Top Tips for Preparing ESL Students for Exams


hey guys it's been a week it's been a week since last time and i
couldn't start i couldn't wait to start this live session okay so i have to uh
cut this first part uh when i start editing my
live stream session after we finish it but anyway uh i couldn't wait to start this live
stream session because the topic of the discussion is going to
be really fun and i like to dwell upon this um idea
so let me quickly uh open the
presentation and while waiting for some more people to join us
um i'm gonna tell you a little bit more about myself i also want to introduce itttt so
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any problems let me know as well okay and i'm gonna
switch this on so today's topic is devoted to exam preparation so this
um idea is actually a burning issue for many teachers
but at the same time it's like a really nice way to
um hire your paycheck it is also a great way to narrow down your niche
i'm going to tell about it a little bit more further on but as for now please
let me know that you are there that you see and hear me clearly and i'm gonna
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so just one second i'm gonna do like this
and i think if not is that i changed my setting a little bit i had to move from
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time of the year is really gloomy in russia and these days have started like a
couple of days ago um and i believe that the next half a year it's gonna be like
this not much sun um not not much light so i had to move
um to see just in front of the window but at the same time it's still not
enough as for me and i'm also thinking about getting that ring light you know
but i'm not sure which one to choose so if you can suggest if you can recommend
anything let me know and right now i'm gonna share my screen
with you yeah so here we go okay
so how to do that
i don't know what's wrong with the setting of this one let me
see it once again
should it be no not like that oh i don't know what's wrong
oh sorry i hope that i can make it
better that i can start the presentation as i usually do
but for some reason it's not working all right guys i see your comments um
and thanks a lot for joining in i have some um issues with my presentation right now
but i hope that i can solve it like in a moment
um usually it's it's it pops up in a different way but i
i don't know what's wrong right now let's see
okay if you see the presentation like this uh it is okay but i won't be able to
um interact with you over the comment section uh probably
but let me yeah let me try what what i can do
[Music] okay so maybe i should do it once again
oh i know what's the problem okay here we go now it is all right
uh sorry for for this um delay guys so today's topic is devoted to exam
preparation and i hope that you'll find this um
this discussion this presentation useful so staying tight
stay stay tuned with us and um if you have any questions please
feel free to send them in the comments section even if it is not related to exams
directly uh feel free to ask anything about tefl tesol
um esl teaching in general uh and let me just briefly introduce myself so
many of you know my name already because uh you you've joined the previous live
streams and so on so my name is lisa but here is my full name
uh it's really long but it is the same as elizabeth uh just in russian i am an esl teaching
online esl teaching to be exact um and i actually work with um cambridge
exam preparation so um some time ago i just decided to stop um delivering
general english courses general english training uh and focused on preparing students for
exams so today i'm gonna share my personal experience with you but at the same time
i will try my best to give you a piece of advice on how to implement the
strategy um in your um career
and i believe it's really um it makes you'd uh any
styles of teachers any uh groups of teachers so just feel
free to ask me any questions and thanks a lot for coming
uh also i'm a teflon tesol expert at itt so itttt is a major teflon t sole
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and just the last part about myself um recently i started consulting
other esl teachers in terms of marketing and
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feel free to contact me you can always reach me on facebook or on
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so if you don't want watching you can always listen to podcasts
and um that's probably it in terms of the introduction now let's
move on to the main point of today's discussion which is uh exam preparation
so how to start preparing students for exams um
it's not a really difficult or challenging way um it is not something you know um
challenging to um start doing from scratch uh but here i would like to
share five ways five steps how to start doing um start providing this
service uh to your students to your clients and the first
suggestion would be choose what age group you work with
um it is actually necessary to you know focus on some specific group
of people um and moreover their age is important
their age is um is crucial actual actually to you as
a teacher because if you know who you work with you can um adjust your
teaching skills adjust your teaching strategies to the needs of those
particular students so i always recommend that people
choose a specific group of people um because when when you offer
just general services to a wide audience it is more likely that you will
have clients coming and going and that's not something we teachers
love doing you know because we want to keep the relationship
lasting and the same idea is actually related to
exam preparation because i it is not fast and you want to make
sure that your relationship with the students um is lasting and it is not
like a short-term kind of relationship
and the next point is also crucial you have to choose the exam to prepare for
um when i um when i browse different
um online teaching platforms and check out what teachers actually offer their
students their potential clients it is always like this they offer
various types of exams they offer various types of english trainings like um
general english business english they also teach young learners
but it actually doesn't work like that um if a teacher offers so many different
services it is more likely that they are not trained well and they
do not know uh the specifics the specific
um features um of the thing they prepare for
um general english is like you know everybody can teach
uh general english everybody can prepare for um i don't know for some special life
situations like uh going to a restaurant or uh traveling um
and stuff like that but exam preparation it is something that
a teacher must know really well uh that is a that is why i always
suggest that you choose the specific exam and on this slide you can actually
see um some types of exams there are many of them i believe that you know
about it um so as for these ones
at the beginning of the page ielts toefl cae
these exams are usually those ones that are taken by
higher level of students uh like maybe from b2 sometimes b1 uh to c1
