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  Brad's Teacher Writing (November 9, 2004)


This 500-word essay, written in 2004, gives specific advice on making good use of your certificate test preparation time.


Certificate Test Preparation: A Teacherís Advice

     As a Pearson Adult Learning Centre teacher for the past eight years and a teacher over the past 20, I feel qualified to comment on test preparation. Over the past few years, I have written and revised the Level 5 and 10 English Certificate Tests several times and participated in the creation of a marking rubric for essay and paragraph tests. To be ready for tests students need to review, work through course materials and prepare well psychologically.

     The first activity good students perform is one that needs to begin on the first day of the term: review. Review is an active process. A student begins by reviewing what she learned in class that day. Class notes should be reread and then filed by date in a binder. As the term progresses, a student is wise to briefly go over all materials, in sequence, at least once a week. Do you still understand a key term introduced in September? If you have reviewed class materials regularly, your answer will be, Yes! Review is the backbone of a successful studentís study strategy and must begin each new term.

     Another good idea is to take a step-by-step approach to working through course materials. By course materials, I mean not only the weekly handouts from your teachers, but also the two important workbooks purchased. Teachers have noticed consistently good certificate marks for students who proceed in an orderly fashion through the Language Exercises and Spectrum Math workbooks. Unfortunately, however, new students are more likely to do this work than our continuing students! I often spend time with new students in Room 184, helping them with exercises, explaining vocabulary, and checking sentences and paragraphs. Why not take time now to begin your work and get a better certificate test as a result?

     One final preparation for certificate tests is psychological. Many students dislike testing and become very nervous when teachers announce a test day. Remember that your penalty for failure is to continue attending our classes and learning more day by day! On the day of the test, most teachers advise no further study be done by the student. Cramming, or trying to remember everything at the last minute, is of limited use. The best advice is to arrive a little early, after having a good nightís sleep, with nutritious snacks and your favourite beverage in your bag. Take your time during the tests, be unafraid to guess, and your psychological preparation may just carry you forward to the next or even higher levels!

     Preparing for a certificate test can be done by following this advice. There is certainly no harm in reviewing materials weekly, completing the course workbooks and preparing oneself psychologically. A good student welcomes test time as a chance to prove him or herself in a controlled setting. Good luck to everyone this term!

ó477 words; first draft by Brad Hyde, November 9, 2004



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