Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency

C2 Proficiency: Key Word Transformation Training #4

C2 Proficiency de Inglés (CPE) del Cambridge: Cómo Aprobarlo | TURBOLANGS

This is another worksheet designed to help introduce students to typical expressions that are tested in part 4 of the reading and use of English paper. Download the handout below:

Use this Quizizz game for spaced repetition:

https://quizizz.com/admin/quiz/616ed9e698bf27001fbb1265

Version 1

Discuss the meaning of the expressions in bold with your partner.

Write a synonym/definition on the line underneath.

  1. Don’t get your hopes up just yet, a lot of other people are interested in the flat.

…………get excited, feel hopeful ………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Rumour has it that John is in line for promotion when Sally leaves at the end of the year.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Please fill out this form in accordance with the rules set out on our website.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The new restrictions will come into effect this evening at midnight.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. We booked a minibreak to Venice on the spur of the moment.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Allowing a criminal to go free is the lesser of two evils compared to locking up an innocent person.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. My uncle is still struggling to get over being made redundant from his job.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The government has come in for a lot of criticism for its handling of the pandemic.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I had to take the whole laptop apart to find out what was wrong with it.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. There has been a sharp rise in homelessness in my neighbourhood.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. To the best of my knowledge, the last person to leave the building was Nigel.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. My boss kept me in the dark about the merger until the last minute.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. She’s intent on studying abroad next year and she’s going to pull out all the stops to make it happen.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I struggled to keep pace with the amount of work my uni professors were giving me.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I have to admit I was taken in by the salesman’s sob story and I bought one of his dodgy products.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Out of the blue my company offered me a job in Australia and I jumped at the chance.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. He’s set his heart on being a singer-songwriter, he practices every waking minute.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. If what really happened here ever comes to light, you’re going to be in deep trouble.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Version 2

Discuss the meaning of the expressions in bold with your partner.

Write a synonym/definition on the line underneath.

  1. Don’t feel hopeful (GET) just yet, a lot of other people are interested in the flat.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. There are rumours that (IT) that John is going to get promoted (LINE) when Sally leaves at the end of the year.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Please complete (FILL) this form following (ACCORDANCE) the rules set out on our website.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The new restrictions will become law (EFFECT) this evening at midnight.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. We booked a short trip to Venice on a whim (SPUR).

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Allowing a criminal to go free is the better of two bad options (EVILS) compared to locking up an innocent person.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. My uncle is still struggling to recover from (GET) losing his job (MADE) from his job.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The government has taken a lot of flack (COME) for its handling of the pandemic.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I had to disassemble the whole laptop (TAKE) to find out what was wrong with it.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. There has been a sudden increase in (RISE) homelessness in my neighbourhood.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. As far as we know, (KNOWLEDGE) the last person to leave the building was Nigel.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. My boss didn’t tell me about (DARK) the merger until the last minute.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. She’s determined to study (INTENT) abroad next year and she’s going to make a big effort to (PULL) to make it happen.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I struggled to keep up with (PACE) the amount of work my uni professors were giving me.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I have to admit I was tricked (TAKEN) the salesman’s manipulative tale (STORY) and I bought one of his dodgy products.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Suddenly and unexpectedly (BLUE) my company offered me a job in Australia and I accepted the opportunity immediately. (JUMPED)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. He’s determined to become (HEART) a singer-songwriter, he practices every waking minute.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. If what really happened here is ever revealed (LIGHT), you’re going to be in deep trouble.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Posted in Advanced C1, Exam Preparation Class

C1 Advanced: Key Word Transformation Training #4

2. Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Preparation

This is another worksheet designed to help introduce students to typical expressions that are tested in part 4 of the reading and use of English paper. Download the handout below:

Use this Quizizz game for space repetition of the expressions: https://quizizz.com/admin/quiz/616ed396bccf36001d65cf8e

Version 1

Read the sentences and guess the meaning of the underlined expression with your partner:

  1. As far as we can tell, the accident was caused by human error.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. Could you keep an eye on my bag while I go to the toilet?

