100% pass-rate for FCE students

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A group photo with some of our FCE students on their first day at BBELS

Congratulations to all of our June FCE students. You all passed your exam. We are very happy for you!

Over a 12-week period the FCE students studied a mountain of grammar and vocabulary that was necessary to pass the exam. Their fabulous teacher Katherina said that they were one of the hardest-working groups she had ever taught so it is so good to see that all their time and effort resulted in each of the students passing the FCE exam.

BBELS is a great place to prepare for the Cambridge exams. Our teachers have years of experience and consistently achieve good results. Each day our Cambridge students study for 4.5 hours and then balance this hard work with a few hours of relaxation at the beach at the end of the day.

Our next Cambridge courses start on the 5th September. We hope to see you there then 🙂

 

20 reasons to study English at BBELS in Byron Bay

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The BBELS school building

Thinking of studying English in Australia?

Here are 20 things that show why BBELS in Byron Bay is a great study destination for you!

  1. Location – BBELS is in the CBD – heart of Byron Bay

It will only take you a few seconds to be on Jonson Street, Byron Bay’s main street with plenty of trendy cafes, restaurants, and shops. And only a few minutes to be at some of Australia’s most beautiful beaches. We have it all just around the corner!

  1. Class hours

We offer 22.5 hours of face-to-face tuition with highly-qualified teachers. All of them are native speakers, and have been working at BBELS for many years.

  1. BBELS Job Club

Brian, our Job Club Manager, can help you find a job in Byron Bay. During his Job Club workshop he will also show you how to create a CV in English, apply for your TFN, and set up an Australian bank account.

  1. Owned by a long-term local family- BBELS is a beautiful and charming boutique school

If you are looking for a school with a laid-back atmosphere which is also very professional, then BBELS is the ideal place for you!

  1. BBELS has 2 dedicated people to activities and travel desk

Max, our activities coordinator, organizes activities for our students each and every day. Whether you’d like to combine your English course with surfing, yoga, or some music lessons, you will surely have a ball in Byron Bay!

Reuben, our travel advisor, can help you with the booking of some Aussie tours including accommodation and flights. This way, you will have the chance to explore the rest of this amazing country just before you head back home.

  1. BBELS offers a supervised school party evening every 2 weeks at the school

The school parties on the BBELS balcony are legendary! The students easily make friends at these functions, and enjoy the evening with some live music.

  1. BBELS offers Buddy BBQs every 3 months

Each student joins the FREE barbeque with another BBELS student from a different country.

Our English only policy is a must during this fun event, and you will enjoy meeting people from all over the world.

  1. BBELS has its own licensed café- Café Oska

We have a school party on the balcony every second Friday, and a Buddy Barbeque every 3 months.

What happens when we don’t have the school parties? Then the fun goes on at Cafe Oska!

Besides special live-music events during the weekends, Cafe Oska offers some delicious breakfast and lunch specials with a great student discount. And yes, there is also a happy hour from 3pm until 5pm.

  1. BBELS has multi-lingual staff to assist low level students (we speak Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean at the school)

 We understand that our students might struggle with the language barrier during their first weeks in Australia. That’s why we are here! The team at BBELS is fluent in many languages, and we can assist you with anything you might need to know in your mother tongue.

  1. BBELS building is solar powered

Because here in Byron Bay, we like to protect our environment!

  1. BBELS is an IALC school

We have all the accreditations that Australian language schools require, but one accreditation is a bit special. IALC consists of a network of language schools world-wide that „have individual character and a real connection with their local community. All IALC language schools are quality assured and boutique, providing guaranteed professionalism, personal attention and an exceptional learning experience.“

For further information about IALC, please check their website here.

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One of our Cambridge classes on graduation day

  1. BBELS is an authorized Cambridge exam centre in Byron Bay

This means you can sit your Cambridge exam at BBELS, there is no need to travel to any other testing centre up the Coast.

  1. Excellent Cambridge exam preparation courses

Cambridge teacher Ash has been working at BBELS for 11 years, read an interview with him here.

Cambridge coordinator Kat has been working at BBELS for 8 years, read an interview with her here.

If you are still wondering why you should study Cambridge at BBELS, then read this interesting article here.

