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FREE SAMPLE First Certificate Speaking and Writing

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First Certificate
Speaking
and Writing
Communication games
and activities

Jon Marks

ELTpublishing
ELTpublishing 2008 5
First Certificate Speaking and Writing

ELTpublishing

First Certificate
Speaking
and Writing
Communication games
and activities

Jon Marks 2008

Copyright Notice
This work is copyright. All rights reserved. Purchasers of a user license to are permitted to store the
work on a computer hard drive or other digital storage device and print out or print out and
photocopy pages for their personal use (for example teaching students). Licensees are not
permitted to sell, sub-license or otherwise distribute any part of the work, whether for profit or not,
nor make digital copies of the work in order to transfer it by any means to third parties with the
same condition applying to any user of a computer or other electronic storage device on which the
work is stored.

The author
Jon Marks is an experienced ELT/ESL teacher and writer who has worked in several countries
including Italy, Portugal and China. He has authored and contributed to several books for major
ELT publishers, including Pearson Longman, A&C Black and Delta Publishing. He currently lives in
Italy.

Acknowledgements
Original artwork by the author. Additional images supplied FastTrak Software Publishing Ltd.

Versions of some activities in this resource appeared in English Teaching Professional magazine.

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Email: info@eltpublishing.com

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Activities 3 and 23 can be accessed
in this sample version.
First Certificate Speaking and Writing
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Contents. from ELTpublishing.com

Click on a title to go to that activity

No. Paper part Activity title Theme(s) Page

FCE Paper 2: Writing


1a Part 1 Flat to let housing, informal transactional 5
letters
1b Part 1 English course reservations, formal 9
transactional letters
2 Part 1 Formal/informal Pelmanism transactional letters 11
3 Part 1 The Hotel hotels, letters of complaint 13
4 Part 1 Half crosswords formal expressions 16
5 Part 2 The writings on the wall writing styles 19
6 Part 2 Memory test fixed expressions 22
7a Part 2 Group writing: report education 25
7b Part 2 Group writing: review restaurants 27
7c Part 2 Group writing: email days out 28
7d Part 2 Group writing: story parties 29
7f Part 2 Group writing: essay environment 30
8 Part 2 Letter of application work, study 31
9 Parts 1 & 2 Sentence auction grammar and style 33
10 Parts 1 & 2 Writing Paper quiz exam and writing skills 35

FCE Paper 5: Speaking


11 Part 1 Ask me about1 (A, B & C) various 38
12 Part 1 Ask me about 2 various 42
13 Part 1 Find out about various 44
14 Part 1 Tell us about various 46
15 Part 1 Truth or lies? various 48
16 Part 2 Compare-and-contrast tennis various 50
17 Part 2 Imagine various 52
18 Part 2 Picture dictations leisure 54
19 Part 3 Nothing but problems practical problems 56
20a Part 3 I disagree 1 jobs, housing, hobbies, 58
communications
20b Part 3 I disagree 2 dangerous jobs, transport, pets 60
20c Part 3 I disagree 3 holidays, gifts, education 61
21 Part 3 Hypothetical questions various 62
22 Part 3 Making plans various 64
23 Part 4 What do you think? cars, teenagers, television, 66
education, fame, smoking
children, work, cities, pets
24 Part 4 Conversation topics various 72
25 Part 4 Dont hesitate! (Sets 1 & 2) various 74
26 Parts 1 - 5 Writing Paper quiz exam skills 77

Theme index 80

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First Certificate Speaking and Writing

Introduction.

First Certificate course books tend to contain plenty of material for practising the receptive skills reading
and listening but for reasons of space may contain less material focusing on the productive skills (speaking
and writing) than many students and teachers would like.
The games and activities in this book aim to redress this balance. They are fun, motivating, and all relate
directly to the exam, in many cases actually using the formats of the Speaking and Writing Papers.

Organisation of the book


There are activities based on the formats of each part of the Speaking and Writing Papers. Each activity is
preceded by its teaching notes.

Timings
The approximate timings given in the teaching notes are a rough guide only: timings can vary greatly
according to the size of the class, the age and level of the students, and their enthusiasm for the activity. In
total, this book contains 30 to 40 hours of classroom activity plus some homework suggestions.

Setting up an activity
To make sure that everybody understands the format of an activity, it can be a good idea to begin with a
demonstration rather than an explanation. Join one group/pair/team, and begin the activity while the rest of
the class watches.
Explain to the class how the activity is linked to the exam, and tell them that the skills they will use to
complete it are skills they will need in the exam.

Doing an activity
When everybody is clear about the task in hand and has begun, visit each group/pair/team as soon as
possible, just to check that everything is going well. After this initial round, visit each group/pair/team for
longer. Check for language difficulties, and help any students who are having problems.
While you are doing the things listed above, make a mental or written note of any problems with
pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary.

