This is a loooong worksheet for students preparing to take the C1 Advanced exam, it has 82 key word transformation questions. I’ve basically just taken this great quizlet set and copy pasted it into a Google Doc, but it took a while so hopefully it’ll save you some time. Download the handout and answer key below:
I have a group who are taking the exam in 3 weeks so they want lots of practice, so I gave them this sheet with 78 expressions on it to study on Monday and told them to study it. Now I’m going to have them do the first 1/3 of the test in class today (Wednesday).
Knowing how much I love engaging and effective exam preparation materials, Peter Clements kindly asked me to review his latest book, which he co-authored with Paul Murphy, so here goes!
IELTS Reading Practice: Academic, published by Prosperity Education, is aimed at students preparing to take, you guessed it, the IELTS Academic exam. While it specifically focuses on the reading tasks found in the exam, that’s not to say that it scrimps on opportunities for practicing other skills and exam tasks. You can buy the book through the link below and also check out their other exam preparation materials:
The book is divided into 14 units, each of which examines a specific task type from the exam, ranging from tasks such as matching headings and true, false, not mentioned through to other IELTS staples like the table/flow chart/diagram completion tasks.
Each unit is divided into three two-page sections which follow a logical sequence with appropriate levels of scaffolding:
Think and prepare
The first part aims to activate students knowledge of the topic of the upcoming reading texts and also develop their understanding of some key lexis that will both be required later and also prove useful to students’ general communicative competence.
Here is an example of the “think” section:
You’ll notice that students are also directed to the bank of extra activities at the back of the book, where, in this case, they will find a topic card based on IELTS speaking part 2 covering the same topic as the unit. This is just one example of how the book offers teachers scope for planning varied, engaging, topic-based lessons, something that can be difficult to find in published exam preparation materials.
Students then move onto the “prepare” phase, which comprises short activities focusing on key topical lexis:
Students are led through a definition match activity followed by some controlled practice:
And finally some discussion questions:
While the structure may get repetitive – the same series of activities is repeated in each unit – it’s hard to argue with the logic of the stages and it’s one I use myself all the time so, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. The lexis chosen is extremely relevant to the topic and pitched at the perfect register. Aside from aiding students’ comprehension of the upcoming texts, they are exactly the kinds of expressions candidates will be expected to produce in the writing and speaking parts of the exam.
There are also extra activities for this section which act as nice learner training exercises to nudge students towards good habits such as effective note-taking:
I was particularly drawn to this example of a graphic organiser. Students are encouraged to make notes on specific lexis and also associate it with an image, something I’ve been experimenting with in my own exam preparation classes.
I feel like activities like this can be extremely valuable for students who haven’t developed good study skills or learning habits; the examples in the book are clear, simple and can be easily replicated.
In the next section of each unit students are presented with a shorter version of the given reading task, along with an action plan and strategies. They are then encouraged to reflect on the efficacy of the plan and their own performance.
Students first do an introductory skimming task, for example:
They are then walked through an action plan for the task stage by stage:
Put it to the test
Finally, students are let loose on a full-length example exam task in order to put their newfound strategies into practice. The book contains 14 full-length texts, one for each task type. However, it doesn’t end there, in the extra activities section you will find one additional task for each of the 14 texts. These extra activities focus on a different task type, so for example, students could work on a true/false/not mentioned task in class and then complete a headings match task based on the same text for homework. In the back of the book there are also additional post-reading vocabulary tasks for each of the full length texts. This means that each of the texts is fully exploited.
Task information & tips
The book also contains a detailed analysis of each of the tasks and specific, detailed tips for approaching each one. I was particularly impressed by the rationales given for each tip:
I particularly liked the example of drawing students’ attention to topic sentences in paragraphs for the heading match task.
As you can probably already tell, I was really impressed by the book for a number of reasons:
Ease of use
Flicking through the pages as a teacher, I can immediately form a lesson plan in my head for a 90 minute class on each unit plus at least one homework task. I know it’s all there and I can pick and choose the order based on my students. I know they’re going to get lots of valuable exam practice and I can spin off into speaking tasks or vocab recall games when their motivation starts to wane towards the end of the class.
