Thursday, 28 April 2011

Exam Update:The Good News and the Bad News

Dear Guys, Gals & Abdul Rahman [who is still confused], Ayana and I have been conversing and we have some good and bad news.
On the good side, we have decided to accept the following alternative answers:
A:4 I had been waiting for hours..
B:9 You can walk in the park but you aren't allowed to skateboard or play football.
D:17 Oranges are being grown in the south of Spain.
D:18 A lot of people are being employed in marketing.

E:25 respectfulness [definitely a noun]
F:29 I was getting married last week..
G:38 Oh, we'll make coffee and biscuits at about eleven . [but you can't use 'make' again in the next sentence].
On the bad side, we are rejecting any of the suggestions made by Ziyad Al-Soqair and Saif Al-Talhi [just joking guys].

Monday, 25 April 2011

Exam Update:Why? Why? Why? 'Cuz! 'Cuz! 'Cuz!

Dear Guys and Gals, Hope you are all well. I am still getting some questions asking why the answers were the way they were. I am going to post a detailed Powerpoint on the weekend where I will go through each question. For now, however, I will deal with a couple of questions that have been causing most grief.
B: 7 Were you allowed to smoke when you were a teenager? You needed to write 'were' because we were talking about an event that took place in the past [ie. when the person being spoken to was a teenager]. This might be one of the questions we end up being flexible about.
B8. I had to get up very early yesterday morning. The answer we were looking for was 'had' but "couldn't" and even "could" also work so we will accept them as well.
C: 13. Doctors can’t / can learn to communicate with ordinary people. It's 'can' because "some teaching hospitals" would not "now train their medical students to have a good bed-side manner" if it was not going to have any effect.
D: 21 foreigner - foreign. Some students have been saying that this was difficult. We have however covered the word in class. One student asked whether 'foreignness' would be acceptable and as it is a word and a noun we will of course accept it.
D: 22 offensive offensive [we are marking all students correct for this one] A bit confusing, sorry. As a noun 'offensive' refers, amongst other things, to something an army / or opposition launches. If you have be listening to the news over the past couple of months you will have heard it a couple of times a bulletin. The adjective that goes with this version of the noun is 'offensive' [ie. the same word]. It is true however that offensive as an adjective does go with the noun offense which some of you may have been more familiar with.
F:26. She wasn’t very happy because she had had a bad day. the word is "had" because her unhappiness had happened in the past. It would be "has" in the first part of the sentence was "She isn't very happy because she has had a bad bad". We will however accept "has" just this once.
F: 29. I am getting married in a few weeks. Sorry, there is only one possible answer for this one, unless I am missing something.
G:B:33 Could you (33) book the conference room for a meeting for me? Book is the correct answer because the other option needs to be used elsewhere. We will however accept "arrange".
G:A:37 Right. I’ll (37) see to it straight away. "to see to" is a phrasal verb you should know [look here for the word 'see' and look down until you see the list of phrasal verbs] : and certainly a lot of you do. Ayana and I will think about what to do with this one once we have marked more papers.
G:B:39 Oh, we’ll need coffee and biscuits at about eleven o’clock. Can you arrange that? 'Arrange' is the correct answer. We will however accept 'make' and 'book'. In this section we will allow you to use either 'arrange' and 'book' twice even though we thought it was implied that you could only use each one once.
If you have questions about any other questions let me know. [Be Happy!!]

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Exam Update:Mid-Term Exam Answers

Dear Guys and Gals, OK, here are the answers you have been demanding all day. Please remember, however, that Ayana and I might still be prepared to be flexible: we just need to mark a few papers first.

Please, also, could you not ask Ayana and I what your marks are every two minutes. We will mark as quickly as possible but try and remember that we have other things to do.

As usual, if you have problems down loading the file, send an email to:

Mid-Term Exam Answers

Message from Simon:Don't Worry - 4

Dear Guys and Gals, I have been having some words of concern expressed to me by many of you about the exam this morning. As always, my message is: Don't Worry!! As I have mentioned to you before Ayana and will ignore questions where we feel students might have some excuse for making a mistake. We have already, for example, agreed not to mark incorrect the answers for question 22 and 23 and may agree that we will ignore [or accept other answers to..] a number of other questions.

