According to students there is nothing more boring than wading through yet another test in preparation for a public exam. Teachers would argue that reading related articles is a close second! Still, tests are as inescapable as taxation so we have to live with them. This being so, can we make them more interesting? In this article we will look at how to do just that with the Listening section of Pearson PTE.
Section 1: Predict 5 Words: In pairs, students look at the questions and predict 5 words which they think are going to be in the recording.
Once they have written them down they listen to the clip and they score points depending on how accurate they were.
Here is a sample question: ‘Air travel is currently being affected by A – a strike, B – traffic problems, C – the weather.
My predictions would be words like ‘delay’ / ‘airport’ / ‘passengers’ / ‘flight’ / ‘cancel’. (I got 2 out of 5!) The idea here of course is to activate students’ background knowledge before the actual listening.
Section 1: Listen and Bet! This is essentially a game: Student pairs start with 50 points each. They read each question and then listen to a small part of the recording.1
On the basis of what they have heard they ‘bet’ a certain number of points (say from 1 to 10) on what the right answer is – if they are right, they double the points they have bet!
The couple with the most points at the end is the winner! I have used this activity again and again – students simply love it!
Section 2: Listen – Take down – Edit! There is only so much that you can do when the activity involves simple, straightforward dictation! 2
This activity is meant to help learners look twice at what they have written. Here is what you do: you take the transcript of Section 2 and you change it so that it contains some mistakes! (e.g. you may add or leave out a word, or turn an infinitive into a gerund).
Then you dictate the text to your students (or even record it and play it back to them) and once they have written the text down you get them to correct it!
This helps because when students are in a hurry they often make mistakes but they rarely take the trouble to proofread what they have written!