After an activity
Use the information you gathered while monitoring to practise problem areas and/or to plan future lessons
which address the problems you encountered.
Elicit feedback from the class. How did they think the activity was useful? What did they learn? What
aspects of it were difficult?

Follow-up task and activities


The Teachers notes to several of the activities include optional follow-up tasks and activities. These can
be used directly after the activity, in the next lesson or, in some cases, as homework tasks.

ELTpublishing 2008 8
First Certificate Speaking and Writing

First Certificate Writing tasks


The Paper 2 Writing section of this book contains several writing tasks similar to those appearing in this
part of the exam. In the exam, scripts receive an impression mark which puts them into one of six bands.
These may be summarised as follows:
0: too little language for assessment
1: entirely or almost entirely fails to communicate the message to the target reader
2: does not clearly communicate the message to the target reader
3: mostly achieves the desired affect on the target reader
4: adequately achieves the desired affect on the target reader
5: fully achieves the desired affect on the target reader

The criteria for grading scripts are complex, and examiners receive extensive training. The following is a
summary of the standard candidates should aim for in order to gain a pass grade in this paper (band 3).
All the major points of the task should be included (although one or two minor omissions may be
acceptable).
There should be an adequate range of grammar and vocabulary to fulfil the requirements of the task.
Communication should be clear throughout, but a number of minor errors will be acceptable.
The ideas should be reasonably well organised, and there should be some evidence of simple linking
devices.
The register (eg, formal or informal) should be reasonably appropriate to purpose of the task and its
target reader or readers, but this need not be totally successful throughout.
The script should, generally speaking, achieve the desired effect on the target reader.
Poor handwriting is likely to be penalised.

First Certificate course books and exam practice books usually contain more detailed guidelines for
assessing compositions.

Further information
For more information concerning the exam contact:

ESOL Helpdesk
University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations
1 Hills Road
Cambridge
CB1 2EU
United Kingdom
Tel. +44 1223 553997
Fax +44 1223 553621.

The FCE Handbook for Teachers containing detailed information and exam practice material can be
downloaded free from:
www.CambridgeESOL.org

This resource is based on the revised 2008 format of the Cambridge First
Certificate Examination

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ELTpublishing 2008 9
First Certificate Speaking and Writing

3. Paper 2 Writing (Part 1).


BACK TO CONTENTS

The Hotel
FCE focus Notes
Practice for writing formal transactional letters Ensure students are aware that this is language
practice for the exam, but not a precise reflection
Time of the format of Part 1 of the Writing Paper.
1 hour 20 minutes (approx. 2 hours with follow-
up task). The activity may be divided over two It may be useful to explain that in Britain and the
lessons. USA it is common to have a hot, cooked
breakfast, especially when staying in a hotel.
Format: pair work
Follow-up task
Preparation Tell the class to imagine that they are the manager
Print out/photocopy one copy of Part A and Part of the hotel. The task is to write a letter to a friend
B per pair of students. or close relative telling the story of the two guests
who behaved really badly, then complained about
Method the service. The style should be informal, and the
1. Draw attention to the format of this part of the length should be 120 180 words, as in Part 2 of
exam: the task is usually to write a the Writing Paper. Write the first line on the
transactional letter. Brainstorm the class on board:
the various types of transactional letter Dear Sam,
(information request, making a complaint You wont believe what happened here
etc.). Which are usually in a formal style, and the other day.
which in an informal style? Can the class
think of any formal and informal ways of For guidelines on assessing First Certificate
saying the same thing? Writing paper scripts, see page 4

2. Organise the class into pairs, and hand out


copies of part A. The task is self-explanatory. Did you find this useful?
Student A writes the letter, with Student B
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assisting verbally. Monitor, and help pairs
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choose the correct style/register
(neutral/formal).

3. When the task is complete, hand out copies of


Part B. This time, Student B writes the letter,
with Student A assisting verbally.

4. You may like to get the pairs to draft their


letters, improve them, and then write final
versions.

ELTpublishing 2008 10
CONTENTS

First Certificate Speaking and Writing

Student A
The Hotel
Alan and Jean Grumbell had a terrible night in a hotel. Write their letter of complaint to
the hotel. Describe what went wrong, and ask for a refund.

Language ideas
You dont know the name of the manager, so begin Dear Sir/Madam,
When you begin a letter with Dear Sir/Madam, end it with Yours faithfully, followed
by your signature.
Dont use contractions (for example, write would not instead of wouldnt).
Avoid words like terrible, awful and horrible. Instead, use less dramatic words
like unsatisfactory, inadequate, and unacceptable.
Use passive verbs whenever possible: instead of You had not made the bed,
write The bed had not been made and The reception desk was unattended.
A good final paragraph is We look forward to hearing from you.