Please find below a link to a copy of today's exam paper. I should note that the exam was written by the authors of the textbook for this level so, it should be fair.

p.s. the photo is of me moments after leaving the exam room this morning.

p.p.s. remember also that the exam is only worth 20% of the final mark.

Mid-Term Exam Paper

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Exam Preparations:Some Exercise That might help

Dear Guys and Gals, Find below some links to some exercise that might help you in tomorrow's exam.

p.s. below the exercise find a link to a youtube video which will explain the photo.

do, be, or have. 1 2 3
can, have to, and be allowed to 1 2 3
active / passive 1 2 3
complete the dialogue 1

Youtube Link:
Coke Bottle Exam Preparation

Message from Simon:Don't Worry - 3

Dear Guys and Gals, I'm still getting some emails from students concerned about the exam. My message to you all, as usual, is Don't Worry!! It's not worth it.

I speak from experience in this matter. The photo on the top of this a post, is a photo of me three years ago, about six months before I came to Saudi Arabia. The photo on the bottom , is me now, after two years of living and working in Taif.

Its a lesson in the dangers of worrying too much. Take it easy!!!

Exam Preparation:Nouns / Adjectives

One of the questions in the exam will involve converting finding the noun versions of adjectives and visa versa. [Thanks a lot Loaiee for suggesting I include this question]

Below I have included a link reminding what this involves and couple of exercises you can try.

quiz 1
quiz 2
quiz 3
quiz 4

Exam Update:Key Words

Here are a list of words that may be new to you and which you may need to know to answer the questions:

arrange, cathedral, communicator, death, foreigner, manufactured, queue, receptionist, seat belt, speeding, theatre

You should know all the other words in the exam.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Exam Preparation:New Headway Online

Guys and Gals, I am having some requests for suggestions about how to prepare for the exam. There are obviously lots of ways you can do this including studying....[ha ha].

A couple of days ago I posted about the New Headway on Online site which has online activities related to al, the units in the book.

Just to help you out, I am posting some direct links to the pages that might help you.

New Headway Online Units 1-5: Grammar
New Headway Online Units 1-5: Vocabulary
New Headway Online Units 1-5: Test Builder

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Exam Update:Mid-Term Practice Exam Answers

Dear Gals & Guys, I've attached a copy of a pdf of the answers for the mid-term exam. The answer sheet was actually prepared by Sami Al-Otabi [who managed to get 38 out of 40]. If even Sami can get 38, I am sure all of you will do very well in the real Mid-term exam on Sunday.

Again, if you have problems downloading the pdf, send me an email and I'll send it [them] to you as an attachment.

Mid-Term Exam Answers

Message from Simon:Don't Worry: 2

Dear 'Guys and Gals, I have had a couple of emails from students worried that there are exercises in the Work Book they don't understand. Don't worry!!. I realize that here are some questions in the workbook that are hard for you to understand: they are hard for me to understand as well.

I am trying to make sure however, that all the questions in the exam relate to grammar points that are fairly clear [no questions about the difference between 'will' and 'going to' for example]. As has been the case in previous exams, if there is a set of questions where lots of students make mistakes or it is clear they have been confused, we will mark them all as correct.

For now, be good and happy, Simon

p.s. the photo is one of me when I was in my first year at University. I know I have long hair. It was 1977: everyone had long hair!

Exam Update:Practice Mid-term Exam

Finally!! A copy of the Practice Mid-Term Exam. Remember, this Practice exam gives you only a feel of what the final exam will be like. While some questions may have a similar format, some my be different. I will post the answers tomorrow.

By the way, I will be online in the cafe up on the 30th floor of the the tower most ot today and tomorrow afternoon if you have any questions. Come by, phone, text, msm, chat of facebook, send emails, send pigeons if you have any questions.

