Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Writing Classes

CAE/CPE Writing: Formal Letter of Complaint – Task + Phrase Sheet

Resultat d'imatges de complaint

Image credit: Durham Constabulary

This is a phrase sheet and writing task for CAE/CPE students designed to help them tackle formal letter of complaint tasks. Download the handout below:

Letter of complaint phrase sheet

CAE/CPE – Letter of Complaint

Task – CPE Testbuilder pg 91

You recently stayed at one of a chain of large hotels and encountered a number of problems during your stay. Write a letter to the company’s head office detailing the problems you had, describing what happened when you complained to the hotel staff and suggesting ways the company could improve its service. (CAE 220-260 words – CPE 280-320 words)

Opening

  • Dear Sir or Madam, / To whom it may concern,
  • I am writing to express my disappointment with/dissatisfaction with the service I received in…
  • I would like to lodge a formal complaint against your company for the reasons outlined below:
  • I feel compelled to write to you in order to describe the

Listing Problems

  • First of all,
  • Not only was there a hair in my wife’s soup, but the main course also arrived cold.
  • On top of that…
  • As if that was not enough…
  • To top it all off…
  • The straw that broke the camel’s back was…

Complaining Expressions

  • The standard of the… was not up to scratch.
  • The… was not up to the expected standard.
  • The… left a lot to be desired.
  • The… failed to live up to our expectations.
  • We were left bitterly disappointed by…
  • The quality of the customer service we received was woefully inadequate.
  • The… was an absolute disgrace. (v.strong)
  • Overall, our visit to your (restaurant) was an unmitigated disaster from start to finish.

Requesting Action

  • It seems only fair that you should… (offer a full refund)
  • I would appreciate it if you…
  • I would be grateful if you…
  • Should these demands not be met, you will be hearing from my lawyers.
  • I expect to receive compensation to the tune of (€2000) for the…

Making Recommendations

  • I strongly recommend that your organisation…
  • It would be advisable to…
  • I suggest re-evaluating your procedures regarding…

Sign off

  • I look forward to receiving your reply.
  • I expect to receive a prompt reply to this letter.
  • Yours faithfully,
Posted in Exam Preparation Class

CAE Key Word Transformations: Training Worksheet

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Image credit: Cambridge Exams

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a worksheet for CAE students designed to introduce them to a number of expressions that can appear in the use of English part 4 – key word transformations. Download the worksheet and key below:

Key Word Transformation Training

Key Word Transformation Training KEY

Put students in pairs and have them complete the worksheet together, then play a game of connect 4 or noughts and crosses to check the answers.

Worksheet

Sentence Completion

Complete the sentences with the key words from the box.

ACROSS  LOSS  RESULT  LIKELY  TRACK  UP  LOOKOUT  MUCH  RATHER  LET  PART  SUCH
  1. You need to be ON THE ________ FOR pickpockets in this area.
  2. Plans ARE BEING DRAWN _________ for a new shopping centre on the outskirts of the city.
  3. ________TO OUR HORROR, when we got back to the hotel all our stuff had been stolen.
  4. Would YOU __________ I HAD NOT told them about the party?
  5. _________ME KNOW if you can come to the party, I need to buy the food tonight.
  6. Andrés WAS AT A _________ TO EXPLAIN why he was late for class again.
  7. Failure to show a valid ticket is LIKELY TO ________ IN you having to pay a fine.
  8. It is HIGHLY __________ THAT THE FILM WILL win several awards.
  9. Quick ACTION ON THE ________ OF the ambulance crew saved the little girl’s life.
  10. How can I GET IT _________ TO HIM that I’m just not that into him.
  11. Don’t be silly, there IS NO _________ THING as vampires.
  12. I’m so sorry I’m late, I (COMPLETELY) LOST __________ OF TIME!

Missing Words

Complete the expressions with a missing preposition.

