Tuesday, 24 May 2011


A pool table? No, snooker!
Do you feel the test is just round the corner and you don't know what else to do? Don't panic and try some of these things:
These are the two of the listenings you have in your photocopy: ideal home and blind date.
For further speaking practice go here. It's for intermediate level.
To write a good blog post, follow these steps:
  1. have a clear idea of what you are going to write about (topic) and your goal (provide links, start a conversation, express an opinion...)
  2. come up with an awesome title
  3. think of your readers and try to hook them (humour, news, attack...) and to create a conversation! Communication is one of the main objectives. A good introduction is highly advisable! These comments will...
  • have a clear objective, i.e. make a valid point (give your reasons or examples, if necessary)
  • be part of a context (the post you are commenting on)
  • be brief and respectful
  • be signed, so that the blogger can comment back to you
  • be proof-read before submitted
     4. write a detailed post, but keep it simple and to the point. Add your thoughts and if you want people to
         comment, ask a question to your readers BUT only get out what’s really relevant to this particular post.
     5. you can make a list with bullet points and organize it into headings and subheadings
     6. use your voice, your opinion (be honest)
     7. check for spelling, grammar, and most importantly flow issues. Then edit the post (things like links to
         resources, underlining, bolding, etc.)
     8. if you add a picture, it will make it a bit easier on your readers’ eyes.

Now, why don't you leave a comment on any of the listenings above? What is your ideal home like? Have you ever gone on a blind date? Would you?

Monday, 23 May 2011


Hello again!
You have probably received your recordings... but you may still wonder... How can you get better? How to structure your monologue?
In the first place, THINK! Organise your ideas, so that you do not repeat things or omit important points. If you make notes, be VERY BRIEF and make sure you use them; otherwise you'll have wasted precious time. Your notes are only reminders; you cannot read from them!
As you speak, control the time limit, deal with all the points a little and LINK your ideas nicely, so that you make a speech and not a list of answers.
Remember to STRUCTURE your talk; you'll always need:
  • an introduction to the topic
  • a body, where you deal with all the points
  • a conclusion (which you often forget about)
Try to use gramatical structures and vocabulary of the level and please avoid basic mistakes.
You can listen to this podcast from Splendid Speaking, where they analyse a student's short talk. Two more examples analysed here and here.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011


Are you wondering how to do a good test? Here's some advice:


  • Do not get too hung up on trying to sound like a native speaker. Would you start learning the piano in an attempt to sound like Mozart? Just try to speak clearly and correctly.Avoid basic mistakes and use some "nice structures" and specific vocbulary. Short sentences are just as good (if not better) than long rambling explanations. Remember that you have to stop and breathe!
  • Get over any fear you might have of making mistakes. You will make mistakes, so be patient with yourself. Learning any language can be frustrating, but frustration won't help you, so let it go.
  • Grasp every opportunity you have to speak with people in English. Read short stories out loud and try to see, say and hear the words to reinforce your memory. Record yourself and play it back later, how does it sound?  
  • Don't worry about your accent too much. That said, people need to be able to understand you, so pronunciation and enunciation are important. Don't worry about sounding like a native, it is more important to speak clearly and pleasantly than it is to sound like the Queen of England - Even the Queen of England doesn't sound like she used to!
  • Record yourself, keep the tape and record yourself later, have you improved? Don't be shy - ask a friend to listen to the tape too. 
  • If you make a constant mistake in pronunciation, you should record the right pronunciation of that word and listen over and over again so that you will be familiar with it, or write down the pronunciation. Remember you can always check the pronunciation in an online dicitonary like
  • Try singing along to English songs. Lots of the major games consoles have karaoke games nowadays, like Sing Star on the Playstation. You can find some karaoke resources and ideas on the learn English through songs page.

3) SPEAK! Find English speaking friends:-
  • You might not be able to find any friendly native speakers where you live, but you can find English speaking people on the Internet! 
  • There are several internet based voice chat programmes out there: iVisit | Pal Talk | MSN Web Messenger | Yahoo! Messenger | Google Talk | Skype, etc.
  • Look for people with the same interests as you. It's no good asking everyone you meet to help you with your English, rather develop natural friendships based on your hobbies etc. Eventually you will make friends and they will be much more likely to give you correction / guidance.
  • Join an English club or conversation group. If you can't find one, talk to friends who are also learning English. Go out together for coffee and only speak English to each other!
  • If you can travel to an English speaking country, do it.
You will also find excellent advice in Dulce's advanced blog here.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

The Globe Theatre & the Royal Wedding

This is the video we saw in class, just in case you want to watch it again.
By the way, if you want to gossip a bit about the latest "wedding of the century), i.e. William and Kate's last Friday, go here. What do you think about it? Did you like the outfits of the bride, groom, guests, etc? Have you heard anything interesting about this event?