Guidelines to training students for Independent Assessment

Научная статья

Педагогика и дидактика

In terms of requirements to Independent Assessment in English we offer strategies on completing tests in reading and writing with comments on the order of their fulfilling which enables students to minimize time and increase efficiency.



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Костюкова Елена Ивановна,

Учитель высшей категории,


Донецкой гимназии №92

Сахацкая Майя Евгеньевна,

Учитель высшей категории

Донецкой гимназии №92

Guidelines to training students

for Independent Assessment

(reading, writing)

In terms of requirements to Independent Assessment in English we offer strategies on completing tests in reading and writing  with comments on the order of their fulfilling which enables students to minimize time and increase efficiency.


This is a special type of matching task in which you have a text with some parts (full sentences or parts of
sentences) missing from it. As with all the other types of reading tasks, before you start doing the exam task, read the text ignoring the gaps to get the overall idea of what it is about.

1  The content of the gaps

Read the instructions carefully and look at the text to check what needs to be put into the gaps: full sentences or parts of sentences.

2  Reference words and helpful links

When completing the gaps, look for words which are used to refer to sentences that come before or after
the gaps. Pay special attention to:

• cause and effect markers: if a sentence talks about an action, then the next one will most probably talk about its effect: To the surprise of the opposition party leaders, the government abolished the income tax (action). In this way the cabinet earned people's votes and won the elections easily (effect).

• pronouns and determiners: if they are used in the sentences, they refer to the people or things that are already mentioned in the text: Last Friday I went shopping with Jane. I knew she liked buying clothes, but I didn't expect her to buy five pairs of shoes!

• chronology markers: look for words like afterwards, eventually, finally which show the order of events: I couldn't find the tie anywhere. First I checked the wardrobe, then the chest of drawers - nothing.
Finally, after wasting three hours looking for it around the house, I found it in the wastebasket.

• vocabulary paraphrases: neighbouring sentences often refer to the same person, thing or concept but
use different words or phrases to describe them:
What the spectators saw then was probably one of the fastest vehicles which had ever been built. Spellbound, the crowds cheered and waved as the car sped past the stands and vanished in the distance.

3   Double-checking your answers

After you have completed all the gaps, read the text again to see if it is sensible and consistent. Make sure
that the extra sentence does not match any of the gaps. Ask yourself: "If I put this part here, will the sentence make sense? Is it a logical beginning or ending in this sentence? If I put this part here, will the grammar be OK?" If the meaning is logical and the grammar is correct, you have chosen the correct answer.

Read the following article about a car thief. Some phrases have been removed from the text. Match the phrases A-C to the gaps 1 -6. There is one extra phrase that you do not need to use.

A giving up his life of crime

B becoming a mechanic

C thinking that he was going to die

D leaving the car unlocked in front of the garage

E because its brakes needed changing

F things always seem to go wrong

G get a proper job


    Some people are born lucky. For others 1)___________________. Take the story of Yuri, a car thief from Moscow. He had never had much luck and he was wondering whether he should 2)__________________. He liked cars and thought  that  he might enjoy working as a mechanic.

    One day he was watching a mechanic in a garage and was just about to cross the road and ask about work when something happened. The mechanic went to the toilet 3)____________________! Yuri saw that the keys were inside. He ran across the road, got in, switched on the engine and drove away smiling. He realized that he hadn't really been serious about 4)_________________, because it was the only way of life for him.

    The first time he realized that something was wrong was at a set of red traffic lights. He put his foot on the  brake to stop the car, but nothing happened. He tried again, but the car did not slow down even a bit. He suddenly realized what was wrong. The car had been at the garage 5)_____________________. The mechanic had the old ones out but he hadn't put the new ones in yet! Yuri closed his eyes, 6)____________.

He felt the impact of the collision with another car. When he opened his eyes, he realized that her was unhurt. He was just starting to think that he was lucky after all when he saw the car he had crashed into. It was a police car with two angry policemen inside! Yuri got arrested for stealing a car and fined for causing a traffic accident. In the future he will think twice before he breaks the law again!


- Opening phrase

     Dear Sir or Madam,

    I am writing in connection with../to ask/enquire about...

     I  have read/found your advertisement in... and would like to...

- Expressing interest

     I am interested in.../l have been looking for...

     I am planning to... and that is why I found this     

     advertisement /offer/text interesting/important

- Expressing doubts

     I have read the advert/about your services

     and/but I am not sure if...

     I cannot understand if...

     It is not clear to me if...

-Enquiring about the details

     I would like to know more details about...

     I would like to ask for further information about/ concerning...

     I am still not sure about one thing/problem,       namely...
Asking for information

     I would be (very) grateful if you could...

     I wonder if you could...

     I would like to ask if/when/where/why...

-Making final remarks

       I look forward to your answer/to hearing from you...
Closing phrases

   if the letter begins Dear Sir or Madam:

           Yours faithfully  

   if the letter begins Dear Ms/Mr Robinson:                             

           Yours sincerely

Sample exam task

You saw this advertisement on the Internet:

Are you looking for a good English course
at the Proficiency level?
The Cambridge School of English
has the best English courses in town'.
Affordable prices, best teachers, free Internet,
delicious meals at the school's cafeteria!
Write to
and we'll answer all your queries!

Write a letter to the school in which you ask about the details of the course. Include the following points: explain why you are writing

ask about payment forms and enrolment

Address the recipient in a

formal manner.

In the first paragraph we usually state the aim of the letter.

DO not use abbreviations,
keep the language suitably

Finish the letter with
an appropriate closing


Dear Sir or Madam,

  I am writing in connection with an advertisement for your Proficiency course in English. I am an eighteen-year-old student from Slovakia. For some time I have been looking for a course in English at a higher level, and that is why I found your course
very interesting.

  However, I am not sure if the course is for Slovakian students only, or for other Europeans, too. I would like to ask for more details on this matter. I would also be very grateful if you could inform me if there is a choice of meals at the cafeteria: I am
allergic to some foods. Finally, I would like to ask if I can pay for the course with a credit card and what kind of documents I need to be enrolled.

  I look forward to your answer.

Yours faithfully,

Anna Kovбз


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