  1. I was _____ the point ____ leaving the house when the phone rang.
  2. He insisted _____ carrying my bag for me.
  3. He objected _____ being treated in such a rude way.
  4. They accused him _____ being careless and irresponsible
  5. Failure to arrive on time for your flight could result ____ you being unable to travel.
  6. You can always count _____ Jill to have a clear plan in situations like this.
  7. The headmaster’s speech will be followed ____ a performance by the school orchestra.
  8. They congratulated me ____ passing my driving test.
  9. It’s time for you to make ____ your mind about the course you want to study.
  10. Everything is going according ____ plan.
  11. The company is highly spoken ____ in the local area.
  12. The job offer came ____ a big surprise ____ me.
  13. I was taken ____ by the size of the phone bill. (surprised)
  14. I’m not going to put up ____ your rudeness anymore! (tolerate)
  15. Don’t hesitate ____ call if you have any questions or doubts.
  16. I sometimes feel that my children take me ____ granted.
  17. They have put him in charge ____ the marketing department.
  18. I applied ____ Apple ____ a job in sales.
  19. I am ____ no doubt that the show will be a big success.
  20. The little boys took no notice ____ what their mothers were saying.
Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Vocabulary Classes

78 CAE Key Word Transformation Expressions

Resultat d'imatges de cae

Image credit: Cambridge English

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a list of 78 expressions from key word transformations in the CAE exam. The expressions are taken from the fantastic quizlet set that someone made. Have students study 10-15 of the expressions for homework and the use the quizlet set to test them in class; great for intensive preparation courses when you’re pressed for time. Download the handout below:

cae-key-word-transformation-expressions

Quizlet set – 82 key word transformations

Expressions

Study the expressions carefully, focus on the prepositions and patterns (gerund/infinitive etc.)

