Preparing EFL/ESL Students for Michigan Exams

In 2010, the University of Michigan and the University of Cambridge set up a non-profit organization called the ‘Cambridge Michigan Language Assessments’ (CaMLA) for the purpose of collaboration in the field of EFL testing.

Two of the examinations that are catered for by CaMLA are ‘The Examination for the Certificate of Competency in English’ (ECCE) and ‘The Examination for the Certificate of Proficiency in English’ (ECPE): the ECCE is a standard B2 level certificate (as per the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR)) whereas the ECPE is a C2 level certificate and is accepted for the purposes of university entrance: as in the TOEFL, the test language used here is American English.

So, what should you, as a novice EFL teacher, be aware of when preparing EFL students for Michigan exams? Here are a few useful tips worth remembering.

The most important thing to know is whether your students are going to sit the ECCE or the ECPE exam: only the latter is acceptable for university entrance.

A week or so before you start teaching your class, you should do the following things: visit – the
CaMLA site – and fully familiarize yourself with the format of the ECCE and ECPE exams: pay careful attention to the time allowed for each paper, the number of questions, the format in which the questions are presented, and any important comments relating to the papers. Finally, learn how the scoring system works.

All the information that you have now gained should be transmitted to your students: they MUST know every aspect of the exam that they are going to sit in the minutest of detail.

You should also decide on which book you are going to use, and you should get hold of some practice tests: there are some books that just contain ECCE and ECPE practice tests – use them!

Fortunately, your class will be well-motivated: so they will not get bored when faced with doing lots of practice tests, which should be done under exam conditions. You should also do a mock ECCE and ECPE exams about a month before the actual exam: this will give the students the opportunity to experience what it will be like in the real exam.

Lastly, empathize with your students: encourage them, and tell them that they are merely going to sit a final exam which is identical to all those previous tests that they have done.