Vocabluary building and avoiding ´the language learning plateau´

An important aspect of enhancing your progression is building up your vocabulary. Obviously we need to know more than one way of saying things or we will of course be very limited with our language use. This is an important aspect of getting over the notorious ´learning plateaus´ that generally set in around the pre-intermediate and intermediate levels.

The best ways to build vocabulary is through word association exercises and use of vocabulary in context.

For example, we can associate these words, phrasal verbs and expressions:

Like – enjoy, love, be keen on, be fond of, be into, be crazy about, be big on, be a fan of

Want – be up for, be eager (infinitive), fancy, feel like, crave, take a fancy to, desire

Choose – pick, go for. Select, opt for, decide on, settle on, plump for, designate, fix on

Dislike – hate, loathe, detest, despise, not be mad about, not be interested in, not be into

A useful exercise is:

Matching – if you relate new vocabulary to words that you already know, it is easy to substitute them in context.

Match 1-10 with the options A-J (only use each letter once)

1.       Get up

2.       Wake up

3.       Go out

4.       Stay up

5.       Carry on

6.       Get around

7.       Tidy up

8.       Make for

9.       Put away

10.   Wash up

A.      Head in a direction

B.      Continue

C.      Clean the dishes

D.      Move from place to place

E.       Not go to bed

F.       Stop sleeping

G.     Place something where it belongs

H.      Organize your things

I.        Remove yourself from your bed

J.        Go clubbing


1.       I

2.       F

3.       J

4.       E

5.       B

6.       D

7.       H

8.       A

9.       G

10.   C




Advice for speaking better during Cambridge oral exams

Initiating and responding. It is really important to be able to form simple questions well. The key is to use simple questions such as, “Do you enjoy watching TV?” and to focus on giving a simple, fluent and extended answer (20-30 seconds). Your answer in the exam should be with mostly simple grammar forms that you have practiced during the course and the vocabulary should be only what you are sure of using. DO NOT EXPERIMENT WITH NEW WORDS IN THE EXAM!


Question tags: question tags are used as a way of forming informal questions, asking for confirmation or agreement.

I reckon that it is an easy exam, don´t you?


Give a reason for your answers. You should always give a reason for your answers with a simple connective such as because, but or for example. This will help you to extend your speech and also, to show confidence and fluency.


An important part of the exam is suggesting. You need to be able to suggest different options to later talk about them. For example, why don´t we talk about…? How about (…ing)?


It is very important to negotiate an outcome in part 3 and 4 (FCE B2) in part 2 and 4 (PET B1). This means to give a result. What you need to do is find a conclusion by showing agreement or disagreement. A good thing to know is how to express strong agreement or disagreement.

Agree: exactly, I couldn’t agree more, you took the words out of my mouth

Disagree: no way! Are you serious? You must be joking! You must be pulling my leg! (¿me estás tomando el pelo?)

In conclusion, to sum up, finally, in the end, to finish, as you can see, that’s why…, in brief, on the whole, in short, in summary


Expressing purpose; It is important to know how to state the purpose or the reason for something. There are only really 3 options at B1 level.

  1. Infinitive: I am learning English to get a good job.
  2. So that: I am learning English so that I can get a good job.
  3. In order to: I am learning English in order to get a good job.


Developing and extending speech. An important part of speech is being able to develop you answer. This is when you make a topic more interesting by linking it to your own ideas and opinions. It is best to use the 1st or 2nd conditional.

E.g. If we go to the zoo, we will see lots of interesting animals and I live animals. But we won´t go unless it shops raining.


Linking ideas: In speaking part 2 and 4 it is a good idea to start linking ideas, use the expressions.

E.g. like you have said…, According to you…, With respect to what you have said about…


Persuading or convincing people to agree with you is important in part 2. When you are talking about the situation, it is important to know how to convince your partner to agree with you. It doesn’t matter if you agree or not but you need to express your opinion so that they might agree with you.

Persuade: Don´t you think we should…? Wouldn´t it be a good idea to…?


You need to be able to express changes in likes and dislikes (past and present). You need to be able to talk and write about how you opinions, likes and dislikes have changed. A great way is by using USED TO. This should that something has changed.

