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Are you working towards an important exam? We're here to help with a series of videos that pick out some top tips for studying and taking exams.

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Exam skills: 4 tips about preparing for an exam

Be prepared

Exams are important; exams are stressful and exams make you study hard and as a result tend to improve your English! It's good to be prepared to minimise your stress along the way. Watch this video to see our four top tips about choosing and preparing for the right exams - then afterwards test your understanding in our quiz.  [Images: Getty images]

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Exams are important; exams are stressful and exams make you study hard and as a result tend to improve your English! It's good to be prepared to minimise your stress along the way. Listen to our top tips to help you.

Firstly – if you have a choice, consider which exam you want to take – is it the right one for you? Examiner and EFL Trainer, Mark Shea, has some good advice…

EFL Trainer, Mark Shea
Perhaps the most important thing is to make sure you’re doing the right exam. It’s very easy to sign up for an exam which is either much too easy or much too difficult for you. You need to get some good advice perhaps from your teacher and maybe do some practice exams before you sign up for the exam.

So choose the right exam that suits your needs and your language level. Also, make sure that the exam you chose is suitable for your needs. Is it for a job? A university entrance?  A visa application? Or is it for your own private purpose? The answer to these questions may determine which exams you choose.

Whichever exam you chose to take, it’s important to be prepared. One way to do this is look at past exams papers and try out some practice material – this is often available for free on the exam provider's website. Once you've tried this practice material, it's important to get feedback – ask a teacher or look at the answers and notes on the website you used.

Once you've made your choice and you know what you have to do in the exam, what next? This is what language expert, Karen Adams suggests…

Language expert, Karen Adams
When you enrol on an exam course, the first thing to find out is: When is the exam, how long have I got to study? So that can actually help you plan your study time. It’s very important to think about planning how you’re going to work

So plan your work right from the start and make sure you practise the right kinds of exercises right up until the time you take the real exam. Good luck and good revising!


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Here's a summary of our tips about preparing for an exam:

TIP 1: Choose the right exam

Tip 2: Try out practice material

Tip 3: Plan your study time from the start

Tip 4: Practise appropriate exercises

To do

So what did you discover? Find out by taking our test…

Exam preparation - what should you do?

4 Questions

Answer these 4 questions

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Listen to Alice and Rob discuss which study techniques are effective – and which aren't - in 6 Minute English.

Have you got any tips about learning strategies and exam preparation that you can share with us? Please email them to us at with 'Exam Skills' in the subject line. We will post our favourites here and on our Facebook page. Please note that we can’t reply to individual emails, but we do read all of them.

End of Session 1

Join us in Session 2 for News Review, where we'll bring you key words and phrases from the latest stories and show you how to use it in your everyday English.

Sesión de vocabulario

  • stressful 

    useful comments about how well or how badly someone is doing something

    put yourself onto the official list of members of a course