English Pracs

Helps you practice your English till you perfect it

Five Things You Should do before signing up for IELTS, PTE, or TOEFL classes

So you want to migrate to English speaking country. The first step would be to sit for the English proficiency tests such as IELTS, PTE, or TOEFL. For many non-native speakers of English, it seems like common sense to sign up for classes to improve our scores on proficiency tests. However, spare me a moment before you go and pay for your classes. Let’s start by understanding the rationale behind these English language tests.

The tests like IELTS, PTE, or TOEFL were designed to assess your overall language ability on four micro-skills: reading, listening, writing, and speaking. The objective of these tests is to find out how proficiently you use English. While there are certain tricks and tweaks that can help you with these tests, the guaranteed way to score better is to improve your English. It takes time and some commitment. However, the good news is, you can do it on your own in the comfort of your home. Let’s talk about some useful things that might help you better your English and improve your test scores:

Start watching English movies and shows

This is not entirely an original idea. Watching shows and movies in the target language is a wholesome way of learning the language. The popular audio-visual contents help us immerse ourselves in the authentic language environment. And the best part is you can learn a lot of colloquial and idiomatic expressions while being thoroughly entertained by the story. If you are planning to sit for that much dreaded IELTS test, maybe it’s not a bad idea to start binge-watching that English series that’s been staring at you from your TV screen for almost a month now.   

Start Reading for Pleasure

Do you know who scores well on IELTS? Those who have an expansive range of vocabulary, good command of grammar, and good written and verbal communication skills. Believe it or not, reading helps to improve all aspects of language. It is one activity that stimulates your brain in many ways, and most of them are good. Not only will you be exposed to a wide range of vocabulary, but you’ll also learn about many ways of having a dialogue or monologue. The cherry on top is that you’ll be smarter than you are. Reading a variety of texts can also improve your writing skills by helping you learn about styles, grammar, and vocabulary. And no one’s asking you to read your boring textbooks (although that might not be a bad idea if you can stop yourself from falling asleep). You can start by reading anything that interests you, even that epic bashing of an ex-partner by your Facebook friend. However, introduce some variation by changing genre and styles. Do you know what’s even better? Take some time to reflect on what you’ve read after you’re done for the day.

Watch lots of Talk-shows in English

Talk shows are all about having dialogues on different topics. Pick up your recent Hollywood crush and watch all their interviews. Once you think you’ve known them enough, time to change your crush and repeat the process. Wondering what’s in it for you? First, you get to know your favourite celebrities; second, you get to hear what and how they think and speak; third, you get to learn about communication styles and norms and finally, you get an opportunity to emulate them. While it might seem a bit controversial to imitate someone else, it has many advantages. Imitating fluent speakers can be a great way to train your tongue to speak the language. Some ESL speakers struggle to produce certain sounds in English. Listening to many fun interviews can train your ears to recognize new sounds and imitating the speakers can train your tongue to produce those sounds.

Become a celebrity inside your home and prepare for your interviews.

After watching the interviews, it’s time for you to start giving interviews to yourself. Remember how we used to play pretend games during childhood? You are never too old to play pretend games. If you have a speaking partner at your home, seize every opportunity to speak in English. However, if no one speaks English at your home speak with yourself. Ask yourself some questions that you’d love to answer once you are famous. Once you have the questions don’t take time to become famous and start answering them right away. This is a great way to start preparing for your speaking tests. Also, don’t forget to record yourself. Despite the inevitable embarrassment, evaluate your speaking. Listen for unintelligible pronunciation, tone, and clumsy grammar. Repeat the self-interview until you feel that you’re giving your best.  

Think out loud in writing

You know that English tests will also examine your writing ability. Therefore, it makes sense to work on improving your writing. A good starting point to practice writing is to write down your thoughts. If you don’t use English outside school domains, you might be struggling to think in English. Starting a journal in English can help you in two ways: one it will sensitize you with writing tasks and two, it will help you think in English. The more you repeat this the more you improve on most of the aspects of the language.

Finally, have faith in yourself. You can do it.