English proficiency tests: Tips, do's and don'ts for TOEFL, IELTS and more

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind if you are gearing up to crack English proficiency tests 
Picture for representational purposes only | (Pic: Express)
Picture for representational purposes only | (Pic: Express)

English proficiency is a basic requirement for pursuing education abroad. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) are the most popularly accepted proficiency tests by foreign universities. And they are quite tough. So, here are some tips to help you achieve a good score on these tests.

Early start: Students are advised to start preparing as early as eight weeks from the exam date. They should take a practice test first to identify the areas they are lacking in, and then work on these areas.

Know the format: Getting acquainted with the format is very important as it ensures ease and confidence while appearing for the test. It will also help practice better. Students need to spend some time on the official test sites to be thorough with the test formats.

Improving skills: Both tests assess students on four language skills, which are speaking, reading, listening and writing. Students should work on improving these skills with regular practice, by themselves and with a guide. They can take the practice tasks offered online for free.

Study from various sources: It is always better to go beyond the range of the available guidebooks and online materials for practice. Students can take to reading comic books, listening to songs and watching movies for exposure to "passive learning". It's entertaining too!

Make a study routine: At any given time, two hours of focused study is much better than five hours of study interspersed with a lot of procrastination, isn't it? So, students are advised to make an effective study plan and stick to it!

Know your speed: TOEFL and IELTS takers need to be fast in writing while taking care not to exceed the prescribed word limit. Similarly, getting acquainted with the QWERTY format of a keyboard is very important for TOEFL iBT (Internet-based test) takers, as otherwise, they will struggle with typing. 

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