The Unified State English Language Examination evokes the fear and horror of many high school graduates who have to go through this test in order to enter a quality higher education institution. However, as they say, the devil is not as terrible as he is painted. All fears are explained by ignorance and misunderstanding of the structure and purpose of this exam. Fuel to the fire is also added by the fact that within the framework of the school curriculum you can’t keep up with everything, and teachers often give examples from the Unified State Exam for practice without any systematization. This is understandable: while this exam is not mandatory, so there is no question of systematic preparation for it within the framework of the school curriculum.
But what about those who have satisfactory knowledge of grammar, vocabulary, style, written and oral communication skills, as well as listening, but have no idea how to “insert” their knowledge into the USE system? In this article, we will analyze the structure of the Unified State Exam and give recommendations for preparing for each block.
Section 1 ( Listening ) includes 15 tasks, of which the first is to establish correspondence and 14 tasks with the choice of one correct answer from three proposed. The recommended time to complete Section 1 is 30 minutes.
Before listening to each text, be sure to read the text of the task in the form and the answer options - so it will be easier for you to navigate while listening. Don't try to memorize the whole text - "filter out" only the information that is relevant to the task (which is why it is important to read the task BEFORE the hearing, not during or after it).
Section 2 ( Reading ) includes 9 tasks, of which 2 are tasks for establishing correspondence and 7 tasks with the choice of one correct answer from four proposed. The recommended time to complete Section 2 is 30 minutes.
Reading, although it accompanies the child throughout his learning of the English language, in the form of the Unified State Examination represents the greatest danger. Specifically, we are talking about the last task, where after reading an excerpt from the text, you must choose from four answer options that correspond to the content of the text. The difficulty comes from the fact that the test questions are inferences, not factual information. Accordingly, the student must have developed logical and analytical thinking in order to successfully complete this task. You can’t “train” on this with typical exercises and tests.
Oddly enough, but the training of these types of thinking is not at all linguistic. Give the child logical tasks, puzzles, questions with a "trick". They can be found in books like Entertaining Mathematics. As for linguistic training, it would be useful to select for students excerpts from literary texts no larger than an A4 page and compose similar test questions for them. There should be no more than 5 of them, so as not to form a dislike for such tasks in the child. And, as you know, the psychological barrier is the main obstacle to the successful passage of the exam.
During the exam, it is recommended that after completing this task, do not immediately enter the answers into the form, but proceed to the next section. Then it is worth returning to this task and, having read the text again and re-performing the test, it is already safe to enter answers into the form. The fact is that switching attention (i.e. moving to another section) gives your brain time to rest and recharge. Moreover, the next section is grammar and vocabulary, which, as a rule, is performed automatically.
Section 3 ( Grammar and Vocabulary ) includes 20 tasks, of which 13 are short-answer tasks and 7 are multiple-choice tasks from four options. When completing short answer tasks, you must write the answer yourself at the appropriate place of work. The recommended time to complete Section 3 is 40 minutes.
This section, unlike the previous one, is very easy to mint during training. And this does not require the creative efforts of the teacher - the Round up-6 textbook is well suited for this kind of preparation. It has sections “Practice test” and “English in use”, which duplicate the content of the exam. In addition, the Macmillan publishing house has recently released a lot of useful educational literature specifically for preparing for the exam.
Section 4 ( Writing ) consists of two tasks and is a short written work (writing a personal letter and a written statement with elements of reasoning). The recommended time to complete this section of the work is 60 minutes.
When writing a letter, do not try to put as much information as possible into it. Firstly, a format of 100-140 words will not allow you to do this. Secondly, a good part of the letter should be occupied by clichéd expressions characteristic of the letter - this is what the commission checks. In addition, pay attention that the final version of your letter satisfies all the recommendations in the assignment. Yes, and repeat the word order and the rules for constructing questions in English - in each letter you need to ask 3 questions to the addressee.
As for a written statement with elements of reasoning, it is necessary to remember this: there are two types of reasoning - reasoning-explanation and reasoning-comparison. The first is the easiest: you are asked to explain the reasons for something. Then the structure of the essay is several paragraphs, each of which is a separate reason. Naturally, each of them should be introduced using the constructions to begin with, firstly, secondly, next, finally, then, etc. The more introductory structures you use, the higher your score. This rule applies to both types of writing.
If we talk about writing-comparison, then its structure can be built in 2 ways. With the first one, you first describe one object (also each of its aspects in a separate paragraph), then you compare the second object, keeping the order of the aspects in the paragraph, with the first one. In the second option, you compare both objects in one aspect in each paragraph. It is this method that is considered the most suitable for the exam, since it does not allow the thought to "escape" and takes less time.
It will be useful to sketch out a plan before direct reasoning - this will take no more than 2 minutes. And one more thing: do you know how to check whether your reasoning is logical? Read the first and last paragraphs (i.e. introduction and conclusion). If they express the same thought, then the essay was a success!
Section 5 ( Speaking ) includes two tasks: a thematic monologue statement and a dialogue with the aim of exchanging evaluative information. The oral response time is 10 minutes per subject.
When speaking, remember that you are limited in time. Therefore, try to compress the maximum of meaning into a minimum of units. Use introductory structures. In the dialogue, do not forget to ask your partner questions. Remember that in the conversation you must consider all aspects of the assignment. Be polite and use your writing skills: explain and compare. When preparing for a short statement, it will be useful to scroll through the topics in English and compile a glossary for each topic.
Take your time on the exam itself - you are given 170 minutes (almost 3 hours !!!), listening, vocabulary and grammar and speaking will take less than half of this time. Therefore, while reading and writing, as they say, take your time!