Tomorrow my students are taking their first big B2 language exam and I thought I’d write a post about how I prepare myself and them for the big day. My focus is not on exam prep per se, but on how I help them deal with emotions of stress and anxiety. Before moving on, it is important to mention that learners here (in Greece), take B2 level exams at a very young age (my students are 13-15) and this is their first official langauge test (ever!).
The day before
So, they know what they know, they are not going to learn something new the day before their test, so I never teach anything new on this day. I tell my students to come to my language school and we sit around a table and just talk about what we did and whatever else pops in their heads. It is more of a chit chat session! If the want to answer any test or langauge related questions, I answer them. We have some jouice or ice cream. They then almost always start to panic and I try to calm them down by saying, what every teacher would say, ” Everything will be fine. Don’t worry. You have done your best”. They talk about their fears and we just try to relax, make jokes and feel a bit better. I also give them my checklist.
Checklist? Say what?
I make a big A4 handout with the things they need to bring and do on the day of the test. I tell them they need to tick everything and then come and meet me so we can go to the exam center together. I do not know about you guys, but over the years, I have had students losing papers, ID cards, not bringing pencils , the lots! So I now take my measures- the check list!
What’s in the checklist?
- Bring your ID card.
- Bring your registration card.
- Bring a 2HB pencil.
- Bring a c ouple of black or blue pens.
- Have a bottle of water and some tissue paper on you.
I also add some tips (or orders :P) like:
- go to bed early
- don’t sit in front of your computer too long.
- have a good breakfast before going to the exam center.
I meet my students and we all go to the exam center. I try to make the conversation as least exam-oriented as possible, although there may be a few exam related questions which I do answer so that they feel at ease (I do discourage this though). I give them their final pep talk and then send them off. They spread their wings and I now I am free to stress and worry about them!
I worry about the weak student who has tried a lot, the good student who panics or is over confident and of course the relaxed one, the one who doesn’t review what he/she has written. I have been their teacher for so long and now this is their moment. I know that even if they fail to pass the test, it is not the end of the world. They will still have learnt English! In an exam oriented culture, where knowledge is proven very often by showing a certificate, this B2 level exam is a big deal for my students and me, their teacher. I try to make it as stress free as possible for them… and for me 🙂
Good luck to all! Learners and teachers 🙂
Till next time…..