How To Make EFL Exams Not So Scary For Your Students
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When was the last time you wrote an exam? Do you remember how you felt? Why do you think you felt like that? In this blog we’ll explain how to make EFL exams less scary for your students.
If you’re anything like, well, most people we know, taking an exam is not high on our list of favourite things to do. Exams can make you feel anxious and stressed, regardless of whether you’re prepared or not. If you are teaching an EFL exam class you always need to bear this in mind, because EFL exams are no different.
What’s more, when you think about it, writing a language exam is not just about regurgitating knowledge, it’s about performing. In fact, because EFL exams often include an element of speaking they can be more frightening than regular exams.
We already know that we should try to create a calm, welcoming environment in our classroom for our students to learn in. Our students need to be relaxed and open to learning in order for our teaching to be effective. If you follow Stephen Krashen, this is what he means when he speaks about lowering the affective filter.
Why are EFL exams so scary?
The first thing we need to do is ascertain what it is exactly about exams that your students are frightened of. This can be done by structuring a lesson around exams and the feelings associated with them. This should include reflection and discussion. Then you can relate it directly to the exam in question (IELTS, TOEFL or TOEIC, for example) and get very specific about your students’ situation.
Common reasons given for being anxious about EFL exams include:
- Not knowing what to write or say
- Not knowing how to answer a question
- Freezing during a speaking exam
- Going blank
- Making careless mistakes
How to make EFL exams not so scary for your students
Now that you know why your students don’t enjoy exams, you can think of ways to tackle these problems to make them feel better.
- Help them understand that language exams are not about what they know, they’re about how you communicate. In other words, it usually doesn’t matter what you say, so focus on how you say it.
- A lack of familiarity with the exam can cause your students to worry that they won’t know how to answer a question. Even though it’s not always fun or exciting, making sure students are familiar with exam questions is crucial. You don’t want your students to get any nasty surprises on the day of the exam.
- Do practice speaking exams in class. At first you can let them do this in pairs with their friends who they feel comfortable with. Later, though, you should do mock exams in a more exam-like scenario with an examiner they are not familiar with.
- The only way to get over confidence issues is to practise practise practise. Be sure to incorporate lots of public speaking into your lessons over the course of your class.
- Doing practise exams during class is essential. Giving them for homework is also an option but doing them in class incorporates an element of necessary stress. Also, it means you can be strict on time. When you do practise exams in class, include five or ten minutes for your students to go over their answers. Try getting them into the habit of checking their work so as to avoid making silly mistakes.
Taking an EFL exam can be a stressful experience. As an EFL teacher it is your job to not only prepare your students in terms of language but also in terms of the exam itself.
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Personal information is no longer needed by ELEARNING FUTURES LTD but needed by you in connection with a legal claim
- In most circumstances, we will securely delete or dispose of personal information when we no longer need it for our legitimate business purposes. Our approach to retention is outlined in our corporate retention schedules.
- However, if the personal information we no longer need would assist you in establishing, exercising or defending a legal claim, you can require us to keep the information for as long as necessary. We may ask you to provide an explanation and any available supporting evidence that a legal claim is ongoing or contemplated.
Right to erasure of personal data (“the right to be forgotten”)
In the following circumstances, you have the right to require that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD securely deletes or destroys your personal information:
- If the personal information we hold about you is no longer necessary for the purposes for which we originally collected it.
- The processing is based on consent – if you have previously given your consent to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD collecting and processing your personal information, and you notify us that you withdraw your consent. Please note: withdrawing your consent does not mean the processing of your personal data which occurred before the withdrawal was unlawful.
- We are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes, and you want us to stop.
- If you think ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has processed your personal information unlawfully.
If you think any of the above situations apply, we may ask you for an explanation and further information to verify this.
Right to object to processing
You have the right to object to the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, ELEARNING FUTURES LTD is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD,
21-22 Old Steine,
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.