Posted in English

I Hold In My Hand A Piece Of Paper

I was asked if I have a copy of past exam papers. Sadly, no I don’t because I scribbled answers on them all during revision and then recycled them when I finished the exam. There are a few scattered around the web but it’s not always easy to find them because they could be on pages of any language, not just english or portuguese. Here are the ones I know about:

Firstly, straight from a boca do cavalo, there are samples of the three sections of the paper, including an audio file of the compreensão oral test on the University of Lisboa’s site. The audio part is essential. As I’ve said in my descriptions of the tests, you definitely need to do some practice with this and figure out your strategy for reading the questions and answering them while listening in the very short time available. They play each one to you twice, but the amount of time for each one is pretty small, so it’s not the sort of thing you can just wing it through.

This site, Ensino Basico, has some dummy exam papers for levels A1, A2 and B1. They don’t look like official documents but they seem pretty realistic and they have sound files too, which is great.

This site has some different specimens of three of the four sections. The page is in italian but the papers themselves are in portuguese of course so it doesn’t matter. If you scroll down, there are three links in red. You can use ctrl+F to search for “interazione” if you want to go straight to it. No audio files, sadly.

Google also turns up a few if you are prepared to sift through the various results a bit.

This one from TELC is a pretty professional looking B1 test template. It’s not quite in the same format as the official exam but it has a similar level and some of the same exercises, at least. It feels a bit wrong that I can see it. I think these exam templates are supposed to be for sale, and I’m not sure if they even realise that this one is searchable via Google, but it is so take full advantage, I say.

This one purports to be a B1 test. It’s definitely not in the format used for the official CAPLE/DEPLE exams but it might be something extra if you need more practice.

If you want to take this to the next level, I’d advise getting one of the books of exam papers. Here’s the one I used for B1 and 2, for example

You can get it online from Bertrand and download the audio files here by entering the ISBN number (9789897524622) and publisher (Lidel). Bertrand also sell a book of B2 test papers with an accompanying CD from the same company called Exames de Portugues B2, Preparacao e Modelos which might be useful if you are looking at intermediate level, but bear in mind that it covers several different flavours of B2 level test including DIPLE Escolar, which is the test given to school-age children, Celpe-Bras, the brazilian equivalent of DIPLE and half a dozen others I don’t even recognise. It’s not specific to the standard CAPLE test framework, in other words, so although it is quite chunky, it may not be as useful as it seems.

The hardest thing to simulate is the fourth part of the test, “produção e interação orais”. You should probably work with a portuguese language teacher if you’re not already, or at the very least ask a portuguese friend to grill you to develop your conversation skills. Think about how to talk about yourself, practice talking about your favourite aspect of portuguese culture – food, music, books, and practice just looking at photographs and thinking about how you would describe them if you had to. It isn’t as long or as scary as you think it’ll be but it’s definitely worth getting used to that environment.

Posted in English

Exam Prep Review #6

Last 3 days. Biff. And also: Thwack.

Monday:

  • 1 hour lesson
  • Watch “Gatos Nao têm Vertigens”
  • Write about the Padrão dos descobrimentos
  • Write about the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (did a text about my book instead)
  • Watch 1 episode of “O Ministério do Tempo”

Tuesday

  • Read on the train
  • 1 hour accent practice (speaking)
  • 1 hour accent practice (listening – while walking)
  • Write about o Mosteiro de Batalha

Wednesday

  • Read on the train
  • 1 hour lesson
  • 1 hour conversation practice
  • Write a letter of complaint
  • Go to bed early

Thursday

  • Exam
Posted in English

Exam Prep Review #6

Crossin’ off dem tasks:

Sunday:

  • Do the Just a Minute Challenge
  • Watch “Gatos Nao têm Vertigens” (not done)
  • Spend 15 minutes trying to commit the song to memory
  • Do half an hour more on the transcript
  • Go through DIPLE model exam (mostly done but not quite)

Monday:

