Escuela Oficial de Idiomas Santa María de Guía

Preparing for your final exams 2014

Certificate exams and final exams are round the corner and this blog is full of recommendations for you. Let’s talk about all the possibilities we offer here once again. Don’t say you don’t know where to start from!!!


  • Watch these videos of students taking their English exams, revise the teachers’ notes and try to improve your skills.
  • Watch these videos by the British Council, they give you advice about what to do and what not to do during your speaking test.
  • Saro Rosales, a teacher at EOI Las Palmas GC wrote an article for her students giving advice for the speaking test, don’t miss it.
  • Would you like to do a language exchange? Here you have a list of sites where you can do them.
  • Intercambio de idiomas, a website where you can find out about places to practise English with other learners and native speakers. People gather together to practise while having a drink.
  • Here you are a list of the topics you might be asked about during your exams.
  • Finally, here you have a list I wrote for my students back in 2009, why don’t you take a look at it?

vocabulary and expressions

  • Read this document written by my friend María Valdés, it contains expressions that can help you both with your writing and with your speaking.


  • This post contains a slideshow presentation with a summary of the different types of texts you could find in your certificate exam.
  • Guidelines for writing, a slideshow presentation with lots of tips.

assorted skills

  • Try to follow the advice given in this article, where you can find tips to practise listening, writing and reading.
  • Do you know ELLA? Here you can practise all skills.
  • Busuu helps you with all skills, and you can even practise Engish with other students and native speakers. It’s a great community to learn different languages.


All levels:


  • Randall’s Cyber ESL Lab: Listening activities – do the activities for the easy level.
  • Weekly podcast with video and activities. Do the activities for Level 1. Podcasts are free, but to download activities you need to pay for a subscription.
  • mansioningles:  listenings with differentiated tasks – do the activities for level ‘Básico’.


  • ELLLO: Real life conversations with different accents. Good for Intermedio 1 and 2, y Avanzado 1
  • Global English Salon: Artículos actuales que se pueden escuchar (con acento americano) y leer
  • Breaking News English: news articles for reading or listening. Good for Intermedio 2 and above.

Avanzado 1 and 2:

Certificate exams

Remember that the Consejería de Educación del Gobierno de Canarias has published some examples which contain the certificate exams used last year. You can see them here, and if you want to practise even more, please visit these links, which contain examples from all over Spain.

Be Happy!!!

Last Thursday Avanzado 2 students had the opportunity to take part in the activity “Be happy”. This activity was taken from theblog Film-English, by Kieran Donaghy and our intern Tania was in charge of making everything flow.

To illustrate the activity, and as shown in the above mentioned blog, Tania showed the following video.

At the end, she asked students to write down the “do’s” and “don’ts” of being happy, and here is the result.

Don’t say we haven’t tried to be useful. What do you do to be happy?

Writing a Report

In this post you are going to find a presentation with all the information you need to write any kind of report, and at the end you will find some useful links with language and examples. I’m sure you’ll find them useful.


Tell me about when you were a child…

In class we listened to three anecdotes about early childhood memories.  Now it’s your turn to tell me about yours.  Follow the structure in your book – age; the occasion and background to the story; what happened; what happened in the end; and how you felt.  Choose one of the topics from page 75 “Can you remember?”.  If you can’t remember enough details, you can talk about two topics.  This is a great moment to show how much you have learned during the course.  You can use “used to”, 2nd and 3rd conditionals, adjectives -ing/-ed, past narrative tenses…childhood-memories1

You will need to write notes to help you but DON’T write the script!  This is reading and not speaking.  I want to hear you speak naturally.  It doesn’t matter if you make mistakes (well, not too many).  This is natural when we speak.  Here’s an example I’ve done to show you.

I’ve chosen the story of a really embarrassing incident I had when I was a child.  Click here to read my notes and click here to hear my story.  It lasts about 4 and a half minutes but you only have to talk for 3 minutes.  Can you hear any language from the course?  I’ve used Vocaroo and you can use the same website if you like. Send me the link to my email, or download it in mp3 and attach it.  If you use your mobile or other recording device, DON’T use the extension 3ga as I cannot open it.  Thanks. I look forward to hearing your tales. Deadline:  before Easter.

Gerund versus infinitive

I have to admit that this is one of the grammar topics that caused me more distress when studying English. That’s is why I’ve tried to prepare a presentation that can be understood and followed by all my students.

Apart from the presentation, I would also like to leave you some links where you can do online activities to review the topic.

Finally, I hope you enjoy watching the presentation. If you have further questions, just leave them in the comments section.

Speak to us!

Congratulations!  You can now speak in English!  Can you choose one of the topics on the last page of public-speakingthe photocopies for unit 6 and talk about it for 2 minutes?  You need to write notes before you speak but don’t write everything on paper!  This is not speaking, but writing and reading! Don’t choose the category of “Personal information” because it is too simple.  Choose any of the other categories and think of examples to make it more interesting.

You can record your voice using this website Vocaroo, your mobile phone, or an MP3 player.  You need to send the recording to your teacher’s email address and then he can listen to you. Use these extensions so we can listen to them (mp3, m4a, wav, wma).  The extension 3ga is difficult to open so please don’t record in this format.

Here is an example.  I recorded it with Vocaroo, … and it’s almost 2 minutes long!  Here are the notes to help me.   If you practise, why not record it?  Sometimes the best version is the first one.  You can listen and then record it again if you don’t like it (click on ‘Retry’ if you use Vocaroo).   Deadline:  Thursday 27th March.

If I hadn’t done that…

In class we have looked at that difficult structure, the 3rd conditional, to talk about hypothetical situations in the past.  You know, it’s that awful feeling when you wake up in the middle of the night and think, ‘Oh no, why did I do that?  If I hadn’t had that extra glass of champagne, I wouldn’t have tried to dance like Michael Jackson while balancing a bottle of beer on my head and singing the Birdy Song.’  Or maybe you have other regrets! Continue reading


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