Free consultation with IELTS & TOEFL Specialist

51

Hi.

I'm Rebecca from engVid.

Have you just been told that you need to do an English proficiency exam, such as the IELTS

or the TOEFL or the TOEIC, or are you in the middle of preparing for one of these exams

or some other English proficiency exam?

If so, please watch this lesson because I think it can really help you.

What I'm going to do here is I'm going to go over some of the very important questions

that you need to be asking yourself in order to prepare very well and very effectively

for this exam.

And it's much more than just studying English.

All right?

So, what am I going to cover here?

I'm going to cover four different areas.

First the basics of: What are the things you need to know about the test?

The logistics, or the planning that you're going to have to do in order to be very successful.

The progress, how to measure it, how to tell, how to actually make progress towards your goal.

And last of all, what can you do, what else can you do to really achieve great success?

And that is a lot more than just doing English or just studying English, or improving your English.

Now, a lot of this knowledge has come to me because besides being a trainer on engVid,

I have also owned and managed a language school for many years and I had a lot of students

come into my office and sit down, and tell me that they had been told that they needed

to do the IELTS, or the TOEFL, or that they needed to do an exam and they weren't sure

which one, and their friends said do this, and another friend said do that.

And they were really confused and they didn't know what are the various things that they

had to think about.

And so, through the years I've developed a lot of experience in advising and counselling

students to prepare very well for this task, which is not an easy task but it's also a

really important task because these

These exams matter a lot to your life.

Okay? So let's get started.

So let's start with the basics.

Number one: Which exam do you need to do?

Now, sometimes you have a choice and sometimes you don't have a choice, but if you do have

a choice, please check because there are so many different exams;

the IELTS, the TOEFL, the TOEIC, and so many others today.

And sometimes students have heard of, let's say the IELTS, but they haven't heard of another

exam, but perhaps that is one of the options and that's an important, very important question

for you to answer.

I had a student, for example, in our school who was preparing for the IELTS and he was

having a tough time with it, and he didn't do really well because he was starting at

a lower level.

And so later it came out that he could have actually prepared for the TOEIC exam, which

is much easier.

And so I told him, like: "Why don't you just switch to that exam?"

and then he passed right away

because that's where he was and he had a limited amount of time to prepare.

So, it is really important to check: What are the possible exams you could do to satisfy

the requirement of your university or your professional certification, body, or whatever

reason it is that you're doing this exam? Okay?

So make sure you know that.

Now, the second point then becomes let's suppose that you do have to do the IELTS exam.

So the IELTS, for example, has different versions; it has an academic version and a general version.

Usually the academic one is if you're trying to get into university because they need you

to have higher level English.

And the general one is for, for example, immigration to a country.

So make sure you know and make sure you don't waste time studying for the wrong exam because

each one is quite different.

Now, which area does your exam cover?

So, for example, with IELTS academic, obviously it's going to be more academic subjects.

If it's general, what kind of topics do they have there?

If it's the TOEIC exam, that area is going to be business because TOEIC is an exam that

covers business English, not really general English.

And if it's the TOEFL it's more also academic English.

All right?

So you also have to find out what area your exam focuses on so you can learn the right

vocabulary and

And all the other associated study.

What date do you need to do the exam?

Now, to figure that out you kind of have to work backwards, and find out:

Why are you doing this exam?

If you're trying to get into university in September, for example, in North America,

then admission require dates might end in the summer, like May or June, or something

like that.

There may be deadlines, so you need to do your exam maybe a little bit before then,

you have to find out how long it takes for the testing body, like IELTS or TOEFL to get

your exam results to the university.

You have to allow time for all that.

And, of course, you have to allow time for you to prepare for the exam.

So work it backwards from whatever your goal is, and that will help you to determine when

you need to start studying or how much time you need to

To keep in order to prepare and complete this exam.

Okay?

Now, you also might want to look into

If you have a choice of exams, you might want to check and think about how those exams are tested.

For example, the IELTS for the speaking test

Part of the test you have to talk to a live examiner.

Are you the kind of person who feels comfortable with a real person?

Do you speak better English as a result of speaking with a real person, or do you feel

more nervous when you're talking to a live examiner?

Well, if you feel more nervous then

And if you have a choice, then maybe you should do the TOEFL exam because in the TOEFL you

don't meet a live examiner; you just have the exam on the computer.