  • 1 hour lesson
  • Do half an hour on the transcript
  • Watch the film from Sunday instead of the above which I’ve now decided is a waste of time.
  • Write about the Padrão dos descobrimentos
  • Write about the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
  • Watch 1 episode of “O Ministério do Tempo”

Tuesday

  • Read on the train
  • 1 hour accent practice
  • Write about o Mosteiro de Batalha

Wednesday

  • Read on the train
  • 1 hour lesson
  • 1 hour conversation practice
  • Write a letter of complaint
  • Go to bed early

Thursday

  • Exam
Posted in Portuguese

Uma Carta Para a Câmara Municipal

Londres, 18 de Maio de 2019

Árvores

Excelentíssimo Senhor

Ouvi falar de um novo projecto de construção em frente do nosso prédio. Embora não tenha nada contra o projecto em si, existe um aspecto que não aceito: os planos incluem o abatimento de todas as árvores na zona da frente dos nossos apartamentos. Nós habitantes precisamos duma ligação à natureza. Sobretudo para as crianças que vivem cá no prédio, um lar sem árvores e sem pássaros não é saudável. Ninguém nos consultou, e isso não é razoável nem justo. Pedimos uma mudança dos planos para que as árvores possam ficar, ou pelo menos, se não for possível, um plano alternativo que tem como objectivo de substituir outras árvores na zona onde vivemos.

Fico à espera de uma resposta e se não a tiver dentro de uma semana tomarei outras medidas

Sem Outro Assunto,

Os melhores cumprimentos

18ck

Posted in English

Exam Prep Review #5

Progress update on the list of topics to cover.

Speaking Goals

  • Build Confidence: I need to speak clearly and confidently even when I get to a bit I’m not sure about. If I don’t know the word, just guess and keep on going rather than fretting and looking confused.
  • Conversely, don’t be cocky: talk at a sensible speed to give myself time to think, and don’t go off at a tangent that seems interesting if I’m not sure where I’m going with it. Obviously this is in conflict with the point above. I haven’t really got anywhere with these first two but I’m planning to do a sort of portuguese version of “just a Minute” as a way of making myself do it. One for the next couple of days, I think. 
  • Speak portuguese for at least 5 minutes every day between now and the exam. Crossing this one off – I have done loads and have 4 hours of conversation practice booked in the next 5 days, plus whatever I can coax out of Mrs Colin

Listening Goals

  • Listen to videos of people speaking in a range of accents from Alentejo, the rural centre of the country. and the islands (hence that Açoriano video I just posted).
  • Listen to at least 3 video films with subtitles. Not really a film but I’ll count “Na Ponta da Língua” for one and the Ricardo Araújjo Pereira thing as another. One to go.
  • Get to grips with the Raul Solnado “Guerra de 1908” sketch Done!

Cultural Goals

  • Read at the very least:
      • A Língua Portuguesa (Fernando Pessoa) I probably won’t get to finish this but it’s locked and loaded. I have read two extra (smaller) books in the meantime.
      • Mensagem (Fernando Pessoa) Done!
      • Brevíssima História de Portugal (A.H. De Oliveira Marques)
      • Maybe even A construção da democracia em Portugal (Kenneth Maxwell) although that seems a bit ambitious. No way is this happening. 
  • Make a timeline of portuguese history to get a sense of how it hangs together. Done
  • Write about portuguese landmarks – the Padrão dos Descubrimentos, Torre de Belém, Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and so on. I’ve done one and listened to some audio about the others

General Language skills

  • I need to build my vocabulary – Memrise and Lingq daily goals – Still winning
  • I’m getting better at the ver/vir (which was one of the 4 Evil Exes I identified a year or so back) but need to step up my game on some of the other weirder irregulars like Por and Dar
  • Finish the exercise book I’m on now Done!
  • Do a couple of mock exams to get a feel for the speed I need to be working at to get in under the time limit Work still needed. Only half a one!
  • Practice writing legibly. I type so much these days I need to get my hand used to forming letters or I’ll be penalised for spelling errors. Crossing off. If I can’t do it now, I’m in trouble,
  • Letter format and forms of address Still one to do
  • Learn – actually learn verbatim – one song. Still not done.

