img_2575-1

 

Studying English? I’m sure you’ve heard of the Cambridge English exams, but at almost 200 euro, are they really worth the time, money and effort?

Isn’t it enough to do a course and be able to communicate in English? Well, here are a few reasons why you might consider doing the FCE (The Cambridge English: First) – one of the most popular and probably most useful of the Cambridge exams. 

 

Internationally Recognised

The FCE is known all around the world and is recognised by the majority of universities – in fact, 99% of the world’s top 100 universities accept it. For most college courses you need to prove you have upper-intermediate English. (CEFR B2)  So while IELTS is probably the most common exam, the FCE is a close second. Some courses will require advanced English so you would need the CAE  (The Cambridge English: Advanced) for those ones

Note: The TIE is accepted by Irish universities – see blog post  ‘My experience of the TIE’

Valid for Life! 

One of the best things about the FCE is that your certificate is valid forever, unlike IELTS which is only valid for two years. This makes it the best choice for your CV. When applying for a job, it’s very useful to have this certificate to show you can use English well in a working environment. And you just have to do it once in your life, which makes it great value for money in my opinion.

Note: Although your certificate has no expiry date, some universities require that it is no more than two or three years old, so you need to check carefully with each university/ institute you are applying to.

Really Improve your English

The FCE is a very challenging exam which tests all language skills -reading, listening, writing, grammar and most importantly speaking. You need 60% to pass and have to do all the tasks under time pressure. You really need a wide vocabulary; good knowledge of phrasal verbs and idioms as well as flexibility and control of grammatical structures in order to do well. You need to be able to express your ideas clearly and fluently.

You are moving from everyday English to wider and less familiar topics, so preparing for this exam helps to improve all aspects of your language development and makes sure that you can manage in a wide variety of situations.

Be rewarded for your Hard Work

Students get a wonderful sense of satisfaction from passing the FCE. There’s nothing like having an exam date to motivate you to study hard. And in my experience, students preparing for international exams tend to be more focused and hard-working. They often do extra self-study and re-do their written work until it is of a high quality. They do plenty of past exam papers and are constantly building and reviewing their skills. I see them really making progress.

And then to finally get that certificate – it’s just fantastic! Nobody can take it away from you and it can help you with further education or climb the career ladder.

 Show you haven’t been ‘wasting your time’

If you have taken time out to travel and experience a different culture  but wish to return home to find employment having the FCE can show that you have gained something valuable during your time away. I feel that this is especially important for au-pairs and people who go WWOOFing or students on Erasmus and Leonardo da Vinci programmes. 

So do I think it is worth your time, money and effort? Absolutely !!

Note: First for schools  is available for students under-18:

GLOSSARY:

Au-Pair: A young woman ( or man) who lives with a family and helps them look after their children. Free accommodation and food and pocket money.

WWOOFing : Worldwide working opportunities on organic farms. 

Leonardo da Vinci programmes: Work placements in Europe for people doing vocational training (not at university)

Erasmus programmes: Exchange programme for university students.

 

If  you are coming to Ireland to study you might be interested in our FCE courses:

General English Group Course Intensive Plus Cambridge First Exam Preparation

or

Cambridge First Exam Preparation Evening classes

 

 

09Nov 2016

img_2575-1

 

Studying English? I’m sure you’ve heard of the Cambridge English exams, but at almost 200 euro, are they really worth the time, money and effort?

Isn’t it enough to do a course and be able to communicate in English? Well, here are a few reasons why you might consider doing the FCE (The Cambridge English: First) – one of the most popular and probably most useful of the Cambridge exams. 

 

Internationally Recognised

The FCE is known all around the world and is recognised by the majority of universities – in fact, 99% of the world’s top 100 universities accept it. For most college courses you need to prove you have upper-intermediate English. (CEFR B2)  So while IELTS is probably the most common exam, the FCE is a close second. Some courses will require advanced English so you would need the CAE  (The Cambridge English: Advanced) for those ones

Note: The TIE is accepted by Irish universities – see blog post  ‘My experience of the TIE’

Valid for Life! 

One of the best things about the FCE is that your certificate is valid forever, unlike IELTS which is only valid for two years. This makes it the best choice for your CV. When applying for a job, it’s very useful to have this certificate to show you can use English well in a working environment. And you just have to do it once in your life, which makes it great value for money in my opinion.

