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February 19 2020

Improving exam success with LLE

Students come to LLE wishing to take a wide variety of exams. From IELTS exam preparation, Cambridge English, TOEC, TOEFL to the UKISET to name just a few.

Students have as many unique, personal reasons for taking the exams they need as they do for learning English, but the reason usually boils down to: They need the exam as evidence of their competence in the language, whether for present of future education and employment opportunities. Whatever the reason, they need to succeed, do their very best and achieve the best score possible.

This is why LLE has focused English for exams teachers to help students prepare for their exams, with tailored courses and with innovative English teaching improving success rates. One of our specialist English for exams teachers, Elaine, explains:


‘Sometimes students arrive with an already stated English learning aim, such as the two teachers from Switzerland who needed to gain a Cambridge Proficiency qualification in order to be able to deliver their lessons wholly in English. Or the need for a qualification emerges as the course progresses, such as the doctor from Spain who needed a Cambridge English Advanced qualification to be successful in her internship at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. Then there was the English for IELTS student from Russia who needed a level 6.5 IELTS in order to study dance at Surrey University...

The huge advantage for both teachers and students with LLE’s homestay model is the constant possibility of dialogue – from the initial completing of the course design, to the planning and shaping of the lessons. Flexibility is vital: you need to be prepared to ditch some or all of what has been planned and shift the focus of the English tuition, always listening to what the student is saying.'

Elaine and her student

'Recently I was offered a different challenge: a Hong Kong Chinese student, already at boarding school in the UK, who wanted the half term week for an intensive English course to prepare her for the IGCSE English Language exam which she was about to take straight after the holiday. So the focus wasn’t so much on her knowledge of English (which was already very good, with just a few tweaks here and there) as on exam technique. Fortunately she had brought all her past papers and her completed mock exam with her. So we were able to go through the papers together, look at where she had lost marks and redo questions, either in the lesson or for homework. I encouraged her to recognise where she had made mistakes and gave her the necessary skills to improve.

The student’s main issues were repeating herself, writing irrelevances and then running out of time, so we focused on those until her technique and confidence was much improved. She also practised answering new questions, developing a thorough knowledge of the anthology she was studying and comparing the extracts with exam texts we found on the internet.

We had a great week of working hard, and also enjoying the time spent practicing English outside of lessons - immersion homestay courses are a way to learn English in the UK, and integrate lessons around-the-clock, without putting undue pressure on the student or the teacher!'

'And, how did the student do? She passed with a grade 8, the equivalent of an A*!'

Elaine's student reading a newspaper

It’s brilliant to hear a success story, especially with the pressure English exams can put on students. Good luck to everyone preparing for an exam soon, from the LLE staff!


Thinking of taking an exam? Click here to find out more about our English for Exams courses.

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