  1. Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU undo your seatbelt during take-off.
  2. A new manager HAS TAKEN OVER THE running of the finance department.
  3. THERE IS NO KNOWING what’s going to happen in the next few days.
  4. The burglar must HAVE GAINED ENTRY/ACCESS through the bathroom window.
  5. An ant IS CAPABLE OF carrying ten times its own body weight.
  6. The news that my favourite teacher was leaving CAME AS A DISAPPOINTMENT TO ME.
  7. Sometime I feel as if my children TAKE ME FOR GRANTED.
  8. I need TO GET MY PASSPORT RENEWED before our trip to Greece.
  9. I WAS WONDERING IF YOU WERE willing to donate some money to our cause.
  10. I SEE NO POINT IN asking Tina for help, she always refuses.
  11. Playing video games is JUST AS MUCH FUN AS playing sports.
  12. The defendant DENIED HAVING SEEN the woman before.
  13. Everyone’s opinions must BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT before a decision is made.
  14. It’s IN YOUR INTEREST to take good notes during class, you’ll need them for the final exam.
  15. I really need to GET that broken window REPAIRED.
  16. MUCH TO THEIR DELIGHT, Jon and Ana didn’t have to pay to get in.
  17. The cat REFUSED TO COME down from the tree.
  18. Georgina SAID SHE WOULD NOT WEAR the yellow dress her mother had chosen for her.
  19. Don’t FORGET TO KEEP IN TOUCH while you’re travelling.
  20. You need to be ON THE LOOKOUT FOR pickpockets in this area.
  21. Plans ARE BEING DRAWN UP for a new shopping centre on the outskirts of the city.
  22. MUCH TO OUR HORROR, when we got back to the hotel all our stuff had been stolen.
  23. Would YOU RATHER I HAD NOT told them about the party?
  24. LET ME KNOW if you can come to the party, I need to buy the food tonight.
  25. Andrés WAS AT A LOSS TO EXPLAIN why he was late for class again.
  26. Failure to show a valid ticket is LIKELY TO RESULT IN you having to pay a fine.
  27. It is HIGHLY LIKELY THAT THE FILM WILL win several awards.
  28. Quick ACTION ON THE PART OF the ambulance crew saved the little girl’s life.
  29. How can I GET IT ACROSS TO HIM that I’m just not that into him.
  30. Don’t be silly, there IS NO SUCH THING as vampires.
  31. I’m so sorry I’m late, I(COMPLETELY) LOST TRACK OF TIME!
  32. IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT that the plane lands on water, lifejackets are stored under your seats.
  33. Katy HAS BEEN MADE RESPONSIBLE FOR the sales department, she’s a bit nervous but very excited.
  34. Gerald has been PUT IN CHARGE OF finding a catering company for the Christmas party.
  35. I WAS TAKEN BY SURPRISE/ WAS TAKEN ABACK when they asked me to take over from Jon as finance manager.
  36. Bob is IN DANGER OF GETTING SACKED/FIRED if his bad behaviour continues.
  37. In the end they PLACED THE BLAME ON a group of local teenagers for the vandalism to the church.
  38. Sorry but I HAD THE IMPRESSION/WAS UNDER THE IMPRESSION that this was a permanent contract.
  39. I WAS LED TO BELIEVE that the salary would be €2000 a month.
  40. The runner who finished second told the press that she had NO INTENTION OF RETIRING and that she’d be back to compete next year.
  41. It’s really difficult TO COME UP WITH GOOD IDEAS in such a short space of time.
  42. The young actress STANDS EVERY CHANCE OF BEING offered a big role soon.
  43. Dinner WILL BE FOLLOWED BY a performance by the school orchestra.
  44. No FEWER THAN THREE PEOPLE ARE REQUIRED to operate this machine.
  45. Please don’t HESITATE TO CALL (US)/ HESITATE TO GIVE US A CALL if you have any questions or doubts.
  46. John’s failure to answer all the interview questions COST HIM THE JOB.
  47. We SPENT HALF AN HOUR LOOKING for a parking space in the city centre.
  48. The pay rise CAME AS A SURPRISE TO me.
  49. THERE’S NO DENYING MY disappointment at not being given the job.
  50. Looks as IF TONY HASN’T BEEN sleeping well
  51. I’m not going TO PUT UP WITH your behaviour anymore.
  52. I’m really not SURE HOW I WOULD HAVE REACTED in that situation.
  53. Novak Djokovic BROKE DOWN IN TEARS AS he was given the trophy.
  54. Would you HAVE ANY OBJECTION TO ME taking the rest of the day off?
  55. Her LACK OF EXPERIENCE might AFFECT her ability to do the job.
  56. It (HAD) NEVER OCCURED TO ME to ask my grandfather for help with my history project.
  57. Oh dear, I think we might HAVE TAKEN THE WRONG TURNING/TURN a few miles back.
  58. We WOULD LIKE TO HAVE CARRIED / WOULD HAVE LIKED TO CARRY ON playing for a few more hours but it started raining.
  59. The project will GO AHEAD ACCORDING TO PLAN.
  60. You really need to MAKE UP YOUR MIND about which uni you want to go to.
  61. IT’S HIGH/ABOUT TIME YOU GOT your hair cut.
  62. The school IS HIGHLY SPOKEN of in the local area.
  63. He was ON THE POINT OF LEAVING the restaurant when she finally turned up.
  64. I WOULD BE SURPRISED IF they didn’t win this match, they’re far better than the other team.
  65. I am IN NO DOUBT that event will be a resounding success.
  66. I’m sorry but I don’t HAVE ANY RECOLLECTION OF meeting you before.
  67. We had TO PUT IN a claim with our car insurance company.
  68. They have NO CHANCE OF WINNING after that red card.
  69. The students TOOK NO NOTICE OF what the teacher was saying.
  70. The police have almost GIVEN UP HOPE OF FINDING any more survivors.
  71. It’s just A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE that car breaks down, it’s so old.
  72. I really can’t SEE THE POINT IN/OF LEARNING Latin anymore.
  73. The cat MADE A FAST RECOVERY after its operation.
  74. I DIDN’T USE TO LIKE olives when I was a kid but I love them now.
  75. He’s really MAKING A NAME FOR HIMSELF in the fashion world.
  76. We CAN AFFORD THIS HOLIDAY AS LONG AS we save up €100 a month.
  77. I HANDED IN MY NOTICE at work last week, 4 more weeks until I become my own boss!
  78. I haven’t got 10 cents, LET ALONE 1 euro.
Posted in Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class, Uncategorized

CAE Speaking Part 2: Task-based Approach

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Image credit: Deesite – WordPress.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a task-based lesson plan to help CAE students complete part 2 of the speaking exam in which they must compare and contrast two of three pictures. Big thanks to my colleague Raquel Gomez for her help with the development of this lesson plan. You can download the student handout, pictures, teacher’s notes and audio files below:

cae-speaking-part-2-teachers-notes

cae-part-2-pictures

cae-speaking-part-2-student-handout-1

Audio Files

Teacher’s Notes

First Attempt

Choose a set of part 2 pictures from your text book, put students in pairs and have them record themselves comparing two of the pictures for a minute. Give students no guidance as to the language they should use. While they are doing this, monitor them and make a note of the structures they are using.

Now have students listen back to their recording in pairs and evaluate it. This is likely to make them a little uncomfortable, no one likes the sound of their own voice recorded, but tell them to go for it.

