10 Proven Study Tips for Acing Your English Exam – From TOEFL to IELTS
English exams can be a daunting task for many students. Whether you’re taking TOEFL, IELTS, or another English language exam, it’s important to prepare in the best way possible. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of 10 proven study tips to help you ace your English exam.
Additionally, TestFellow is a great resource for english practice tests to help you prepare for your English exam. By following these tips and utilizing practice tests, you’ll be on your way to acing your English exam with confidence.
1. Understand the exam content and format
To ace your English exam, it’s important to first understand the content and format of the test. These exams typically assess speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. Research typical exam questions and the time allotted for each section to avoid any surprises on test day. Additionally, familiarize yourself with the logistics of the exam, such as the location of the test center, whether it can be taken online, and what you are allowed to bring. To learn more about the IELTS and TOEFL exams, check out our IELTS vs TOEFL exam guide and top 10 tips for IELTS preparation. Knowing all about your exam will help you establish a focus and create a solid study plan.
2. Identify and Address Your Weaknesses
Before starting to study for your English exam, it’s important to identify your weaknesses. Most exams test all four language skills equally, so focus your efforts on improving areas where you’re not as strong. Look back at past exams or take a practice test to determine where you struggle the most, whether it’s listening, reading, writing, or speaking. By focusing on these areas, you’ll be able to improve your overall score in the exam. Make sure to allocate more time to the areas you need to work on, and you’ll see a significant improvement in your performance.
3. Create a study schedule
Create a study schedule as soon as possible to avoid last-minute cramming and ensure optimal preparation for your English exam. Use a diary, excel spreadsheet, or even a wall calendar to plan out your study sessions leading up to the exam day. Divide your time wisely, focusing on your weaker areas, and aim for two or three study sessions per day. Studies have shown that the most effective work schedule is 52 minutes of studying followed by a 17-minute break.
4. Prepare faster with a tutor
If you want to improve your performance before your English exam, one of the most efficient ways is to work with a private tutor. They can help you create a study plan, provide resources, and focus on your areas of weakness. With 1-on-1 lessons, you can also improve your speaking skills.
5. Expand Your Vocabulary
To excel on an English language exam, a wide range of vocabulary is essential. One tried and true method is using flashcards. Create your own by writing a word on one side and its definition and an example sentence on the other. Test yourself to see if you can recall the definition and example. Using flashcard apps like Quizlet, Preply, Drops, and Memrise can also help drum new words into your head through repetition. These apps allow you to create your own flashcards or use ready-made decks, import words shared by your tutor, and take fun, fast-paced games with colorful images to aid in learning new words. Incorporating flashcards into your study routine can greatly enhance your vocabulary and improve your performance on the exam.
6. Strengthen Writing Skills with a Daily Journal
Writing a daily journal in English is a great way to improve your language skills. Not only does it help you think in the target language and form sentences quickly, but it also allows you to identify which important, daily-use words are missing from your vocabulary. You can then add them to your flashcard app for memorization later. This exercise is also beneficial for the IELTS and TOEFL exams, as they include a section where you will be asked to write about your opinion or describe something. Keeping a journal will give you practice in writing about things, people, or events in your own life and expressing your thoughts on them. Additionally, it serves as a great tool for staying motivated as you can see the progress you’ve made over time. The topics you write about in your journal can also give you ideas for discussion when practicing your speaking skills.
7. Practice speaking regularly
Practicing speaking regularly is one of the best ways to improve your English language skills. Conversation is a powerful tool that helps you think on your feet and develop your vocabulary quickly. According to a study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, learners who practice speaking regularly outperform those who only learn through comprehension exercises. This is because human-to-human experiences with emotions attached to them are more likely to be remembered. While flashcards and other study techniques are useful, speaking with a native speaker allows you to implement all of the words and phrases you’ve learned and receive real-time feedback.
8. Read as much as you can
Reading as much English material as possible is an effective way to improve your language skills. Not only will it help you develop your knowledge of the English language, but it will also expose you to different subjects and improve your comprehension. Setting aside a little bit of time every day or two to read can make a big difference. Whether it’s academic journals, books, or newspapers for the IELTS Academic test, or texts you encounter in daily life such as magazines, novels, or advertisements for the IELTS General Training test, there’s a wide range of reading material available. It’s important to not be afraid to make notes, define words, and translate sentences while reading, as this will help you recognize familiar words and understand how they are used in real-life situations.
9. Practice your listening skills
Don’t forget to listen! Listening is often overlooked as a less important skill in language learning, but research shows that we spend 40-50% of our communication time listening. To excel in your English exam, it’s crucial to develop your listening skills. One way to practice is through active listening, which involves giving full attention to a podcast, YouTube video, or movie and taking notes on new words and phrases. Another way is through passive listening, where you listen to audio while doing other activities, such as cleaning or walking. To further improve your listening skills, consider checking out English speaking exercises. Remember, once you’ve honed your listening skills, it’s important to put them into practice with test material.
10. Practice makes perfect
Practice makes perfect when it comes to taking language exams. One of the best ways to prepare for TOEFL, IELTS, or other exams is to take practice tests. These tests will give you a feel for the actual exam format, and help you become familiar with the types of questions that will be asked.
By taking practice tests, you’ll be able to identify any areas where you need to improve, and focus on those areas in your studies. Additionally, simulating the exam experience will help you to feel more calm and prepared on the actual exam day. For more practice tests, visit TestFellow.