Every new year is a chance to set goals and make resolutions that will improve your life. But, this new year is even more special as we enter the new decade of the 2020s! What a perfect time to set a goal for yourself that will lead to a better and brighter future. One such goal is preparing to take and earn a passing score on an English language test. We’re here to help you achieve that goal.
Decide Which English Language Test is Right for You
The first thing you must do to achieve this goal is decide which English language test is right for you. Both the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) are designed to test an individual’s ability to use and communicate in English. However, they are different tests and serve different purposes.
The TOEFL is most commonly used to help non-native English speakers gain admission into English-speaking universities. This test focuses on academic subjects. In contrast, the IELTS is more of a general English test that is used for immigration purposes. This test has more real-life English communication type questions instead of academic. However, you may choose to the IELTS academic option.
If you plan to take an English language test so you can attend an English-speaking university, you will likely be required to earn a certain score on one of these two tests. Research the universities you are interested in attending to see which test they prefer.
Set Clear Goals
It is important to set clear goals regarding the test. Instead of saying, “My goal is to take the TOEFL,” you should create a series of specific goals to help you achieve your overall goal. For instance, you may make a goal to enroll in an English class in DC, develop a bigger English vocabulary in a month, or that you will listen to English news, take notes, and write 150-word summaries. You want to create measurable goals that you can use to measure your progress.
Learn the Test Format
It is very helpful to learn the test format instead of showing up on test day unsure of what to expect. The formats of the TOEFL and IELTS are different, so you will need to learn the format of the test you are planning to take. However, both tests will include these four sections: listening, writing, reading, and speaking. You will be given a certain amount of time to complete each section. Additionally, it is wise to understand how each test is scored. The IELTS is scored using a band scores from 0-9, whereas the TOEFL is scored using a scaled score from 0-30 for each test section.
Enroll in a Test Preparation Class
If you want to achieve your goal, you should enroll in English courses in Washington DC. By enrolling in an English class, you will receive help learning the language from native speakers alongside other English language learners. In addition, language schools in DC also offer test preparation courses specifically designed to help students earn passing scores on the IELTS or the TOEFL.
Immerse Yourself in the Language
Both the IELTS and TOEFL will test your ability to communicate in English. Therefore, it is wise to immerse yourself in the language as much as possible. For example, students who study English in Washington DC will be fully immersed in the English language and American culture. Simply leaving in the States will require them to communicate in English on a daily basis.
Practice Each Component Daily
The TOEFL and the IELTS each are composed of four sections: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. It is important for English language learners to practice each component daily. It is easy to focus on the components you use naturally each day like speaking, but it is necessary to incorporate the other areas into your daily life. For example, begin journaling in English so you can make sure you practice writing in English each day.
Use Official Study Materials
You will have a better understanding of the test and feel more prepared if you use the official study materials produced by IELTS or TOEFL. Their official study materials use questions and samples from past tests, which will help you know what to expect. Additionally, you should also spend time taking some of the official practice tests. These tests will be scored so you can identify the areas where you are struggling.
Focus on Problem Areas
After taking a practice tests, review your scores. Pay attention to the areas of the tests where you appear to have a harder time. For some test takers, it may be an issue with the type of task, but for others, it may be completing the tasks in the allotted amount of time. Either way, it is important to spend some extra time on these sections so you can be better prepared on the actual test day.
Sign Up for the Test at an English Test Center
In all the excitement, you can’t forget to actually sign up for the test. Fortunately, there are multiple times to take these tests each year at several different locations. In fact, inlingua has its own English test center and is the largest IELTS Test Center in the US. They offer the TOEFL twice a month and the IELTS four times a month.
Make Healthy Choice the Day Before
Finally, do your best to make healthy choices the day before your English language test. Do not stay up trying to cram. It won’t work! Instead, try to relax. Visit ETS to review what you need to bring on test day and get everything together. Go to bed at a reasonable time and get some rest. On the morning of the exam, set an alarm, eat a healthy breakfast, and leave early.