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. The teacher turned a blind eye to the students who were whispering at the back of the class.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. I need to brush up on my German before my trip to Berlin next month.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. I’m on holiday next week but please keep me in the picture about how the project is going.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. She can’t have been pleased to see her ex-boyfriend sitting at the bar when she came in.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. Steve hardly ever gets to work on time.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. I didn’t recognise the number that was calling me but it turned out to be my brother on his new phone.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. In accordance with his last will and testament, the majority of his fortune was donated to charity.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. Never before have I seen such a beautiful display of dance.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. It took her a while to come to terms with the death of her parents.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. If it hadn’t been for Charlie, I would still be working in that dead-end job.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. Investigators are trying to piece together what happened after they lost contact with the pilot of the plane.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. The match has been called off due to unforeseen circumstances.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. Contrary to popular opinion, not all Mexican food is spicy.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. Since getting promoted, I’ve struggled to get to grips with my new responsibilities.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. Can you give me a lift to the airport in the morning?

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. His love of jazz music dates back to his visit to New Orleans 20 years ago.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. We could meet at 9am Thursday morning, I hope that this suggestion meets with your approval.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. His son’s failure to get into a good college was a source of great disappointment to him.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. The president is widely expected to lose the upcoming election.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. In all likelihood, there will be job losses at the company due to a drop in sales.

Version 2

Try to recall the expressions using the key word in brackets to help you.

  1. Based on the evidence we have we think the accident was caused by human error. (TELL)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. Could you watch my bag while I go to the toilet? (EYE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. The teacher pretended not to see the students who were whispering at the back of the class. (EYE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. I need to refresh and revise my German before my trip to Berlin next month. (BRUSH)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. I’m on holiday next week but please give me regular updates on how the project is going. (PICTURE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. She definitely wasn’t pleased to see her ex-boyfriend sitting at the bar when she came in. (HAVE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. Steve is almost always late for work. (HARDLY)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. I didn’t recognise the number that was calling me but in the end it was my brother on his new phone. (TURNED)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. Based on his last will and testament, the majority of his fortune was donated to charity. (ACCORDANCE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. It was the first time I had seen such a beautiful display of dance. (NEVER)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. It took her a while to understand and accept the death of her parents. (TERMS)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. Without Charlie, I would still be working in that dead-end job. (BEEN)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. Investigators are trying to deduce what happened after they lost contact with the pilot of the plane. (PIECE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. The match has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. (CALLED)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. Despite what most people think, not all Mexican food is spicy. (CONTRARY)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. Since getting promoted, I’ve struggled to deal with/understand my new responsibilities. (GRIPS)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. Can you drive me to the airport in the morning? (LIFT)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. His love of jazz music started when he visited New Orleans 20 years ago. (DATES)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. We could meet at 9am Thursday morning, I hope that this suggestion is acceptable to you. (MEETS)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. His son’s failure to get into a good college was disappointing for him. (SOURCE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. Most people expect the president to lose the upcoming election. (WIDELY)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. There will probably be job losses at the company due to a drop in sales. (LIKELIHOOD)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C2 Proficiency: Key Word Transformation Training #2

C2 Proficiency de Inglés (CPE) del Cambridge: Cómo Aprobarlo | TURBOLANGS

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:

I recommend using my first key word transformation training exercise first.

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.

Student Handout

Version 1

Look at the expressions in bold. Discuss the meaning with your partner and make notes to help you remember them.

  1. The film fell short of my expectations I’m afraid.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. Tickets are probably sold out but there’s no harm in calling to check.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. My son took absolutely no notice of my advice and spent all his birthday money on video games.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. It seems that there’s little prospect that they will be able to win the championship now.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. It was a really interesting lecture that gave us food for thought.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. His injury had a serious effect on his ability to earn a living.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. Giles can be relied on to help out if you’re in a spot of bother.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. It never occurred to me to ask Jenny for help with the car, I didn’t know she was an engineer.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. He was given a life sentence for murder.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. Sadly, her career has always taken priority over her family.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. The printer is apt to disconnect from the wifi network, it has a mind of its own.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. The specials menu is subject to change on a daily basis.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. Julia’s command of German is extraordinary, she nailed the presentation.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. For the first month of membership you will be exempt from paying delivery fees.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. In the winter months it’s cold beyond belief so bring warm clothes.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. Let’s go out! I’m in the mood for dancing tonight.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. The audience showed their disapproval of the comedian’s routine by booing loudly.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. Martin has his hands full now that his wife has given birth to twins.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. Thank you so much for the loan. I have every intention of paying you back ASAP.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. You’re putting your life in jeopardy every time you drink and drive.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. By the look of his facial expression, I’d say that he didn’t take your criticism well.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

Version 2

Now look at version 2. Work with a partner, try to recall the expressions using the key words to help you.

