Why study the IELTS and Cambridge courses at BBELS

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Taking one of our test preparation courses at BBELS is a perfect way to pass the Cambridge and IELTS exam. Each of the teachers chosen to teach the courses have had years of experience in preparing students for the exams and therefore our students have a high pass rate.

Before allowing students into our testing courses we ask each student to complete a test which checks their levels. This 1 ½ hour test focuses on speaking, listening, grammar and writing. Students are then put into class depending on their test result. Students need to have completed studies at an Intermediate level in order to be accepted into our IELTS and FCE courses, and potential CAE students need to have completed an Upper-intermediate course. Our careful testing of all students at this early stage means that our classes flow smoothly throughout the duration of the course.

BBELS teachers have regular Professional Development sessions where they share ideas on teaching methodologies related to the various areas of the exams. These professional development sessions always result in the teachers creating new resources for the testing courses. In doing so, the teachers provide their students with lessons that are specifically tailored to the requirements of the exams and our students .

Each week students in the testing classes focus on individual points of grammar and vocabulary that allow them to successfully answer different parts of the exam. Classes are tested each week as a way to check individual student progress. This helps the teacher identify any weaknesses in the students’ comprehension of what has been studied. These tests also familiarise the students with the format of the Cambridge and IELTS exam.

Our testing courses run for 12 weeks with the exception of one 10-week course per year. We believe this is enough time for students to develop their skills in all areas of the exams. As we are an authorised Cambridge testing centre we are able to test our Cambridge students here at the school, this includes the paper-based exams and the speaking exam (this is subject to student numbers). This means our students can take the exam in a familiar environment allowing them to feel relaxed.

Our regular IELTS teacher is also an IELTS examiner so she knows exactly what the students need to know before they take the test. Because of this our IELTS students always do particularly well, with many of them continuing to study at universities in Australia and overseas.

Studying one of our testing courses at BBELS is also a great way for our students to make friends both in and out of the classroom. Students can study in a multicultural classroom with students from Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Outside of the classroom students can live in student-houses provided by the school. Here they can live with students from differentschool-classes and countries, expanding their circle of friends in Byron Bay.

BBELS holds regular Friday night parties at the school so that students can meet more people outside their classroom and share-house environment. This is a great way for students to unwind and recharge after a week of study and tests. Activities are also organised by the school each weekend which students can participate in, allowing the students to balance the demands of an exam course with a more relaxed lifestyle.

As Byron Bay is a small town everything is easily accessible by bike or on foot. Students often talk about the friendliness of the townspeople and so they make friends with locals quickly (if they are not too shy). It is common to see students and locals together at cafes and pubs, or surfing at one of our quiet beautiful beaches. Communicating with the locals builds the students’ confidence, something that is very important when they take the exam.

So on both academic and social levels students who choose to study a testing course at BBELS have the potential to do very well. We provide the framework for student success; the rest is up to the hard work and discipline of each individual student.

 

 

 

 

Finding Love at BBELS

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Nadine and Michi on Graduation Day at BBELS

Holiday romances are quite common here in Byron Bay however this next story is especially heart-warming.

In 2010 two students from Switzerland arrived in Byron Bay to study at BBELS. Nadine took the FCE course while Michi took the CAE course. It was love at first sight for these two Swiss nationals (having met at the school cafe). The romance that started here has continued. In fact they have just got married!

The recently contacted us to share their story, writing “We fell in love from the first moment … we are so happy and can’t express the luck that we had in your school. BBELS turned out to be the best decision of our whole life and we really had the best time ever!”

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So, could you also find love and happiness at BBELS? Who knows what adventures await you.

Meet the staff: Chris

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In this week’s installment of “meet the staff” we are introducing you to Chris. Chris is popular with the students, teaching in both the General English and Cambridge courses.

Chris, tell us about yourself. Are you originally from this area?

No, I’m not. I’m originally from a great town in New Zealand called Nelson. I first visited Byron Bay in early 2009 for a yoga teacher training course, and fell in love with the place! Three years later, I made the move here and here I am, still!

How long have you been teaching at BBELS?

So far, I’ve had 3 years of great times here at BBELS.

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

I love their enthusiasm, open-mindedness, and passion to learn new things and have new experiences!

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

I’ve done all kinds of jobs over the years, from bar and restaurant work to ski guiding and photography, gardening and building to surf/snow/skate shop retail. All of them have helped me develop into who I am today. Also, teaching yoga to some very unfit and inflexible people helped me develop the necessary patience to become a better English teacher!

We know you are very engaged with the local community, and you are always keen to engage your students in very special local projects. Could you tell us about it?

One of my true passions is the natural world, and I believe a healthy environment is the single most important thing for our own health and happiness. With this in mind, I work with a local NGO called Positive Change for Marine Life, which seeks to educate people and raise awareness of the massive damage humans are causing to the ocean ecosystem. One thing we do is conduct regular beach cleans, and I’m always happy to have students from BBELS join us with these! It’s also a great opportunity for students to meet and chat to other members of the local community.

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Do you have any tips for the new students who want to improve their English skills?

Yes, DO YOUR HOMEWORK!! Hahaha, I’m just joking! Well, I’m half-joking… You should definitely do any homework your teacher gives you, but more importantly, remember WHY you are learning English: to communicate with people from other countries! So, get out there and spend as much time as possible speaking English to all sorts of people. Your English will improve a lot, AND you’ll make great friends and learn things you have never thought about before!

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

Do all the things that really make life great! Spend time with great people, listen to great music, dance like a crazy person, try surfing, watch the sunrise from the lighthouse or top of Mt. Warning, do some yoga, think about life, go snorkelling or diving with the incredible marine life we have here, eat yummy local food and drink a couple of cold, local beers sometimes!