And so maybe that's easier for you.

In the IELTS, for example, you have to write the answer in the essay section, but in the

TOEFL you type everything.

So you need to know how it's tested because maybe you are better at writing by hand or

writingOr typing on the computer.

And all of these things do make a difference, because finally you have a limited amount

of time in which to show how well you know English.

Okay? So all of these little points become big points.

Now, what skills are covered?

So you need to find out that in that particular exam that you are thinking about:

What are the different skills that they cover?

And they ask about: In what sections are in the exam?

Now, usually the most common ones are reading, and writing, and listening, and speaking.

Okay?

There are four, but not always.

Find out in advance what you need to do.

Maybe the reason you've been asked to do this exam is they just want a writing and speaking

score, maybe they just need the reading and listening score, and maybe there are certain

exams that only test that.

So make sure you check that.

And another very important piece of advice: If you're working with a budget

Okay?

And most people are working with a budget, certain limited amount of money that they

can put towards this purpose, then for example, reading and listening I recommend you can

study by yourself. Okay?

Of course, if you can study for the whole thing with someone, with a teacher, or in

a class, in a school, that's better, but if your funds are limited, if your money's limited,

perhaps you can do the reading and the listening by yourself by getting hold of the right books

and working through the book.

But the two sections I really don't recommend that you study by yourself are speaking and

writing, because with speaking and writing you need the feedback of a teacher.

Even if you write an essay every day for a year, but nobody checks it and gives you the

feedback, you might not get any better.

And the same with the speaking.

Experienced teachers know what your mistake

Can find your mistakes and can guide you out of those mistakes-okay?-

and put you on the right track.

So, make sure you get a teacher at least for those sections.

Okay?

Now, what content is involved or included in your exam?

Does it talk about business, does it talk about academic subjects, does it talk about

the environment, does it talk about history?

Find out in advance because maybe you need to start already studying that vocabulary.

If your vocabulary of the environment is very limited, maybe you can start working on that already.

Okay? So check what kind of subject areas and topics are talked about in your particular exam.

Also, the last thing is: How long is your exam? Okay?

Some exams are shorter than others.

The IELTS is shorter in terms of the length of time, the TOEFL is longer.

Do you…?

For whatever reasons, physical reasons or health reasons, do you have any issues with that?

Is it very hard for you to stay for a three and a half hour exam compared to something

that's shorter?

Maybe that's a factor.

And again, that's if you can choose, these are some of the questions you should be asking

yourself.

Now let's move on to the next section.

Okay, so before we start the second section on logistics or planning, I just want to mention

to you that, of course, I am giving you a lot of questions, but I'm also going to answer

some of these questions later by giving you the names of various resources that you can

trust and that you can turn to, to help you to answer some of these questions.

Okay?

All right.

So, let's go to the logistics or: How are you going to plan for your exam?

So, number nine: How much money or what is your budget for this exercise, for this goal

of passing your exam?

So when you're considering how much money it's going to cost you, you have to think:

How much does the exam cost?

Some of these exams cost hundreds of dollars or whatever it is in your currency, and maybe

that is an important factor for you or not.

You have to consider how much it will cost you to do the training, whether you decide

to train online, whether you're going to go to a school, whether you're going to hire

a private teacher, whether you're going to study by yourself, or whatever you're doing

to do.

And also how much it will cost you, if anything, for the materials.

Can you get them from somewhere?

Are they available online?

Do you have to buy them?

How many books do you buy?

Which books do you buy?

All this kind of stuff. Okay?

So: How much money are you going to require for these various purposes?

Because you want to make sure that you plan sensibly when it comes to the money part of it.

All right?

Secondly: How much time?

How much time do you have for this…?

For achieving this goal?

Perhaps you're working, perhaps you have a family.

Maybe you've got a part-time job, maybe you're in university, maybe you're juggling lots

of different responsibilities in your life besides this new one that you have to pass

an English proficiency exam.

So that will also affect how much time you have available to study.

And it's important to look realistically at your time commitments so you can make a plan

of study that you can follow, and not kind of go crazy at the end.

This is not an exam of knowledge.

This is an exam of language, so you need to build up your skills.

Right?

You cannot cram at the end.

It will help you only a little bit.

You really have to try to do everything you can step by step each day so that you can

do well. All right?

Now, how are you going to prepare for this exam?

