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Setting and achieving English Language standards in the UAE

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A forum organised by Cambridge English Language Assessment brought together school owners, directors, school principals, heads of English Language department, education professionals and policy makers in the UAE to discuss the importance of setting and achieving English language standards. Over 150 delegates representing seven different curricula from the Emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Northern Emirates were represented at the event.

The event focussed on sharing best practices from the UAE and beyond highlighting ways in which schools can compare themselves against international benchmarks, when it comes to English language. Local and international case studies were presented at the event that focussed on how management in the school can support both students and teachers in primary and secondary schools. According to Zara Shahid Khan, Marketing Manager for Cambridge English Language Assessment in UAE, “Schools across the UAE are playing a huge role in helping to raise the standard of English and preparing students to excel at university by using external measures of assessment. Lots of schools in the UAE use Cambridge English qualifications to give students real life English skills as well as preparing them for formal high stakes tests such as the IELTS and Cambridge Advanced. The enthusiasm for learning English and the quality of teaching has helped make this a success. There are still many challenges ahead but the work that Abu Dhabi Education Council and the Knowledge and Human Development Authority is doing to raise awareness of using external assessments is really encouraging.”

Speaking at the event, Ms Suzie Hachez, Director of Additional Education Needs at Cambridge International School said, “The introduction of Cambridge English Language Assessment program has enabled us to be able to support a wide range of students in the school. The Cambridge English program has provided us with additional information regarding student literacy levels that has enabled us to critically reflect on the work that is happening elsewhere within the school and to develop strategies in class to support our students”.

Ms Nahla ElHawary, Head of English Language Department at Al Nokhba Model School for Boys (Cycle 1) added that, “external examinations such as the Cambridge English tests have a positive impact on students attitude towards learning English and sets a strong foundation which helps them as they progress to higher grades. I would like to encourage all schools in the UAE to use Cambridge English tests as it will help their students to be better prepared for high level exams like IELTS or Cambridge English: Advanced.”

Written by Cambridge English Southern Europe

December 11, 2013 at 10:00 am

Upcoming Cambridge Days in Croatia (Zagreb & Split)

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Cambridge University Press and Cambridge English Language Assessment are delighted to welcome you to another Cambridge Day event, held over two days in two different Croatian locations:

Friday 22 November 2013, 14:30-18:30
Hotel Dubrovnik, Ljudevita Gaja 1, 10000 Zagreb 

Saturday 23 November 2013, 09:00-13:15
Sveučilišna knjižnica u Splitu, Ruđera Boškovića 31, 21000 Split

Throughout the event, VBZ in Zagreb and Pitagora in Split will have books and materials on exhibition, giving you the opportunity to look at the latest ELT publications.

Cambridge University Press, British Council and VBZ personnel will be on hand to offer information and advice.

Attendance is FREE of charge. Certificates of Attendance will be given out at the end of the event.

Sessions and Programme

Zagreb, Friday 22 November 2013

14:30 – 14:40     Opening statement by Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Croatia Mr David Slinn
14:40 – 15:40     Affective Routes to Effective Learning, Michael Tomlinson
15:40 – 16:10      Webs of Words: Issues in vocabulary learning and teaching at B1 and B2, Bob Obee
16:10 – 16:45      Coffee break
16:45 – 17:45      Star Kids, Michael Tomlinson
17:45 – 18:15      Teaching Towards the Revised FCE and CAE exams, Bob Obee
18:15 – 18:30      Raffle and Certificates Distribution

Split, Saturday 23 November 2013

09:00 – 10:00    Affective Routes to Effective Learning, Michael Tomlinson
10:00 – 10:45    Webs of Words: Issues in vocabulary learning and teaching at B1 and B2, Bob Obee
10:45 – 11:15     Coffee break
11:15 – 12:15      Star Kids, Michael Tomlinson
12:15 – 13:00     Teaching Towards the Revised FCE and CAE exams, Bob Obee
13:00 – 13:15     Raffle and Certificates Distribution

The Cambridge Day Sessions

Michael Tomlinson, Cambridge University Press

Affective Routes to Effective Learning

Michael will be discussing the fundamental differences between traditional and more modern approaches to teaching English, and asking to what extent ‘affective’ teaching can be integrated into the average classroom. Using the ‘Kids Box’ series for young learners from Cambridge University Press, Michael will illustrate some affective teaching techniques in action, involving the audience and giving plenty of ideas on how to make your own lessons more affective and effective.

Star Kids

This workshop looks at various ways of helping you to prepare your young learners for ESOL young learners exams. We will discuss multiple intelligences, and what skills pupils need to do well in the exam. How to motivate and stimulate your young learners and yourselves!  This workshop covers motivational skills using multiple intelligences in the classroom, it will show you how to captivate your learners at a very young age and how to keep them motivated, lots of fun and plenty of action.

Bob Obee, Professional Support Leader, Cambridge English Language Assessment

Webs of Words: Issues in vocabulary learning and teaching at B1 and B2.

