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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: 6 tips to help you with writing exams

Know what to expect in your exam

Your writing is one of the aspects of the English language you'll be tested on – so as the exam approaches make sure you know what to do.

Watch this video to find out six top tips to help you in your writing exam. Then test your understanding in our quiz.

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Your writing is one of the aspects of the English language you'll be tested on – so as the exam approaches make sure you know what to do. Listen to our top tips to help you on your way! 

Well before the exam day, familiarise yourself with the structure of the writing test – do plenty of practice tests, preferably in timed conditions. This will help you look at the timing and the type of writing you're expected to produce. 

But don't just do them – get feedback on your writing and act on it so that you learn from it. Try to rewrite your work based on this feedback. Once you're in the real exam, keep calm! This is examiner, Mark Shea's advice…

Mark Shea, Examiner
Doing an exam successfully is to a large extent a question of good time management. If you’ve done practice exams before, you should have a good idea of how long each part should take you, and when you have to hurry.

So manage your time – know how long you have for each question.  Now, read each question carefully - paying particular attention to instruction verbs such as discuss, examine, compare, contrast.

Next, make a plan before you start writing – you could possibly write down all your ideas and arguments and plan how to use these in your writing. Now it's time to start writing – as you write, don't forget to keep the appropriate structure in mind and when you've finished, make sure you read what you've written and correct any mistakes you've made – and that you've actually answered the question!

Remember the feedback you received for your practice papers and make sure you've acted on this in the real exam. Follow these tips and hopefully everything will go smoothly.

Good luck!


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Here's a summary of our tips to help you with your writing exam:

  1. Try out past exam papers
  2. Get feedback and act on it
  3. Manage your time
  4. Make a plan
  5. Answer using the appropriate structure
  6. Check what you've written

To do

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

How can you be prepared for your writing exam?

4 Questions

Answer these 4 questions

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This BBC webpage has some general advice about exams and types of writing task.

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.

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Sesión de vocabulario

  • familiarise
    get to know well

    act on
    do something based on information or advice you have been given

    suitable or right for a particular situation