uh and usually those are people who are adults or at least young adults
so make sure you understand your audience and you know
um what exams you actually offer preparing for if it is ielts you have to know this
exam like one to three you have to research everything related
to it and moreover if you want to prepare for it it is better to take it yourself
um as an esl teacher is a non-native esl teacher it is something really easy for
you so if you have um from b2 to c2 level
uh ielts won't be difficult for you but there are two different modes you have to remember about it as well
um for example i took ielts academic a couple of years ago
and that helped me learn a lot about this exam and
figure out my own strategies the same about the rest of this exams
you have to know them from scra like you have to know them well uh
try to prepare try to uh take this exam yourself but if you are a native english
speaker i believe that you can actually try to pass ielts or toefl as well
i think there is such an option um you can do it definitely
there are also cambridge exams uh they are great exams as well i love them
more than ielts or toefl um from my point of view
they are much easier to prepare for uh because you focus on a specific
level for example pet it is b1 preliminary
and this specific exam checks if a student
reached this level so you don't have to prepare for the c1
level for example you can just focus on building the b1 level skills and that's
it the same about key and fc so key is for
a2 um it's actually from a1 to b1
they they have different um scores so the grading system is um
focused on um levels from a2 no not a to a1 probably
from a1 to b1 uh pat is from b1 to
b2 probably or even less like a2 b2 something like that
and fc can also uh grade students who are slightly above
the b2 level uh the next types of exams are
subject-based exams like igcse these exams are also cambridge exams
they are like uh developed by cambridge but they are for those students who you
know um studied in english uh during the
high school years and then they want to enter some english
speaking universities english-speaking programs so there are not many
people doing such exams but still this niche is really appealing
and i would say that if you are trained to do such exams if you have
specific skills you can actually find a lot of clients a lot of prospective clients
and your your check your paycheck might be
higher compared to the other types of exams
and the last group of exams is national exams i'm not sure about like uh most of
the countries but for example in russia we have this unified state exam
uh which is almost the same as ielts because um
ielts you know is like a gold standard uh so
our government actually based unified state exam on ielts so they just
copied the framework and offered um our students in russia our school students
in russia these type of exams and
in china i know they also have gaukau
the same type of exam more complex probably but it's also an interesting idea to
prepare for for those exams especially if you live in these countries and you know um
what are some specific um requirements of those exams
uh if you guys have any questions on this point please let me know in the comments section
um there is not there are not many attendant um attendance today
unfortunately i i thought that this topic is really interesting but
no problem i will try my best to uh work with
these people who are here right now thanks a lot for joining by the way i
really appreciate that and let's move on to the next part here i would like to show you some
examples of cambridge exams so this is the cr the cambridge network uh not
network framework uh they have various types of exams
so for example if you look at the beginning of the table you can see this
three a1 a1 a2 a2 um mo
all of these exams are actually related to um
early childhood not not early childhood okay just um
regular childhood so these exams are crafted specifically for young
learners uh the next part of the exams uh from here to
probably here are for school kids but actually they slightly changed uh the
um product line the product um
[Music] outlook you know so they changed uh b1
um they divided the b1 exam two into two groups uh b1 preliminary for schools and
just regular b1 preliminary these exams are for school
kids um and these ones are for um any people willing to
show that they are at the b1 level the same about b2
and a2 and the last part of exams
at the bottom they are actually for adults for example c1c2 usually um
school kids don't reach this high levels that is why most of most people who take
these exams are actually uh adults maybe university students sometimes
uh but for example the c2 exam is usually taken by
um adults like in their 30s for example these days
i've been preparing for the c2 preliminar proficiency exam
and in my group i i prepare for it with a russian english teacher in a group
and apart from me there are other five teachers so
mostly this exam is preferred by english teachers
and you can also see another group of exams uh which is related to business
english so you can choose any exam out of this table and focus on
preparing for it for example as for me i uh last year i
prepared uh one of my students for um the b1 preliminary for schools this year
she leveled up so she got her b1 level and now we are preparing for the b2
level uh but at the same time a part of apart from this student i also work with
those younger ones um not younger ones they are actually of the same age but just
lower um on the english scale
they are uh teenagers who prepare for a to key for schools as well
so basically you can take a limited number of students and work on
one level one year then you move to a different level and so on
um and yeah that's probably it so it's it's not difficult
uh and the strategy of choosing your exams would be uh the same for ielts toefl and stuff
like that so you just have to research everything um and yeah um i i actually forgot that
i would like to share um oh no it's probably a little bit further
uh yeah hello guys uh hi nikki or mikey
i hope that i pronounce your name correctly yes i actually will share this
information on my facebook group uh i have a private facebook group and
if you want to enter it please stay tuned stay tuned until the end of this session
i will share um the link to my facebook group so you will be able to join in and later
on i will write a blog post for the group
okay so let's move on to the next point uh it is related to picking the right
course book when it comes to preparing for exams
almost the same like uh when you work with any english students
um general english or like business english you still have to know
um how to organize your course and many
teachers prefer creating um materials from scratch but from my point
of view it's not actually correctly um it's not that correct because um you
are not methodologists and uh probably
your course won't be better than the cambridge course or the oxford course so
that is why i always recommend that you pick one of the course books which is
recommended by these publishers because they usually have um specific