  1. The film wasn’t as good as I thought it would be (SHORT) I’m afraid.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. Tickets are probably sold out but we might as well call (HARM) to check.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. My son completely ignored (NOTICE) my advice and spent all his birthday money on video games.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. It seems that there’s not much chance that (PROSPECT) they will be able to win the championship now.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. It was a really interesting lecture that made us think (FOOD).

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. His injury seriously affected (EFFECT) his ability to earn a living.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. Giles will always (RELIED) help out if you’re in a spot of bother.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. I never thought of asking (OCCURRED) Jenny for help with the car, I didn’t know she was an engineer.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. He was sent to prison for the rest of his life for (SENTENCE) murder.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. Sadly, her career has always been more important to her than (PRIORITY) her family.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. The printer has a tendency to (APT) disconnect from the wifi network, it has a mind of its own.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. The specials menu can sometimes change (SUBJECT) on a daily basis.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. Julia speaks German extraordinarily well (COMMAND), she did the presentation very well. (N…)

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. For the first month of membership you won’t have to pay (EXEMPT) delivery fees.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. In the winter months it’s so cold you wouldn’t believe it (BEYOND) so bring warm clothes.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. Let’s go out! I feel like dancing (MOOD) tonight.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. The audience complained about (DISAPPROVAL) the comedian’s routine by booing loudly.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. Martin is very busy (HANDS) now that his wife had the (BIRTH) twins.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. Thank you so much for the loan. I will definitely pay (EVERY) you back ASAP.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. You’re endangering your life (JEOPARDY) every time you drink and drive.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. If you look at (BY) his facial expression, I’d say that he didn’t take your criticism well.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

Preposition Check

The second point in a key word transformation can often come down to the preposition. Can you remember the prepositions in these expressions?

  1. The film fell short ….. my expectations I’m afraid.
  2. Tickets are probably sold out but there’s no harm ….. calling to check.
  3. My son took absolutely no notice ….. my advice and spent all his birthday money on video games.
  4. It was a really interesting lecture that gave us food ….. thought.
  5. His injury had a serious effect ….. his ability to earn a living.
  6. Giles can be relied ….. to help out if you’re in a spot of bother.
  7. It never occurred ….. me to ask Jenny for help with the car, I didn’t know she was an engineer.
  8. He was given a life sentence ….. murder.
  9. Sadly, her career has always taken priority ….. her family.
  10. The printer is apt ….. disconnect from the wifi network, it has a mind of its own.
  11. The specials menu is subject ….. change on a daily basis.
  12. Julia’s command ….. German is extraordinary, she nailed the presentation.
  13. For the first month of membership you will be exempt ….. paying delivery fees.
  14. In the winter months it’s cold ……… belief so bring warm clothes.
  15. Let’s go out! I’m ….. the mood ….. dancing tonight.
  16. The audience showed their disapproval ….. the comedian’s routine by booing loudly.
  17. Martin has his hands full now that his wife has given birth ….. twins.
  18. Thank you so much for the loan. I have every intention ….. paying you back ASAP.
  19. You’re putting your life ….. jeopardy every time you drink and drive.
  20. ….. the look of his facial expression, I’d say that he didn’t take your criticism well.
Posted in Advanced C1, Exam Preparation Class, Vocabulary Classes

C1 Advanced: Key Word Transformation Training #3

2. Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Preparation

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:

Students work together to paraphrase the fixed expressions, then flip the paper over and try to recall them using a key word as a prompt. You’ll find the 17 expressions in this set of 82 different key word transformation questions from quizlet.com

Student Handout

Version 1

Work with a partner, read the sentences, then paraphrase the expression in bold.

