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Tips on foreign language exam preparation

Preparing for language exams is in some ways trickier than revising for any other type of test. While a history or a chemistry exam will assess the level to which you’re familiar with a certain amount of knowledge in the subject, the aim of a language exam is to determine your command of a foreign language. With the test having such a comprehensive mission, it’s no surprise that preparing for a language exam also takes somewhat of a different strategy.To help you ensure the best result you can in your upcoming language exam, remember these tips we’ve put together for you.

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1. Take Your Time with Preparation

Science has proven that shorter intervals of revision with breaks between them help to achieve better results than a frantic night of repetition. Cramming for an exam the night before is also a sure way to cause anxiety which doesn’t help with remembering material either. So, start preparing early and take your time – preparing for just 10 minutes a day over a long period is better than doing it all in two days before the test. Start with the topics you enjoy and work your way up from there. Also, keep making notes as to what parts seem problematic to you.

2. Personalise the Exam

Although you need to make sure you’re in accordance with the exam task given, you can use your own language to address the topic. This is especially true for the writing and speaking parts, of course, depending on the type of test you are preparing for. You are free to come up with your own answers that do not necessarily need to be true, just present the language you know in the best way. Feel free to steer the exam questions to areas where you feel most comfortable.

3. Surround Yourself in Your Target Language

If you feel like you might be out of depth with the exam you’re preparing for, quickly upping your language level might be a good choice. The best way to do that is to fully immerse yourself in the language. Write notes about the subjects you’re not sure about and leave them around the house for continuous revision. Watch TV-shows or use the Internet to access media in your target language. Take part in language exchange, or practice speaking to yourself. And start thinking in your target language. Doing this type of a full immersion can be exhausting but will give you quick results in even a week.

4. Learn the Real Language

These days, most language tests focus on developing tasks that use the language as naturally as possible. In the listening parts, there can be people with regional accents, speaking the language as a regular native would. This can be a problem if so far you’ve been focusing on learning the textbook version of a language. Watch videos in your target language, read blogs that interest you, and don’t forget to speak to natives. To ensure a good result in the speaking part – learn a few colloquialisms and use filler-words in your target language. For example, “pues” for Spanish, “umm” and “err” in English, or use “alors” when taking a French exam. This will not only make your speech sound natural but will also give you a second to think about what you want to say next.

Conclusion – Prepare slowly and thoroughly by immersing yourself in the real language.

In order to achieve best results, simply immerse yourself in the language as it is used by natives. Read contemporary literature, listen to podcasts, engage with native speakers, use online test preparation and a private language teacher (link to – to get professional help.

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