books uh recommended for exam preparation or from any other
um english courses and there you have just simply uh to go
to navigate to the publisher's website and check out uh
what they offer for specific age group level skills uh usually they
have a separate section for exam preparation and list all of the possible
course books you can choose to prepare for this or that exam so let
me quickly show you how i do that i will stop the screen sharing and show
you a different um um a different tab
so basically yeah it is like that so right now i'm on the cambridge
english dot org so it is the official web website of cambridge
and um if you started like from the main page if you look at it from the main
page um it will be like this and you will see different tabs popping
down right here so you need to choose the exams and
tests tab and check out what type of exam you would like to look
at so you choose it for example b1 preliminary
and then there is this section preparation which is called preparation
um at the beginning of the page you will see all possible free resources for english
teachers basically you don't have to um at this point you don't have to buy
um any course books because you can simply download some um
some tests tutorials um and what else like guides
actually cambridge has nice um handbooks for teachers related um to
exam preparation so i strongly recommend that you
research such pages and download whatever possible free resources
for this resources are actually for student self-study so you can assign some
homeworks in this form as well you will also have a chance to see some
demo videos how the actual exam is organized the speaking part of
it vocabulary list so and so on some tips as well
and then at the at the bottom of the page you will see um the course books they recommend for
preparing for this exam so how to choose the best course book
once again i just remind you that the very first step you had to take was
to focus on a specific age group so it is actually important right here
when you choose the best course book you have to consider what age your student is because some of
the course books they are suitable for um
older teenagers like 13 plus 13 years olds to maybe 16 or 17
for example this course book complete preliminary is better to be used with
older teenagers compared to power up for example power up is more suitable to young teenagers
like from 11 probably to 13
but not lower maybe even for some kids but still i wouldn't recommend that so you
have to read every description and choose the best course book uh to use
with your uh age group yeah so um that is like that
let me now come back to my screen sharing to my presentation
okay and yeah as i showed you
you just navigate to the cambridge website page
and um check out all of the descriptions then you choose the best course book and
always use some additional materials as well
that are also recommended by cambridge or other
well-known publishers and the next step would be
planning your lessons so basically you have to um once again
use some special resources recommended by the
publishers it would be the teacher's book usually course books
have teachers books and some other resources as well so you can use those
but at the same time you can add some authentic materials
it won't be that bad if you offer some uh other videos
apart from those recommended in the course books
just give some additional materials and also try to build your lesson
uh based on some specific framework for example
at itt we have a really nice fram framework uh which is esa
engage study activate uh you can basically use this type of network framework or
any other frameworks you prefer and the last part
is how to actually find students to offer this specific service
if you want to work with exam preparation
a rule of a thumb is focus on exam preparation only stop
offering uh general english stop offering some i don't know
young learners so just focus on exam preparation
uh craft your offer and think about promoting yourself
appropriately on social media or on teaching platforms so try to create a
nice appealing you know an appealing um profile
why your course is bad is the best and uh why students have
to work with you also another recommendation is that
when you um get some uh bookings
always try to interview potential students beforehand
uh you don't want that they stop working on this exam preparation thing
in a couple of months apart except for ielts for example sometimes
um ielts preparation takes like two months or three months
depending on the student's skills but generally speaking if you for
example focus on cambridge exam preparation
you don't want to lose your students in a couple of months because the courses
um the course is usually designed for a year or even more
so always interview your your students at the beginning and if you work with teenagers
work with their parents so explain everything why it should be
done this way but not that way that's probably it
and uh that is the end of today's presentation but i would be pleased to answer your
questions if you have any uh so exam preparation is my app my
passion i work on exam preparation only i don't think that um
it's youths me like to prepare for uh general english or something
and it it also helps me to make much more uh compared to general english
so my income grew like maybe 30
or even more um comparing to um those times when i
offered uh general in english um simply because there are more people
more teachers offering these services compared to exam preparation
and if you are a specialist in this field students will find yours
find you without you even spending money on marketing and stuff like that
um for example that was the case how i found my students for this year
um so one student just suggested me to another
one uh and other two came from from the you know
from my network as well uh so that's it probably uh if you don't
have any questions um it's okay uh i have tired a little bit uh speaking
um so we can we can just finish and if you have any questions
later on you can always contact me and if you watch this live stream um
as a recording thanks a lot for joining um those who watch me
in real life uh right now uh thanks a lot thanks a lot for joining
as well uh i hope that this live stream was useful and helpful
let me just copy the link once again yeah uh try yeah if you have any
feedback for me please feel free to send it to the comment section
um i i will be really pleased and if you find my speaking a little bit um
clumsy today i am so sorry because um i
i um usually i don't speak that much in english and
it um it is really hard for me to keep the same level of fluency as as at
the beginning you know because i'm not a native speaker and i don't have this
environment unfortunately but i tried i tried to do my best
and yeah as promised uh this is my facebook group
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and yeah that is all for today if you don't have any questions thanks a
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improve uh thanks a lot guys and see you next week bye bye