Thursday, 11 February 2010

Under the Weather

Sorry for the lack of posts this last week. I've been under the weather. I caught a bug and have had a temperature. This may surprise those of you are unfamiliar with these idioms who may be thinking that all of us live beneath the sky, chasing insects successfully is no excuse for not blogging and we all have temperatures, usually 37 degrees or thereabouts. What I mean to say is, I have been ill. Not sick, an Americanism often confused with illness but which means, in British English at least, to vomit, but ill. Some ill-defined virus brought in by my resident plague carrier (read my two year old daughter, continually snotty and prone to wipe said snot all over the place). So, no point to this short blog except to perhaps say that idioms are important and it is worth studying the more commonly occurring ones, so that you are at least familiar with them in a passive sense. This is increasingly important as you go up the levels and essential if you hope to get a decent grade at CPE level.
By the way guys (and now I am referring to my students who took the mock last Saturday), some of you did very well, some not so. You know which group you yourself belong to. General advice is to check out the different categories of writing you might be expected to produce and get a better feel for the layout and style needed. The Expert series which you are all using has some very useful examples in its back pages.
Where are those strepsils?

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Saturday Mocks

I spent my Saturday invigilating and correcting exams, our Mock-Cambridge exams which we use to see if students are ready for June. The results were pretty good, though I kept seeing the same errors again and again. Exam technique and attention to detail are worth between 5 and 10% in these exams to my mind. I have seen the usual mistakes... I'll list them here so you can shake your head in wonder that students still make them and nod sagely and think 'I would never do that' (but someone ALWAYS does).

1) Bad copying on to the answer sheet. One poor girl had the correct answers, just one exam question late. She got a couple of marks simply because there we a couple of times when there were two in a row with the same answer. Fail.

2) No name on the paper. I mean, really! Fail.

3) Simple spelling errors. Marks thrown away.

4) Poor hand-writing. Marks abandoned to the abyss.

5) A poor understanding of the question. Fail (well, banded 2.2 in the writing section) because he didn't read it properly.

Also, to those students who didn't bring pens or pencils... c'mon! You know better!
Still, that's why we do mocks.