Note: Although your certificate has no expiry date, some universities require that it is no more than two or three years old, so you need to check carefully with each university/ institute you are applying to.

Really Improve your English

The FCE is a very challenging exam which tests all language skills -reading, listening, writing, grammar and most importantly speaking. You need 60% to pass and have to do all the tasks under time pressure. You really need a wide vocabulary; good knowledge of phrasal verbs and idioms as well as flexibility and control of grammatical structures in order to do well. You need to be able to express your ideas clearly and fluently.

You are moving from everyday English to wider and less familiar topics, so preparing for this exam helps to improve all aspects of your language development and makes sure that you can manage in a wide variety of situations.

Be rewarded for your Hard Work

Students get a wonderful sense of satisfaction from passing the FCE. There’s nothing like having an exam date to motivate you to study hard. And in my experience, students preparing for international exams tend to be more focused and hard-working. They often do extra self-study and re-do their written work until it is of a high quality. They do plenty of past exam papers and are constantly building and reviewing their skills. I see them really making progress.

And then to finally get that certificate – it’s just fantastic! Nobody can take it away from you and it can help you with further education or climb the career ladder.

 Show you haven’t been ‘wasting your time’

If you have taken time out to travel and experience a different culture  but wish to return home to find employment having the FCE can show that you have gained something valuable during your time away. I feel that this is especially important for au-pairs and people who go WWOOFing or students on Erasmus and Leonardo da Vinci programmes. 

So do I think it is worth your time, money and effort? Absolutely !!

Note: First for schools  is available for students under-18:

GLOSSARY:

Au-Pair: A young woman ( or man) who lives with a family and helps them look after their children. Free accommodation and food and pocket money.

WWOOFing : Worldwide working opportunities on organic farms. 

Leonardo da Vinci programmes: Work placements in Europe for people doing vocational training (not at university)

Erasmus programmes: Exchange programme for university students.

 

If  you are coming to Ireland to study you might be interested in our FCE courses:

General English Group Course Intensive Plus Cambridge First Exam Preparation

or

Cambridge First Exam Preparation Evening classes

 

 

09Nov 2016

My experience of the TIE

Coming to Ireland to study English? You might be interested  in doing the TIE. (Test of Interactive English)

It is much cheaper than the Cambridge and IELTS exams and is accepted by most Irish universities and Institutes of Technology. 

The TIE   tie-logo

The TIE is designed for students studying English in Ireland. It assess candidates communicative and interactive skills, both speaking and writing. The test is flexible and learner-centred, based on content chosen by the student. The student prepares for the test by reading a book, following a news story and doing an investigation/project. Students receive their certificate giving their CEFR level within 10 days. All our Long-term Academic Year students do the TIE. It is also popular with SLC students on the General English course. The beauty of this exam is that you only need to book it 14 days in advance and it is available every Thursday in Dublin all-year round.   Note: TIE Junior is available for under-18’s

I’d like to give you one student’s experience of preparing for and doing this exam.

Pascal Jeffre    

SAMSUNG CSC

Pascal works for SAUER TEXTILE who manufacture and distribute textile machinery around the world. Pascal, a mechatronics engineer,  prepares and delivers training programmes to their clients world-wide so they can maintain and repair the machines as well as ‘trouble-shoot’ when necessary.

SAUER TEXTILES has been sending employees to the SLC on English courses for a number of years. They always do an international English exam at the end of their three-week stay. Pascal is one of the first to do the TIE.

How did you prepare for the exam?

I did a three week General Intensive English course plus 10. The afternoon classes were focused on my weak areas of grammar and preparation for the TIE tasks. 

As I am a huge Harry Potter fan, I chose the first book ‘The Philosopher’s stone’.While I was reading I kept a vocabulary list of new words and also notes on the plot and main characters. I also practiced writing a review of the book comparing it with the film which I had seen. It’s easier to read a book in English if you’ve already read it in your mother tongue or seen the film.

For the project I thought about looking at the textile industry in Ireland and perhaps comparing it to Germany. But in the end I decided to do it on my hobby. Hunting. Jim, the bus driver organised for me to meet an Irish hunter so I could ask how things are done in Ireland. So it was easy for me to compare the two systems which are completely different.