E.g. I used to do sport every day but now I only do it once a week.

*There are various ways of saying like, try to vary them. It is better to use the gerund (ing) after them.

LIKE = enjoy, love, be keen on, be fond of, be into, be a fan of, be big on, be crazy about

DISLIKE = hate, detest, loathe, despise, can´t stand


Speculating is needed to talk about things that are probable or that maybe will occur. Use modal verbs such as may/might/could. This will add a degree of uncertainty to your speech and allow margin for discussion.






There is a small city in the south-east of Spain called Albacete; it has ____ (1) a population of 170 thousand inhabitants. This curious little Spanish city has got many interesting things to see and do. Firstly, it is perfectly situated ____ (2) one hour from the mountains and the beach. The mountains have got various places to walk and hike and lots ____ (3) beautiful views. Albacete is a famous city ____ (4) of its penknives and bars. The nightlife in Albacete is very popular with people from the surrounding villages and many come to the city to go ____ (5) and have parties.

____ (6) year Albacete has a fair that is more than 300 years ____ (7), this traditional fair is known because it has got ____ (8)lot of cultural events and shows including traditional dance, bull fighting and music ____ (9). The fair attracts thousands of people from all over Spain and is known as a cultural attraction. For many people the fair is the opportunity to meet new people and have a party, it has got many traditional foods and drinks including sweet wine and cider. If you are interested ___ (10) seeing an authentic Spanish city, this is the place for you.


Methodology – START


An essential part of learning a language is the methodology used. I have spoken about the importance of using a language and context in the past, as well as giving advice for improving the individual skills such as speaking and listening, so I thought it right to put it into a simple acronym to be able to remember: START

See it and say it

Translate and try it in a context

Apply it and use it in a phrase

Review it and remember it

Test it by using it in a context


The methodology is simple and I have put it into 5 points, when dealing with new language (vocabulary or grammar structures), the learner should:

1. See it and say it to be clear about what they want to learn.

2. Translate (if necessary) and try it out in a context, this is essential with phrasal verbs or idioms.

3. Apply it to various contexts and use it in several phrases (say it, listen to it, write it and read it).

4. Review it and try to remember it. It is important to recall it frequently.

5. Test it by using it in various contexts and in real life (or exam) situations.



Multiple choice gaps fill collocations – Phrasal verbs

1. Get ___ (get out of bed)
get on refers to boarding a bus or having a good relationship with someone.
2. Wake ___ (stop sleeping)
wake at doesn´t exist.
3. Go ___ (clubbing or leave the house)
go on means to continue.
4. Stay ___ (not sleep or not go to bed)
stay around means to remain in a place or to sleep in somebody´s house.
5. Carry ___ (continue)
Carry for doesn´t exist.
6. Get ___ (move from place to place)
Get into means to start liking something.
7. Tidy ___ (pick things up off the floor or to clean up)
Tidy in doesn´t exist.
8. Make ___ (go/head in a direction)
make up is to invent a piece of information or to make peace.
9. Put ___ (tidy up)
put on refers to dressing oneself.
10. Wash ___ (clean the dishes)
Wash about doesn´t exist.


On arrival at the language school, you will do a level test to put you into the correct groups (based on level), this will ensure the best rate of progress possible. Here is a short example of the types of questions that could appear in the exam.

Al llegar a la academia se hará una prueba de nivel para colocarles el el grupo adecuado para asegurar un progreso optimo. Aqui tienen un ejemplo del tipo de preguntas que podrian salir en la prueba.



A1 A2 B1 B2 C1 C2

(Spanish Courses) Cursos de español en Albacete, Castilla la Mancha

 Abbey Road Centro de Estudios presenta los cursos de español para extranjeros 2017

Starting at just 349 euros

A Project for the promotion of languages across the world


English and Spanish versions


The largest city in Castilla-La Mancha is situated on a vast, flat stretch of farmland of great natural value. This peculiar orography gave the region its old Arab name: Al-Basit (the Plain). A journey through the region will allow you to perceive the intense commercial activity along its main arteries and the peace and quiet of its corners, so typical of La Mancha, awakened by the bustle that September brings, with its holidays and festivities that make this month the ideal time of year for a visit. It really doesn´t get any more Spanish than this!