 

Plans for the next few days to make sure I hit all the remaining items

Sunday:

  • Do the Just a Minute Challenge
  • Watch “Gatos Nao têm Vertigens”
  • Spend 15 minutes trying to commit the song to memory
  • Do half an hour more on the transcript
  • Go through DIPLE model exam

Monday:

  • 1 hour lesson
  • Do half an hour on the transcript
  • Write about the Padrão dos descobrimentos
  • Write about the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
  • Watch 1 episode of “O Ministério do Tempo”

Tuesday

  • Read on the train
  • 1 hour accent practice
  • Write about o Mosteiro de Batalha

Wednesday

  • Read on the train
  • 1 hour lesson
  • 1 hour conversation practice
  • Write a letter of complaint
  • Go to bed early

Thursday

  • Exam
Posted in English

Exam Prep Review #4

Progress update on the list of topics to cover.

Speaking Goals

  • Build Confidence: I need to speak clearly and confidently even when I get to a bit I’m not sure about. If I don’t know the word, just guess and keep on going rather than fretting and looking confused.
  • Conversely, don’t be cocky: talk at a sensible speed to give myself time to think, and don’t go off at a tangent that seems interesting if I’m not sure where I’m going with it. Obviously this is in conflict with the point above. I haven’t really got anywhere with these first two but I’m planning to do a sort of portuguese version of “just a Minute” as a way of making myself do it. One for the next couple of days, I think. 
  • Speak portuguese for at least 5 minutes every day between now and the exam. Doing loads of this lately – and feeling my confidence grow again after a few weeks of bafflement.

Listening Goals

  • Listen to videos of people speaking in a range of accents from Alentejo, the rural centre of the country. and the islands (hence that Açoriano video I just posted).
  • Listen to at least 3 video films with subtitles. Totes counting my viewing of “Na Ponta da Língua” today for this
  • Get to grips with the Raul Solnado “Guerra de 1908” sketch Done!

Cultural Goals

  • Read at the very least:
      • A Língua Portuguesa (Fernando Pessoa)
      • Mensagem (Fernando Pessoa) Done!
      • Brevíssima História de Portugal (A.H. De Oliveira Marques)
      • Maybe even A construção da democracia em Portugal (Kenneth Maxwell) although that seems a bit ambitious. No way is this happening. 
  • Make a timeline of portuguese history to get a sense of how it hangs together. Done
  • Write about portuguese landmarks – the Padrão dos Descubrimentos, Torre de Belém, Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and so on. Assembled some materials for this but not yet put pen to paper

General Language skills

  • I need to build my vocabulary – Memrise and Lingq daily goals – Still winning
  • I’m getting better at the ver/vir (which was one of the 4 Evil Exes I identified a year or so back) but need to step up my game on some of the other weirder irregulars like Por and Dar
  • Finish the exercise book I’m on now Done!
  • Do a couple of mock exams to get a feel for the speed I need to be working at to get in under the time limit Did one with my teacher today. Probably a good one for the weekend, I think.
  • Practice writing legibly. I type so much these days I need to get my hand used to forming letters or I’ll be penalised for spelling errors. No new work done.
  • Letter format and forms of address I’ve written one formal letter to the Conservatório dos Registos Centrais, which was good practice.
  • Learn – actually learn verbatim – one song. Printed out “Dia de Folga” but again, not much actual hard work done.

 

Posted in English

Exam Prep Review #3

Progress on the list of topics to cover. Depressingly little work done. I really need to pull my finger out.

