Preparation for language exams requires plenty of time and effort. Digital tools can not only bring some variety to your lessons but also improve the main skills and subskills as well as make learning easier and more comfortable. Let’s consider websites and applications that can provide some extra practice for your students and reduce preparation time for teachers. All resources in the article are free.
Writeandimprove is a tool for assessing writing in seconds. It was developed at the University of Cambridge. Students submit their work (copy and paste into a special field) and it will be scored by giving it a level from A1 to C2. The system will underline some parts that need refining. Although we cannot rely completely on this tool, since it assesses a piece of writing very roughly, it is still really useful for students’ independent work especially for higher levels preparing for CAE and CPE.
Grammarly is an online tool for checking a text for common and advanced errors: subject-verb agreement, article use, spelling mistakes, and irregular verb conjugations. It is possible to upload and check an essay at an online editor at https://app.grammarly.com or use the Grammarly extension for your browser.
Learners memorize corrected mistakes and gradually make their writing more precise.
Students can record their monologues and then listen and evaluate the way they speak:
- some slips of the tongue
- if their pauses are too long and they have lots of hesitations
- whether they use introductory words and phrases etc.
The easiest way is to record speech using an app on their smartphones, for example, ASR Voice Recorder. Individual students can not only assess their own speaking but also share it with a teacher: send an email, upload to Google Drive or use Messengers etc.
Listen, record and compare will help to make pronunciation better and boost confidence. Make use of a free website Spokenskills with given statements or Speechpeek (starting from 1$ per month) to create your own sentences.
Ello is an online listening library with a good choice of tasks. Each audio is accompanied by a script, two types of quizzes (multiple-choice questions with three options and gaps completion) and some key phrases with their definitions.
Online dictations can improve listening comprehension immensely. Listen and write is a great tool where learners can work in several modes: full mode (they need to type all letters of the word), quick mode (the first letters of the word), blank mode (gaps completion) and correction mode (they type full sentences and then press ‘correct’).
A teacher can choose from an extended library of listening texts or upload their own MP3 file or a link to it.
Dreamreader allows shaping reading skills in engaging contexts. It contains both online and printable quizzes, mainly multiple-choice tasks, and audio to practice shadow reading.
Other useful websites
https://www.examenglish.com/ – examples of exam tasks including TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge exams.
https://www.cambridgeenglish.org/learning-english/activities-for-learners – online tasks for shaping the main exam skills.
Have interesting and effective exam preparation lessons!