English Club Exams

As an English learner, you have to pass so many exams not only in your classes, but also various outside placement or proficiency exams like IELTS, TOEFL, or TOEIC. That’s why practice, practice, practice is an ongoing mantra for English learners. One way to practice is with English Club. They provide practice exams and tips about IETLS, TOEFL, and TOEIC. Take a look through the site and give their materials a try. Good luck when you take your exam! Recommended for advanced learners (Levels 500+).

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Getting ideas out of your brain

Welcome back to Fall quarter! After the school break, maybe it’ll be hard to get back into school mode. One thing that may be difficult to start again is writing. I’m sure everyone has experienced writer’s block–that’s when you can’t seem to write anything. Your ideas are blocked. Well, then how do you unblock them? Luckily, there are 3 useful writing exercises that can help you gather ideas:

  1. Brainstorming (also known as mapping or clustering),
  2. Listing
  3. Free-writing

This stage of the writing process is known as Pre-Writing, when you gather ideas before you actually write your paper. Watch the video to learn how to use these 3 exercises. Recommended for intermediate to advanced learners (Levels 300+)

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Writing for a North American Academic Audience

Audiences from different countries also have different standards for everything, from music and movies to books and yes, even writing. How you write in one country may not match the standard of another. So when you go to America to study, it’s important for you to familiarize yourself with American academic criteria and expectations.

For writing in particular, not only do you consider your own ideas, but also readers–the audience. With your writing style, can you convey your ideas successfully to American academic audiences like your professors or classmates? Read Purdue OWL’s article on this topic and review your style! And be sure to check out the other useful information on writing at their website’s left menu (e.g.: Stance and Language, Tone and Purpose, etc.). Recommended for advanced learners (Levels 600-800/EAP).


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5 Secrets to Improve Your Listening

When you’re learning a foreign language, it’s no secret that listening is hard. But there are good strategies that can help you improve your listening skills. Watch the video below for 5 of them (and get some reading practice with the subtitles too!) Recommended for intermediate learners (Levels 300-400).

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Be a More Confident Public Speaker

Glossophobia (n) – fear of public speaking

Does this word apply to you? If so, you’ve probably often avoided speaking in front of people. But as English learners, that’s one of the best ways to learn. I’m sure you’ve done something like group or individual presentations in your English classes. You were probably anxious and nervous and had a more difficult time speaking. So how can you improve and reduce glossophobia? Check out WatchWellCast’s video below for tips on how to be a more confident public speaker. Recommended for intermediate to advanced students (Levels 400+).

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10 Tips for ESL/EFL Academic Writers

You’ve mastered the basic essay model of introduction, body, and conclusion. Now it’s time to advance that model into a complex and fully-supported academic or scholarly essay. This is a challenge. You have to convey your ideas in engaging sentences, transition smoothly between paragraphs, provide credible and convincing evidence or examples, and more–and don’t forget the basics of English grammar!

Though academic writing is a challenge, many students can succeed with practice. If you put in the hard work of reading other works, rewriting your own work in multiple drafts, proof reading, and peer reviewing, it will all pay off! As you do all that, try Jane Mackay’s 10 Tips for ESL/EFL academic writing writers (and everyone else too). In her many years as a copy editor, Mackay has read and edited a lot of work by non-native English writers. Therefore, her article offers tips and insights that are especially useful for English learners.

Recommended for advanced learners (Levels 600-800/EAP).

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Level 100 Study Page

Beginner students, we have a Level 100 Study Page! Use the page for class review and extra practice. The page has 10 topics. Each topic has review information, lessons, videos, exercises, or worksheets. The resources are in this post, or go to the Level 100 link from the top menu.

Level 100 Extra Study Material

ACE - level 100, studying 2

Click on the topics below for extra practice. Beginner students can learn from study pages, worksheets, videos, and more.

 

  1. Basic conversations
  2. Describe people, places, and things
  3. Ask for and give information
  4. Ask and answer questions about a person’s job/occupation
  5. Ask about and describe health problems
  6. Ask about and describe the weather
  7. Ask and tell about future activities
  8. Know American currency/money and prices
  9. Listen to and write letters, words, numbers
  10. Typing in English

The Hamburger Essay

Writers know that the basic model for an essay is introduction, body, and conclusion. Think of this model as a hamburger–the two bread buns are the beginning and end, and the meat patty is the body, where all the essential flavor of your essay is. But your flavor, your writing quality, may start off bland. You need to practice–do many writing exercises, read a lot (especially examples of good writing), and write as many drafts as you need to until your “flavor” is delicious.

Read the article How to Write an Essay and see how the author Kenneth Beare explains this hamburger essay model. Continue with his 30 minute writing exercise; watch the video and follow the steps and see how good of a “hamburger” you can make! Recommended for intermediate and advanced learners (Levels 400+).

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Let’s Talk English for Spring!

Hello! This blog is back, up and running for Spring quarter! We’ll continue to update twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays (and sometimes more).

Classes for our International Education Programs begin next week Monday, so it’s time to get back into top English condition. Especially, you will be talking a lot as you live in America: you’ll be traveling, going to restaurants and stores, reconnecting with old friends, meeting new ones, greeting your teachers, and discussing in class. During all these interactions, fluency is important to expressing yourself and communicating with others.

So let’s follow the useful tips from 7 expert teachers on achieving native fluency in the video below!

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