Are you going to prepare by yourself, as I mentioned earlier?

Are you going to prepare with a friend?

Do you have someone else who's planning to do this exam or needs to do this exam?

Or do you have a group of friends who are planning to study together?

Are you going to hire a private teacher to help you or work privately, or semi-privately with you?

A live teacher or an online teacher?

Okay? Today there's all kinds of possibilities.

And especially if you're in a remote place where maybe they

You don't have access to good teachers, you can perhaps find someone very experienced

online.

So that's something to consider.

Are you going to join a school?

Are you going to join an exam preparation class?

They usually have experience, but not everybody's good, so you have to try to judge that.

And also, as I said, online there are lots and lots of possibilities. Okay?

Number 12: What materials do you need to prepare for this exam?

Are you going to buy these materials?

Do you live in a…?

In a country, or in a city, or in a place where they have a very good local library?

For example, in Toronto we have an amazing library system

and we can borrow up to 50 books at a time.

So, obviously, if you were here you could borrow all the books you wanted to prepare

for an exam, but this is not the case everywhere, so you have to check that.

Are there friends who have completed the exam that you could borrow these books from?

All right?

Think about that.

Now, if you're not sure which books to buy, I'll tell you later how you can know that,

but one of the things you could do locally if you're not sure is to ask the school

Ask a school that has an exam preparation class, even if you're not planning to join

the school. All right?

You could just call them, sort of act as if you're interested or thinking about joining

the school, and ask them if there are any required textbooks that are part of that exam

preparation course, and that way you'll get a reference to one, or two, or three very

good texts that will help you prepare for the exam. Okay?

And later I'll also tell you a website that I've written which will help you to know some

of the better materials that you can use

to prepare for the IELTS, or the TOEFL, or the TOEIC.

All right?

Let's continue.

Okay, so now let's look at some of the questions you need to ask yourself to make good progress

in your exam preparation.

All right, so number 13: What level?

What level are you at now when you're starting or along the way?

How do you know that?

The only way you'll know that is by actually taking a sample test.

I don't mean one that you pay for.

I mean from a book, or from some software, or online there are sample tests available

which represent that exam.

Now, the IELTS actually has a book which has their previous exams.

So, for example, you could do that and then you would know exactly:

"All right, so if I did this exam today, this is my score."

Or this is

I mean, you can't judge everything, you can't judge the writing, but on the other sections.

All right?

So you must know where you are because that will determine either which materials you

choose to start studying from or which class you join, because all of these exams have

materials that start at kind of a lower level and then intermediate level, and then an advanced level.

And then eventually you want to be able to do the most advanced preparation before you

go for your exam.

All right?

Next: What questions?

While you're preparing, what kind of questions do you usually get wrong?

Try to keep track of that, because otherwise you'll just keep studying everything, you'll

go around and round, and you'll get a little bit frustrated.

The way to break through is to identify exactly what your mistakes are.

Do you always get the true and false questions wrong?

All right, well if you do, then maybe you need to understand about that type of question.

And maybe you always get multiple choice questions right, so you're okay there.

Maybe you get fill-in-the-blank right, so maybe that's not your issue.

Identify: Which are your issues?

And it's not the same as your friend and it's not the same as anybody else.

Okay?

So, always keep track of your mistakes.

Your mistakes are wonderful, they are like the doors to your success.

And by identifying what they are, you will be able to get a much higher score.

Okay?

Next: What schedule are you going to follow in order to prepare for this exam?

What are you going to do on a daily basis, what are you going to do on a weekly basis,

and what are you going to do monthly?

So you're asking me: "Why?

I have to do something every day?"

Yes, there are little things you could probably do every day.

You could learn a word a day, you could learn an idiom a day or more.

You could write an essay every day, if you

Depends on how much time you have.

If you're very weak at writing, perhaps that's what you need to do.

And the earlier you start, the more days you will have.

Okay?

What could you do weekly?

Well, in our school every week on Friday the students used to have a practice test because,

all right, you studied all through the week: Did you do any better than last week?

If not, why?

Where are you weak?

What are your strengths?

What are your weaknesses?

That way people focus on what they really need to do to improve, and don't just keep

going round and round in circles. All right?

And monthly, what are you going to do on a monthly basis?

If you have a few months, take a broader view.

Look at what's happening everywhere.

Look at the four different areas: Reading, writing, listening, speaking.

