British Schools -Listening Practice

These days we are studying the language of Schools and Education in class. Here you have some further and useful practice.


Early years =  Kindergarten (KG), Early childhood education, Nursery school, Pre-school 4 or 5 and younger. Kindergarten is ages 4/5
Primary = Elementary Approximately ages 4-11
Key stage 1  (KS1) = Early elementary Approximately ages 5-8
Key stage 2 (KS2) = Upper elementary Approximately ages 9-11
Secondary  = Middle and high school Approximately ages 12-18.
A level Advanced Placement Tests taken at the end of high school/secondary school usually for university bound students
GCSE = O-level, Junior Certificate Tests taken at 16 by UK and international students
Further education = Upper high school Ages 16-18

Education in Britain

The General Certificate of Education or GCE is an academic qualification that examination boards in the United Kingdom confer to students.
In the past the GCE traditionally comprised two levels: the Ordinary Level (O Level) and the Advanced Level (A Level). More recently examination boards also offer an intermediate third GCE level, the Advanced Subsidiary Level (AS Level)
O level: Formal name Ordinary level  (O level maths)
  • ·      a pass in a particular subject at O level  ‘He has eight O levels’
  • ·         basic level of the General Certificate of Education, now replaced by GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education, -similar to our ‘ESO’)

Now...Watch this interesting and easy-to-understand video. Then listen ONLY and complete the gaps in the text below.


At the very beginning the presenter asks if you go to school on _____1____ and if you  wear a ___2___.
 Most children ___3___ school at the age of 5. Then at 11 they have to go to ___4___ until the age of 16, when they take their GCSE ___5___.
After these, about ___6___ of students leave school and the others stay  for two more years and take A level exams or ___7___ level examinations.
Then 20% of them go to university and 20% go to another kind of education and ___8___...
Most schools are ___9___ i.e. for both boys and girls.
On average there are  __10__ students in a Primary School class and ___11___ in a Secondary School class.
The presenter goes to six different classes: 1st is a ____12___ class; 2nd ___13__, 3rd ___14___, 4th ____15___, 5th ____16___ and 6th ___17___
Other subjects are Information technology, ___18___, ____19____English___20___, and Religion.
At lunchtime there is a break of an hour. Some students stay at school and have their lunch in the school___21___. After school they do different activities...

Schools like Eton are ___22___. Some of them are also ___23___schools…


Answers in comment #1


Computer Vocabulary

Hi there!
Last week we studied a bit of computer vocabulary in class.

So this post is for you to revise and extend that vocabulary. 

Read, do the activities and enjoy the video!
Have a nice week!
See you in class!!!


PC = Personal Computer

Anti-virus software - A program that finds and removes viruses from a computer.
Backup - A copy of files on a PC's hard disk. A backup is used in case the hard disk file(s) are erased or damaged.
Bit, bytes - A bit is the smallest piece of information that computers use. For simplicity, a PC uses bits in groups of 8 called bytes (8 bits = 1 byte).
Browser, to browse - A browser is a program like Netscape or Internet Explorer. You use it to view or browse the Internet.
Bug - A (small) defect or fault in a program.
CD-ROM - A disk for storing computer information. It looks like an audio CD.
CPU - Central Processing Unit. This is a PC's heart or 'brains'.
Driver - A small program that tells a PC how a peripheral works.
Electronic mail (email, e-mail) - Messages sent from one computer to another. You can see email on the screen or print it out.
Folder (directory) - A sub-division of a computer's hard disk into which you put files.
Font - A particular sort of lettering (on the screen or on paper). Arial is a font. Times New Roman is another.
Graphics card - The equipment inside a computer that creates the image on the screen.
Hard disk - The main disk inside a computer used for storing programs and information. It is hard because it is metal.
Icon - A small image or picture on a computer screen that is a symbol for folders, disks, peripherals, programs etc.
Internet - International network of computers that you connect to by telephone line. Two popular services of the Internet are the World Wide Web and electronic mail.

Memory - Memory is for the temporary storing of information while a computer is being used. See RAM, ROM and Cache.

Modem - Equipment connected to a computer for sending/receiving digital information by telephone line. You need a modem to connect to the Internet, to send electronic mail and to fax.
Operating System - The basic software that manages a computer.

PC card - A device that is the same size as a thick credit card, for plugging into a slot on notebook computers. You can buy memory, modems and hard disks as PC cards.
Peripheral - Any equipment that is connected externally to a computer. For example, printers, scanners and modems are peripherals.
Pixel - The image that you see on the screen is made of thousands of tiny dots, points or pixels.
Program Software that operates a PC and does various things, such as writing text (word-processing program), keeping accounts (accounts program) and drawing pictures (graphics program).
RAM, ROM - Two types of memory. RAM (Random Access Memory) is the main memory used while the PC is working. RAM is temporary. ROM (Read Only Memory) is for information needed by the PC and cannot be changed.
Resolution - The number of dots or pixels per inch (sometimes per centimetre) used to create the screen image.
Scanner - Equipment for converting paper documents to electronic documents that can be used by a computer.