  1. Excellent IELTS exam preparation courses

IELTS teacher Liese is also an IELTS examiner, and has been working at BBELS for 9 years. Read her interview here.

Are you not quite sure what the differences between our IELTS and Cambridge exam preparation courses are? We explain this here.

  1. Own student housing close to school

We also have our own shared-accommodation for our students. All student houses are close to the school, so you can simply walk or ride by bike to BBELS!

  1. Lovely homestay family accommodation

Many BBELS students also choose to live with an Australian homestay family in Byron Bay. This is the perfect way to practice your English with some locals after classes while getting to know the Aussie culture.

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Satomi, one our Japanese studenst, volutnerring in the Northern Territory

  1. Own volunteering programs

As a volunteer you won’t only make a positive impact, but you’ll also have the chance to meet the locals, improve your English language skills and boost your CV!

Read an interesting article about the benefits of volunteering here.

  1. Academic Pathways with Southern Cross University and TAFE NSW

After successfully completing their English studies at BBELS, many students decide to continue studying at an Australian university or TAFE. BBELS offers an Academic Pathway with the Southern Cross University and TAFE NSW, which means you won’t need to sit an IELTS* exam. As long as you enrol for a General English upper-intemediate/ advanced or IELTS exam preparation course and you pass the English test with our Director of Studies, we can give you a reference letter confirming the direct entry to SCU or TAFE NSW.

*Direct entry is not accepted for the Bachelor of Nursing and Interpreting Services. Direct entry might also depend on the assessment level of the student visa application.

  1. Teen programs during Aussie winter months

 We understand that teenagers would also like to experience the fun at BBELS, and have therefore created a customized teen program which includes a General English course in combination with some typical Aussie activities like surfing, playing the didgeridoo, bush walking, and a lot more.

  1. Great nationality mix

Students from all around the world come to share the same experience at BBELS:

Study English and have fun with some typical Australian activities in beautiful Byron Bay!

 According to the BBELS motto: Learn to Live!

Congratulations to our Cambridge students

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Cambridge September-December 2015

The results have just arrived for our last group of Cambridge students and we are extremely happy with their achievements.

Our Advanced Cambridge classes got a combined total of 84%, with one student receiving a grade “A”. The First Certificate class worked extremely hard, they received an average of 93%.

These are fantastic results and we are very proud of the students and their teachers. The results show that students can balance the fun atmosphere of Byron Bay with the hours of study that are needed to pass the Cambridge exams.

We hope that the certificates help our students in their future careers and studies. Well done everyone!

Meet the Teachers: Katherina, Cambridge exam co-ordinator.

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In today’s post we have the pleasure of introducing you to Katherina. Katherina is the Cambridge Exam Co-ordinator at BBELS.  Specialising in teaching the Advanced Cambridge Exam classes Katherina also enjoys teaching the General English courses.

What do you especially enjoy about teaching the students at BBELS?

Of course the diversity of cultural backgrounds and ages makes every day an interesting experience. But what I most enjoy is getting to know my students in the classroom through the interaction that unfolds as the course progresses. In any group situation each individual contributes something important to the whole and I appreciate the opportunity of seeing how individual students develop not only academically but also as an important part of the class. The teaching is always mutual; I learn lots from students too!

What other fields did you work in before you started teaching English at BBELS? Has it helped you as a teacher?

I’ve worked in adult education now for about 15 years; 7 at BBELS, 5 in schools overseas (ESL teaching) and a couple of years in evening colleges in Sydney (mostly as a guest lecturer in herbal medicine).

As well as my ESL teaching qualifications,  I completed a 4 year Diploma in Naturopathy and then worked for several years in clinics in Sydney and Byron Bay helping patients with diet, lifestyle and counselling. Although I opted for teaching in the end, this experience has taught me a lot about how to live a healthy life and how to encourage others to move forward in a positive way. The skills I learnt as a practitioner have been very useful as a teacher.

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As the Cambridge coordinator what advice would you give a student who wants to enter the Cambridge courses at BBELS?

The exam preparation courses are intensive courses run over a 10-12 week period and you need an overall grade of 60% to pass. So these courses require a high level of dedication (yes homework!) and commitment both in terms of class attendance (minimum 90%) and classroom participation. But if you think it’s for you, it’s well worth the effort.

