St Giles College, Pre-Interview Exercise

St Giles College, Pre-Interview Exercise

London HighgateCambridge CELTALanguage Awareness Task

Please note that your written English as well as the content of your answers forms part of our evaluation of your application.

Section 1. Learning and Teaching Here are some statements about English language learning and teaching. Indicate on the continuum the extent to which you agree with them.

Example- Language is primarily about communication. Yes [ X ] No

  1. Grammatical accuracy should be the main focus of English language lessons. Yes [______] No
  1. Good actors should be good teachers because they are used to having an audience. Yes [______] No
  1. A good learner will expect to be corrected every time they make a mistake. Yes [______] No
  1. A good teacher will know the answers to any language questions that occur in a lesson. Yes [______] No

Choose ONE of your answers and, in the box below, write between 70 and 100 words explaining your point of view.

Sentence number: ……
Section 2. Verb Tenses There are three pairs of sentences below. Only ONE of each pair is correct.
Tick the correct sentence, name both tenses (in bold) and answer the follow-up question – as in the example.

Example(a) She’s been eating five bananas.

(b) She’s eaten five bananas. 

Tenses(a) present perfect continuous

(b) present perfect simple 

(c) Which of these verb forms refers to a completed action? Ans:Present perfect simple

1.(a) I’d love to come to your party on Saturday but I’ll go to the theatre with friends.

(b) I’d love to come to your party on Saturday but I’m going to the theatre with friends.



(c) Which verb form refers to an arranged future? Ans:

2.(a) Where’s Fred? He’s doing the washing up.

(b) Where’s Fred? He does the washing up.



(c) Which one describes an action in progress at the time of speaking? Ans:

3. (a) If I hadn’t gone to that party, we would never have met.

(b) If I didn’t go to that party, we would never have met.



(c) Now complete the following sentences in your own way (ie nothing about parties or meeting!) so that they are correct English and make sense.

If I hadn’t gone ………………..

If I didn’t go ……………………….

Section 3 Form and Meaning As in section two, you have three pairs of sentences. Only ONE of each pair is correct. Tick the correct sentence and give a brief explanation – as in the example below.

Example-(a) I like watching at old photographs.

(b)I like looking at old photographs.

Why? ‘watch’ isn’t followed by a preposition – you watch things, not ‘at’ them! But even without the preposition, ‘watch’ would still be wrong in this sentence, because you watch moving things/images e.g. T.V. programmes. A photograph is stationary, so you really need to use ‘look at’

1.(a) How much milk is there in the fridge?

(b) How many milk is there in the fridge?


2.(a) He works hard.

(b)He works hardly.


3. (a) He robbed an old grandmother of her life savings.

(b) He stole an old grandmother of her life savings.


Section 4 Synonyms In this section, there are three sets of sentences. You’re given two alternative words in each case. In some sentences, both words may be possible, in others only one may be possible. Cross out any words which are not possible. The first pair has been given as an example.

slim / thin

She was a slim / thin girl with long red hair.

He was finally rescued looking thin / slim and pale after 10 days without any food.

Beware: Slim / Thin ice!

Your chances of winning anything in the lottery can only be described as slim / thin.


Her husband was an idle / a lazy good-for-nothing who never lifted a finger around the house.

This government will not respond to idle / lazy speculation.

The factory remained idle / lazy for several months until a new owner was found.

I sometimes enjoy an idle / a lazy Saturday morning lounging about in front of the telly.


Can you reach that file on the top shelf? It’s a bit too high / tall for me.

I watched the climbers until they were so tall / high that they appeared tiny specks against the clouds.

The city skyline was broken by the silhouettes of tall / high thin factory chimneys belching fumes into the atmosphere.

I was never really tall / high enough to get into the school basketball team.

to begin/ to start (verbs)

I just don’t know where to begin / start.

He wants to begin / start his own IT company.

Can you tell me what time lessons begin / start in the morning?

The battery was flat but we managed to begin / start the car by pushing it down the hill.

Now, choose ONE of the pairs of words and write a brief explanation of the similarity and difference in meaning . Here is an example about ‘slim’ and ‘thin’

Both of these words mean ‘not fat’, but ‘slim’ has a more positive connotation – you’d be happier to be called ‘slim’ than ‘thin’, because ‘thin’ suggests ‘unhealthy’. That’s why someone suffering from malnutrition could only be called ‘thin’. When you’re talking about things, ‘thin’ is normally the opposite of ‘thick’ when you’re measuring something. A ‘slim chance’ is a metaphorical expression meaning that you have very little chance of success.

Section 5. Syllable Stress. The word ‘banana’ has three syllables. The second syllable is stressed. Try stressing the other syllables and hear how strange the word sounds. Put a box around the syllable which carries the main stress, as in the example.

Example- banana

remember understand injure geology geological

matchbox democrat democratic demand comfortable

Section 6 Vowels. The words ‘leak’ and ‘need’ have the same vowel sound (although they are spelt differently). Find any pairs that share the same vowel sound from the following list and write them below. Then add another word which has the same vowel sound. The first has been done for you as an example.

leak heard bread bin could dawn

put laugh need heart four friend

wash turn pool hot sill soup

Pairs of words with the same vowel sound

leak – need - scene

Section 7 Written Assignment. Choose ONE of the essay titles below and, on a separate sheet (or sheets) of paper, write between 250 and 350 words in normal academic prose (ie the type of writing you’d need to do for a university assignment).
  • The benefits of learning a foreign language
  • The qualities of an ideal language teacher
  • The strengths and weaknesses of the education system in my country
  • An evaluation of a coursebook I have used (as a language student or teacher)
  • The reasons for the growing status of English as an international language