This presentation will highlight some of the key issues identified in recent research and projects such as Cambridge English Profile relating to best practice in vocabulary teaching and learning. We will explore the notion of what it means to ‘know a word’ and consider practical implications of this notion for teachers in preparing a wholesome and balanced lexical diet for their charges and for learners in developing well-grounded lexical manners and a keen sense of lexical repartee to bring to table.

Teaching Towards the Revised FCE and CAE exams

This talk will give a brief overview of the changes to the FCE and CAE examinations to be introduced in January 2015. The presentation will highlight that the new task types relate principally to the Writing and Speaking papers and explore the principle teaching implications in preparing candidates effectively for these changes. `The different roles an exam-focused teacher might be seen to have in working to improve student performance in relation to such task types will also be touched on.

The Cambridge Day Speakers 

Michael Tomlinson has been teaching English since 1989. He has worked in the UK, Turkey, Spain and Sweden, with students ranging from children to adults and from beginner to proficiency level. He is currently a teacher and Director of Studies at Star English, Murcia. He has also led numerous teacher training talks and workshops in Europe, South America and Asia.

His publications include the Primary iBox IWB software, six Primary Box titles in the Cambridge Copy Collection and the six level Primary course Kid’s Box (2008), all co-authored with Caroline Nixon.

Bob Obee is an ELT author and teacher trainer who has worked in many regions of the world. He was previously Director of Studies at the British Council Teaching Centres in Athens and Kuala Lumpur.

How to register

To register for this event you can download this registration form, complete it and send it to Lidija Bertoncelj by e-mail or snail mail. You can also register by calling the number provided below:

Snail mail: Valvazorjeva 10, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenija
Telephone: +386 41 326 361

Registration deadline: 20 November 2013.

We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming event!

Written by Cambridge English Southern Europe

November 17, 2013 at 10:00 am

New Webinar: Changes to Cambridge English: First & First for Schools and Cambridge English: Advanced – an overview

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Cambridge English Language Assessment invites you to join us for our new webinar – Changes to Cambridge English: First, Cambridge English: First for Schools and Cambridge English: Advanced – an overview, the next topic in our programme of webinars for 2013.

This webinar will focus on the revised versions of Cambridge English: First, Cambridge English: First for Schools and Cambridge English: Advanced, which go live in 2015. It is aimed at teachers who are preparing, or going to prepare candidates for these exams. The presenters will concentrate on the formats and timings of the exam in order to fully inform teachers of the changes which are taking place. Finally, the presenters will explain the reasons for the changes.

To register for this webinar, please choose your preferred date and time below:

Monday 11 November, 14.00 – 15.00 (UK time)

Wednesday 13 November, 10.00 – 11.00 (UK time)


Ron Zeronis, Cambridge English Language Assessment

Ron is responsible for Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) and Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE). He manages the production, marking, analysis, grading, and regular reviewing and updating of paper-based and computer-based versions of these exams. In addition, he works on test development projects and is responsible for item writing quality assurance. Ron joined Cambridge English Language Assessment in 2004 and has worked on General English exams, test development projects, Business English exams and teaching qualifications. Before this he gained extensive experience as an English language teacher and Director of Studies. Ron holds a Master’s degree in Applied Linguistics and TESOL from the University of Leicester and has the DTEFLA.

Hugh Bateman, Cambridge English Language Assessment

Hugh recently assumed responsibility for Cambridge English: Preliminary (PET)  and Cambridge English: First (FCE), and now manages the production, marking, analysis, grading, and regular reviewing and updating of paper-based and computer-based versions of these exams. In addition, he is responsible for the organisation’s commissioning of assessment services, such as examining and item writing. Hugh taught English for general and specific purposes in a number of countries before joining Cambridge English in 1993. Over the years his responsibilities have included theCambridge English: Business (BEC), ESOL Skills for LifeCambridge English: Legal and Cambridge English: Financial. Hugh holds a PGCE in Economics and Business Studies and an MA in Applied Linguistics.

If you have missed any of our previous webinars, you can watch recordings and download the slides on our official You-tube channel Cambridge English TV.

Previous webinars include:


Written by Cambridge English Southern Europe

November 1, 2013 at 10:00 am

Announcement of winners in Cambridge English’s Bulgaria Raffle

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As our Bulgarian raffle is now complete, Cambridge English South East Europe wishes to congratulate:

Velian Dobrev from Burgas

Ilya Georgiev from Plovdiv

Karolina Krasteva from Sofia

Bozhidar Ivanov from Sofia.

You are the lucky winners of a set containing an Online Practice Test and Online Speaking Practice Test for Cambridge English: Advanced. In the next few days, you will receive a personal notification email with information on how you can claim your prize!

Here’s a screenshot of the online raffle, showing the randomly chosen lucky numbers:

No. 16: Velian Dobrev, Burgas

No. 25: Ilya Georgiev, Plovdiv

No. 49: Karolina Krasteva, Sofia

No. 46: Bozhidar Ivanov, Sofia

Velian Dobrev. Burgas croppedIlya Georgiev Plovdiv croppedKarolina Krasteva Sofia croppedBozhidar Ivanov Sofia cropped


Well done guys! Congratulations from our team once more!

