PREPARING FOR MICHIGAN ECCE AND ECPE (AND SAVING MONEY!)
If you are planning to take the Michigan ECCE this summer and studying alone it’s time to start doing as many Practice Tests as possible – and pay special attention to timing as the Michigan does not allow you much for each paper and this is often the biggest problem for candidates.
I know from experience how difficult and expensive it can be to get hold of enough ECCE tests to prepare with. Most of the big listening sites don’t have Michigan-specific materials – although this exam is popular in some countries it doesn’t seem to have made an impact on the mainstream ESL community online. I’d love to hear from anyone who knows of some more free ECCE and ECPE tests to download other than the few I have listed below but it looks very much to me as if they are not available and you have no option but to buy both the books and sometimes the CDs separately.
I’ve done a lot of research and found that the best and cheapest place to find a good selection of tests to buy wherever you are in the world is at AbeBooks. AbeBooks works a bit like Ebay – sellers from all over the world list their books there and you can use their powerful search facility to find what you need – often much more cheaply than elsewhere. I’ve bought books through Abe and always found them reliable.
Discounted textbooks up to 50% off the list price. Some textbooks even have free postage! Find new and used textbooks easily at AbeBooks
Simply search for the tests you require eg “Michigan ECCE Practice Tests”. I have always found a wide selection there. Don’t be put off if the seller is only advertising UK or US postage rates. They nearly always ship anywhere in the world and the books are so much cheaper than in other places that even if the postage and packing costs are a bit higher you will almost certainly find a real bargain.
When using Practice Tests for the Michigan ECCE there is one thing to be careful about. They changed the format of the Speaking Test a few years ago but many of the publications, including those sold by the Hellenic American Union do not give you the new version. I was absolutely furious last year when I bought books from the HAU (which is the exam board that administers the tests here in Greece) only to find that they had sold me something completely out of date to prepare my students with. The same book is still for sale on their website. But don’t worry! You can find a full sample of the whole exam with answers – completely up-to-date and absolutely free in pdf form:
Teachers will find it very useful because there is good guidance at the end for your role in the Speaking test which isn’t always available in this sort of info sheet. The pdf also includes a full list of all exam centres worldwide and lots of information about scoring and so on. As long as you are aware of the new form for the Speaking exam the normal test materials should be fine for you. As far as I can tell it doesn’t mean they are not still doing the normal Speaking exam format where you have to ask questions and make a choice between some options. It’s just that they’ve introduced something similar to the Advice letter in the Writing where you have to advise a friend.
There are also some official free Sample tests including mp3s for listening practice available at the University of Michigan’s English Language Institute website: http://tinyurl.com/6ob9b3
(I’ve use a TinyUrl because it is such a long link but don’t worry it is to an official University of Michigan page.) Very handy.
I do find that students need a lot of practice with actual exam materials for Michigan and it can work out very expensive for families already paying large amounts for the language school or private tuition so these resources are invaluable. More useful ECCE Test stuff for free here It’s not very well laid out but has very valuable resources for all parts of the test. There is no sound file for the Listening part unfortunately but the Speaking part is up-to-date.
I found this excellent site recently and it has some very cheap Michigan ECCE Practice Tests you can download immediately plus some extremely useful advice and information on the Speaking and Listening Tests that it is quite hard to find:
Andrew Betsis Publications have some of the best available Practice Tests Books for all exams. They are specific to the Greek market but I think that most of their materials, especially those for more advanced students, can be used by anyone. Here is the link to the Michigan Test materials:
Here is the link to the Oxford University Press page with Michigan materials (about half way down)
If you are an adult studying to get your certificate and your English is good enough to read this but you just have to get your certificate you should be able to use these resources to prepare yourself and save a lot of money. But whatever you do, don’t go into an exam without having done plenty of tests – and make sure you have learned to work within the time. This is one area where you just can’t avoid spending some money I’m afraid – but with some of these resources you can certainly keep it to the minimum!