Language Focus

Follow the exercises below, which are focused on improving students’ performance in this task.

Project “CAE part 2 pictures” onto the board. Have “CAE Speaking part 2 audio” ready to play.

Comprehension

Listen to the candidate talking completing part 2 and answer the questions:

Play audio through once and have sts answer in pairs.

  1. Which two pictures does he talk about?
  2. What does he say the people in the pictures are doing?
  3. How does he think they are feeling?
  4. Which situation does he prefer?

Text Completion

Listen again and complete the text.

Play audio through once, then again, stopping after each gap to check understanding.

In the first picture at the bottom we can see a couple who seem to be camping. Maybe up a mountain, they seem to have a camp fire and their tent set up and I think they’re roasting marshmallows. They definitely seem to be having a good time. They might have been walking all day and then they’ve finally finished and set up their tent, now they’re sitting down to enjoy some nice hot food.

In contrast, in the other photo we can see a man who seems to be working. I think he’s a builder, it looks as if he’s helping to build a house. His feelings are probably quite different to the couple in the other photo because he’s at work obviously so it’s probably nowhere near as enjoyable as the activity the other couple are doing.

But maybe working outside isn’t as bad as working in an office so he might be happy about that. For me personally, I’d rather be with the couple here camping on the mountain than at work definitely.

Pronunciation – Connected Speech

Play audio of individual sentences; have sts practice repeating them in pairs.

Listen to the expressions again and practise saying them with a partner

  • It looks as if he’s helping to build a house.

Looks as if he’s – /lʊks əz-ɪf-iːz/ – all connected and “h” from “he’s” disappears

  • They might have been walking all day.

Might have been – /maɪt əv bin/ – “have” very weak /əv/ “been” sounds like “bin”

  • A couple who seem to be camping

Seem to be – /siːm tə bi:/ – weak form of “to” /tə/

Second Attempt

Now students attempt the task again, recording themselves a second time. Again monitor and make a note of the structures. Then have students compare their two attempts. Board all of the language from the two attempts and encourage students to notice the changes.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class

Language for Pair-work

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Image credit: Belle Languages

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a powerpoint designed for use with exam classes to encourage students to complete pair-work in English and thus develop the language of negotiating, agreeing and collaborating. Download it below:

pair-work-language

You can use this resource in a number of ways; you can project the slide onto the board for students to refer to while completing pair-work. Alternatively, you could print the main slide out, laminate it and distribute one copy to each pair for the duration of the class. Each pair could then be given a board pen in order to keep track of how many of the expressions they have used during the class, the pair who use the most could then be awarded a prize at the end of the class.

Language

Asking for Opinion Giving opinion Agreeing Disagreeing
•What do you think about number X?

•What about number X?

•Let’s move on to number X.

•Shall we do number X now?

 

•I think /reckon…

•It could / might / may be…

•It can’t be…

•It must be…

•Number (2) is (A), isn’t it?

•It’s definitely not (B).

•I’m absolutely certain it’s (C)

•I have no idea

•I haven’t got a clue.

•I agree.

•Sounds good to me.

•I think you’re right.

•Good idea/point.

•I’m with you on this one.

•I couldn’t agree more.

•You’re absolutely right.

•You’ve hit the nail on the head!

•I’m not so sure.

•That doesn’t sound right to me.

•Are you sure??

•Are you kidding?

•You must be joking!

•You can’t be serious!

•I take your point but…

•No way!

•Don’t be silly!

Posted in Uncategorized

Teacher Training Workshops in Collaboration with Useful Languages

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Image credit: http://www.uflbarcelona.com/#

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

Calling Barcelona-based English teachers! Eleanor Walker, DoS of Useful Languages, and I are going to be setting up weekly teacher training workshops to help teachers tackle exam classes for the main suite of Cambridge exams (FCE, CAE, CPE) starting on Friday February 24th.

  • Venue: Useful Languages – Carrer de Pelai, 44, Primera, 08001 Barcelona
  • Date of first session: February 24th 2017
  • Time: TBA: please complete the survey below
  • Price: €10 per person per 90 minute session, special offer: 6 sessions for €50
  • Contact: If you are interested in attending please contact Useful Languages: sylvie@uflbarcelona.com

We want to base the sessions on your needs so if you’re interested in attending it would be great if you could complete the surveymonkey below so we can get an idea of what to focus on and also the time-slot that suits you best.

Click here to complete the survey