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August 2016

How to hack Spanish


When I was doing my Spanish writing exams, it was always really hard to find things to write about that no other student would say. There are only so many topics you can talk about when faced with ‘Write a letter to your Spanish pen pal about a holiday you had recently’. I knew that everyone would talk about flying somewhere, going swimming and shopping, and the poor examiner would be bored out of their mind after reading paper number 2!

So in order to make sure I stood out I made a few flashcards with lists of important phrases you could use in any written exam. What was especially helpful was that I went through past examiner reports and wrote down any phrases they would look out for when they were marking.

Examiners love you doing three things mainly:

    1. Using multiple tenses (correctly!)
    2. Using a varied vocabulary
    3. Expressing your opinions

So one of my cheat sheets for a writing exam would focus on that last point. How many ways can I say, ‘I think that’? You would end up with something that looks like this…

Siento que = I feel that…

Creo que = I believe that…

Me parece que =  Seems to me that…

En mi opinion =  In my opinion…

A mi modo de ver = From my point of view…

Visto que = Considering that…

Para ser sincere = To be honest…

Lo que me molesta es que = What annoys me is that…

Debo admitir que = I must admit that…

Mucha gente piensa que…pero yo no estoy de acuerdo = Many people think that…but I don’t agree.  

 

See how many other translations you can think of for different common phrases. Finally, if you have to write a letter, here are some phrases that I always tried to squeeze in somewhere…

 

!Ojala pudiera… = If only I could…

Para terminar me gustaria decir que… = To finish, I’d like to say

No solamente… sino que = Not only… but also…

Tengo mucha ganas de verte… = I cannot wait to see you

Por mi parte = As far as I’m concerned

Si tuviera el tiempo, podría … = If I had the time, I would… (this is a really impressive use of tenses)

Make sure you use the right tenses after each phrase and you have some amazing sentences there to lift any Spanish writing to an A or A+.

 

 

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