Keep Calm and Pass the Exam

The exams are just around the corner. Here are two useful tips to share with your students.

Interpret the task correctly

Anne Marie Torp, from Asker vgs., put together this popular course in 2016, and it is just as relevant today. Its main aim is to make students aware of what the exam tasks require them to do. The course includes explainations of the most frequently used instructional words and a step-by-step guide on how to interpret the exam task.

This material has been made with a 1,5-hour lesson in mind.Keep calm and pass your exam

Answering the exam task Vg1 (PPT)

Answering the exam task Vg1 course (Word doc.)

Answering the exam task Vg2 (PPT)

Answering the exam task Vg2 course (Word doc.)

Answering the exam task Form (Word doc.)

PS: The courses for vg1 and vg2 are identical, but the tasks and examples are different.

Revise your text

Students are likely to benefit greatly from looking through their texts several times on the exam, with a different revision focus each time. The text below is from E2, our textbook for International English, but is equally useful for vg1 students.


Download the text from E2 (page 292-293) here (PDF)

Good luck with your exams!





Christmas Spirit

Christmas is an important time of the year for retailers, and that is reflected in Christmas TV advertisements. A modern Christmas tradition in Britain is the John Lewis & Partners Christmas advertisement campaign. Every year since 2007 the company has produced a Christmas campaign where they promote their department stores. The advertisements usually present a cover of a well-known song together with a heart-warming story. Through the campaign, the company creates an image and an emotional connection to the audience and shoppers.

In this lesson, we will explore the John Lewis & Partners advertisement from December 2015. The advertisement is called “The Man on the Moon” and was produced in cooperation with the charity organisation Age UK and their campaign “No one should have no one at Christmas”.
Norwegian Christmas trees are donated to British cities every year as a symbol of the close relationship between the two countries. In the advertisement “The Man on the Moon”, the relationship is further reinforced. The Norwegian singer Aurora performs a cover of the Oasis song “Half the World Away”.

by Lene Haugmoen Kapstad, KKG vgs

Handout to students

Become a volunteer friend visitor

Silje Nordnes from NRK’s P3 may inspire your students to act on the issue of loneliness. To go from knowledge to action and become a volunteer friend visitor.

See the touching news report on NRK Dagsrevyen

The Red Cross acts as an intermediary between volunteer friend visitors and those looking for human contact. As a volunteer friend visitor, the only thing you have to do is to give some of your time.

“No one should have no one at Christmas”

Teaching intercultural competence

Globalization and cultural diversity make communicating appropriately with people of different backgrounds a much-desired skill. Openness, curiosity and respect towards alternative ways of thinking should be key values that pervade our education system. As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says:

“The consequence of the single story is this: It robs people of dignity. It makes our recognition of our equal humanity difficult. It emphasizes how we are different rather than how we are similar.”

Here are two teaching resources to raise your students’ awareness of the importance of avoiding stereotyping.

Why the poppy?

Take the time to pay tribute to the bravery of those who fought in the wars by reading the poem “In Flanders Fields”.

Download In Flandern Fields

Further reading: Why do people wear poppies?


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Discussion task worksheet: Echo Chamber

Invite your students to discuss whether the internet is helpful or harmful in shaping the opinions of its users based on the text “The web’s “echo chamber” leaves us none the wiser” from E2.

Download the worksheet here

Teaching suggestions:

Relevant competency aims:

  • understand, elaborate on and discuss lengthy discourses on general and specialized subjects
  • analyse and assess the role of some English-language media in international society
  • reflect on how cultural differences and dissimilar value systems can affect communication


Possible starter/pre-reading activity:

Let students discuss in what ways they believe the internet to be helpful or harmful in general.

The following clip might also serve as a useful introduction:

*Prince Harry and Barack Obama on social media* (“Balkanisation” and “cocooned” may need to be explained)


Students need to have read Alan Martin’s text “The web’s “echo chamber” leaves us none the wiser” (pages 149-150).

Approximate use of time: 25-30 minutes, depending on class size.

Possible follow-up activities:

As the arguments are clearly split into pro and con arguments, this might form part of a broader debate on internet use, with one half of the class being assigned roles as Internet-sceptics, whilst the other half play the roles of avid supporters of the internet.

Save the date!

Our annual seminar for English teachers will take place on 4 May in Oslo. Stay tuned for the programme and registration, but save the date!

 Free seminar for English teachers in VGS
When: 4 May 2018
Where: Gyldendalhuset, Oslo

“I was born in London but I no longer recognize this city. I don`t know if I love the new London or if it frightens me: a city where at least 55 per cent of people are not ethnically white British, nearly 40 per cent were born abroad, and 5 per cent are living illegally in the shadows. I have no idea who these new Londoners are. Or even what their London really is.”

Dirty Money: Panama Papers

Tax avoidance – a multibillion-dollar industry

Since the late 1980s, several multinational companies have been criticized for avoiding taxes by jumping through different European tax loopholes. A system called the “double Irish”, for instance, has made this possible. This is how Apple has used and enjoyed the

Through a scheme literally called the “double Irish”,
a company can create two Irish subsidiary companies,
and the first Irish company (usually in the Cayman
Islands) licenses everything to a second Irish
company, the upshot being that the mother ship
is not considered a tax resident anywhere thanks
to differences between the US and Irish definitions
of residence. The result of all this is that Apple had
a “head office” in Ireland with no premises, no employees
and no real activities. But because they had
pulled the double Irish, the European commission
has ruled, Apple deprived the EU of $14.5bn over
the last 10 years.
                       -Mike Daisey, The Guardian, 7 September, 2016

Tax evasion is illegal. It means not paying, or underpaying, taxes. It has been estimated that about 5.1 per cent of annual world GDP is lost to tax evasion. Tax avoidance is the use of legal methods to pay as little tax as possible. Although a given tax avoidance
scheme could be strictly legal, it is usually in contradiction with the intent of the law. In this video you can learn more about tax avoidance (YouTube).

Instead of studying the technicalities of European tax laws, we would like you to focus on the effects of the loopholes. In groups of 3–4, choose either Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft or Starbucks as your case study.

• How much has the company paid in corporation tax
in EU countries in recent years?
• How is the company’s tax-avoidance case
commented on in the media?
• In your own opinion: How fair is the system? What
would be a reasonable level of corporate tax for
“your” company? Make sure you support your
claims with concrete evidence based on reputable

Create a collaborative document, for instance in Google Docs, and write a few paragraphs where you present your findings and views.

This task is taken from E2 International English. You can read more about E2 here.