How to Pass an English Language Exam

woman in gray sweater writing with mechanical pencil on white paper

How to Pass Exams

When you take an exam in English there are two things you need to practice. The first thing you need to practice is your knowledge of English. You need to practice your grammar, reading, writing, listening, speaking, and vocabulary. 

The second thing you need to practice is your exam technique. This includes how to answer all of the questions on the exam in the time you are given and making sure that you understand what the examiner will be looking for when asking you questions. If you are going to take an IELTS exam, a Cambridge FCE or PET, or any other English exam, you need to practice your skills all the time. When you are practicing, you should be careful that you do not go over the time and also make sure you understand the question. 

Here I will explain three good exam techniques which can help you pass any exam!

1. Understand the Exam

It is important to do practice questions and exams, you should make sure you know what type of questions the exam will ask you. Make sure you understand the instructions and what the examiner wants to see in your answers. 

IELTS Liz is a good website for practice IELTS questions.

Cambridge has a good website for practice FCE papers.

The more you do practice taking ‘mock’ exams, the more confident you will feel going into the real exam.

For tips and websites about specific exams (Like IELTS or FCE) read our other blogs.

2. Know Your Timing

One of the biggest problems students have when they are taking exams, is answering all the questions in the time they are given. Before you take an exam make sure you know how long you have to answer each section. 


First you need to understand the structure of the exam, then you should do practice questions with no time limit. After you are confident answering the questions, start doing practice exam questions with the same time limit you will have during the exam. This will give you a good idea of how you will feel in the real exam.

3. Understand the question, and keep your answers focused

When you do practice questions you should first look at the words in the instructions and think about what type of answer each instruction word needs.

If the question says “Discuss…” then you should talk about both sides of the situation. 

You should also underline or highlight keywords (important words) in the question. 

In writing exams, read the question after each paragraph, so your answer stays relevant and don’t start talking about a different topic.

hand out flat holding a silver stopwatch in the palm
Most exams are timed

How Lessons Can Help Your Exams

We have taken lots of exams in the past and we have helped many students prepare for their own exams. We understand the structure and techniques needed in exams. We have taught students IELTS and exam skills for years and can help you identify your weaknesses and give you techniques to improve your exam scores.

Do you have any specific questions? Ask us in the comments below!

And when you’re ready, book a consultation with us so we can talk about what you need to practice.

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