And finally – the news story. I bought three different newspapers over three days to see if I could find an interesting story to follow. So many! And some of them were so big – such as the American election; I didn’t know where to start. Finally I chose the story of the difficulties Samsung was having with their new Galaxy 7 mobile phone as it was a relatively compact but interesting story.

I practiced all the writing tasks ( letters, essays, articles , reviews)  but focused especially on the ones connected to my chosen tasks.

We did plenty of practice for the speaking exam as well.

 

D-Day – The day of the exam!

I took the 9.30 bus from Wexford which was great as it drops you quite close to the exam centre. I was about an hour early so I was the first to check in. They just wanted to see my I.D. card, my chosen book and log book. They didn’t read it , just checked that it contained the news story,book and investigation, that’s all. After a few minutes I was registered and free to go through the park with a hot chocolate and relax.

 I was back at the  T.I.E. centre at pm. The other candidates where a little bit stressed because they´d just arrived and had to wait to register.. At 1.20 o´clock they split us into two groups.

Group one: 1.30 pm oral test and 2.30 pm writing test ( my group )

Group two: 1.30 pm  writing test and 2.40 pm oral test

 Which means one group starts with the oral test and the other starts with the writing test.

THE ORAL TEST

I did the test with a man from Peru, we went into the room and sat at the same table next to each other. The examiner sat in front of us at the other side of the table. She was a very friendly older lady. At first she asked us for our I.D. cards and the completed form (which I got from the SLC ). Then she switched on a voice recorder and began.

To me: Tell me something about yourself, your job, age  3min

The same to the other candidate 3min

To me: Tell me something about your investigation. Why did you choose this theme ? some general questions about my project. 4-5 min

The same to the other candidate 4-5 min

She asked both of us what our news stories were about and chose mine as the other candidate’s was on the Trump/ Clinton election and she had done a lot of those!

To me:Tell me about your news story ? Why did you choose this? Specific questions about the story, in my case is Samsung better than Apple? Do you think Apple sabotaged Samsung ? 3-4 min

Question to the other participant: What do you think about Pascals news story ? Are you interested in technology too? 2 min

Question to the other participant: Which book did you choose? Why ? what happened in the book? 3-4min

Discussion Next she gave us an A4 paper with 6 photographs of important milestones ( life  situations):

1. a wedding  2. first baby  3.first house   4.first car   5.passing an exam   6. A holiday.

Question to both of us: Please discuss, which is the most important experience.

I started directly to talk (because we practiced it ( THANK YOU )). I asked the other participant “Should I go through the pictures to make sure we understand them the same way?.” Then I started to describe them and after my description I answered the question and gave my opinion. The other candidate was very nervous and didn’t speak very much but I asked what he thought or  if he agreed with me.  5-6 min

The Oral test lasted for almost half an hour. (1.30-1.58 o´clock)

After the test we went into the break room for 30 mins, then we went to the writing test room.

THE WRITING TEST

I had 60 mins for the writing test. The test consists of two tasks, in each task I could choose between two questions.

TASK ONE (Authentic: a letter,article, review, report or essay )

Write something about a famous person of your country. Why is he/she famous. Write about your opinion of  him/her

OR

Someone is visiting your town/city. Write about where he/she can go shopping. Why is this a good place for shopping. What is famous in your town?

TASK TWO (prepared: based on the book or news story -in my case about the book as I had already spoken about my news story in the oral exam.)

Why did you choose this book? Was it a good choice? Why/why not

OR 

Read the back of the book. Is it a good description of the book ? Why/why not?

Note: Remember to bring your book and news article  into the exam! And you can use a dictionary (mono or bilingual). I borrowed one from the SLC .

We started the test at 2.45 and finished  at 3.45.

PHEW!!

I was able to catch the 4.07 bus back to Wexford.

The T.I.E. was much easier than I expected and I´m very happy with the results so ‘Don´t worry be happy’ and ‘ it´s nice to be nice’ as Jim says.

And HAPPY CHRISTMAS!!!! I’m already looking forward to visiting you next year with my wife and daughter.

Pascal Jeffré

 Congratulations to Pascal who obtained B2 in his TIE. Well done!

GLOSSARY

CEFR: The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages from A0 (Beginner)  to C2 (Advanced)

                                                                                                                                               Susan Doyle

Interested?  Have a look at our Academic Year Programme.