For now, good and happy.

p.s. if you want me to send you the practice exam as an attachment, send me an email:

Mid-Term Practice Exam

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Exam Update:Work Book Powerpoint pdf's

Gals and Guys, here are the Workbook Powerpoint pdf's for Units 1-5. Remember that I sometimes make mistakes so if you find one, don't be surprized [be understanding].

I am still, by the way, working away on the Practice Exam [lots of interruptions]. At this rate I am thinking maybe tomorrow afternoon....

Work Book Unit 1
Work Book Unit 2
Work Book Unit 3
Work Book Unit 4
Work Book Unit 5

Message from Simon:Practice Exam & Office Hours

Dear Students, just a quick note to let you know that am working on the Practice Exam and will try and post it later tonight. Sorry for the delay. Its been a busy week.

I also wanted to let people know that I am available most afternoons in the coffee shop on the 30th floor of the Awaliv Hotel from 5 to 8. I know that given the hours you have at college it can be difficult to get in touch with me during the week days so this is an option.

I am more than happy to speak with you and you can get in for free if you ask for me [just ask for Dr. Combe from Australia]. Its a good idea to phone me first to make sure I am there [my number is: 0590146672

p.s. the photo is of me aged four in 1963 [ahhhhh.....]

Monday, 18 April 2011

Exam Update:Date, Time & Powerpoints

Dear Gals and Guys, just a short note to let you know that the exam will be at 9 a.m. next Sunday.

I have had a request for the answers to the questions so I am posting pdf's of the Units from the Students book along with a small pdf containing the answers for the work book for the first 5 units.

I will post the pdf's of the first five units of the work book in the next post.

Student's Book Unit 1
Student's Book Unit 2
Student's Book Unit 3
Student's Book Unit 4
Student's Book Unit 5
Work Book Answers

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Exam Update:New Headway Online

Guys and Gals, I just want to remind you that there is an online site for the New Headway books: a link for which can be found below.

To use it, click on the icon next to the area you which to work on [Grammar, Vocabulary, Test Builder, Everyday English and Games] and it will take you to a list of the units.

If you have problems, send me an email of phone.

Grammar Exercises

New Headway Online: Intermediate

Message from Simon:Mid-Term Exam

Dear Guys and Girls [welcome back from the break]. I know some of you are worried about the mid-term exam and I want to ease your minds a bit.

1. the exam will be next week sometime
2. It will cover the first 5 units
3. there will be no listening activities in the exam
4. there will be no writing of paragraphs in the exam
5. the questions will relate mainly to the activities in the work book with some questions also related to vocabulary and everyday English usage in the Student's Book.
6. there will be 40 questions.

I will try and post a model exam in a couple of days. I will also post some information about web sites that may help you.

Remember: don't worry!!!

Monday, 4 April 2011

Workbook Powerpoint:Unit 5: On The Move

Please find below a link to the Powerpoint and Audio for Unit 5 of the Workbook entitled: On The Move.

[I am having trouble posting the Powerpoint and audio, for now, here is a pdf of the powerpoint]

Workbook Unit 5: Powerpoint [pdf]
Workshop Unit 5: Powerpoint
Workshop Unit 5: Audio

Listening Extra:Unit 5: A Hiking Family

Please find below a link to an exercise to help you practice your listening with a story entitled 'A Hiking Family.

Link: A Hiking Family

Student Book Extra:Unit 5: Travel in Saudi Arabia

One of the themes of this week's Unit concerned travel. Find below a link to the 'Saudi Arabia Travel Guide' to see what page to see what travellers to the kingdom are told about such things as: Culture, Popular Cities, Airport & Flights, Getting Around, Luxury Hotels, Sights & Attractions, Food & Drink and, Saudi History


Student Book Powerpoint:Unit 5: On The Move

Please find below a link to the Audio and Powerpoint for Unit 5 of the the Student Book which is entitled: On The Move

[Having trouble uploading Audio and Powerpoint, for now the odf of the Powerpoint]

Student Book Unit 5: Powerpoint pdf
Student Book Unit 5: Powerpoint
Student Book Unit 5: Audio