miércoles, 13 de abril de 2016

Some advice to face TASK 1 - LONG READING task (Trinity Exams)

As you may probably know, Trinity exams have suffered a change since September 2015. Before this date, in the written exam you only had to do two writing tasks. From September 2015, you have to do two reading tasks and two writing tasks.

In this post and the next two ones, I’ll be giving you some advice to do the new exam tasks. In this first post, we are going to see in detail task 1, the long reading activity.

Let’s have a look at the format of this activity and the questions you have to answer. Here you have an example:

As you can see, you have a long text that has a different number of words depending on the level. For ISE I (B1) the text will be approximately 400 words for ISE II (B2) the text will be 500 words and for ISE III (C1) the text will be 700 words long divided into five paragraphs and you have to answer 15 questions. The text is factual and descriptive.

The questions you have to answer are 15, divided in the following way:

Questions 1 to 5: title matching.

In this part, the candidate has to choose the most appropriate title for each paragraph. The text has 5 paragraphs and you are given 6 titles, therefore, you do not need one of the titles. To do successfully this task, you should practice reading to get the general meaning of the text and reading the text quickly to find the information you need.

Questions 6 to 10: selecting the true statements

In this task, you must select the five true statements form a list of eight. Your answers must be based on the text exclusively. Three of them will e false or not mentioned in the text.

To improve in this section, you should practise reading for general comprehension, reading to understand specific information, deducing the meaning word from the context and scanning for information in the text.

Questions 11 to 15: completing sentences

Here, you must complete the sentences with a word or phrase taken from the text. You cannot use more than three words. In this case, you have to demonstrate that you understand specific information at a word level.

Take into account that you will have 2 hours to complete the four tasks of the exam, so the key is to do the reading tasks quickly. Thus, you can spend more time on the writings.

What can you do to fulfil the questions quickly? 

1. It would be a good option to write a short summary of the paragraphs while you are reading the text for the first time. In this way, you will find the information you need for the task in a more efficient way.

2. Read questions 6 to 10 carefully, paying attention to what you are required to do. The important thing to remember here is that you need only 5 true statements out of the eight they have given you. Apart from this, another important thing is that they are usually ordered. What I mean is that the information that you need to know if statement A is true will be in paragraph one and the information that you need to know if statement H s true will be in the last paragraphs. 

Also, it is a good idea to look for key words in the statements. By key words I mean words that you know appear a few times on the text. It will be easier to find the sentences quickly and see if the statement is true or not. 

For instance, let’s take statement A as an example: “Everyone’s need for sleep is different”. As it is the first sentence, the information will be more likely on paragraph one. A possible key word will be “need” or “different”. If we have a look at paragraph one, we observe that there is only a sentence where the word “need” appears “We don’t all need the same amount of sleep.”. Therefore, the information that we need to decide if A is true or false is in this sentence. 

In this case, A is true. If you pay attention to both sentences (the sentence in the text and statement A) they both mean the same, but they have used different words to express them. 

3. Read questions 11 to 15 carefully and remember that you have to use 3 words maximum and that these words have to be taken from the text. This is the most difficult task for students. 

The tips that you can follow are more or less the same that in the previous questions. First, usually these questions are also ordered: the answer to question 1 will be in paragraph 1, the answer to question 2 will be in paragraph 2…etc. This is not always the case, but normally they are ordered. Also, they express the same meaning as the sentences from the text, but they have used different words. Finally, the last useful thing that you can do is to try to identify what type of word you need to complete the gap: a noun, a verb… etc. 

For instance, let’s do question 11 which says “During a lifetime, the average person will be asleep for………….” If we follow the advice, we will look for the information in paragraph one and we will look for a key word, for example “lifetime” or “asleep”. Going back to paragraph 1 of the text, there is only one sentence that contains both words “That means during our life we will spend about twenty-five years asleep”. 

Consequently, the answer to question 11 must be here. Now, let’s look for the type of word or information that we need. It is clear that in this case we will need a number. In this way we know that the correct answer is “25 years”

I hope that this advice is helpful for you. In next post we will o the same for the rest of the tasks of the written exam.

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