CONFIDENCE

An English brand name of confidence, London. August 2017


My students find it hard to believe that I too, had problems with my English speaking exams… Well, it was indeed my speaking exam at Cambridge Proficiency that lowered my final score. The problem? It wasn´t that I hadn´t a great command of English, or my pronunciation, nope! It was actually my lack of confidence at the time of the exam. I was terrified of the fact that I was going to be tested, in just a matter of 15 minutes, for hours and hours of study and practice…

Following the advice of someone close to me at the time was one of the biggest mistakes I´ve ever made. “Just have a shoot of vodka before you go in…”, I was recommended, “you´ll relax”. And yes, I guess I did, but not in the right way… My English was very good but instead of answering the questions asked I talked about something else…

I passed my driving test (in UK) at the third attempt, and I did so because, just after 2 minutes of starting I was convinced that I had already failed so, I proceeded as best as I knew, and this was acknowledged by my examiner.

If you´re prepared for your exam, you need not worry about the examiner, he/she will be doing their job, and will be able to infer if you are really demonstrating you have the level equivalent to the corresponding certificate… xxx… More next week

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FLUENCY

The river Thames flowing along London. August 2017



The way to get fluent in English is by speaking as often as you can. In every possible situation and context. When you live in an English speaking country, this is very easy. Not so for the ones of us who live in Spain… However, it is possible and there are many ways to acquire this fluency.

We don´t always have the chance to mingle with English native speakers here, but we can listen to videos in the English language every day. We can reproduce, copy, retell what we hear, again and again… Record ourselves repeating a sentence we have heard in order to polish our accent, pronunciation, rhythm, intonation… And listen to our recordings to check how well we are doing. I invite you to try, don´t be ashamed to listen to your own voice recording, you´ll get hooked on this exercise as soon as you see yourself progressing!

You´ll find interesting videos on youtube, websites like TED.com, newsinlevels.com and many more, take a pick! Test yourself repeating the same sentence again and again, let me know how long it takes you to reach perfection!!… xxx… More next week

 

(The photograph used on this entry was kindly donated by my dear friends Txaro and Jose)