  1. Sorry I’m late, I completely lost track of time.

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

  1. Leaving this door open may result in the monkeys escaping.

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

  1. He stands every chance of winning the championship this year.

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

  1. She stands a slim chance of beating her rival to the trophy.

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

  1. This evening’s performance will be followed by a question and answer session with the director.

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

  1. No fewer than seventeen people were seen breaking into the building.

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

  1. Her main problem is that she is weak at spelling.

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

  1. The project failed due to a lack of funding from the local government.

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

  1. The project is going ahead according to plan.

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

  1. She is highly spoken of in the local area. We should hire her.

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

  1. I am in no doubt that the show will be a resounding success.

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

  1. I didn’t have any recollection of seeing Julia on Saturday night until I saw her at work on Monday morning.

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

  1. The teenagers took no notice of me and carried on smoking and playing loud music.

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

  1. I left my handbag on the train, I’ve given up hope of finding it again.

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

  1. He really made a name for himself when he moved to LA in 2006.

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

  1. It’s official, I handed in my notice to my boss yesterday and I’m starting my own business next week!

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

  1. She can’t even boil an egg, let alone cook a full meal for ten people.

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

Version 2

Read the sentences, can you remember the expressions from version 1? Use the key word in brackets to help you.

  1. Sorry I’m late, I didn’t realise what time it was. (TRACK)

…………………………………………………………………………

  1. Leaving this door open may lead to (IN) the monkeys escaping. 

…………………………………………………………………………

  1. He is almost definitely going to win (CHANCE) the championship this year.

…………………………………………………………………………

  1. There’s a low probability that she will beat (CHANCE) her rival to the trophy.

…………………………………………………………………………

  1. After this evening’s performance there will be (FOLLOWED) a question and answer session with the director.

…………………………………………………………………………

  1. As many as (THAN) seventeen people were seen breaking into the building.

…………………………………………………………………………

  1. Her main problem is that her spelling is bad. (WEAK)

…………………………………………………………………………

  1. The project failed because there wasn’t enough (DUE) funding from the local government.

…………………………………………………………………………

  1. The project is continuing as planned (AHEAD)

…………………………………………………………………………

  1. She has a great reputation (HIGHLY) in the local area. We should hire her.

…………………………………………………………………………

  1. I am sure that (DOUBT) the show will be a resounding success.

…………………………………………………………………………

  1. I didn’t remember seeing (RECOLLECTION) Julia on Saturday night until I saw her at work on Monday morning.

…………………………………………………………………………

  1. The teenagers ignored (NOTICE) me and carried on smoking and playing loud music.

…………………………………………………………………………

  1. I left my handbag on the train, I don’t think I will find (UP) it again.

…………………………………………………………………………

  1. He really became famous (NAME) when he moved to LA in 2006.

…………………………………………………………………………

  1. It’s official, I officially told my boss I was leaving (NOTICE) yesterday and I’m starting my own business next week!

…………………………………………………………………………

  1. She can’t even boil an egg, so she definitely can’t (ALONE) cook a full meal for ten people.

…………………………………………………………………………

Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Exam Preparation Class, Guest Posts, Reading Classes, Vocabulary Classes

Guest Post: B2 First – A Forgotten Dream

This is a guest post by my friend, colleague and co-host of the podcast 2Ts in a pod, Katy Wright. It’s designed to help students preparing for the B2 first exam get to grips with some of the phrasal verbs and fixed expressions they might encounter in the exam. Students read a text about Jim’s forgotten dream, then try to recreate the text using key words. Download the student handout below:

A FORGOTTEN DREAM

  1. Look at the pictures. What is the story about?
  • Read the story. Were your predictions correct?

Jim couldn’t stand his job. All he did all day was sit at his desk and pretended to work while watching the heavy rain outside his window. He was meant to be selling insurance on the phone, but he wasn’t very good at it. In fact, he had sold very few contracts. This was because all he had ever wanted to do was be an actor in Hollywood. He had loved acting when he was a teenager, but instead of going to America he studied Business and he put off looking for fame. “I’ll look into that when I have finished Uni” he said to himself. This was his biggest regret in life. On his way into work that day, his 15-year-old car broke down. Standing in the rain trying to change the tire he made up his mind. He wasn’t going to carry on like this. He was going to make a big change…

  • Answer the questions in groups.
  • What is Jim’s big dream?
  • Why do you think Jim didn’t decide to become an actor after Uni?
  • What do you think makes him change his mind?
  • What big change do you think he is going to make?
  • What will happen at the end of the story?
  • What do you the expressions in yellow mean?
  • Can you translate them to Catalan/Spanish?
  • Do you have similar expression in Catalan/Spanish?
  • Try to remember the original expression used in the story. The words in brackets are to help you.