Written by Cambridge English Southern Europe

October 24, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Italy: Students to benefit from Cambridge English exams

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Students studying on English-medium degree courses at two Italian universities are now entitled to a full or partial exemption from English tests set by their university – if they have passed a Cambridge English exam.

A range of Cambridge English tests, developed by Cambridge English Language Assessment, are now officially accepted on courses in the Economics faculty and Human Sciences department at Università degli Studi di Palermo and the law department of Seconda Università di Napoli “Università Federico II”.

“Italy is a really popular choice for international students and we’re seeing more English medium courses become available which is really encouraging,” commented Nicola Johnson from Cambridge English Language Assessment. “Universities around the world are turning to external assessments to measure language ability to help them ensure students have the English language skills they need for success in university life. The Cambridge English exams takes this one step further by assessing the real-life communication skills students need in the classroom and socially.”

The full details of the exemptions are:

University of Palermo dept of Humanistic Sciences: recognition for Cambridge English: Preliminary (undergraduate), Cambridge English: First (undergraduate), Cambridge English: Advanced (postgraduate) allowing students to have a partial exemption from the English exam; Università di Palermo – Facoltà di Economia: recognised Cambridge English: Key and Cambridge English: Preliminary. Students with these certificates are exempt from taking the English exam, from taking the English course and are awarded six credits.

Seconda Università di Napoli – Faculty of Law: recognised Cambridge English: Preliminary. Students with Cambridge English: Preliminary have full exemption from taking the General English exam.
Students should contact the universities directly to find out more information about the new exemptions.

Written by Cambridge English Southern Europe

October 18, 2013 at 10:00 am

Succesful Cambridge English Certificates Award Ceremony at the Gh. Lazar National College in Sibiu, Romania

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Friday 27th September saw Sibiu’s “Gheorghe Lazar” National College successfully hold their first, official award ceremony for handing out international certificates of English language skills. The ceremony was attended by teachers from all three colleges, including those teachers who prepared the successful candidates, as well as the exam coordinators. Amognst the guests were exam coordinator Elena Maria Suciu, teachers Alexandra Cristea, Carmen Johannis, Corina Pavelescu, Adriana Pitul, Consuela Vilaia from Gheorghe Lazar National College, teachers Anca Suciu and Cristina Varga  from ” Samuel Brukenthal National College and teachers Victoria Hlenschi and Laura Pitariu from ” Onisifor Ghibu” High School . The ceremony was also attended by Prof. Octavian Gabriel Negrea, Gh. Lazar College’s principal and Steluta Stefanescu, Consultant and Representative of Cambridge English Language Assessment.

The exam was taken by 118 students who obtained these certificates in June, across several levels. 47 of them achieved the B2 level of language knowledge, a valuable level of knowledge for those interested in working abroad. 52 students succeeded at C1 level (Advanced), while 15 succeeded at C2 level , which stands as proof of excellence in English language skills. Outstanding results were obtained by Eduard Holdiş, grade A in Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE) and Isabela Ienciu, Adelina Moja and Eduard Pop, grade A at Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE).

“It’s the first time we have handed out the certificates in a ceremony and we want to make this a tradition. It is the recognition of your work and your teachers’ work. We all know how important the knowledge of at least one foreign language is. I would personally recommend (for the eleventh grade), an exam for other foreign languages as well, such as German and French. I congratulate you for having obtained very good results”, said Octavian Gabriel Negrea, principal of Gh. Lazar College.

Exam Coordinator, teacher Elena Maria Suciu further added some comments about the importance of the Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) exam: “These students do not need to take the BAC test of linguistic competencies, as the Ministry recognizes this certificate. The exam has been organized for more than 10 years in our school. Children who have this degree can study abroad, in English speaking countries, can find employment in a multinational company and have the advantage of knowing a foreign language.”  For Eugen Chicea and Andrei Udvar, both students in XI F class, obtaining the certificate means opening roads in choosing the faculty they want and in achieving what they wish in life. They started learning English in kindergarten, became attracted to learning it through the fourth grade and now belong to the category of certified close-to-native-level speakers.

Cambridge English exams are accepted by over 13,000 universities, employers and government institutions worldwide. Examinations open the way to higher education, increase employment opportunities and being recognized globally, offer candidates multiple options regarding studies or work.

To watch a video coverage of the award ceremony in local channels and language, please follow this link:

Written by Cambridge English Southern Europe

October 12, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Cambridge English: Advanced webinars for students

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In June we ran the first webinar for students, titled ‘Study abroad with Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)’. It was a great success – a total of over 1,000 students attended the two sessions. A recording of the webinar can be seen on the Cambridge English TV YouTube channel.

The second webinar, titled Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) – get ready for the exam’ is taking place on Monday 21 October and is targeted at students who have already registered for the test. The 30-minute live session will cover:

  • what is included in the exam
  • learning tips to help students get ready for the exam
  • what to expect on exam day
  • understanding results
  • what a Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) certificate can be used for.

We will run the webinar twice on the same day – students can register to attend the session of their choice on our website.

We’ll be sending you a separate email with details of the webinar that you can forward to your teachers to pass on to their CAE students.

Written by Cambridge English Southern Europe

October 8, 2013 at 10:00 am