Tag Archives: Study Skills
Skype English lessons are convenient, economical, and can be extremely effective. The effectiveness of the classes is, of course, dependent upon the quality of your teacher, the professionalism of the school and the structure of the course.
Choosing a teacher for your Skype English lessons
Skype English lessons are no different to lessons at your local academy in terms of what you should expect from your teacher. Firstly, you should check your teacher’s qualifications. There are basically two internationally recognised qualifications for Teachers of English as a Foreign Language and your English teacher should have one of them. They are:
- Cambridge CELTA – A certificate awarded by Cambridge University, the same organisation that administers the FCE, CAE and CPE exams.
- Trinity Tesol – A certificate offered by Trinity College London, the same organisation that administers the Trinity GESE exams for English learners.
Describe a photograph competition
Desktop English has launched a monthly photo competition open to anyone and everyone with the prize being a £20 discount on any of our exam courses.
We want you to send us one of your favourite photos (that you, a friend, or a member of your family has taken) with a description of the photo and what it means to you.
Each month will have a theme which will be announced on our Facebook page on the first Friday of each month
The rules are as follows:
Describing photos for Cambridge exams
Remember, Part 2 of the Cambridge FCE and CAE speaking paper is called the “Long Turn”. Candidates are required to speak uninterrupted for a minute about a pair of photographs. You have to describe the photos, compare them, and answer a question about them so the descriptive systems, i.e. grammar and vocabulary, you need to describe your competition photo are the same as the skills you need to succeed in the Cambridge speaking exam. Entering the photo competition is a great opportunity for you to practice for an exam and have your contribution evaluated by trained Cambridge exam specialists.
All winners will be announced on this page and on our Facebook page.
Winners so far….
Month 1 – June 2012
June’s winner was Greg, from Greece. Greg is currently studying for his IELTS exam with Steve. He is a proud Greek and he sends this photo to illustrate the beauty of his country. Next time it could be you winning a special Desktop English prize!
I live in Greece which is a wonderful country, with many beautiful places. For the funs of swimming there are a lot of places with crystal clear water. Especially, chalkidiki has the most beautiful beaches. Also there are many mountains with a significant biodiversity and amazing picturesque sceneries. My favourite place is mountain Olympos, because it is a really virgin place with the biggest variety of plants in my country and also you can breath fresh air and relax far away of the everyday’s problems. Also, It’s a really fantastic place for walking. It’s a so wooded area and it’s got an amazing atmosphere. Here is a photo of that area
Month 2 – July 2012
This month’s theme is “Around the home”. Your photo can be anything associated with your home, family or daily life. Don’t forget, the closing date for this months competition is the 28th July so get your entries in now,
If you want to see all the other competition entries, visit our Facebook page. Don’t forget to keep a look out for the next competition, especially if you want to practise for your Cambridge Speaking paper.
The CPE speaking test is divided into 3 parts, each testing your speaking ability in distinctive contexts. The speaking test is best viewed as an opportunity to demonstrate the breadth of vocabulary and the range of grammatical structures that someone with a C2 level of English is expected to possess.
Preparation for the CPE speaking test
Firstly, consider taking a preparatory course such as the one offered by Desktop English. Cambridge estimate that 80% of CPE candidates complete a preparation course before taking the exam. This should be the first consideration if you are interested in the Proficiency exam. An experienced Cambridge exam teacher will be able to manage your preparation regime and identify weak areas where you need to concentrate your energy during your study. Once you have chosen a course, your teacher will help you to:
- Practise the speaking test with other students preparing for the exam and you get feedback about your performance
- Familiarise yourself with the format of each part of the test, including the interaction patterns (i.e. when you are required to speak alone, with the other candidate, with the examiner, or both).
- Become familiar with the timings of each part of the exam and practise speaking for fully 2 minutes in preparation for the long turn in part 3.
- Practise using an expansive vocabulary and a variety of complex structures that enable you to speculate, talk about perception, discuss abstract concepts and to paraphrase where necessary
- Learn how to listen to the questions in the exam to identify what kind of language is required in your answer
- Recognise opportunities in each part to produce the kind of structures and vocabulary required to prove your level
We at Desktop English offer an online preparation course for the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE). Take a look at how we can help you pass.
How can teachers and learners of English get the most out of the BBC I-Player
There are thousands, if not millions of English study resources online. But it is still hard to engage with English as a working language. Reading books or websites in English is a fantastic way to gain exposure to the language in authentic use but many students still find it difficult to find good listening practice on texts they can identify with and enjoy.
That’s why I believe the BBC I-Player is one of the most underused, yet powerful tools for English learners and teachers. The BBC I-Player is a web platform on which you can stream BBC radio programmes from the last 7 days from any one of the BBC’s many radio stations. It is available free from anywhere in the world and has something for everyone.
As the programmes (except the repeats) are all contemporary, it is extremely accessible to students of all levels. For example, international news is often the same in many countries so using the I-Player gives you the opportunity to listen to familiar news stories in English. There are also a range of accents across the BBC’s programming so that you can hear how English is spoken by native speakers in Britain, Africa, Australia, America and many more countries around the world.
Below are links to come of the most useful or interesting BBC radio stations and programme websites which can help students of English improve their listening skills.
Today’s reading exercise is provided again by guest blogger, Molly Molloy. Read the text below and answer the questions that follow
Sunday morning, another weekend almost at an end and I’m listening to Weekend Wogan on BBC Radio 2 whilst drinking a cup of tea and contemplating the fact that I’ve put an offer in on a house I fell in love with whilst I was in Ireland last week.
As is the norm in my life, the trip didn’t initially go smoothly. Firstly my friend Ann, who came with me on the trip, fell over on the tarmac as we walked towards the plane at Birmingham Airport and cut her leg. She said it was the ice, but it could just as well have been the patent leather stiletto boots she was wearing. I gave her the benefit of the doubt as I helped her up off the tarmac onto the plane. She was a bit ‘miffed’ that none of the airport staff had come to her aid.
In this blog I will talk about some of the different ways of writing down and revising new vocabulary that have worked well both for my students and for me when learning a foreign language. There are many ways of doing both these things but what we must remember is that every student is different and what works well for one person may not necessarily work for another.
Once you’ve found a way of writing down new words that you’re happy with, you must then remember to set aside some time every day or a few times a week to revise it. Later in the blog, there will be some advice on doing this.