When you arrive, you’ll do a placement test to determine which level exam course (FCE, CAE or CPE) is a realistic choice for you.

Ideally if you choose an exam course, you have a clear goal and are prepared to work towards it. Your Cambridge teacher is here to help you prepare for the exam to the best of your ability.

Be prepared for homework assignments, weekly tests and class presentations. You should plan on putting aside several  hours of home study a week outside class time. Your progress will be monitored on an ongoing basis and your teacher will work with you to maximise your strengths and improve any weaknesses.

But you can also be prepared for a bit of fun too. That’s one of the benefits of studying within the the relaxed and friendly environment of BBELS!

What are some things you’d recommend students do while they are here in the Byron Bay Region?

There are so many things to try and the school activities programme will certainly give you loads of great ideas. We fill the school day with lots of productive work but there’s still plenty of time to enjoy what this region offers. My personal favourite is sunrise at any of Byron’s beaches or the Lighthouse if you can make it up there in time, followed by a morning swim (you might see dolphins!) and a breakfast barbecue with friends. Or go to the Byron Farmers’ Market to meet some of the locals and enjoy the beautiful fresh food grown in and around Byron. Take the opportunity to experience and enjoy the stunning natural environment we are blessed with here.

 

Choosing between the IELTS and Cambridge Courses

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Students at BBELS often ask us to describe the difference between the IELTS and Cambridge Mainsuite exams (FCE, CAE, CPE).

Choosing between the different courses is important, especially if your objective is related to future academic studies, sponsorhip or national citizenship.

Following is a guide to help you select the course which will provide you with the best outcome.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System):

Why is IELTS useful:

IELTS is important for students who are interested in entering TAFE colleges and Australian and international universities. IELTS is essential for students who wish to immigrate to Australia, Canada and New Zealand. If you want to work in a professional job in Australia, the USA or British commonwealth countries it is also neccessary to do the IELTS exam.

It is generally advised that academic institutions do not accept an IELTS report that is more than 2 years old.

What is the structure of the exam:

Students can elect to sit either the General IELTS exam or the Academic IELTS exam. The General IELTS exam is useful for immigration purposes and to enter non-academic training contexts. The Academic IELTS exam is suited for students who wish to enter universities and professions that use English in the workplace.

The IELTS exam tests 4 skills: speaking, listening, reading, writing. The Academic IELTS exam tests students’ reading and writing ability at a higher level than the General IELTS exam.

Speaking: is divided into General Topics, One Prepared Topic and a Discussion with the examiner.

Listening: consists of a variety of question styles. Using correct spelling is important.

Reading: consists of 3 passages. Question styles include include multiple choice, writing words, matching and summarizing.

Writing: Students will be expected to write papers which Present and Support an Opinion; Discuss Problems/Solutions; balance Two Arguments

Who can study the IELTS preparation course:

The course is open to full-time students in the Upper-intermediate-Advanced levels. Depending on the time of year the course runs for 10-12 weeks. It is a requirement that students commence in the first week of the course for a minimum of 8 weeks. Students must also sit a pre-entry test before commencing the course.

The IELTS test can be taken at the Gold Coast, approximately one hour from Byron Bay.

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Graduation Day for one of our First Certificate in English classes.

The Cambridge Mainsuite Exams:

Why are the Cambridge exams useful:

The Cambridge exams are useful for work and acdemic purposes.

A pass in the First Certificate in English exam (equivalent to level B2 of the CEFR) indicates an everyday written and spoken ability in English. This is recognised by many international companies and educational institutions.

The Certificate in Advanced English is recognised by over 10,000 employers and colleges worldwide. Furthermore it is approved by the Australian government for student visas.

The Certificate of Proficiency in English is recognised by prestigious universities around the world as evidence of a high level in academic and social English.

The CAE and CPE exams are extremely difficult to pass without studying in a preparation course beforehand.

What is the structure of the exams:
There are 5 sections to the tests: Reading, Writing, Use of English, Listening, and Speaking.

Reading: There are long and short passages with different types of questions. Texts range from newspapers, fiction stories, interviews, advertisements and other media.

