THE FCE BLOG by Claudia Ceraso

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Audio Books

Let Someone Else Tell You Stories

Audio books are certainly a way of getting more FCE listening practice. Some of you will probably find that you "read" more with the aid of an iPod or iTunes.

As suggested by Teacher Dude in his comment, audio books can help you read a lot faster. Find his related posting in his blog with reading lists and his students comments on the use of audio books here and here.

Do I need any software to download audio books?
Yes, check out these sites:

Where can I get audio books?
There are sites offering them for free -or at least most of their content. Have a look at this list:
Classic Audio Books
Audio books for free
Free books on mp3
Literal Systems

What about the accents I will hear?
This is something that will change from book to book. Notice that some are human narrated recordings and others are made using text to speech voices.

Need a recommendation to read? Well, this is precisely where your comments can help other readers, isn't it?

Enjoy your reading, I mean, listening!

Note: As usual with material you download from the internet, make sure you read and understand the license terms and respect author's copyright. Those terms may vary from site to site. Watch out!

Picture credit: Steve Crane under a Creative Commons license.

Related post:
Reading Interviews and Online Magazines (some with audio)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Set Texts 2007

FCE Reader List

Every year Cambridge ESOL renews two books on the reading list for the Writing Paper –Part 2.

The Cambridge ESOL set books for 2007 are:

  • A.J. Cronin, The Citadel (Penguin Readers or any edition)
  • * Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Three Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Penguin Readers or any edition)
  • * George Orwell, 1984 (Penguin Readers or any edition)
  • Arthur C Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey (Penguin Readers or any edition)
  • Richard Prescott, Officially Dead (Heinemann ELT)

*Set also in 2006. All publishers suggested by Cambridge ESOL.

For details of where to find the 2006 books online, see our previous posting. Now let’s have a look at the newly added books on the list.

Officially Dead

This is a simplified book for upper-intermediate students (2200 headwords). The paperback edition is 120 pages long and brings a CD. This is not available for free. However, the publishers offer downloadable worksheets with answers in Pdf format on their site here:

MacMillan worksheets

2001: A Space Odyssey

The Book (266 pages unabridged)

Here you can find the full text, summaries, themes and character analysis:

About the Author, his themes, styles and influences:
Read his quotations! To quote but an example:

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from Magic."

More Food for Thought
Arthur C Clarke. Net – Home to all things Clarkean.
This site includes a collection of interviews with Arthur Clarke. I recommend reading this one done back in 1993 at the writer’s home in
Sri Lanka for Wired magazine. The author talks about the reality he envisioned and the future he foresees including telecommunications and virtual reality. There are a lot of debatable ideas there.

Teachers –and why not students- might enjoy this one too. Here Clarke discusses the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in education.

And what about the famous Space Odyssey film?
Coming up soon on the FCE Blog. Stay tuned!

Related posts
Preparing for the Set Book Option
Set Texts 2006
Sherlock Holmes


Sunday, December 10, 2006

FCE December 2006 Session

Comments, anyone?

So here we are. Some of you have already done parts of the exam, some of you will finish it this week. Good.

I invigilated for FCE yesterday -had a quick look at the papers. Quite warm in Buenos Aires...

No way. I am not supposed to reveal any details about the exam. Same goes for you -have a look at those rules you received from your exam centre. All I can say is I feel my students could pass it with merit (hope so!).

My question:

How did it go?

I do hope to hear from you.
If you are not one from my class, tell us where you are from.

Your turn.