Speaking Goals

  • Build Confidence: I need to speak clearly and confidently even when I get to a bit I’m not sure about. If I don’t know the word, just guess and keep on going rather than fretting and looking confused.
  • Conversely, don’t be cocky: talk at a sensible speed to give myself time to think, and don’t go off at a tangent that seems interesting if I’m not sure where I’m going with it. Obviously this is in conflict with the point above. I haven’t really got anywhere with these first two but I’m planning to do a sort of portuguese version of “just a Minute” as a way of making myself do it. One for the next couple of days, I think. 
  • Speak portuguese for at least 5 minutes every day between now and the exam. On average, yes, but it’s definitely not “every day” – lots on some days, none on others.

Listening Goals

  • Listen to videos of people speaking in a range of accents from Alentejo, the rural centre of the country. and the islands (hence that Açoriano video I just posted). Making good progress here. I’ve listened to quite a lot.
  • Listen to at least 3 video films with subtitles. Still a grand total of zero. None of the films I own seem to have same-language subtitles on them for some reason.
  • Get to grips with the Raul Solnado “Guerra de 1908” sketch Done!

Cultural Goals

  • Read at the very least:
      • A Língua Portuguesa (Fernando Pessoa)
      • Mensagem (Fernando Pessoa) Done!
      • Brevíssima História de Portugal (A.H. De Oliveira Marques) Nearly done 
      • Maybe even A construção da democracia em Portugal (Kenneth Maxwell) although that seems a bit ambitious. No way is this happening. 
  • Make a timeline of portuguese history to get a sense of how it hangs together. Done
  • Write about portuguese landmarks – the Padrão dos Descubrimentos, Torre de Belém, Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and so on. Assembled some materials for this but not yet put pen to paper

General Language skills

  • I need to build my vocabulary – Memrise and Lingq daily goals – Still winning
  • I’m getting better at the ver/vir (which was one of the 4 Evil Exes I identified a year or so back) but need to step up my game on some of the other weirder irregulars like Por and Dar Not done
  • Finish the exercise book I’m on now Done!
  • Do a couple of mock exams to get a feel for the speed I need to be working at to get in under the time limit Nope
  • Practice writing legibly. I type so much these days I need to get my hand used to forming letters or I’ll be penalised for spelling errors. Some more work done at this.
  • Letter format and forms of address I’ve written one formal letter to the Conservatório dos Registos Centrais, which was good practice.
  • Learn – actually learn verbatim – one song. Printed out “Dia de Folga” but again, not much actual hard work done.

 

Posted in English

Exam Prep Review #2

Progress on the list of topics to cover.

Speaking Goals

Not really winning with any of this stuff.  😦

  • Build Confidence: I need to speak clearly and confidently even when I get to a bit I’m not sure about. If I don’t know the word, just guess and keep on going rather than fretting and looking confused.
  • Conversely, don’t be cocky: talk at a sensible speed to give myself time to think, and don’t go off at a tangent that seems interesting if I’m not sure where I’m going with it. Obviously this is in conflict with the point above.
  • Speak portuguese for at least 5 minutes every day between now and the exam. On average, yes, but it’s definitely not “every day” – lots on some days, none on others.

Listening Goals

  • Listen to videos of people speaking in a range of accents from Alentejo, the rural centre of the country. and the islands (hence that Açoriano video I just posted). Some done but not enough
  • Listen to at least 3 video films with subtitles. One down, 2 to go… oh no, wait, Ramiro doesn’t count because the only subtitles were in English and that’s no bloody good! OK, 3 to go still, then.
  • Get to grips with the Raul Solnado “Guerra de 1908” sketch Done!

