Supercharge Your Study Skills: The Ultimate Guide on how to Ace your Exams!

Chapter “English Exams”. Where to start? What to study? What exam format is appropriate for me? How many hours of studying do I need? Do these questions ring any bell? Nerve-wracking, right?
Let me tell you, with the right preparation and a strong motivation (and the help of this guide), you will do more than great!

First things first, it is very important to familiarize yourself with the exam format and content. It is true that there is more than enough material to choose from, either printed or online, for free or paid for; past papers, questionnaires, quizzes and evaluation tests… Consult your teacher on the most appropriate for your level and needs and take a close look. This will help you get an idea of what to expect during the exams. Trust me, it is important to understand the structure of the exam and the types of questions you may encounter. You don’t want any surprises on the crucial day!

Step two: practice, practice, practice! Regularly engage yourself in activities that improve your English skills. Books, companions and notes are important indeed, but, let’s be honest, are they fun? You can combine this studying process by customizing your practice on your personal likings and work on your weaknesses as well. For example, do you find the listening part of the exams difficult? Then, practice your skills by listening to music, audio books or podcasts. This technique will enhance your vocabulary, comprehension and overall language proficiency. Most importantly, it will give you some much needed self-confidence!

Don’t underestimate the challenge called “time management”! To tackle this, create a study schedule and allocate specific time slots for each section of the exam. That is why, as mentioned above, it is crucial to be familiar with the exam format so as to know how much time each exam section needs. This will ensure that you cover all the necessary topics without feeling overwhelmed. It would be really helpful, to sit for the so called “mock exams”. During these mock exams, you will be sitting for a complete exam paper, following the specific instructions and see if you can manage on time. If not, you will know what difficulties you encountered and you’ll work on them until they are dealt with. This needs a supervisor, of course, so ask your teacher or –if you self-study- a relative, to help you with the procedure.
Additionally, during the exam, make sure to read the instructions carefully and manage your time wisely to avoid running out of time for any section. Don’t forget to take quick looks at your watch to keep track of time!

How do the examiners score? It’s essential to understand the scoring criteria for each section of the exam. This will help you focus on the areas that carry more weight in terms of scoring. For example, if writing is a significant component, make sure to practice writing essays or reports, within the given time limit, paying attention to grammar, vocabulary, syntax and organization. Bear in mind that most preparation books contain some pages dedicated to scoring system. You should consult these very pages, paying attention to the requirements of each section as well as, the minimum and the maximum passing scores. Shoot for the stars, aim for the moon!

The big day is here! Keep calm and take a deep breath! Take a good night sleep the night before and eat a rich breakfast on the morning of the big day. During the exam, remember to read each question carefully and double-check your answers before moving on. If you’re unsure about an answer, make an educated guess, don’t leave any blank answers. As all exam papers come with an answer sheet, where examinees have to complete their answers, be extra careful upon completing it!

Finished? Phew! After the exam it’s essential to evaluate your performance. Review your answers and identify any areas where you struggled or potentially made mistakes. Discuss with you teacher, fellow classmates or other examinees and cross-check your answers. This will help you understand your strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to focus on improving those areas for future exams. However, by no means do not- I repeat- do not panic if you spot a mistake. Just a single mistake doesn’t mean failing the whole exam!

Remember folks, the fact alone that you are ready to sit for an English exam is an outstanding feat and you should be proud of yourselves, regardless of the results. Overall, practice and consistency are the key in mastering English exams. Don’t forget to take breaks, stay positive and reward yourselves for your hard work.

Repeat after me: “We’ve got this! Let’s do it!


  • Anna Kefalidi

    Language School Owner, English/ French Tutor, BA English Language and Literature, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Anna Kefalidi

Anna Kefalidi

Language School Owner, English/ French Tutor, BA English Language and Literature, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens