter focuses on the crucifixion and resurrection (coming back to life) of Jesus Christ. After his death, Jesus’ body was placed in a tomb (a type of grave). Three days later, the tomb was found to be empty and an angel appeared bringing news that Jesus had risen from the dead.

Easter in Australia

In Australia, we celebrate Easter with hot cross buns and chocolate Easter eggs. Kids in Australia love Easter because they are lucky enough to be visited by the Easter Bilby. Like the Easter Bunny, the Easter Bilby has long pointy ears and fine fur.

The reason the Easter Bilby is our preferred chocolate-giving creature in Australia is because rabbits are often viewed as pests (as they take over the habitat of native animals).

Adults in Australia love Easter because it is an opportunity for them to unwind for a few days and enjoy some chocolate with their kids.

Have a great Easter in Australia everybody!

 

Anthony


What Pre B Did Last Week

Well what a week it was! Pre – Intermediate B1 class didn’t do that much this week as Cyclone Debbie hit and caused destruction all the way down the Queensland coast. The Gold Coast was rained out on Thursday and we had a very windy Friday. There were very few students who braved the weather by coming in to class. Due to this we held a combined class for each of the levels. However, we now have plenty to talk about this week because we are now studying science and nature.

Amanda


What Pre-Intermediate A Did Last Week

Last week was the last week of class for Pre-intermediate A. This week is the first week for the new Pre-intermediate A. New Pre-Intermediate A students, this is what to expect for week 6.  In week 6, you’ll have to do a full PET exam. That means speaking, listening, writing and reading. This is an intermediate test so this will be really difficult but don’t worry because you only need to get 70% in Intermediate A and in week six you’ll review everything you’ve learnt, all the vocabulary, tenses and expressions. Plus, you’ll do lots of speaking to practice to remember what you’ve learnt! 

Aili


How to Improve Your Global Mark (G) on Your Speaking Test

How to improve your Global score in FCE, PET and KET.

When most people are doing a speaking test, they naturally feel nervous. However, remember the speaking part of the tests above is actually the shortest and perhaps the easiest to pass. Remember you don’t need to have perfect English to pass, you only need to get 3 out of 5 for each part of the paper. So what can you do to improve your score?

  1. Be understood! Try to speak as clearly as you can. However, don’t worry too much about making mistakes. If you make a mistake, try to correct it yourself and then move on. Don’t let it interfere with your fluency. You get lower marks if you hesitate and have long pauses.
  2. Be relevant! Concentrate on answering the questions, listening to the instructions and your partner. For example, if you are asked about your free time, talk about your hobbies and not your job.
  3. Expand on your answers! Don’t just respond with ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Give extended answers and show you understand what is being asked.

Remember the speaking paper is over very quickly so do your best.

Shane


Improving Your Discourse Management (DM) Mark on Your Speaking Test

Discourse Management

What is it and how can you improve your score?

Discourse management refers to the ability to produce extended written and spoken texts, for example conversations.  Discourse management is one of the key components used in the assessment of spoken language in the PET, FCE and CAE tests at Inforum.

Sometimes simply referred to as ‘Fluency’, your Discourse Management score is assessed on your ability to produce good conversations which are relevant (on topic) and express your ideas in easy to follow but descriptive manner. Hesitation, repetition and using only short phrases and sentences are your enemy here.

So what can you do to improve?

  1. Understand your subject of conversation. Try to speak only about the given subject and do not digress or drift away onto another subject.
  2. Take your time. Gather your thoughts before you speak and don’t speak too quickly. Speaking at a comfortable pace will allow your mind to keep up with your speaking. Speaking too fast will just lead to hesitation and stress.
  3. Don’t repeat yourself. This refers to more than just repeating words, it also refers to repetitive structure. Using a variety of tenses, pronouns and synonyms as well other tools such as a mix active and passive sentences can add variety and impact to your speaking.
  4. Use cohesive devices to link your ideas and build interesting sentences rather than a series of short ideas. These might include;