Cultural Goals

  • Read at the very least:
      • A Língua Portuguesa (Fernando Pessoa)
      • Mensagem (Fernando Pessoa) Done!
      • Brevíssima História de Portugal (A.H. De Oliveira Marques) Started
      • Maybe even A construção da democracia em Portugal (Kenneth Maxwell) although that seems a bit ambitious. No way is this happening. 
  • Make a timeline of portuguese history to get a sense of how it hangs together. Got all the gear and made a pretty good start. I’m up to the foundation of Portugal and my daughter is filling in the british side so we can see the parallels between the two.
  • Write about portuguese landmarks – the Padrão dos Descubrimentos, Torre de Belém, Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and so on. Assembled some materials for this but not yet put pen to paper

General Language skills

  • I need to build my vocabulary – Memrise and Lingq daily goals – Doing alright so far!
  • I’m getting better at the ver/vir (which was one of the 4 Evil Exes I identified a year or so back) but need to step up my game on some of the other weirder irregulars like Por and Dar Not done
  • Finish the exercise book I’m on now Done!
  • Do a couple of mock exams to get a feel for the speed I need to be working at to get in under the time limit Nope
  • Practice writing legibly. I type so much these days I need to get my hand used to forming letters or I’ll be penalised for spelling errors. Some more work done at this.
  • Letter format and forms of address I’ve written one formal letter to the Conservatório dos Registos Centrais, which was good practice.
  • Learn – actually learn verbatim – one song. Printed out “Dia de Folga” but again, not much actual hard work done.

By the way, speaking of music, I like this a lot. It’s used as the theme tune of a podcast called “Histórias de Portugal – Saudade e Outras Coisas“, which is well worth a look too.

Posted in English

Exam Prep Review

Progress on the list I made a week or two back

Speaking Goals

Not really winning with any of this stuff.  😦

  • Build Confidence: I need to speak clearly and confidently even when I get to a bit I’m not sure about. If I don’t know the word, just guess and keep on going rather than fretting and looking confused.
  • Conversely, don’t be cocky: talk at a sensible speed to give myself time to think, and don’t go off at a tangent that seems interesting if I’m not sure where I’m going with it. Obviously this is in conflict with the point above.
  • Speak portuguese for at least 5 minutes every day between now and the exam.

Listening Goals

  • Listen to videos of people speaking in a range of accents from Alentejo, the rural centre of the country. and the islands (hence that Açoriano video I just posted). Some done but not enough
  • Listen to at least 3 video films with subtitles. One down, 2 to go… oh no, wait, Ramiro doesn’t count because the only subtitles were in English and that’s no bloody good! OK, 3 to go still, then.
  • Get to grips with the Raul Solnado “Guerra de 1908” sketch Done!

Cultural Goals

  • Read at the very least:
      • A Língua Portuguesa (Fernando Pessoa)
      • Mensagem (Fernando Pessoa) Done!
      • Brevíssima História de Portugal (A.H. De Oliveira Marques)
      • Maybe even A construção da democracia em Portugal (Kenneth Maxwell) although that seems a bit ambitious. No way is this happening. 
  • Make a timeline of portuguese history to get a sense of how it hangs together. Drawn but not yet filled in. I need highlighters – stat!
  • Write about portuguese landmarks – the Padrão dos Descubrimentos, Torre de Belém, Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and so on. Assembled some materials for this but not yet put pen to paper

General Language skills

  • I need to build my vocabulary – Memrise and Lingq daily goals – Doing alright so far!
  • I’m getting better at the ver/vir (which was one of the 4 Evil Exes I identified a year or so back) but need to step up my game on some of the other weirder irregulars like Por and Dar Not done
  • Finish the exercise book I’m on now Done!
  • Do a couple of mock exams to get a feel for the speed I need to be working at to get in under the time limit Nope
  • Practice writing legibly. I type so much these days I need to get my hand used to forming letters or I’ll be penalised for spelling errors. Started working on this: transcribed a song and translated it. It started breaking down when I was low on space but I’ve shown I can do it if I put my mind to it. More practice needed.
  • Letter format and forms of address Nope
  • Learn – actually learn verbatim – one song. I started looking at a song by Márcia called “Menina” but she writes in a weird, cryptic style that’s really hard to decipher. I thought maybe Deolinda but having dug around a bit, I’m more inclined to go for “Dia de Folga” by Ana Moura because it’s got proper sentences and a wide range of fairly ordinary, everyday language in it, plus it would be good fun to belt it out while I’m doing the housework.