Whether you are preparing for IELTS, TOEFL, CAE, FCE and other types of English Proficiency Tests, it is important to be well-prepared before you enter the exam room. In order to prepare for the big day, here are some tips on how to prepare for an English test:
- Make a revision plan – Make a realistic plan based on the following:
~what you need to know
~what you need to do, how much time you have
~how you can fit what you need to do in that time.
2. Know exactly what you need to do in the exam. Be familiar with the test structure so you don’t get surprised with what you are going to face in the actual exam. Practice on some past exam papers. Do a test simulation at least once a week. This will help you get used to the actual test environment.
3. Think about what areas you need to improve. If you are preparing with a teacher, you should ask your teacher about specific things you need to improve on and ask for suggestions. If you are doing a self-study, then make sure to work on past exam papers. Make sure you understand your mistakes and work on them.
4. Practice every day. It is better to spend less than an hour a day of practice every single day than few hours once a week.
5. Read, watch and listen in English more often during your preparation time. Make use of the internet in reading articles about a variety of topics. Watch videos, movies and TV series as much as you can, if possible without subtitle. This will help with your listening practice. Listen to podcasts while waiting on a bus, you’re driving or on a train. Make the most out of your free time.
6. Think in English. I personally avoid translators as much as I can. English words has many different meanings and translators will not help you understand the correct usage of a word or phrase. Use a reliable dictionary. I personally prefer Macmillan and Oxford Dictionary and they provide example sentences on how to use a word or phrase.
7. Engage in English conversations with native speakers or speakers of others languages. Try to find language partners online or attend language learners’ meetings in your local area. This will give you more opportunities to talk in English and help boost your confidence.
8. Although being pessimistic will not help you score high, neither being overconfident will. Knowing you have prepared more than enough will make you less nervous during your test.