Performance on an English exam can have a significant impact on the course of a career, be it academic or professional. It can mean the admission to a better school, whose credentials can pay off for a lifetime. For other people, it is the key to working abroad. Working abroad does not always
mean a higher quality life, but it always means a life out of the ordinary, where everyday is an adventure in a foreign land. I was born in New York City and have been teaching English in Madrid for five years. I made a lot more money on Wall Street, but I am much happier here.
Everybody wants to pass their English exam. The best news is that you can retake the test if you don´t pass the first time. The good news is that, in my experience, most people pass on their first attempt. All my students passed their exams the first time. The key is preparation. It does not matter which exam you are taking, they are all testing your ability to accomplish tasks in the English language.
As a life-long lover of languages I have studied French, German, Spanish, Russian and Ancient Greek. I am in the position now where if I take (and pass) the B2 exam for German or French, I would be able to teach the language at a local academy. At the moment I am trying to pick up a Russian intensive class, as the teacher. I have been preparing the syllabus the past few days. The class is five hours a day for five days. Designing the program is giving me a different perspective on the expectations I should have of my students, and what students need to know to lead a successful life using a foreign tongue.
You will pass your exam IF:
1) You go into the exam confident you will pass. You will have confidence if you are able to read most things in English that you come across. There will always be words in a foreign language you do not know, but often you can get the meaning from context. You should at least be able to tell what part of speech the unknown word is. Adjectives are less important than nouns and verbs. If you can read this article, you comprehend at B2. If you can read it easily, your understanding is ¨proficient.¨
2) You have spent time listening and speaking English. If you have a study partner, read this article to him/her and see if they understand you. Read aloud one or two paragraphs and have them write down what you say. How is the spelling? Are there any errors that look similar? Are you two making the same mistakes?
3) You have paid attention to grammar and vocabulary. These two parts go together. If there is a word or two you don´t know, try to get the meaning of the rest of the sentence. Often you will find that the missing piece takes care of itself.
4) Don´t worry about fluency. I hear this word too often and it makes me cringe. The root of ¨fluent¨ is the same as that of ¨fluid¨ and ¨flood.¨ The desire for people to speak like they are poets. This is nonsense. My Spanish is fluent about once a week. The rest of the time it is a collection of simple statements.
5) Take the time to think! There is nothing wrong with a pause in your speech. If you practice writing, you will be able to speak much better.
If you believe it, you can achieve it.