 

 

30Oct 2016

classroom-2web

 

I’m sure you wonder why go to a school at all when there are so many wonderful ways to learn English online? Well here are seven great reasons why your English will improve quickly by coming to class.

1. You are motivated

We all know how easy it is to make plans to study but it can be very difficult to actually find the time to sit down to study. Life gets in the way! There’s always another episode on Netflix to watch, an email to write, a cup of coffee to make…..However when you join a class you commit to being there at a specific time for a specific period of time with a specific group of people all working toward the same goal – Improving your English. Regular study will make a huge difference to your progress.

 

2. Think on your feet

In class you have to speak on the spot. Your teacher or a classmate asks a question and you have to give them an answer – then and there. There is no escape!  So you are constantly practicing your listening and fluency skills and help is there  with a word or structure you need. You are putting the English you know into practice.

3. Instant feedback

You can immediately tell if your partner has understood you.  If not, you can repeat what you said in a different way. Perhaps you pronounced it incorrectly? Is your vocabulary too formal?  Your teacher is at hand to correct your mistakes and explain how to express yourself  clearly and naturally in English. And give you different ways of saying the same thing.

4. You are comfortable

You are in a class with people who have the same English level as you. So you feel more confident and it is easier to speak and understand each other. You are all in the same boat, everyone makes mistakes but you are there to learn from them. Actually, you  learn as much from your classmates’ mistakes as you do from your own. So listen up and take notes!

5.Practical English

As well as working on the ‘mechanics’ of the language: grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation etc you practice real- life situations through role plays,debates,interviews, making presentations etc. You collaborate in English on projects- expressing your ideas and responding to other people’s opinions.

6. International English

The ratio of non-native speakers of English to native speakers in the world is about 5:1,  so a lot of your conversations at work and on your travels will be with non-native speakers. In class you have the opportunity to get used to various accents – Spanish, French, German, Japanese and so on. So while you are learning English in Ireland with native speakers you are also becoming familiar with international English.

7. Have fun and Make Friends

You might be surprised how much fun you have in class! With a balance of modern communicative exercises you will find it easier than you thought to learn grammar and vocabulary. Learning in class and interacting with other people brings the language alive – it won’t feel like work.Making new friends through English will give you a wonderful feeling of satisfaction and keeping in touch with them after your course will motivate you to continue using your English. If you come and study in an English -speaking country ,you have the added benefit of socializing outside class as well.

GLOSSARY

Life gets in the wayidiom something unexpected happens which takes your time so you can’t do other things you had planned to do.

Think on your feet–  idiom. to think and react quickly without planning what to say before ( speak on the spot)

Your teacher is at hand – your teacher is near/beside you

All in the same boat idiom all in the same situation – all students are at the same level with the same goals

Get used to various accents – become familiar with non-native English ways of speaking and pronouncing English

Brings the language aliveidiom  make something more real and interesting.

 

                                                                                                                                                                       Susan 

 

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12Nov 2015

I just wanted to express my thanks to all the people in the Slaney Language School for the wonderful learning experience during my two week stay there. There was a warm and nice atmosphere at the school and I really enjoyed my English course. Specifically I wanted to thank my teacher Kristina for her patience, encouraging words, enthusiasm, and skills. She not only helped me a lot to improve my English – explaining things until I understood, and making me do my best -, but also to gain self-confidence when speaking English. She is an amazing teacher.
I would also like to thank Jim for his charm. He excudes friendliness. Everyone loves him. I obviously will recommend the Slaney Language School to my friends. Thank you for all your kindness.

10Nov 2015

Hi folks!
I am writing you to send you tons and tons of thanks.
I have passed the IELTS academic exam with the overall band score of…. 7.5!!!!!
This is for sure due to your stimulating, encouraging, supporting and caring environment and work. after only a few weeks in Wexford I made a huge progress and this is because of all of you.
Miss you very very much and hope to see you again in the future.
Hugs, Paloa

20Jan 2015

In 2015 Slaney Language Centre students can combine the General English Group Course Intensive with Cambridge First exam preparation and start this course on any Monday from 9 March to 23 November.

The course consists of 20 lessons General English and 10 lessons Cambridge First Exam Preparation per week.
The course can be booked for three or more weeks. For more information and prices on this course please check:

http://www.wexford-language.com/courses-2011/cambridge-first-certificate-fce-exam-preparation-course/

Bookings can now be taken for this course.