Adding information:                 and / as well as / furthermore / in addition to

Sequencing information:         firstly / first of all / secondly / next / meanwhile / subsequently

Illustrating information:            for example / such as / for instance / in the case of

Comparing information:          as with / similarly / the same as / equally / likewise

Qualifying information:           but / however / although / unless / except / apart from / if

Contrasting information:         whereas / alternatively / unlike / on the other hand / however

Cause and effect:                   because / as a result of / consequently / therefore / due to

Summarise information:         in short / on the whole / overall / in brief / in other words

Emphasising information:       above all / especially / significantly / notably / indeed

 

So as you can see, just by using a few simple tools and doing a little practice, you can easily turn a less than impressive passage of speech and turn it into something special and more importantly, possibly achieve that higher score you desire.

Good luck.

Robert


Improving Your Interactive Communication (IC) Mark on Speaking Tests

What is interactive communication?

Interactive communication is one of the components that you will be assessed on during your Cambridge speaking test (KET, PET, FCE, CAE). Your examiner is assessing how well you interact with your partner.

 

How to get the best score:

If you want to be successful in this part of the test, you need to use as many complex grammar structures as you can as well as using a good range of vocabulary. When speaking, try not to hesitate and make sure your responses are relevant and coherent. Intonation is also important, so really focus on articulating what you mean by varying your pitch and tone when necessary. Develop the conversation with your partner as much as possible.

Not everyone can get top marks for grammar, vocabulary or pronunciation, but there’s no reason not to get a 5 for ‘interactive communication’. This mark is for initiating conversation, responding to what your partner has said, and trying to move the discussion towards an outcome.
Acknowledge something the other candidate has said and develop it – just like a conversation in the real world. Try to avoid just giving stock phrases like “I agree with you” and then moving onto a different topic. Say why you agree (or disagree) and discuss the point. For example ‘That’s what I think too because…’. You can ask the other candidate why they have that opinion too

 

Porscha


What IELTS did this week

This week in the IELTS class our themes revolved around ‘science and space’.  We started off discussing different science disciplines and then moved on to a reading and summarising task about incredible scientific developments.

This lead us into our next IELTS reading task about the KT Event (a meteorite strike that hit the Earth 65 million years ago) and whether it was the reason for the extinction of the dinosaurs or not.  This was a great way to practice some of the skills needed to answer ‘summary completion’ tasks in the IELTS.  It was also an excellent reason to practice some ‘cause & result’ functions, which are extremely useful for IELTS Speaking and Writing tasks.  For example: “As a result of the combination of the KT Event, volcanic activity and climate change, it is possible the dinosaurs became extinct over a number of years, not from one cataclysmic event.”

We then moved on to explore some vocabulary related to ‘space & the planets’, which helped us with some listening practice also.

As for grammar, one of our listening tasks was full of future forms, which we then did a lot of practice with.  “What goals will you have achieved in 20 years’ time?

To finish us off for the week we all did a full day of IELTS test practice to check on our progress after 8 weeks of hard work and to build some more ‘test fitness’ for those in the class planning to take their test soon.


What FCE did last week

The FCE class had a pretty busy week, but every week is pretty busy when you’re taking a hard look at grammar and vocab in each lesson! This time, we’ve been talking about reporting speech. Maybe you know some of the verbs we use, like say, ask and tell. Did you know that there are over 50 other reporting verbs? The FCE knows now, and they can use them too. So ask them about their studies, and they might insist on telling you about it. They’ve promised to use them in everyday conversation, with some students boasting that they’ll remember them all.

We’ve also been talking about the media: The news, books, television, and more.  There are some big differences between how news is reported in Brazil, Spain and Japan, a topic about which everyone had something to say. The media is a part of our everyday lives, so it’s important to be able to understand the specific vocabulary it uses. Hopefully, our FCE students are feeling a bit more informed and can understand a little bit more of the English that surrounds them in their Australian life!