Is it that time of the year again? My, oh, my, how time flies! After months and in many cases years of preparation, it all comes down to that final exam which will reward the test taker for all his hard efforts. It would be futile to debate the effectiveness of tests or question what the best way to assess a student’s skills or knowledge is. Tests are here to stay and whether we like it or not, we have to comply with this designated method of evaluation. Το make matters worse, students are more often than not hindered by the prospect of evaluation. Negative emotions of anticipation and frustration overwhelm them, rendering an inability to exhibit their true potential. As educators, the responsibility falls upon us once again to lighten the burden of anxiety and alleviate their suffering during those last few moments before their exams. Here are five essential approaches to test taking that you can share with them.
Yikes! Are we actually going there? In a market that is constantly changing, one would question the necessity of acquiring a certificate which would proudly adorn our wall, only to have it sidelined by most employers. Many a time, I would converse with students who have landed a job, only to tell me that they were never asked for their language certificate as a prerequisite to their hiring. “They just asked for my university degree and proof of previous experience,” is the answer I get out of most of them. Why then have we stressed the significance of acquiring proof of knowledge of a spoken language, only to have it disregarded by most?
Grammar and Vocabulary are deemed by many as the cornerstones of language learning. Although this claim does have merit, as these two elements will establish a sound foundation to build upon, both educators and students alike must also acknowledge the fact that there is a broader picture to examine. What about productive skills like writing or speaking? Not to mention receptive ones such as reading and listening? Focusing exclusively on enhancing specific facets will prove detrimental in the long run – not to mention boring. If a balance is struck between all aspects of a language, then the result will most certainly reward the learner, bringing him one step closer to achieving his goal. To this end, grammar and vocabulary must be implemented in such a way, as to inspire the learner and stimulate his approach in a constructive manner; one which will enable him to master the language more effectively.