Contributed by Barbara (Canberra ESL Team)

Okay, you’ve decided to take an English language test, now what? Here are 5 must-do’s to help you prepare.


Research the exam beforehand

Find out as much as you can about how the exam is administered, how long it is, what topics does it cover, and what the restrictions are for your testing centre. Sometimes the speaking portion of the test is held on a different day, or even at a different location. Some tests have restrictions about what you can bring into the test, right down to the number or pens and pencils you can have!


Research yourself beforehand

What kind of test taker are you? Do you get anxious when taking tests? Do you usually walk away from a test thinking you’ve aced it, only to find later you did not do as well as you had thought? Perhaps you are always calm and focused under pressure. Knowing what kind of test taker you are means you can make better choices about what to focus on in preparation for your test.


Read, write, listen, and speak as much as you can!

Language tests assess your ability to use a language. Building your fluency in the four aspects will help you in all portions of the test. In addition, language tests are timed. An ability to read and understand a variety of texts quickly and accurately is key to a successful reading task. Similarly, clear and organised speech and writing are crucial for higher marks (i.e. Band 6-7 in IELTS).


Practice, practice, practice!

Don’t cram for the test the night before. Pick a test date far enough in the future to give yourself time to prepare properly. Spend some time taking practice tests with a timer and evaluating your performance afterwards. It can be helpful to do an Exam Autopsy to analyse any problems you had or the questions you missed.


Get a Tutor

Practice tests are a useful indicator of your language ability, however, they have their limits. A practice exam can only tell you what question you got wrong, not why it was wrong or what you can do to avoid the mistake in the future.

A language tutor can both assess your skill level as well as determine which areas need the most preparation and how best to do this; they are trained to do this. Highly trained tutors are also skilled in test-taking strategies, including ways to help address test-taking difficulties such as overconfidence and anxious nerves.

Are you thinking of taking an English exam in the future? Get in touch with us for focused, customised coaching.


About ESL Tutoring Services

At ESL Tutoring we tailor our lessons for your particular needs. As every person is unique, so the lessons we prepare are also different for each individual student. At ESL Tutoring, we don’t just go from one chapter to another in a text book. We teach you what YOU want to know and our tutors put in the extra effort to help you achieve your goals. We don’t just teach English, we live English! Contact us to learn more about what we can offer. You can also email us on or call 1300 137 186.








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