How To Tackle an English Exam

The grade in your English exam doesn´t only depend on all your knowledge that you have required. It also tests a true personal challenge.

The mere fact of being tested brings along lots of stress. Follow these 7 simple guidelines that we explain below, and you will achieve your expected results.

1. Plan your revision

You can´t hope that your memory will work miracles, you should give it time to take in new information. Be organised, persistent, and arrange revision sessions.

We recommend that you should dedicate a few hours a day in your daily routine to refresh everything that you have been learning.


If you do this every day, you will be making a step in the right direction to progressing in learning the language for an exam.

2. Trust in your abilities

Your attitude is key for passing an English exam. You should believe in yourself, and in your teachers. Think that it is only a test, and that in your hands you will pass it.

The preparation for this exam depends on you. Therefore, your self-confidence will be your secret weapon for achieving your goal.

3. Check what the exam is like

You have to know the path that you are taking. Is it a Cambridge Exam? Trinity? Oxford Test of English? Escuela Oficial de Idioms?

Whatever the type of test, you have to be very aware of its characteristics: modules of the exam, timings, dynamics, type of evaluation…

The more information you have about the English exam that you are going to sit, the better you will feel when sitting it.

4. Test yourself

Once you know what the test consists of, try to do practice tests under exam conditions.

This way you will be able to find your weak points and work on them for the real exam.


If you self-correct, in the moment of the real exam, you will be more prepared for the test since it will all be more familiar to you.

5. Forget about all the bad studying practices

Have you ever felt that you are killing yourself revising, and despite this you still don´t achieve the mark that you wanted? All of this can leave you hating English, losing interest in learning, and feeling useless.

Don´t let depression fixate itself. Don´t let these untrue thoughts let you believe that you aren´t capable of anything.

The most normal thing is that a lower than expected mark in an English exam is a reflection on the way that you are studying.

The most common problems are:

  • Studying the same for all your exams

This is a mistake. You can´t prepare the same for a Trinity test as for a Cambridge test. You can´t tackle an oral test in the same way as a reading test.

If you only choose one method for studying, you will be missing details. Each test has its characteristics. And to pass them successfully you should understand the type of evaluation that is applied in the exam.

  • Being negative about yourself

A very common bad habit. If you fill your mind of negative things such as “I´m an idiot”, “English is impossible for me”, “it´s not for me”… they will end up being mantras that affect your brain.

The solution is to watch your words and thoughts. Change this negativity into positivity.

Instead of thinking “i´m so bad at English”, repeat “learning English is good and it will help me to travel around the world”. With time, as you listen to these mantras, you will regain your confidence and be filled with positivity.

  • Studying with distractions

If you see that you are unable of not checking your social media sites, you get distracted watching the TV or by another task, your study routine will suffer.

Your main objective should be to make a revision timetable to prepare yourself for your English exam in an efficient and quick way.


Find a quiet place, go to the library, leave a place at home free from distractions, put on relaxing music… Find your way of studying and concentrate.

  • Last minute revision

It´s impossible to learn new things from one moment to the next. True learning consists of learning theory and putting it to practice until you have no doubts left.

For this way of learning, time is precious. Studying the night before can work for a bit of revision, but not as a study session. If you try to cram your brain with information, you will forget it immediately.

The solution to this problem before the exam, is to organise your diary enough in advance to allow for 20 minutes of revision a day.

6. Forget about nerves

We know that it is complicated. But if you let them take over you, you cannot achieve your objectives.

Self-control is key to facing stressful situations. There are people who are more sensitive than others in these environments. But a good preparation beforehand will provide you with security and confidence.

On the day of the exam, give yourself enough time to relax. Rushing can be detrimental. And go with a positive attitude of conquering the world.

7. Be organised and precise with your responses

When you sit an English exam, the details will always make the difference. Try always to maintain an order and accuracy in your answers.

This will keep your mind clear to tackle the whole test. And the examiner will value it much more. All aspects of life influence an exam.

Your ability of English at an academic or work level, is one of the most demanded skills nowadays. Prepare yourself to achieve your goal.

Learn English properly with Nathalie Languages. 

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