Which are your weakest, where you need to put more focus?

That kind of thing.

Get the big picture.

Okay?

Next: What corrections?

Again, I mentioned to you earlier mistakes are so important, but they'll only help you

if you keep track of them.

So make sure you have an error log, a sort of a list of your mistakes-it could be in

grammar, in vocabulary, in spelling, in pronunciation-so that you will know eventually how to solve

them and eventually they'll go away.

All right.

Next: Even though there are usually four skills tested on most of the English proficiency

exams, like reading, writing, listening, and speaking - sometimes students don't realize

there's actually many other skills being tested.

So I'm just going to mention some of those to you.

They include skimming.

Skimming means reading fast, because in the reading section you really don't have too

much time so you have to learn how to read very quickly.

Scanning, which is also reading quickly, but looking for specific information

for an answer, for example.

Paraphrasing, when you're writing you can't copy the words that are in the essay question,

but you can write them in your own words.

That's called paraphrasing.

Grammar, a lot of the exams today don't have a formal section of grammar, but grammar is

tested indirectly-right?-in your essay, in your speaking.

So grammar's important, too.

Vocabulary, of course, will help

Will be tested indirectly or sometimes directly in the reading section, in the listening section,

and also when you speak and write.

Capitalization is important when you're writing, punctuation is important when you're writing.

Spelling, of course.

In the IELTS exam, for example, even in the listening section if you make a spelling error

you'll get the answer wrong.

I know, it's tough.

It's not easy.

Even if you heard the right word and you put the right word, but you made one little spelling

error, you'll get it wrong.

So spelling can matter a lot.

And pronunciation: Do you have any serious pronunciation problems that you need to correct

so that your speaking score can be higher?

These are some of the many questions that you want to ask yourself.

And, as I said, I'm going to give you some resources that will help you to answer some

of these questions soon.

Okay?

Keep watching.

Okay, so now we talk about how you're going to achieve out-of-the-ballpark success,

amazing success, and it's about doing much more than only improving your English.

So here are some of the important questions you can ask yourself to get outstanding success.

Okay?

Here we go.

So, number 18: What academic resources should you consult while you're preparing for one

of your English proficiency exams?

Well, the most important thing I want to tell you is to make sure that you're consulting

authentic, trustworthy sites if you're looking online.

Now, for example, at engVid all of our teachers are native English-speaking teachers and they have

We all have lots of experience teaching in front of the classroom, teaching in schools,

teaching thousands of students to pass these exams.

So

And we have also on our website, like more than a thousand lessons, and many hundreds

of them are about passing the IELTS, or the TOEFL,

improving your writing, listening, speaking, pronunciation.

And this advice is coming from teachers who have been in the trenches.

We have actually helped thousands of students to pass these exams, so the advice we're giving

you comes from not just knowledge, but also experience-all right?-in helping students

to get the highest grades possible.

So make sure you're watching the right teachers with the right accents and with the right

English.

All right?

Very, very important.

And I'm not saying that only because of us, but because it's really important for you.

Also, go to the actual sites of these exams, the official websites of the exams.

Don't forget to go to them.

There's so much information available that sometimes students forget to read what the

people who actually made these exams have to say, but it's important, so don't forget

to visit the actual official website of IELTS, or TOEFL, or TOEIC, or whichever other exam

you're planning to take.

And very often you will also find there lots of material which is useful, lots of sample

questions, model tests, and things like that.

So do that.

Okay?

In addition, I want to recommend to you I've written a study guide for the IELTS,

for the TOEFL, and for the TOEIC.

It's called www.GoodLuckIELTS.com, or www.GoodLuckTOEFL.com, or www.GoodLuckTOEIC.com,

and it's a guide

that it gives you all kinds of information, and tips, and knowledge about how you can

do your best on these exams.

There are also model essays which are written there, sample questions, and so on and so forth.

Okay?

So lots and lots of information, which I think can help you.

All right.

Now, besides the academic preparation, there is so much more that we need to do as human

beings when we go into a challenging situation, like an exam.

We need to prepare ourselves mentally, and we need to prepare ourselves physically, and

we need to prepare ourselves emotionally.

So I've written another website which is a general website called www.GoodLuckExams.com,

and in that one I've tackled all of these issues.

How do we really do everything possible to do well?

Okay?

So, for example, for mentally preparing yourself, what kind of study skills do you need?

