Help your students with their speaking tests

If you ask your students how they feel about their speaking tests, the answer is usually “terrified”.

Apart from constant class practice, students need to prepare on their own or with other classmates or speakers of English. This is the list of resources I elaborated for my B2 students this year:

  • 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,

Finally, this is the list of topics they should work with if they want to succeed.

Click on the picture to enlarge it.

topics for speaking test


The Great Fire of London

It’s been a long long time since we last published something here. Today I’m sharing a listening activity about The Great Fire of London. The main objective is not that the answer all questions correct, but that they get to know some of London’s history.

The acitvity is suitable for B1+ and B2 students. You just need to give students the questions and play the video. You can even let them see the video without the questions first.

Finally, as follow up or just for fun, you can show them or share with them this other article which includes a video created by some De Montfort University students with a recreation of London before The Great Fire.


English Project- CEP Icod (Tenerife)

Last year, I was involved in an exciting project conceived by the Foreign Language advisor at CEP Icod (click here for the credits). The idea was to film a series of short videos showing real life situations (or better communicative learning situations) performed  by native speakers which could be used in the classroom as a teaching/learning resource. The whole project was put together on a website and launched at the beginning of this school year and it is available for anyone who wants to use it. 

In the website you will find a set of situations (at the supermarket, restaurant, in the street…)  each of which has been divided into two levels, but they are not focused on any specific educational stage. What is more, they can be easily adapted to the purposes of any lesson plan we may be working with. Also, for each of them, a list of extra resources is provided, i.e. scripts of the dialogues, an interactive visual dictionary or extra practice dialogues. 

Another interesting feature is that students can make use of all this material even outside the classroom, i.e.  working pronunciation and language in real context, recreating the dialogues and repeating them to practice rhythm and stress…And it is accessible 24/7 and free. 

Time to stop bragging about it and ask you to give it a shot and try it. If you are not convinced, tell your students. I bet they will find it useful. 

PS: the link to the website is at the top of the page, in case you haven’t guessed it. 

What’s the most beautiful city you’ve ever been to?

This is a quick activity to revise the structure presented in the title of this post as a warmer o filler.

LEVEL: pre-intermediate

CONTENTS: superlative + present perfect + ever

TIME: 15 minutes

SKILLS: speaking


Revise the structure with your students elliciting some examples from them, practising questions and answers. Give each student one card and ask them to walk around the classroom asking the question they have to their classmates.

You can download the cards here.

Simple past vs Present Perfect

This activity is thought as a revision warmer for preintermediate students. It’s meant to be short and dynamic. Other activities like this one involve the students filling gaps and deciding which tense they have to use, but this is not the case. These sentences contain information which is especially “local” for the Canary Islands (carnival, beach), so feel free to change anything if you wish.

Level: Pre-intermediate

Contents: past simple vs. present perfect

Skills: speaking, reading

Time: 15 minutes

STEP 1: Revise with your students the differences between these two tenses orally, asking them to give examples.

STEP 2: Explain to them that they are going to read some sentences and will have to “find someone who” among their classmates. Encourage them to ask some follow up questions using the first example:

       Find someone who got ill during carnival.

Follow up: “What happened to you? Did you go to the doctor?”


In Spain we all know who Christopher Columbus was, what he did and when. So this activity needs no previous introduction for our students. I’ve prepared this activity with an article published by NBC News last year. I have to thank Israel Arochena for sharing the article on facebook.

This is how it goes.

TIME: 30 minutes

LANGUAGE: general vocabulary, modal verbs for deduction

LEVEL: B2 or higher


Ppt with the sentences given in the article published by the NBC.
Cards with correct information.

You can also download the original article here.


Ask for 5 volunteers, they are going to receive all the information. Give each a card and tell read them thoroughly, trying to understand all the vocabulary given. They can even try to reasearch the topic on internet using their mobile phones. When they are done, they can join the other students with cards to share the information given.

The rest of the class will be divided in groups of 3-4 people. They are going to read each of the sentences of the powerpoint and will be given 3 minutes to discuss them. They have to guess if they are true or false and justify their answers. Every t3 minutes the teacher will change the slide with a different sentence.

Groups have to share with the whole group what they have worked out and contrast what they think with what the students with all the information are going to tell them about these sentences.

Marc and Angel Hack Life – Practical Tips for Productive Living

See on Scoop.itCosas que encuentro para clase

Marc and Angel share practical tips and ideas on life, hacks, productivity, aspirations, health, work, tech and general self improvement.

This blog does not offer activities, nor grammar or vocabulary, but topics that can be used to start discussions in class. Marc and Angel publish lists of things you can do to improve yourself, the world and life in general, why not using these topics in class? You can even encourage students to write their own lists.

See on