Topic-based exam prep
I know I’ve already mentioned it but it bears repeating, in exam prep classes it can be difficult to stick to the themed/topic-based classes we know we should be teaching, especially when there’s a big scary official exam looming. I know that IELTS and the Cambridge main suite exams are different beasts, but in my experience, intensive exam technique-focused prep classes for the Advanced and Proficiency can end up feeling like a poorly assembled patchwork quilt of different themes and topics due to the range of different texts students have to tackle. However, in this book the topics hold equal billing with the task type, which surely helps make for more cohesive classes and also aids students’ assimilation of the lexis.
Fully exploited texts
With the time constraint associated with exam preparation classes, it can sometimes feel overindulgent to linger for too long on a reading text to really drill down into it and exploit it for all its worth. The way this book manages to combine that impulse with further exam practice and vocab activities is really ingenious, hats off!
Clear strategies with clear rationale
It can be difficult to get students to take exam techniques and strategies on board, some can be stuck in their ways or view them as waste of time. The detail and rationale behind each strategy presented here make them easy to follow with plenty of opportunities to put them into practice straightaway.
In short, if you’re teaching IELTS Academic, get yourself a copy! Here are the details:
IELTS Reading Practice: Academic | Student Book, by Peter Clements and Paul Murphy
This is a guest post by Soleil García Brito just in time for Halloween. This lesson plan is for C1 students. They will discover the spooky origins of the jack-o-lantern and then learn about the new phenomenon of “spoopy” by doing a gapped text reading exercise. Download the handout and teacher’s notes below:
Watch the video (x2) until 5:17 and fill the gaps (1 to 3 words):
Once you think about the name “Jack-o’-lantern”, it becomes evident that this tradition comes from ____________.
Stingy Jack’s personal qualities made the devil ____________.
On his way home Jack saw _______________ on the ground.
The mutilated corpse’s voice was _____________ Satan himself.
The devil was surprised by Jack’s ______________.
Jack prevented the devil from climbing down the tree by surrounding it with ___________.
The devil gave Jack a glowing ember as a _____________.
According to the legend, Jack walks around _____________________ on October 31st.
Reading and Use of English (Part 7)
Read the text and choose the correct paragraph from [A]-[G] to fill in the gaps -. There is one extra paragraph, which you do not need to use.
ADAPTED FROM CULTURE DESK – San Francisco Chronicle
What is spoopy? Your guide to the Internet’s favorite Halloween aesthetic
For the past few years, October has not only heralded the return of Halloween and pumpkin spice lattes, it has also marked the dawning of spoopy season. For a small group of people who belong in the center of a Venn diagram of mellowed-out goths and the “extremely online,” the spoopy aesthetic has become a source of joy and comfort in turbulent times.
“Spookiness is campy, but spoopiness is campy in a very specific way,” says John Paul Brammer, a New York City writer and advice columnist whose popular memes about the demonic goat from the movie “The Witch” are more of the former. “Spoopy’s whole thing is that it is not frightening. It’s not threatening, not arcane, but uses the trappings of the threatening and the arcane to make the joke: OoOoOooOo!!! SpoooOOoooOOooky!!”
Its origin is much more straightforward than its meaning. In 2009, the word was spotted on a skeleton-theme sign displayed at a Ross Dress For Less store. Though its ascent took some time, the term gained popularity on niche social media communities like Tumblr until it finally reached escape velocity to spread even further.
Though it might seem random, the delight of this sort of banal creepiness stems from the desire to look an object of fear in the eye — and laugh.
In political discourse, Prevas points to anti-transgender activists using the image of Frankenstein’s monster to demonize transgender people. Historically, monsters have often stood in for types of people who were undesirable: racial minorities, immigrants, queer people, anyone outside the “normal.” “I love the unsettling part of (spoopiness),” Prevas says, “that disconnect between seeing the creatures which we expect to see in a horror scenario in a perfectly quotidian scene.”
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it resonates so well right now, at a time when marginalized people’s status feels extremely fraught and political rhetoric insists on estranging us from polite society. This aesthetic defies the imperative to be afraid: Instead, we embrace the monsters as part of ourselves, as neighbours. To let the monster out is, in a sense, letting oneself out.
When we look at the skeleton riding a bike, it almost feels aspirational: This is what life could look like if our cloistered selves were set free. As it turns out, spoopiness might be just what we need right now.
