How do you feel when you imagine taking an exam? Are you excited, apprehensive, or emotional? People react in all sorts of different ways on exam day, but most agree that tests can be stressful, especially when you are really counting on a good result.
The Oxford Test of English is a way of proving your level of English for a job, university application, or even just to get a precise measure of your language level before you travel to an English-speaking country. Unfortunately, if you are feeling too stressed before you take it, you might not score as highly as you’d like.
We’ve put together our five top tips to help you relax, prepare, and do as well as you can.
1. A problem shared is a problem halved
If you’re feeling stressed about taking the Oxford Test of English, the first thing you should do is speak to your teacher. Ask for advice on how to prepare for the test. Your teacher will be able to tell you which skills you need to improve and advise you on some study techniques that should boost your English.
If you’ve been studying alone, the best thing to do is read all about the test on the website. It’s also a good idea to talk to the Test Centre Manager to find out exactly what happens on exam day. For example, did you know that you are not allowed to bring your phone into the exam room? The unknown is always much more stressful – as soon as you understand what the exam entails, you’ll feel more relaxed. After all, it’s good to talk!
2. Take the online demo test
If you take the demo test ahead of the real Oxford Test of English, you’ll soon familiarise yourself with the look and layout of the test. It will help you get used to the format and practise answering the questions.
There are four modules to complete, just like the real Oxford Test of English, and it gives an insight to the kind of questions you will face in each one. This way, there won’t be any surprises when it comes to sitting the test on exam day.
3. Prepare thoroughly for the Speaking module
The Speaking section of any exam is often the most nerve-wracking. That means it’s a good idea to practise and get used to answering questions under pressure.
The Speaking part of the demo test comes with a countdown, so answering questions quickly will become much easier. Beyond the demo test, there are lots of opportunities to practise your speaking if you’re prepared to get creative!
Here are some ideas:
- Speak English whenever and wherever you can. Record yourself speaking, and then listen back to see where you can improve your sentence structure and vocabulary.
- Make a list of useful words and phrases when it comes to introducing yourself, or giving your opinion.
- Watch English language films or series with subtitles and take note of new expressions. Then try to incorporate them in your own vocabulary!
For more ideas, check out our blog post on preparing for the speaking module of the Oxford Test of English.
And if you want to work on your pronunciation, try out Say It, the Oxford University Press speaking app. With all that practice, you won’t feel as nervous when it comes to the day of the test!
4. Hit the books
“Hit the books” is an English idiom that means “start studying.” It’s definitely a good idea when you’re planning to take a language test! As well as reviewing notes from class, check out our Oxford Online Language Practice course. It has lots of video and audio resources, and incorporates grammar and vocabulary into one learning journey. There are up to 25 hours of exercises at each level, so you’ll get plenty of study material on this course.
Once you’re well-prepared for the test, you won’t feel stressed on the morning of the exam.
Learning English doesn’t always involve sitting down to study a coursebook, however. The most successful language learners are the ones who have made an effort to integrate English into every part of their lives.
Social media is one easy way to expose yourself to more English. You can follow English teaching influencers for useful language tips, and read posts in English to improve your reading.
Follow Learning English with Oxford on Facebook and Instagram! You’ll see lots of English challenges, quizzes, study tips and advice on taking the Oxford Test of English. For more advice on the Oxford Test of English, check out the rest of the articles on our blog, Learning English with Oxford. And good luck on exam day!