Jim hated (STAND) his job. All he did all say was sit at his desk and pretended to work while watching as it rained heavily (HEAVY) outside his window. He should have been (MEANT) selling insurance on the phone, but he wasn’t very good at it. In fact, he didn’t sell many (FEW) contracts. This was because all he had ever wanted to do was be an actor in Hollywood. He had loved acting when he was a teenager, but rather than go (OF) to America he studied Business and he postponed looking (PUT) for fame. “I’ll investigate (INTO) that when I have finished Uni” he said to himself. This was his biggest regret in life. On his way into work that day his 15-year-old car stopped working (DOWN). Standing in the rain trying to change the tire he made a decision (UP). He wasn’t going to continue like this any longer (ON). He was going to make a big change…

  • Write the original expressions here:
  • STAND…………………………………………………………………………
  • HEAVY…………………………………………………………………………
  • MEANT …………………………………………………………………………
  • FEW …………………………………………………………………………
  • OF …………………………………………………………………………
  • PUT …………………………………………………………………………
  • INTO …………………………………………………………………………
  • DOWN …………………………………………………………………………
  • UP …………………………………………………………………………
  • ON …………………………………………………………………………
  • Write the rest of the story. Use the questions to help you.

Middle:

  • What does he decide to do next?
  • How will he change his life?
  • What does he do to help him realize his dreams?

End:

  • Does he finally reach his goals?
  • How does he feel about his situation?
  • Does he ever think about his old life?
  • Read all of the paragraphs and vote on the you think is the best
Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C2 Proficiency: Key Word Transformation Training

In this lesson plan students preparing for the C2 Proficiency exam develop their understanding of some key fixed expressions that often come up in part 4 of the use of English. Download the handout and homework exercise below:

You may want to use this quizlet set for spaced repetition of the expressions.

Procedure

Students read the expressions in bold and discuss the meaning with their partner. Encourage them to paraphrase the expression and make any notes on the grammar that might be relevant: specific prepositions, verb patterns that may follow it (gerund/infinitive etc.)

Students then flip the paper over and attempt to remember the expressions using the key words as prompts. They can check their answers by looking back at page 1. Ask students which expressions they struggled the most to recall.

Have students ask and answer the discussion questions in small groups.

Set the key word transformation worksheet for homework. You’ll find the answers in the quizlet set.

Posted in Advanced C1, Exam Preparation Class, Vocabulary Classes

C1 Advanced: Key Word Transformation Training #2

C1 Advanced (CAE) | The Lleida Cambridge Exams Centre

In this lesson plan students preparing for the C1 Advanced exam develop their understanding of some key fixed expressions that often come up in part 4 of the use of English. Download the handout and homework exercise below:

These particular expressions are taken from this quizlet set of 82 different key word transformation expressions, you may want to use it for spaced repetition.

Procedure

Students read the expressions in bold and discuss the meaning with their partner. Encourage them to paraphrase the expression and make any notes on the grammar that might be relevant: specific prepositions, verb patterns that may follow it (gerund/infinitive etc.)

Students then flip the paper over and attempt to remember the expressions using the key words as prompts. They can check their answers by looking back at page 1. Ask students which expressions they struggled the most to recall.

Set the key word transformation worksheet for homework.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C2: Proficiency Training – The Heist

Cartoon Safe Heist ⬇ Vector Image by © ronleishman | Vector Stock 13979890

In this lesson C2 students will develop their understanding of idiomatic expressions that often come up in the Cambridge C2 Proficiency exam. They will encounter the expressions in a text about a bank heist gone wrong. Download the student handout below:

Credit to: http://www.waze.net/oea/activities/24 for the planning a bank robbery activity.

You may also wish to use this quizizz game for spaced repetition of the target language.