[A] Because I’m a restaurant critic, my gauge of whether or not something has hit the mainstream is “The Great British Bake-Off.” In the 10th season, currently airing on the British Channel 4 and Netflix, Spanish contestant Helena Garcia has emerged as a fan favourite thanks to her memorably macabre but cute creations like a chocolate orange tarantula flanked by macadamia nut spider eggs, eldritch horror pies and bloody green “witch finger” biscuits.
[B] What is “spoopy”? It’s the coupling of wildly absurdist humour with terror — an aesthetic unto itself that, like camp, can be hard to articulate.
[C] Spoopy is a reclamation and reframing of these monsters, a mind-set that boasts, “You say I should be scared of this? Hilarious!”
[D] In fables and literary fiction, monsters are the embodiments of everything that society represses: a “warning system” of sorts, says Christine Prevas, a Columbia University Ph.D. candidate whose research focuses on applying queer theory to contemporary horror. The monster is a taboo made flesh: A prepubescent girl turned foul-mouthed, vomiting demon in “The Exorcist”; a bad sexual encounter run amok in “It Follows.”
[E] When I look at this stuff, it reminds me of how I like to “watch” horror movies by reading their plot summaries on Wikipedia: a digital version of peeking at Medusa’s face by holding up a mirror.
[F] This disruption of the narrative of otherness mirrors the way people actually want to be seen. For instance, queer people can be queer outside of designated contexts like gay bars and the privacy of one’s bedroom, Prevas says. “We’re also queer in the grocery store. We’re also queer on a bicycle.”
[G] Much easier than defining it is sorting through what is and isn’t spoopy. As a start, think of it as friendly and somewhat sarcastic horror: A skeleton isn’t, but a skeleton riding a bike? Definitely spoopy. The Babadook isn’t, but the memes that claim that the monster is a proud gay man? Super spoopy.
Language focus (15 min)
Look at the words in bold in the text and discuss the meaning with a partner:
Next, fill in the gaps with the vocabulary words in the correct form to fit the context:
Jack saw a mutilated corpse with a(n) _____________ look on its face.
His mood ___________ the gloomy weather on that Halloween night.
Between risking being tricked and facing Jack’s grumbling stomach for the rest of the trip, the devil chose the _________.
Some consider him the very _____________ of evil.
The devil was ____________ confused by Jack’s request to pay the bill at the bar.
Jack ___________ a mutilated corpse on the ground on his way home from the bar.
Use the trappings of (sth) Stem from Run amok In a sense
After Jack __________ the level of danger he was in, he decided to trap the devil by using crosses.
This is a worksheet for students preparing to take the C1 Advanced exam. It will act as a refresher for a lot of the language, including linkers, prounouns, fixed expressions and phrasal verbs, that often come up in part 2 of the reading and use of English paper. Download the handout and key below:
This is a worksheet for students preparing for the Cambridge C2 Proficiency exam. It’s designed as a revision activity for a lot of the expressions, collocations and phrasal verbs that come up in the use of English paper. Download the handout and answer key below:
This is a lesson plan for students preparing to take the Cambridge C2 Proficiency exam. Students create their own topic cards for part 3 of the speaking exam; the dreaded long turn! Download the handout and examples below:
You could use this lesson plan to introduce the long turn, give students a chance to practice and go over some useful language before they make their own topic cards.
Print and cut out the example cards, these examples were created by my C2 group. As you can see they came up with some thought provoking topics that are definitely more engaging than some of the run-of-the-mill topics from most text books.
Put students in pairs and have them complete a timed long turn each to get them warmed up to the task.
Then give them a set of blank cards each (candidate A & B) and have them work together to create two topic cards with a main question and three bullet points. Tell them that their classmates are going to use their topic cards so they should choose engaging, open topics. Give them 3-5 minutes to do this. In the exam, after candidate A has finished their long turn, candidate B is asked a shorter question in response to what candidate A has just said, so you could have your students write a question for candidate B on the back of A’s card and vice versa for candidate B.
Have them pass their newly created cards to another pair so that everyone has a set created by another group. Instruct them to keep practicing two-minute long turns using the new cards. Then encourage students to give feedback to the group who wrote the topic card; was it easy to talk about for two minutes? Did the bullet points help? Could anything be clarified?
Students then pass the cards to another group, rinse and repeat. Students will get lots of practice for this part of the exam on topics chosen by their peers.
I was really impressed by the questions my group came up with, there weren’t too many softballs in there. Comment below with some of the topics and bullet points your students come up with and I’ll add them to the example doc, that we can create a big list of topic cards for future use.
