1 National Research University Higher School of Economics (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
2 People's Friendship University / Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO-University) (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 5553-5562
ISBN: 978-84-606-5763-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2015
Location: Madrid, Spain
The authors share the successful experience of teaching English for Cambridge exams – IELTS and BEC - to multilevel audience (starting from level A1+). They set out to investigate whether it is possible to design the specific short-term course for elementary and pre-intermediate learners to seek well-developed necessary language (linguistic) and universal (non-linguistic) skills for passing the exam. They speculate how this course is different from the others widely offered by textbook writers. Relying on the idea that the focused instruction on the test design and the language acquisition are of equal importance, they concentrate on receptive skills (mainly listening) and try to find out what difficulties students may meet, discussing how to possibly prevent and get over them. Different kinds of listening (for factual information, for details and for general understanding) are considered. The conclusions are based on the results of the two-year continuous experiment carried out with University students who were doing this course. Within the experiment, the main ideas were elaborated and put into real teaching practice. Both on-going marks and final exam rates revealed the high effectiveness of separate methods and the whole course. To go further, four times in the second year of the experiment, the same authentic exam tests were submitted to students from two different groups, the one doing the described above experimental course and the other doing the conventional English language course. The answers were cross-compared. In spite of the lower basic English language competence in the experimental group, the test- related skills of the students from both groups seemed to stand at approximately the same level.

Practical tips and guidelines developed through the given study may be widely used in teaching practice, in the first place by those ready to take up the challenge of preparing low-level speakers for international exams in the short-term prospects.
Teaching for international exams, listening, receptive skills, IELTS, BEC.