Procedure

Students start by discussing common tropes of heist movies. They then skim the text to find out what went wrong in this case. (they were set up, someone ratted them out the police)

Students then answer the detail questions:

  1. How had they planned for the robbery? In great detail, taking note of intricacies while the narrator was working in the bank
  2. What was the first problem they encountered? The getaway driver was late
  3. How did the staff in the bank react? Only the bank manager put up any resistance
  4. What are the pros and cons of the way Tony behaves? he’s unpredictable but intimidating
  5. What happens to Tony and Barry? they are killed in the gunfight
  6. Where is the narrator at the end of the story? in prison

Language Focus

Students now focus on the expressions in bold. They discuss their meaning with their partner and try to paraphrase them, they then make a note of how familiar the expressions are to them.

Students now flip the paper over and look at version 2 of the same text. Now the expressions have been replaced with simpler language. Using the key words, they must recall the expressions. They then flip over their paper to check their answers.

Set the key word transformations testing the expressions for homework.

Plan a heist

Put students in small groups and have them plan a bank heist using the prompts on pages 2 and 3, which are adapted from http://www.waze.net/oea/activities/24

Students then present their different plans to the class.

Text Version 1

The Heist

  1. What heist/bank robbery films have you seen?
  2. Do you enjoy this type of movie? Why? Why not?
  3. How do people typically rob banks in films? What strategies do they use?
  4. How can heists go wrong?

Read the text about a bank heist, what went wrong?

The plan had been simple. I had been instrumental in drawing it up, I’d worked in that branch for over 5 years and had taken note of all the little intricacies and predicted all the problems we might have to contend with down to the last detail; I was nothing if not meticulous. I had done everything in my power to make sure everything went like clockwork. In the lead-up to the big day some doubts had been preying on my mind to such an extent that I hadn’t got a wink of sleep, but it was nothing out of the ordinary. 

We’d stuck to the plan to the letter. Aside from a rocky start, when the getaway driver had kept us waiting for the best part of an hour, everything had gone smoothly, almost too smoothly. The bank clerk had offered no resistance, the security guard had admitted defeat pretty quickly, clearly realising that facing off against armed robbers was above his pay grade. The manager made a bit of a fuss about handing over the combination to the vault but Tony soon made him see sense. A gun barrel pressed to your forehead can be very persuasive. I’m not 100% on board with how Tony conducts himself but you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs. He had risen to fame as useful muscle for a tight spot but he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the box.

Barry got to work on the vault without interference and before long we were stuffing the duffle bags with wads of cold, hard cash, it was a beautiful sight, which did wonders for everyone’s confidence. Maybe that was it, we got too cocky, little did we know what lay in store for us outside. Tony was the first to catch sight of the blue lights, I was loath to start shooting but, as always, there was no stopping Tony, they didn’t call him the loose cannon for nothing. All of a sudden it was like a warzone, Tony didn’t stand a chance, neither did Barry. It’s nothing short of a miracle that I got out alive. It was obvious that the game was up, it must have been a set-up but who had ratted us out? I guess that’s something I’ll be pondering for the next 25 years. It ain’t so bad, running water, 3 square meals a day and a roof over my head. I guess I should spare a thought for those who were not so lucky.

  1. How had they planned for the robbery?
  2. What was the first problem they encountered?
  3. How did the staff in the bank react?
  4. What are the pros and cons of the way Tony behaves?
  5. What happens to Tony and Barry?
  6. Where is the narrator at the end of the story?
Posted in Advanced C1, Exam Preparation Class, Vocabulary Classes

C1: Advanced Training: Water Cooler Gossip

Cartoon Characters People Around Water Cooler Gossip Concept.. Royalty Free  Cliparts, Vectors, And Stock Illustration. Image 124635636.

This is a lesson plan designed to develop students’ understanding of common idiomatic expressions that can come up in the C1 Advanced exam. Students discuss the topic of problems in the workplace and look at fixed expressions in the context of a dialogue. Download the student handout and exam practice activity below:

I made this lesson plan by taking a bunch of the expressions that are tested in this quizlet set of key word transformations and shoehorning them into a dialogue. You may also wish to use this quizizz game for spaced repetition of the expressions.

Procedure

Give out the handout and have students discuss the pre-reading topic in small groups. Clear up any vocab doubts and briefly recap in open class.

Have students read the text and answer the gist question: Read the text, which workplace problems does it describe? The text describes a case of nepotism.

