You are supposed to take your English exams in a few days. The examiner will probably test you on four skills besides your grammar and vocabulary knowledge. So what should you prepare for? It’s strange how English exams work. If you have already read the books, how would you study? Isn’t it all just interpretation?
An interpretive essay might not require memorizing dates and facts, but a lack of preparation can be problematic. In the same way as any final, the English exam also has its study methods and preparation techniques. But with the study tips in this post, you can prepare like a winner for either TOEFL, IELTS, or any other English language exam. Let’s get to know them.
Make a Schedule
Timetables are beneficial tools for passing your English exams. Through the framework, you can schedule your revision, plan your time effectively, and identify areas where you need to work. You can prepare your timetable by reading a diary, using an Excel spreadsheet, or even drawing one by hand.
List the days backward from your exam day. Then, list everything that the examiner might test on a separate sheet. It is best to divide everything between your time and the areas where you are confident. Ideally, work for two to three quick sessions daily. Be sure to schedule breaks.
A sense of accomplishment will come about as you cross off days on your schedule, thus motivating you. Besides being a great tool for preparing for English exams, it’s also an excellent way to organize your everyday studying to avoid overloading yourself.
Take a Practice Test
Take advantage of online study guides and summaries. The internet has many websites that provide summaries and study guides for canonical texts. These tools can help study, but you should never use them in place of reading the text. It would help to use a reputable online guide written by an expert if you decide to use one. Avoid using blogs or websites written by individuals who claim to be experts.
You can find online learning resources and official practice papers for any tests. For instance, you can check NYU English for Beginners course lectures notes here. Upon downloading the study materials, sit somewhere without distractions, set a timer, and start practicing what you’ve learned. Once you’ve completed your work, compare it with best practice resources and past exam answers.
Consider simulating the actual exam experience. For an extra boost, drink a coffee before taking a practice test. Because of the caffeine, the adrenaline will give you a similar feeling to the tension you will experience in the day. Practicing the same experience will help you feel calmer on exam day.
Studying English can be tedious unless you are a big reader — particularly those already proficient in English. Do many kids talk about how much they love their English class? Probably not. Most middle, high school, or college students are least enthusiastic about it.
It’s best to establish a study time limit when studying English. Consistency is crucial here. Taking time to learn daily is much better than cramming a lot in one day. Try not to read a complete novel in one night or memorize all the English grammar rules in a week. Taking it slow and easy is the key. Make reading a daily habit. Every day, try to learn something new. Trying to accomplish too much at once will only lead to burnout.
Consistently Practice Speaking
There is no better “hack” for gaining fluency in a foreign language than dialogue. Conversations in real life can help you level up your language skills fast for two reasons: you must think about the correct vocabulary spontaneously and receive listening practice and real-time feedback.
According to one study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, learners who practice speaking have better language skills than those who only practice comprehension exercises. It’s because people remember human-to-human experiences with associated emotions more readily. Using it in a lively conversation is the best way to remember what you’ve learned. Flashcards and other study tools can be helpful, but a live chat allows you to practice all your words and phrases better.
Study results from the University of California Los Angeles suggest spacing out learning is far more effective than cramming. It is rarely adequate to cram. Whenever it does, it is short-lived. In the best-case scenario, cramming will lead to rote memorization gains for a short time, but rarely will it lead to meaningful learning or understanding.
Most of the time, cramming is more disadvantageous than beneficial. Cramming can be especially problematic if it results in students sacrificing sleep. Studying more than usual without sleeping will probably worsen student performance the following day.
There is no one way to prepare for an English exam. Students can improve their confidence if they follow the above study tips, whether taking a TOEFL, TOEIC, or yet another test. You will have an easier time completing career projects and presenting after graduation if you know what works for you. You will earn the best results if you find the study tips that work for you.