English Exams: A Brief Intro

There are several exams that test your level of English in the world. Essentially, there are two kinds: the ones that are operated by the British (most famously, the University of Cambridge) and the ones operated by the Americans (i.e. the TOEFL) test.

The Cambridge tests are the ones that are by far the most used in the Basque Country, but anyone who wishes to study at an American University has to take the TOEFL test.

The University of Cambridge people offer various kinds of various at several levels:


A Strategy For Success

Generally speaking, the strategy at Morris Academy is very, very straightforward: you should buy the Cambridge First Certificate in English 7 (or 8, 9, 10, etc.) test preparation book (one with answers). Buy the latest one and start on the exercises in the book. In that way, you will know exactly what to expect on the test.

Please bear in mind that one thing is knowing English and quite another is knowing how to do the Cambridge First Certificate Test. The First Certificate Test is, more or less, on par with the EGA test for Basque. There are many, many people who speak fluent Basque in Gipuzkoa, who have studied through the medium of Basque but have not passed the EGA exam. If people in Zarautz or Hernani had to take the Instituto Cervantes tests (e.g. Diploma de Español, Nivel Intermedio), I am quite sure that there would be similar results. One thing is spoken English and quite another is written English. Some people who have been in English-speaking countries and have gain a certain degree of fluency think that taking the First Certificate in English exam will be shoo-in but they are wrong. The main reason is because they usually have a good command of spoken English but a poor grasp of written English.

All in all, what students really need from an English teacher (or English School) to pass the First Certificate examination is:

  • Speaking
  • Correction of their compositions
  • Guidance in learning vocabulary and learning test-taking strategies
  • Asking questions about grammar and vocabulary

The rest can be done by the student at his or her leisure since the Cambridge test booklets contain the answers. Reading and listening exercises can be done at home. The Academy can be most useful in the four points mentioned above.