World Wide Web, WWW, the Web - WWW are initials that stand for World Wide Web. The Web is one of the services available on the Internet. It lets you access millions of pages through a system of links. Because it is 'world-wide', it was originally called the World Wide Web or WWW.

Activity #1
Activity #2


Improve your Writing Skill (I)

At Intermediate level in EOI you are asked to write two tasks at the exams.

A short one of about 100 words, and a longer one of about 170-200 words.
Today I am giving you only some writing examples of writing types we’ve already seen in class together with a book review.

In the next post you’ll get the rest you need to know.

Types of writing

Notes (apologizing, excusing, thanking, etc), blog comments and short messages…
Giving instructions (how to get to a place, a cooking recipe, how a machine works, etc)
• Informal or friendly letters or emails.
Formal letters or emails ( applying for a job, complaining about a bad service, etc)
Descriptive compositions (about people, places, objects…).
Stories or narrative compositions (about real or imaginary events).
Discursive essays (Opinion essays or ‘for and against’ essays).
Reports ( about news; Reviews about a book, a film, a restaurant, etc).


***Before you start to write any type of composition:

 Think about the topic.
 Make a list of the main points and ideas.
 Think of the vocabulary you can use.
 Think of examples to back up your points.

***After you finish writing, check:

That the format is correct ( an email is different from an opinion essay or a book review).
That all you have been asked to write about is included in your composition.
That you have separated paragraphs, when you present a new idea or point.
That you have linked your ideas using the correct linking words (and, also, but, On the other hand, therefore, although, after that, when,  so, before…)
That you have left margin.
That you have no spelling mistakes and the punctuation is correct.
That you have not made grammar mistakes (verb tenses, prepositions, correct use of modal verbs, articles, etc)
That you’ve made a wide use of the vocabulary studied, especially that which is related to the topic.
That your ideas follow a logical order.
That it is easy to understand by anybody (especially the teacher), because it’s clean and clear.


If you need some extra practice, why don’t you try one of these?

a) Your friend has sent you an email, telling you she cannot go out with you tonight because she has a terrible stomachache.
Write back and give her some advice:
- Greet her.
- Feel sorry for her.
- Tell her what to eat, do and what not to.
- Close pleasantly.
(180 words)

b) Write a review of a book you’ve read recently. (About 180 words)

c) Your best friend is living in Switzerland and has sent you a beautiful silver watch for your birthday!
Send him/her a thank you note. (About 90 words)

See Document below for more tips and examples 

You can write your compositions and put them in the comments to this post, if you don’t, please, write saying you’ve read this post and give your opinion about it, or anything!


WRITING (I)                                                            


MODAL VERBS.... Revision

Modal Verbs

ought to
Modals are different from normal verbs:
1: They don't use an 's' for the third person singular.
2: They make questions by inversion ('she can go' becomes 'can she go?')
3: They are followed directly by the infinitive of another verb (without 'to')



We can use verbs such as 'can', 'could' and 'may' to ask for and give permission. We also use modal verbs to say something is not allowed.

For example:
  • Could I leave early today, please?
  • You may not use the car tonight.
  • Can we swim in the lake?


First, they can be used when we want to say how sure we are that something happened / is happening / will happen. We often call these 'modals of deduction' or 'speculation' or 'certainty' or 'probability'.

For example:
  • It's snowing, so it must be very cold outside.
  • I don't know where John is. He might have missed the train.
  • This bill can't be right. £200 for two cups of coffee!

Ability & Possibility

We use 'can' and 'could' to talk about a skill or ability in the present or the past

For example:
  • She can speak six languages.
  • My grandfather could play golf very well
  • I can't drive.
  • * For other verb tenses we use BE ABLE TO
  • I have never been able to play a musical instrument.
  • She won’t be able to finish her work on time. 
  • I'd like to be able to fly...

Obligation and Advice

We can use verbs such as 'must' or 'should' to say when something is necessary or unnecessary, or to give advice.

For example:
  • Children must do their homework.
  • We have to wear a uniform at work.
  • You should stop smoking.

No obligation or necessity:

·         We don’t have to go to class tomorrow. It’s Saturday.
·         She doesn’t have to cook at home. Her husband does it!
have to /
don’t have to
strong obligation (possibly from outside)
  • Children have to go to school.
(sometimes ‘have got to’)
no obligation
  • I don’t have to work on Sundays.

  • You don’t have to eat anything you don’t like.
must / mustn’t
strong obligation (possibly based on the speaker’s opinion)
  • I must study today.
negative obligation
  • You mustn’t smoke here.
should / shouldn’t
mild obligation or advice
  • You should save some money.
mild negative obligation or advice
  • You shouldn’t smoke so much.