Five tips to prepare for an exam in times of pandemic

Imagine having to prepare for an exam during a pandemic. This is exactly what several international students and immigration applicants are going through at the moment.

Covid-19 has changed the shape and form of our world and how we carry on with our lives, our tasks, our plans and dreams. Many workers have had to work from home and schools quickly transferred their curriculum to online delivery.

For my students, the way we work together has not really changed. At least this part of their routine remains unchanged. But, for most, it is a completely new way to study. Here are five tips to help you get yourself organized and make the most out of this difficult situation:

One: find yourself a quiet space

A corner of the dining table, the centre table in the living room, lying in bed, on the couch with legs criss-crossed, whichever way you prefer. Remember, you do you. However, it is important that this place be quiet enough to allow you to focus on reading, writing, doing grammar exercises, listening to audios and so on.

Two: set a time to study

Just because you are at home all day, it doesn’t mean you have all day at your disposal. To fend off procrastination, create some sort of routine and try to stick to it.

Depending on what your goals and timeline are, you may need to put in more hours or to study more times a week.

Three: map out your process

Easier said than done, I know. When you have the guidance of an instructor, they will (hopefully) do that for you. But if you decided to venture on your own, well, you are on your own.

Establish what you will be studying each day and why. The official websites for the exams are usually pretty good at offering some tips on how to prepare for the test.

Four: map out your progress

This part might be trickier. Marking reading and listening is as simple as counting up to 10 as these are multiple choice – or gap-fill – tests. It is, undoubtedly, harder to measure one’s own achievement in writing and speaking.

If you do not have a teacher to help you out in this part of the process, the next best thing is to try and compare your production to the sample answers made available by the testing institutions.

Five: don’t limit yourself

It is true that you are preparing for a specific test which is comprised of specific skills, but that’s not all. It is important to keep your learning process varied and interesting.

Reading books in English is a great way to improve reading speed, comprehension and inference. Listening to songs in English and singing along is an effective way to beef up listening comprehension, pronunciation and vocabulary.

Movies and series are an excellent option to practice both reading and listening as well as providing you with invaluable non-verbal cues.

Here are a few websites to help you get yourself organized and on track:

What about you? How have you been managing your time? Share with us your systems to keep studying in such unprecedented times.

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