Cramming Before the Czech Exam

The B1 exam for the students at our department will be held this week. In the past two weeks I have been streamlining my procedures and trying to fit in as much exam prep as possible. I have namely:

Turned on the online classroom countdown timer for reading and grammar exercises

Prepared extra reading and listening exercises. I didn’t use authentic materials because I needed to keep in mind the level. Instead, I adapted reading and listening from another course book that the students do not use.

Now we know the results of last week’s Mock Test. The results for reading have been generally very good, which I attribute to the massive amounts of reading I threw at the students. Listening is good with one of my groups, less good with my other one. The Grammar and Vocab test was pretty bad with everyone (but it always is) and writing is the worst part, because students don’t seem to be applying the grammar they have learnt and make a ton of mistakes.

I had three days till the exam – Mon, Tue, Wed. So what did I do today?

  • Keeping a reasonable amount of listening&reading so that the students don’t lose what they have gained.
  • Increased the number of grammatical gapfills – fill in a word from a choice (four more words than there are gaps) and open clozes
  • Increased the amount of a)b)c) grammar exercises – fast and hopefully effective
  • AND just today invented a micro-writing task which I am really proud of. Here it is:

As there is no time for me to correct huge amounts of writing, and the students are making tons of mistakes anyway, I asked all students to get a piece of paper. Two students came to the WB. I asked a question based around our “oral topics” – for example: Do you eat healthy? Jíte zdravě? Or:  What’s your idea of a pleasant evening? Jak si představujete příjemně strávený večer?

The students had to write ONE SENTENCE ONLY. Then we corrected what was on the board, I corrected what the others had written that I was able to in the short while, and the students swapped. A different question was asked. As the practice progressed, all students had hopefully realised they were all making the same kind of errors. The last question involved writing two sentences and I collected the answers to check after class. There are 18 students, so two sentences from each is manageable. To be continued tomorrow.

How did this benefit my students? Hopefully they managed to fix some of their fossilized errors. There is also a “correct the mistakes” question in our exam, so it addresses that. And the students get to practise giving opinions about our “topics”.

Anything else I can do in two days? Thanks!

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