How can you improve your study skills?

Where do you study?

When do you study?

These are some of the questions that I've talked about on this site.

Also memory techniques: How do you remember?

Are you using memory techniques?

There are amazing memory techniques that can make you feel like a genius and act like a

genius, but if you don't learn them then you won't use them.

Okay?

Also, learning styles.

What's your learning style?

Is there an easier way for you to learn?

We should know that and we should have that information.

Specifically for that, in fact for learning styles, today some of the experts think that

learning styles are not important and other people don't agree, and many, many schools

today do teach learning styles.

I have another website called www.StudyingStyle.com where you could do a little quiz to see if

you prefer to learn in a certain way, and if you do, then follow that, follow the advice

there and make your life much easier.

Okay. Also, what can you do physically to prepare?

"What do you mean by that?" you're asking me.

Well, do you think that what you eat in the morning before an exam makes a difference

to how well you do on your test?

Well, I hope you're saying yes because it really does.

We are also physical bodies, not only brains. Right?

And our brain is fueled by what we put into our bodies.

So, on this site I also talk

Have a section there about what to eat before an exam, nutrition tips, what to eat the night

before the exam, what to eat in the morning.

These are really important things that help keep your brain sharp.

Okay?

Also, what kind of exercises can you do?

They have proven

Research has shown that if you do physical activity just before a test or exam, at least

for the first half an hour you're going to score higher than you would have otherwise.

Like I think that's amazing.

I'm fascinated by this kind of research.

I've made a lifetime of trying to help people to learn in the fastest, best, most effective

way as possible, and that's one of the pieces of information that's fascinating, that

you have to keep moving to keep your brain grooving.

All right.

There's also something, which if you haven't checked you really should check, it's called

Brain Gym, and these are exercises which you can do which help both sides of your brain

work together more effectively.

For example, if you put your hands out and then go like this, and then keep your hands

like this, while you're waiting for your exam to start, if you make this kind of movement

it's better for your brain.

It's like you're massaging your brain.

This is a brain gym exercise where we try to use cross lateral movements to improve

the functioning of the brain.

Okay? That's one.

You could also do something like this.

Okay?

Again, you're crossing over-all right?-and connecting both sides of your brain so both

sides of your brain work more effectively.

And you could also do a whole bunch of other things.

For example, you could take your ear lobe

Ears, your ear here and just open them up.

Okay? Massage them like this.

This also helps to increase your

Your brain capacity. All right?

And your ability to work more effectively.

So there's lots of exercises.

Look up Brain Gym, really fascinating.

Okay, and last of all but really not

Very important is what emotional preparation.

A lot of our success is based on our psychology.

What is your psychology?

Do you tend to put yourself down, or do you tell to…?

Tend to strengthen yourself in different ways?

Whatever happens, do you look for the good in it or do you look for the bad in it?

Look for the good.

Most of all, look for the good in yourself.

Right?

So what you want to do before any exam is to reduce your negatives, like test anxiety,

or nervousness, or frustration, and there's ways to do that.

There are exercises, breathing, meditation, so many things.

And do everything you can to increase your positives.

You can use affirmation.

You can say things, like:

"I will do well. I will succeed. I can do it. I'm good in English",

things like that.

Or motivation.

Motivation pushes you to do well.

Inspiration pulls you to do well.

All right?

You're inspired by somebody.

You're like: "I want to do

I want to do what that person's doing. That's amazing. I can do that."

You can visual

Use visualization, very important.

Before you go for your exam, the night before or any time you're thinking about your exam,

only visualize good things.

Imagine that you're sitting there and all the answers are coming to you, and you're

doing the best possible job you can do.

Never visualize the negative things,

because otherwise your brain will store that memory.

Don't do that. Okay?

Only visualize success and more success.

All right?

So, if you'd like to read about this kind of information,

please go to my website at www.GoodLuckExams.com.

Also check out, of course, our engVid website which has, like I said, hundreds of videos

that can help you do better on your exam.

And I really hope that these questions and my experience in the field will help you to

be more successful, and to plan your path to success in a much better way.

If you'd like to get more tips and lessons like this, please subscribe

Sorry.

Subscribe to my website and my channel on YouTube.

Okay?

And that is RebeccaESL.

Thank you very much.

Good luck with your exam and good luck with your English.

Bye for now.

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