By Iwona Piecyk
Hello again! If you have read my Top 5 English Basic Matura Tips, you already have some idea about exam strategies to ensure success. Today, I’m bringing you my top 5 tips for the extended exam in English.
Top Tip 1: Listening – specific or gist?
At the extended level you may be asked to decide on the speaker’s intentions, feelings or purpose of their presentation. It is a different type of listening than trying to identify the details. The answer does not depend on key words or they can even be misleading. So, the top tip is to listen to the whole track and then decide what the best summary or context of the situation is.
In the multiple choice listening task, I’d recommend only reading the questions and, while listening for the first time, try to hear the answer. You can take notes which will help you decide on the best option during the second listening.
Top Tip 2: Reading – tricky?
In my previous blog post, I suggested underlining relevant fragments of the text as a good reading strategy and it is very useful at the extended level too. In the True/False and multiple choice type of tasks it is sometimes difficult to notice the details slightly differ in the question and in the text. In multiple choice reading task, all the options (a,b,c,d) might appear in the text but only one actually answers the question. That’s why having an underlined section will help you focus on what the question is really asking.
Top Tip 3: Use of English – the challenge!
The Use of English part of the exam is roughly a quarter of the exam and it is the most challenging part of the whole paper. Even though grammar and vocabulary structures tested here are at B2 level, the answers you provide need to be perfect to be awarded points. Structures like reported speech, inversion, conditionals or tenses need to be used correctly in grammar and spelling. You can revise grammar activities on our LearnEnglish website . A good strategy would be to read the whole sentence, whether it is sentence transformation, word formation or partial translation, identify the type of grammar that is being tested and try to use it, keeping in mind the word limit provided in the instruction.
Top Tip 4: Successful writing
At the extended level, you will be expected to write a formal text. It might be:
- a formal letter ( application letter, letter to an Editor, or a letter of complaint)
- an essay (an opinion essay or a “for and against” essay)
- an article.
You are expected to use only formal language. Therefore you should be careful about vocabulary selection e.g receive instead of get, no slang or colloquial expressions e.g no stuff like that or ‘cause, and you need to use full grammatical forms instead of contracted ones e.g do not instead of don’t. Remember that the word limit is 200-250 words so you have to choose your arguments wisely and limit their number so you can expand on each of them. Jotting down a plan or a quick draft can be helpful in selecting the best ideas. Never underestimate the power of planning for boosting your writing performance!
Top Tip 5: Final advice
150 minutes for an extended level exam is not that long. You need to have a strategy and plan your work wisely so that you don’t end up writing your essay in the last 20 minutes of the exam. The best candidates are usually careful planners who keep an eye on the time.
Make sure your handwriting is clear and legible, especially in the word formation and writing section. If the examiner can’t make out what you have written (however accurate it is), you won’t get the points!
There you have it, my top tips for the English Extended Matura level. Keep revising and thinking about strategies you will use in the exam to manage the time.
If you have any questions about the English Matura at Extended level, let me know via the comment box and I’ll do my best to help.
Good luck everyone and break a pen!