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Oct 14, 2019 02:16 AM EDT

3 Helpful Tips for Every International Students to Ace Any Language Proficiency Test

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Language Proficiency

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Every international student who aims to get a scholarship from an English-speaking country needs to pass a language proficiency test. It is one of the most intimidating parts of the whole application process. After all, insufficient language skills could kill the dream of studying abroad. 

Language proficiency is key to a student's success in any program from his chosen university in the US. Universities always require that a student reaches a certail level of proficiency in the English language. As such, any international student wishing to study abroad can determine his capacity to secure admission and survive any program is largely dependent on how proficient he is in using the language. It seems like an important step, since these tests, are nothing more than a gauge of one's ability to express his thoughts in English.  

But how does one pass a language proficiency test?  Here are the top 3 tips to make it happen:

  • Research is the key.

Do your homework: Research and learn about everything there is to know. There are a number of review tests to help non-native speakers learn English, but there is no single standard English test for everyone. The requirements are different for every degree program and sometimes, even for universities. For example, a student applying for a Literature program is expected to demonstrate more language competence than a student applying in the Engineering or Sciences program. 

The first step is to read about what the program requires, including the acceptable tests and required scores. This information is available on the university website. Read and read some more to prepare for the language proficiency test to get to the program that one wants. 

  • Learn about the contents and requirements, as well as the purpose of the test. 

Familiarizing the test one needs to take will help prepare for it. For example, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is composed of four sections with listening and reading as the longest part given 60-90 minutes to finish. Speaking and writing are significantly shorter with only 50 and 20 minutes respectively. The more that the applicant knows about the structure of the test, the better they can focus their study efforts. Luckily, there is an abundance of sources online to help non-native speakers to study for their language proficiency exam. Use them!

  • Read up!

Reading, next to writing, is one of the most enjoyable ways to put the knowledge of language into good use. Expand one's vocabulary and comprehension by picking up a reading material like the local newspaper or a magazine. Not only will learners be exposed to English words and phrases, but they will also be exposed to the diverse ways it can be used. Watching television or surfing the net are all great ways to soak in a lot of English. 

These three tips aim to improve a learner's capacity to use the English language. But at the same time, they also come in handy all throughout their academic careers. Research is the key to succeeding in the path one chooses to be in. 

What other advice does one need to keep in mind to succeed? For students who plan to study abroad, particularly in an English-speaking country, it is best to start practicing early. Be test-ready and prepare early on. It's always better to be ready for any exam, even language proficiency ones, months in advance. There is no downside in developing a stronger grasp of the English language. Because wherever the learner ends up to be in, English will always likely be relevant. 

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