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English Language Exam Revision Tips

posted on Wednesday 5th September

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Article tags: exam tips, revision

Busy preparing for your exams at Harven School of English? We know how important it is to our students to perform as well as they can for something that will help shape their next steps into higher education or a career.

Whichever course you are studying, we recommend following these nine top tips to ensure success on the day of your exams.

#1 Read the syllabus

To kick-start your revision programme, read through the course material to check that you have covered all the points, and there is nothing you’ve missed. It’s crucial you are aware of everything you are expected to know at this point, including both grammar and vocabulary.

Your teachers at Harven School of English can give you their own advice for preparing for the exam, and you should take note of all feedback you have received on your progress so far, as well as any mistakes that have been corrected in your work.

#2 Invest in books

You will find many self-study textbooks available to buy online and in bookshops that you can work through to help you prepare for most English language exams. You will also need a good dictionary and English grammar book.

These textbook tools will aid with written English, but won’t with the spoken side of the course, so make sure you practice your verbal communication with friends, teachers and peers so you can improve on any weaknesses in this area.

#3 Start early

Although it may be tempting to procrastinate, don’t leave your exam preparation too late.

You not only need to understand what is required of you from the exam format but improve your level of English to a high enough standard that you will pass with flying colours. Including practice time, this might take several months, so make a start on your revision sooner rather later!

#4 Understand the exam format

Find out what sort of questions you will face on the day of the exam. Knowing all the material won’t necessarily be enough – this means looking at as many past papers as you can.

Understanding what to do for each section will allow you to work through the exam as efficiently as possible, saving you time and helping to build your confidence.

#5 Look at the marking scheme

Knowing what the examiners are looking for in each part of the exam will improve your performance.

Look at the marking scheme, and identify how many are allocated for accuracy, content, grammar, style, etc. This allows you to assess what skills you need to demonstrate for each part of the exam.

If you are unsure about any area, ask a teacher for guidance.

#6 Practice, practice, practice!

This applies to both the written and speaking parts of your English language exam, so speak to your teachers about obtaining past papers, or alternatively, find some online.

When you first start tackling past papers, try not to attempt the whole thing at once. Start by completing just one section at a time, as this will allow you to focus and check you are answering the individual components correctly, as well as identifying any mistakes.

When you can answer each section as best as you can, think about trying to complete a past paper within the time available.

#7 Set time limits

Once you are happy with all parts of the exam paper, you can begin to think about the speed at which you are able to get through it. Find out how long you will be given to complete the whole paper, and then decide how many minutes you need to allocate to each section.

It’s important you don’t spend too long on one part, so think carefully about how you are going to divide up the allotted time. Also, remember to leave at least a few minutes at the end to read through the paper and check your answers.

Practice with as many papers as possible, until you can comfortably finish it within the time limit – don’t be of the many students that fails because they know the material but run out of time!

#8 Spread the revision bug

It’s a good idea not to spend all your revision time holed up on your own – arranging to meet up with a friend, or group of peers, can really help improve your English in preparation for the exam.

They might be able to pick up on mistakes you hadn’t noticed and talking out loud to them means extra spoken practice, too.

#9 Stay calm

Whatever happens, try not to panic! If you start your revision programme early, cover the syllabus thoroughly and work on any weak areas, then you will have done your best to prepare for your final exams.

On the day before, make sure you get a good night’s sleep, and have everything you need packed and ready for the next morning. A hearty breakfast will give your brain a boost and remember to leave plenty of time to get to Harven School of English – you don’t want to be late!

Best of luck with your English language exams!