Other useful phrases:


Under the circumstances, we feel that
We would be grateful if you would

ELTpublishing 2008 11 Practice for FCE Paper 2: Writing Part 1


CONTENTS

First Certificate Speaking and Writing

Student B
The Hotel
You are the manager of the hotel. The strip cartoon below shows what really happened.
Reply to the Grumbells letter. Refuse a refund, and explain why.

Language ideas
You know their names, so begin Dear Mr and Mrs Grumbell,
When you begin with a name, end with Yours sincerely, followed by your
signature.
When you reply to a letter, its usual to start with something like Thank you
for your letter of 4th September.

Next, its often a good idea to put the most important idea of the letter. In this
case, the most import thing is that you are refusing a refund: I regret that I will be
unable to
Then give the reasons. Dont be rude, be formal or neutral. It would be difficult to
use many passive verbs, but try not to use you more than necessary.

Its often a good idea to sum up the letter in the final paragraph. For example, I am
sorry you did not enjoy your stay here, but we cannot accept responsibility for the
inconveniences you experienced.

ELTpublishing 2008 12 Practice for FCE Paper 2: Writing Part 1


First Certificate Speaking and Writing

23. Paper 5 Speaking (Part 4).


BACK TO CONTENTS

What do you think?


FCE focus Notes
Role-play/fluency practice for this part of the Although this part of the exam lasts only about 4
exam minutes, you may prefer to allow the students to
continue each of the three conversations for
Time: 20 30 minutes each time the activity is longer if they wish to but make sure they
used (there are enough cards to use it three times) appreciate that they will only have four minutes in
the exam.
Format: groups of three
To reduce photocopying, choose three cards as
Preparation described above, but instead of copying all three
Choose three of the cards. Prepare one copy of for each group, copy one set of three cards for
each of the three cards for each group of three each three groups. When each interview is
students. finished, rotate the cards to other groups (ie,
group A sends Card 1 to group B, group B sends
Method Card 2 to group C, and so on).
1. Draw attention to the format of this part of the
exam: the examiner often uses the issues
raised in Part 3 to lead into a more general
discussion. Did you find this useful?

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2. Organise the class into threes (and a four if
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necessary). Give each three a face-down pile
of cards. Student A takes a card, and follows
the instructions on it, playing the role of the
examiner. When the role-play is complete, it
is Student Bs turn to take a card and play the
part of the examiner. When that role-play is
complete, Student C is the examiner.

3. As there are ten different cards, the activity


can be conducted again in later lessons.

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CONTENTS

First Certificate Speaking and Writing

What do you think?

CARD 7:
CHILDREN

CARD 8: WORK
In Part 4 of the Speaking section, the In Part 4 of the Speaking section, the
examiner has a conversation with the two examiner has a conversation with the two
candidates. candidates.

You are the examiner. Ask the You are the examiner. Ask the
questions. questions.

Make sure the candidates share the Make sure the candidates share the
speaking equally. speaking equally.
Keep the conversation going for about Keep the conversation going for about
4 minutes. 4 minutes.
Ask extra questions if necessary (use Ask extra questions if necessary (use
the questions below or think of your the questions below or think of your
own). own).

Would you like to work with young What makes people happy in their
children? work?

What kind of person do you need to be to What kind of jobs tend to have the
work with children? happiest workers?

What is the best age to start school? Is pay the most important factor?

Is it a good idea for children to go to What other factors make worker happy?
nursery school or kindergarten before
starting school? How long should the working day be?

What should schools teach young Is it possible to have a successful career


children? and a good family life?

What should parents teach their children? What kind of person is most suited to
being a manager?
Can you remember what is it like being a
young child? What are the advantages and the
disadvantages of working for yourself?

8: TEENAGERS
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CONTENTS

First Certificate Speaking and Writing

What do you think?


CARD 10:
PETS

CARD 9: CITIES

In Part 4 of the Speaking section, the In Part 4 of the Speaking section, the
examiner has a conversation with the two examiner has a conversation with the two
candidates. candidates.

You are the examiner. Ask the You are the examiner. Ask the
questions. questions.

Make sure the candidates share the Make sure the candidates share the
speaking equally. speaking equally.
Keep the conversation going for about Keep the conversation going for about
4 minutes. 4 minutes.
Ask extra questions if necessary (use Ask extra questions if necessary (use
the questions below or think of your the questions below or think of your
own). own).

What makes a city pleasant to live in? Why do so many people like to keep
pets?
How important is good public transport in
a city? Why are dogs the most popular pet?

What makes a city an interesting place for What problems can be caused by dogs?
young people to live?
In what ways is having a cat different to
Why are some cities dirty and dangerous? having a dog?

How could such cities be improved? What responsibilities do pet-owners have?

What are the advantages of living in a Is it fair to keep a cat or dog in an


small town rather than a city? apartment?

What are the advantages of living in the What is the attraction of keeping exotic
countryside? pets, such as snakes or spiders?

Why are some animals more suitable as


pets than others?

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