How to Prepare for English Exams

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By Rilwan Abdullahi

After deciding which English exam to take, preparation is the next stage. Regardless of the exam you’ve chosen, it is not sufficient to have the necessary English proficiency. You must also understand what the exam entails, what approaches will help you pass, and what to expect on the day of the exam. Here are seven English exam tips.

Tips for English exams:

1. Know the format and the content of the exam.

Most examinations consist of distinct sections (speaking, listening, reading, writing etc.). Typically, each document is subdivided into distinct sections. Determine in advance how many sections your exam consists of, how many sections each section consists of, what each portion comprises, and essentially how much time you have to complete each component.

More information to discover: How often will you listen to the listenings? Is improper spelling punished? Do incorrect answers result in a penalty? Remember that you may be required to transfer your answers to an answer sheet prior to the conclusion of the exam.

2. Practice beforehand

No matter how proficient you are in English, you will have a far greater chance of performing well on the exam if you practice it beforehand. For the majority of tests, you can find sample questions so that you can prepare at home. To become accustomed to working under time constraints, you must time yourself in accordance with the exam’s specifications.

3. Learn from your mistakes

Very frequently, when practicing an exam or exam task, the temptation is to mark your answers to determine how well you did and then go on to the next test. Don’t! Make a note of your mistakes, especially if you consistently make the same ones, and determine why the incorrect answers are incorrect and, most importantly, why you got it wrong; this is a valuable lesson that will ensure you learn much more vocabulary and get much more out of the task than you would otherwise.

4. Understand what is being tested

It may appear that only grammar and vocabulary are graded, but keep in mind that abilities are frequently evaluated as well. In a writing exam, consider the type of material you are required to create and the intended audience, as this will determine the tone and formality of the language you employ. Consider what you are being asked to perform in an oral examination. Explain something? Persuade someone? Tell a tale? Justify something? What you must do with the language is equally as vital as the language itself.

5. Practice exam technique

Like with any examination that entails more than a simple measure of information, the majority of English tests (and particularly the Cambridge exams) require a variety of abilities and approaches.

On a reading test, for instance, it is advisable to read the main text first to have a general understanding of the material before reading the associated questions. Search for keywords and paraphrases, and reject incorrect replies. Use the first listen-through of a listening text to locate the area of the text that includes the answer, and the second listen-through to pinpoint it. Before beginning a writing exam, you should generate ideas and create a basic outline.

6. Read, listen, speak and watch – and read some more

It is easy to lose sight of the wider picture when the pressure of an exam is on you. You’re taking the exam to demonstrate and test your English proficiency, but there’s an abundance of English to study and enjoy. Make it a habit to listen to English music and decipher the lyrics, listen to podcasts and watch videos, TV shows, and films, seek out a language exchange partner, practice your language abilities online, and read as much as possible.

Reading is one of the most effective ways to acquire new vocabulary and strengthen your grasp of grammar. The majority of exams also have a writing component, and it goes without saying that the best writers are avid readers.

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