I’ve pulled together some of my top tips for preparing for English exams. These come from my experience of multiple English proficiency tests over many years. Look through these and implement them to make sure you enter the test as a ninja.
1) Review and don’t cram: The idea of cramming is questionable in general, let alone for your English proficiency test. The question can be asked, how much better can your listening, reading and other skills get over one night? I think we all know the answer. Therefore, the night before should be a review of the question types and skills needed to get the grade you deserve. For example, look at the timing of each section, review the grammar points or rehearse speaking clearly and coherently. By reviewing rather than cramming, you are simply giving your brain enough rest to make sure that you enter the exam in tip-top shape.
2) Get into a routine: As with most proficiency tests, English cannot be studied for parse. The material on this site is an attempt to provide a one stop shop for practice. Choosing to use the practice material for 2 minutes, 30 minutes or more a day is an effective way to build the skills needed to get the score you need. Whether your study time is in the morning,evening, or dead at night, be consistent and plan out you study time.
3) Relaxation exercises: Everyone relaxes their own way. Some people can slow their pulse and breathe calmly even in the most stressful of situations. The rest of us need to learn what makes us calm. Whether it be walking in the park, listening to calming sounds, or talking to a friend, learn what works for you and implement it.
4) Get a good night sleep
Many students walk into the exam bleary eyed and zombie like. Yes this may be due to stress, however, most of the time the student admits that they stayed up the whole night studying! The brain is like a computer – you leave it on, and it’ll start glitching! Restart the brain by getting enough sleep.
5) Study without studying: This is explained in more detail in the post but in short it means to practice your English without opening a book or memorising. This is the way we should be studying as it’s the most effective method. However, this is especially the case during a test. Look at your surroundings and find how you can expose yourself to: Listening, speaking, reading, writing, grammar, spelling. Sometimes certain activities contain ALL of these skills. For example, watching a TV show with English subtitles combines most of the skills.
6) Remember: focus on accuracy over speed
Rather than rushing through the questions, concentrate on answering questions correctly. You do not end to answer all of the questions to get the grade you need. You at each question as a detective would look at a culprit of a crime. Just like the detective needs evidence to support his case you need evidence to support your answer. You evidence will be in the reading or listening passage. Can your defend your answer using the words in listening or reading provided? If not, then you may just be guessing.
7) Looking over logical: It may seem strange, but you do not need to answer the question based on your understanding of the world or logic. The answer is within the listening or reading passage. Like the detective analogy above, looking for the answer rather than basing the knowledge from your experience is the way to ensure your is correct.
So there we are. My key tips for the nights before and during the exam. If there is anything I missed feel free to contact me at: TeacherJJF@Englishexamninja.com.