This is an exam preparation activity for students taking the C2 Proficiency exam. Students learn some fixed expressions that may come up in part 4 of the reading and use of English paper and also practice their paraphrasing skills. Download the handout below:
Use the first 12 slides of this quizlet set to test students’ memories of the fixed expressions from the first training activity. You could then give them this doc of 15 of the key word transformations as homework or spaced repetition at a later date:
Then hand out the new worksheet. First students work in pairs to paraphrase the expressions in bold and come up with notes to help them remember the expressions; this could involve taking a note of a dependent preposition or a verb pattern (gerund/infinitive). Monitor and check students’ understanding of the expressions. Then students turn the paper over and attempt to recall the expressions with the help of the key words. Finally, students recall prepositions from the expressions as these can often trip students up. Also, the second point in a key word transformation question can often come down to a dependent preposition.
You could use this quizziz game to test their memory of the prepositions at a later date.
Look at the expressions in bold. Discuss the meaning with your partner and make notes to help you remember them.
The film fell short of my expectations I’m afraid.
This is another training exercise for students taking the C1 Advanced exam. Students learn some typical fixed expressions that come up in part 4 of the reading and use of English paper. Download the handout below:
This is a lesson plan designed for students on preparation courses for the Cambridge B2 First (FCE) exam. In particular I think it would be good for students who are close to taking the exam. It works as a diagnostic test of a range of the grammar points that are tested, particularly in part 4 of the reading and use of English exam. Download the handout below:
Give out copies of the handout, have students individually assess their grasp of each of the structures. They should fill in the box on the end with either a tick (I know this very well) a cross (I’ve got no idea about this) or a wiggly line (I more or less get this).
Have students compare with their partner. Ask them to look for differences, there should be opportunities for peer teaching here, have one student attempt to explain a grammar point to another.
Project the quizlet set of key word transformations. Put students in pairs. First students need to identify the structure that is being tested. This is a very important step, getting them to put themselves in the examiner’s shoes and not just jump straight in and answer. Check that they’ve identified the structure, then have them work together to try to complete the sentence. Encourage reflection and comparison between their initial self-assessment and then their scores and performance in the exam task.
The checklist is not exhaustive, have I missed any common structures that come up in part 4?
Past simple/Present perfect
I haven’t seen John for 5 years.
The last time I saw John was 5 years ago.
If I won the lottery, I would buy a mansion.
If I didn’t work in construction, I would be an actor.
If I hadn’t slipped on that banana, I wouldn’t have broken my arm.
If I had known you were coming, I would have baked a cake.
The passive voice
Active: The police arrested the man.
Passive: The man was arrested by the police.
Other example: It is said that cigarettes give you cancer.
Cigarettes are said to give you cancer
I regret eating so much -> I wish I hadn’t eaten so much.
It was a bad idea to drink that wine -> If only I hadn’t drunk that wine.
Linkers: Despite/in spite of -> Although/even though
Despite the rain, the party was great -> The party was great even though it was raining.
Although he felt ill, he still went to school. -> He still went to school in spite of his illness.
“I went there last year.” -> He said that he had gone there last year.
“I will call himtomorrow.” -> She said that she would call him the following day.
“Have you been to Paris?” -> He asked me if I had been to Paris.
“Where is the train station?” -> He asked me where the train station was.
He wants to cancel the meeting -> he wants to call off the meeting.
He won’t tolerate bad behaviour -> he won’t put up with bad behaviour.
Causative have/get: have/get something done
I need to get my hair cut.
I need to have my computer repaired.
This restaurant is better than that one -> That restaurant isn’t as good as this one.
He’s not nearly as tall as me.
My brother is slightly younger than me.
No one is as good at football as Messi -> Messi is the best football player.
Past modal verbs:
Should have etc.
The butler must have murdered him, there’s blood on his shirt.
It can’t have been Sarah you saw at the mall, she’s on holiday in Dubai.
I shouldn’t have drunk so much last night.
It was so hot that we couldn’t leave the hotel -> It was such a hot day that we had to stay in the hotel.
It rained so much that the house flooded. ->It was such a rainy day that the house flooded.
Here’s a worksheet for CAE students to help them prepare for part 3 of the use of English paper. Download the worksheet and key below, I found the exercises on quizlet so full credit to evatrn for making the set. Use the quizlet set below to revise.