Get the right score through practice papers

Studying abroad: Sharpen your English language skills through sample test papers before attempting the exam, advises Elizabeth Rust

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Preparing for one of these tests can be a daunting task. You might find yourself asking questions like: “How much English will I need to know?”, “Do I need to prepare for the test?”, “How can I study for the test?”  Since an English language test can be a personal assessment of your language skills, in order to answer any of these questions, you could attempt sample questions before taking the real test. Candidates can find these on the TOEFL, IELTS or PTE Academic websites along with sample answers. It is best to check with the institution you are applying to see what score you will need to achieve. Most institutions ask for a minimum score of 50-65.

Once you have completed sample questions and know your current academic ability, the next step is to create a study plan to ensure a good score on the test. Remember that the key to doing well on an English language test is to stick to your study plan and review your progress regularly by continuing to take practice tests.

To help you with the speaking test, you may find the language fluency tutorials at www.livemocha.com helpful. You may also find it useful to buy one of the many test preparation guides available for TOEFL, IELTS or PTE Academic. These guides contain full length practice tests, sample answers and more information on how to prepare.

It is important to practice so that you get your best score. It is also important to remember that these tests are not designed to trick you, but to give an effective assessment of a candidate’s academic language skill. As long as you prepare for the test you have decided to take, and understand how to do your best, you should get the score you need to study at your chosen institution. For additional test tips on TOEFL, visit
www.ets.org/toefl/ibt/ prepare/tips. For additional test tips on IETLS, visit
www.ielts.org/test_ takers_ information.aspx

(The author is a Communications Manager, Language Testing, Pearson Academic)

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