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Tips to ace your English test for Citizenship

So you’ve decided on the right course for you and booked your place. It might go without saying, but the experts on the particular test you’ve chosen will be the teacher of your class. In this blog I’ll suggest some things you might want to think about when preparing for your citizenship test, but if your teacher tells you something different, go with them!

As a guide, I’m going to use LanguageCert and their course International ESOL SELT B1.

On their website you can download free samples, here’s a list of what’s available:


TEST1

My first tip:

Read the course handbook. I know it’s boring, and a little dense, but there’s usually helpful information about the exam in there. Below are some examples:

Tips to ace your English test for Citizenship2

Everyone at B1 level can give their name, but make sure you practice giving the spelling in English too. Some learners of English confuse the letters ‘E’ and ‘I’ for instance, or ‘J’ and ‘Y’.

Prepare more complex ways of expressing your country of origin such as “I’m from China originally, but currently I’m living in London”.



TEST2

Also, make sure you give answers that are at an appropriate level for the test. For instance, at Achiever level, you will be expected to respond to “Why don’t you take a holiday” with complex ideas and sentences like “I can’t afford to take a holiday. If I don’t work, I don’t get paid!”

There’s plenty more examples of this in the course handbook, so read it thoroughly!


My second tip:

Use as many practice papers as possible. These are the closest thing you can get to the exam, and a great resource.

TEST3

When you are familiar with some of the types of questions that will be asked, you should start to see some patterns that should help you prepare. Listen out for particular tenses in the questions, like ‘will’ for future, and ‘have + enjoyed’ for present perfect. Try to respond in the correct tense.

If you make a friend in the course, consider practicing the past papers together, with one as the candidate and one as the interlocutor. Don’t forget to swap roles!


My third tip:

Use audio or video recordings of exams. On LanguageCert, you can download 2 samples which are made by actors, but search for genuine recordings, if you can. Your teacher at the company you choose should be able to help you find something appropriate. These recordings are a good resource because you can upgrade your language using somebody else’s (successful) exam experience! Below is a transcript of part of an audio recording:

TEST4

Here’s the candidate’s answer:

“I saw a very old film, old but good. It’s called Alien. It’s about people in a spaceship, and there are monsters. It’s exciting!

Notice that the candidate gives a brief summary of the plot as well as naming the film. Take every opportunity you can to provide detail to a question, even if they didn’t explicitly ask for it.

Have a look at the next part of the test:



TEST5

Role-plays can be tricky because you have to think on your feet and use your knowledge of everyday situations to use the correct language.

When you practice in class or at home, make sure you try every type of role-play on the past paper. If you are missing any words or phrases, write down what you need and ask your teacher to help you.


Glossary:

Dense (adj) (describing a text): difficult to understand, using higher level words which make reading slow.

Interlocutor (noun): a person who takes part in a conversation or dialogue. In the above exam, this may be a teacher of English.

Think on your feet (idiom): to think quickly, to improvise a solution to a problem.

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