Category Archives: test preparation tips

TIPS OF THE DAY: HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR GRAMMAR ACCURACY

Is grammar accuracy important? Should it be a priority for English language learners?

Here is a short video from BBC Learning English providing tips on how to improve your grammar accuracy. Let me know what you think in the comment box.

6 Tips on How to Improve your Grammar Accuracy

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HOW TO SCORE HIGH IN THE IELTS SPEAKING TEST

Scoring high in the IELTS Speaking Test requires hard work and employing proper techniques. I have collated tips and suggestions from several books, articles and videos below. Feel free to ask questions and add your suggestions in the comment box.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the IELTS speaking format. Know what how you will be assessed in the test. Even native English speakers do not always score high in the IELTS speaking exam. The reason is that IELTS has its own test structure that candidates should be familiar with.

  1. Know the most common IELTS Speaking topics and expand your vocabulary on each of the said topics. Some common topics are: Family, Education, Hobbies and Free time, Travelling and Transportation, Technology and the Media, and others. Read more about such topics. Have a dedicated vocabulary notebook where you can list the words and phrases you’ve learned. Use a good dictionary to help you with the correct usage of certain words so it is easier for you to use them in your practice conversation.

  1. Learn how to answer each of the 3 sections of the speaking test: Part 1 (Interview), Part 2 (Cue Card/Long Turn) and Part 3 (Discussion). For example, you are expected to have only short and straightforward answers in Part 1 while in Part 3, you are expected to explain things to the examiner and use a good range of vocabulary.

  1. Your behavior during the test matters. You should showcase not only your ability to use a wide range of vocabulary and accurate grammar structure but also your confidence. You should be able to speak with the examiner as if it was just a natural conversation and not a scripted or memorized exchange of ideas. Constant practice in front of the mirror, with a friend or a teacher or a language partner will help you boost your confidence.

  1. Listen to the questions very carefully and do not try to interrupt the examiner. You must exhibit full understanding of what is being asked. You do not want to provide an answer that is not related to the question because you misunderstood the question.

  1. It is important to note that you are allowed to repeat the question, to buy time or to express a lack of opinion. If you did not really understand the question, do not try to answer right away. You may repeat the examiner’s question to make sure that you understood it. Learn how to use Time Fillers in our “Time Fillers”

  1. Practice answering common IELTS Speaking Questions with a partner or you can record yourself. This will help you evaluate which topics are more difficult for you to talk about. Use a timer to simulate the actual speaking test. You can access free our TOP IELTS SPEAKING TOPICS and sample speaking questions to practice with.

  1. Make sure to arrive early during the test day. Have enough rest before the big day. Eat well before you leave home. Allow enough travel time to go the test center to avoid getting stressed. You should know where the test center is before date itself. Make sure you have everything you need before you leave home. When you are know you have prepared well, then you should feel more relaxed.

  1. During the test, do not hesitate to correct yourself if you make mistakes but make sure to limit it. Too much of this will affect your overall confidence during the exam. Speak in a natural pace – not too slow and not too fast. It is important that you make yourself understood by the examiner. Do not worry about your accent. As long as you speak clearly, your accent will not affect your score.

  1. Keep an eye contact with the examiner, smile when appropriate and show your confidence. Do not be intimidated with examiners who do not smile or look too serious. They do not intend to scare you, it’s probably just the way they are.

Do you have other tips on how to score high in the IELTS Speaking Test? Feel free to share them in the comment box.

Tips of the Day: How to Prepare for an English Exam

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:

  1. 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.

ENGLISH TEST TIPS: HOW TO UNDERSTAND AND REMEMBER WHAT YOU READ

Hello Readers!

I am sharing a really cool video that can be really helpful in developing our reading skills. This is especially important when you are preparing for an English test or simply preparing for an exam at school.

Thanks to Youtube and Engvid.com for sharing free video lessons like this one. Enjoy!

 

 How to Use Mind Maps to Understand and Remember Everything you Read