Some ideas for summer study for higher levels. Keep your English fresh for the next academic year at International House Santa Clara!
Reading and writing
Advanced and Proficiency Set Texts – Reading and Films
Advanced: Set text for 2013 and 2014 exams
- William Golding, Lord of the Flies (we have copies which you can borrow from IH Santa Clara). There are also film versions that can be watched online: 1963 film adaptation by Peter Brook, 1990 version by Harry Hook
- PD James, The Lighthouse (you can read the opening chapter here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Lighthouse-ebook/dp/B002RI90G8/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1371485102&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=pd+james+the+lighthouse
Proficiency: set texts until December 2014
- Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees (read a sample chapter here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Secret-Life-Bees-Monk-Kidd/dp/0747266832/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1371485293&sr=1-1&keywords=the+secret+life+of+bees) or the film version from 2008 directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood
- Harold Pinter, The Birthday Party (we have one copy in the school which can be borrowed) and there is a BBC adaptation of the play on youtube
Reading these texts and watching the film versions will give you the option of writing about them in Part 2 of Paper 2 (Writing). Typical questions ask you to:
- Write reviews of them
- Write essays on the relationships between characters in a story
- Write essays on a main character’s development through the story
- Write reports on the key themes that the text deals with
- Read the examples of the genre of texts the exam asks you to write. For example, you can find articles and reviews on the net at newspaper and magazine sites.
- What magazines do you normally ready in Portuguese? Find out if there is an English language equivalent and see if its website has anything that grabs your interest.
Grammar, vocabulary and Use of English
- Test/build your vocabulary and help end hunger at the same time with Free Rice
- Vocabulary and Grammar activities from our Friday group’s Advanced course book, CAE Result by OUP.
- For students using Complete CAE (CUP), check out these resources: Phrasal verbs list listening text transcripts (great for finding examples of new vocabulary)
- Advanced grammar practice from New English File Advanced and Headway Advanced by OUP
- New English File Advanced vocabulary, idioms and collocation, lexis in context
- Headway word of the week archive – a good starting point for looking at various meanings of common words and expressions they appear in – very useful for Use of English Part 4 in the Advanced exam
- Try this phrasal verbs test from English Phrasal Verbs in Use by Cambridge University Press
- Spelling – listen to the word and type what you hear – Oxford Dictionaries Spelling Challenge 2.0
- Vocabulary test from CUP: English Vocabulary in Use Advanced Placement Test (pretty difficult but the quiz gives really clear feedback – a good chance to collect some new phrases to add to your vocabulary notebooks)
- English for Business vocabulary – presentation and exercises from Business Benchmark Advanced Vocabulary Trainer
Speaking and Pronunciation
- New English File Advanced Pronunciation activities
- Stress Monsters (advanced) – a game to practice word stress
- Splendid Speaking – build up your speaking skills for Cambridge Exams with activities at this site: http://www.splendid-speaking.com/index.html
- For Proficiency students, practice speaking on a particular topic related to things you read, watch and listen to in English during the summer. Build up the time you speak for from 30 seconds to a minute and then a minute and a half before reaching the two minutes that you’ll speak for in the exam. Try incorporating a range of linking words into your speaking (refer to handouts from our course to date for ideas). To get some feedback, you can record your talk on to a website like http://vocaroo.com/ and send the link to us at email@example.com. To practise with typical exam questions, refer to handouts from our course related to Part 3 of Paper 4 (Speaking). There are also example tasks on our edmodo group page. Remember, don’t prepare these too much – you need practice in being able to respond to a question about a topic without much planning time!
- Spoken Skills is a website which allows you to practise pronunciation by listening and recording sentences including particular vowel or consonant sounds, functional language for presentations, telephone dialogues, and intonation. This menu page has links to various things. Browse, find something you’re interested in practising and give it a try (to record, allow the page to access the mirophone on your computer).
- BBC World Service Documentaries: Topical programmes on a wide variety of subjects – there’s a huge archive of programmes to stream or download.
- BBC Dessert Island Disks: Interviews with influential people from the 1940s to the present day. Guests talk about their lives in frank detail and reveal the songs they would want with them if they were shipwrecked on a dessert island. Explore the archive, find someone you’re interested in listening to, stream or download the audio.
- Videojug.com Need to learn a new skill over the summer? Why not pick up tips on this in English? Videojug has 1000s of video guides to help you. Exposure to different accents and vocabulary. Try recording new vocabulary from the recordings in your notebook as you go. For something more intensive, check out www.coursera.org/courses – a site where you can take free online courses of varying lengths and difficulties in many disciplines.
- Radiolab.org Curiosities of everyday life analysed and explained in accessible, fascinating and entertaining podcasts and broadcasts. Explore the site, find something interesting, listen and read about it on their blogs at : www.radiolab.org When you’ve listened you could write a summary of what you learned from the programme or what you felt were the key points. You can also leave comments on the page.
- Listen-and-write.com You’ll need to create a free account to use this site but when you have you access a lot of listening texts with accompanying activities: full dictation, first letter of a word dictation and complete the gaps. Useful for building language awareness and practising note taking skills. Try any of the activities from level 11 and above.
- www.elllo.org is an English Listening text library with activities. Find something you’re interested in and practise your listening skills with a variety of accents.
- Follow news stories in English with BBC News: One-minute World News video.
- We have a wealth of resources within the school available for our students to use. Why not take advantage of our summer opening hours in July and September to come in and do some practice with our extra resource books and CDs?
- Full exam papers are available to download on the Cambridge English website. Click on “Where can I find sample papers?” on the following pages. Advanced Proficiency
- Flo-joe provides online practice for Cambridge Exams: http://www.flo-joe.co.uk/
- If your study group has an online group set up on edmodo (www.edmodo.com) remember to check the page for any quizzes, assignments, posts that you may have missed during the year and anything we post during the summer months. Let us know if you need your password resetting or if you don’t have the group code to access the site: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pages to follow on Facebook
- Cambridge English Language Assessment – study tips, exam information, language quizzes and more
- Cambridge English page for Advanced learners
- Flo-Joe for CAE (Cambridge Advanced) on Facebook
- Flo-Joe for CPE on Facebook
- International House Santa Clara on Facebook!