Writing: Two different types of writing are required. Possible formats include letters, reports, reviews, essays or short stories.

Use of English: Tasks that show grammar and vocabulary control are tested in this section.

Listening: Questions are asked about a range of recordings including news programs, presentations and conversations.

Speaking: This involves direct answers to an examiner, descriptions of pictures, pair work.

There is no expiry limit to the Cambridge reports.

Who can study the Cambridge preparation course:

The Cambridge courses are open to full-time students in the Upper-intermediate to Advanced levels. Depending on the time of year the courses run for 10-12 weeks. It is a requirement that students commence in the first week of the course. Students must also sit a pre-entry test before commencing the course.

Students are either tested here at BBELS or at the Gold Coast (approximately one hour from Byron Bay).

Our IELTS and Cambridge students always report that their vocabulary and grammatical accuracy improves dramatically throughout the preparation courses. The skills learned in the courses make our students much more employable both here in Australia and in their home country. Students also comment about the sincere friendships that are formed during the 3 months spent studying together.

If you would like to know more about our testing courses please contact today!

 

 

 

 

Congratulations FCE 100% Pass Rate

We would like to congratulate all our FCE (First Certificate in English) students for passing the exam!!! It is a fantastic result and all our students should be very proud.

For the last two years we have been holding the Cambridge exams here at school. This last course we had a FCE class and a CAE class.

We would also like to say a special congratulations to Damien Fiorucci for getting an A.

Of course we also need to thank their wonderful teacher, Jay-Dea, who encouraged, bribed, chastised them every day, and made sure they learnt the skills necessary for passing the reading, writing, listening and speaking tests.

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Congratulations Cambridge Students!!!

We want to say goodbye and good luck to all our lovely Cambridge students.

Last week we had the speaking exams at school. All the students were happy with the exam and felt that they were well prepared.

On Friday we had a farewell BBQ at the pass with graduation speeches, it was a lovely day and everybody was in a great mood.

On Tuesday we had the FCE exam at school and CAE on Wednesday.

Michael ‘shouted’ everyone a drink at the Cafe Oska on Wednesday after the CAE exam finished.

It was a great group of FCE and CAE students. Special mention to the wonderful Javier who was here for the third time!!! He has already done FCE and has just completed CAE. Hopefully we will see him again for CPE.

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Congratulations Cambridge Students

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We would like to congratulate all our Cambridge students on their excellent exam results.

It is a very difficult exam, with lots to learn. Over the many years that we have been teaching Cambridge courses we have learnt that this is a great course to study as long as you are prepared to work hard.

Some tips for our current students are:

  • Review and revise the work you have learnt that day
  • Write, write, write – every time your teacher gives you a writing task, do it!
  • Read as much as possible in English- read what you are interested in
  • Set time aside for studying every day and on the weekend – do it after class
  • Give yourself 1 night a week to have fun
  • Listen to what your teacher tells you
  • Ask for help and extra work if you need it
  • Practice speaking at home, at school, in the pubs

We often find that sometimes the lowest level students listen to their teachers the most, work hard, ask for help and pass the exam. It’s all about motivation, setting goals and working for them.

Cambridge & IELTS Classes 17 & 24 June

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Have you ever thought about studying a Cambridge or IELTS course?
Now is the perfect time to study IELTS or Cambridge at BBELS.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System), is used for entry into Universities, colleges and TAFES in Australia, England and the USA. It is also used for immigration purposes.

The IELTS exam awards you a grade that measures your English level: 0 – 9, meaning you can’t fail the exam.

The IELTS exam consists of four papers; Reading, Writing, Listening & Speaking.

Your IELTS score is valid for two years.

The Cambridge exam consists of five papers; Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking and Use of English.

Cambridge has an exam for each level FCE (First Certificate of English), CAE (Cambridge Advanced English) and CPE (Cambridge Proficiency in English).

Cambridge exams are predominantly used for overseas employment, entry into universities as well as for immigration purposes.

Cambridge exams do not expire, however, after about two years you would probably want to update your exam if you are using English for employment or educational purposes.

If you would like more information about these courses please go to reception and make an appointment.
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