Many universities and companies these days require students to have a certain level of English. More university departments are offering courses in English and as companies extend their global reach, they require a team who can deal with the demands of the job… in English! If you are preparing to take an exam course at EC Cape Town, here are a few tips to help you along.
Firstly, you need to know if your university needs an IELTS or Cambridge score. They are not that different in terms of the skills they are grading but the preparation does change and there are a few technical differences. For example, the IELTS exam expires after 2 years but, in theory, any of the Cambridge courses is valid forever (as long as you can show you are actively using the language, ie in your work, writing or other regular communication).
Secondly, Cambridge exam courses have a huge focus on grammar in the exam and thus you will need a teacher or school to prepare. IELTS does not have such a direct grammar focus in the exam (as it is assumed you already know how to use complex written and spoken constructions.
Once you have decided to take any of these courses, you will need to start preparing:
- Read every and anything so that you are confident reading within time constraints and to improve your vocabulary. You will get various reading texts in either of these exams and some of them might not be your preferred material, so you need to feel comfortable with all kinds of reading material – start now!
- Watch movies, series and documentaries so that you are exposed to various accents and subject matter. In this way you will develop your knowledge about the world and this will help you be creative and interesting in the speaking exam.
- Find a speaking buddy – online, at work or school that you can have regular chats with and maintain your fluency.
Now you are ready to start the exam preparation course, whether it is for 8 or 12 weeks. Working on your own is not a good idea as you need to assess yourself against other students. You will only get out what you put in; but whatever the outcome, the exam course is a valuable experience for any serious student of the language. Good luck and see you soon @ EC Cape Town!