Albacete is 253 kilometres (2 hours 30 minutes) from Madrid, Spain´s capital and 187 kilometres (1 hour 30 minutes) from Valencia. Both are easily accessible by car, train or bus.

Where is the language course based?

Our centre is based 10 minutes on foot from the centre of Albacete close to the university campus of UCLM (5 minutes on foot). It is a modern centre (opened in 2013) with modern equipment such as projectors, air conditioning and sound equipment and is the perfect place to study.

What can I do?

Albacete is a small city with a population of just under 200,000 inhabitants but in spite of its relatively small size it offers a wide variety of entertainment. There are vaious museums including el Museo de la cuchillería and el Museo Arqueólogico, it has a huge park Abelardo Sanchéz, situated in the centre of the city. But the main focal point of the city is food; Albacete is famous for its food and drink and very reasonably priced. Take a walk down Tejares street of have a drink in Altozano square any night of the week and you will find it bristling with people.

What can I see?

Lovers of the arts and customs of La Mancha will enjoy a modern city that has preserved all of its traditional flavour. The cathedral of Saint John the Baptist is located in the oldest part of the city’s perfect urban layout. Although it is a Gothic building, its architecture includes different styles. The immense amount of time it took to build (four hundred years), yielded as a result a Gothic chapel, four great Renaissance columns, several Baroque elements and a Neogothic main front. Albacete’s religious architecture can also be seen in the old monastery of Encarnación (16th century), presently an arts centre and in the church of the Holy Conception. Homes of La Mancha

Tejares street holds some of Albacete’s most traditional homes, characterised by the layout of the rooms around a central courtyard. Casa de los Picos and Casona Perona both have coats of arms on their façades, indicating the noble lineage of the original owners. Albacete’s Tourist Inn, located in a La-Mancha-style country house, is a very tempting choice to spend the night. Its restaurant has an excellent selection of regional dishes, such as gazpacho manchego (a soup with fried tomatoes, garlicand special crackers), soused partridge and Miguelitos de la Roda for dessert.

The financial prosperity that this area experienced at the beginning of the 20th century can be perceived in the Lodares Passage. Shopping malls with iron and glass roofs, separated by Renaissance columns, transport visitors to the best of the Modernist spirit.

You must not leave the city without first taking a walk under the shade of the trees at Abelardo Sánchez Park and paying a visit to the Albacete Museum. It has exceptional collections of Archaeology, Fine Artsand Ethnology. If, on the other hand, you would like to watch a game of bochas (bowls), similar to pétanque, you are sure to find some locals playing at the Fiesta del Árbol Park.

There is an officially recognized touristic Don Quixote route that goes through 148 towns throughout its more than 1,243 mi. (2,000 km.) of routes that cover a vast stretch of historical and livestock trails that are indicated with clear signs with access to more than 2000 elements of cultural interest and about 20 natural areas for you to enjoy that span across the 5 provinces. The Don Quixote Route was distinguished in 2007 as a European Cultural Route by the Council of Europe.


The Don Quixote Trail

I imagine you have all Heard of Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes: The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha, the principal character makes three adventurous trips through the Spanish regions of La Mancha, Aragón and Barcelona. We’re not exaggerating when we claim that Don Quixote of La Mancha is one of the most famous novels in the history of literature. This novel, which tells the adventures and (especially) misfortunes of a man who wanted to be a knight-errant through La Mancha, was written by Miguel de Cervantes in the 17th century, and it is said that it’s the most translated book after the Bible. That period in Spanish literature is known as the Golden Age, and 400 years on we suggest following in the footsteps of the “Knight of the Sad Countenance”, who could not distinguish fantasy from reality.

We also offer an activity weekend in Yeste, Albacete so that you can see the real  Spanish countryside and be immersed in the language while doing fun and entertaining activities.

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Avenida de España nº37, Albacete, España, 02002

Telephone number/numero de contacto


+34690837758 ((English speaking contact and head of studies at the centre)

Email/correo electrónico (English speaking contact and head of studies at the centre)