Have students answer the detail questions:

  1. Who are the two people? co-workers/colleagues
  2. What are they annoyed about? being overlooked for a promotion
  3. Why did James get the job? he’s the boss’s son-in-law
  4. What is their plan? to wait for James to make a mistake then “throw him under the bus”
  5. Why do they need to be careful? because if anyone finds out they’re plotting, they might lose their jobs

Students look at the language focus section. 2 expressions of surprise: come as a surprise to someone + be taken aback

Have them discuss the other expressions and come up with a simpler paraphrasing for the expression. What they’re doing essentially is writing the first sentence in a key word transformation exercise.

Have students flip the paper over and look at version 2. Now they must use the key words to recall the expressions from the original version from memory. They can then flip back over and check their answers, encourage them to focus on small details like prepositions and verb patterns (gerund/infinitive after the expression) as these can often be worth a mark in the exam.

Students then work in groups to write a new dialogue using as many expressions as possible. Set the key word transformation worksheet, which tests the same structures, as homework. Alternatively you could space it slightly more and have them complete the worksheet in the following class.

Posted in Advanced C1, Grammar Classes

Mighty Might – C1 Modal Verbs

Strong Super Hero — Stock Vector © starlight789 #12842606

This is a short lesson grammar worksheet looking at some expressions with modal verbs that students typically encounter at C1 level. It is loosely based on the grammar exercises in unit 1 of Ready for Advanced by Macmillan and could serve as an extension or revision exercise. It may also be accessible to high B2 students. Download the student handout and answer key below:

Mighty Might – Student Handout

Look at the sets of different expressions using might and other modal verbs. Match them with the different meanings they express in the box at the bottom.

Might/could at least

  1. You might at least pick up your dirty clothes.
  2. You could at least put your dirty dishes in the sink.
  3. You might at least say hello when you get home instead of going straight to your bedroom.

Might/could #1

  1. I’m going to the bar after football so I might be late home.
  2. Don’t forget to bring an umbrella, it might rain.
  3. Don’t drive so fast, you could have an accident.

Might/could #2

  1. Let’s watch TV, there might be something good on.
  2. Shhh! Be quiet, my parents might be asleep already.
  3. It was really cold last night so the roads could be icy.

Might/may…. but

  1. Ok, I admit that he might be really good at shooting but he never passes the ball, it’s so frustrating.
  2. He may be really good-looking but he’s not very bright.
  3. She might have all the money in the world but is she truly happy?

Might/may as well

  1. All the good bands have finished playing so we might as well go home.
  2. We’ve already missed the start of the film so we may as well do something else.
  3. It’s too dark, you’re never going to find your lost keys, you might as well give up.

Might/could//may have + past participle #1

  1. Woah! Be careful with that ladder, you might have taken my head off!
  2. Slow down! You could have hit that old lady!
  3. He might have got together with Julie at the party but he spent all night being sick in the toilet.

Might/could//may have + past participle #2

  1. Where are they? I’m worried, they might have had an accident.
  2. I can’t find my phone. I could have left it at work.
  3. Someone has stolen one of the plants from the front porch. It might have been those boys from next door.
Past possibility           past possibility that didn’t happen            future possibility            annoyance              Concession (ok, you’re right)           suggestion without enthusiasm            present possibility

Complete the sentence

  1. Boss: Your office is a mess and it stinks you might at least ___________________.
  2. Let’s see what’s on at the cinema there might____________________.
  3. The weather forecast says that it might_____________________.
  4. We’ve missed the last train home so we might as well___________________.
  5. Ok, she might be a good singer but________________.
  6. Where’s the cat? She might have__________________________.
  7. Luckily, I escaped the crash with just cuts and bruises, I might have___________________.

Key Word Transformations

  1. There’s no point staying any longer, let’s go home.

MIGHT

We _______________________ go home.

  1. I always have to tidy up your mess, some help would be nice.

MIGHT

I always have to tidy up your mess, _____________________ me.

  1. You’re right there are some interesting characters in the book but it’s just so monotonous.

MIGHT

Ok, the characters _______________________________ is just so monotonous.

  1. My laptop isn’t here, maybe someone stole it.

MIGHT

My laptop isn’t here, it __________________________________.

  1. We were lucky, the hurricane nearly hit our house.

MIGHT

We were lucky, ______________________ our house