We are students from CAE 3 and are about half-way through our course. Our teacher, Craig, suggested that we write some suggestions for any current or future students at Languages International about what to do if you are studying for an exam like Cambridge Advanced or First Certificate or IELTS and TOEFL. Here’s what we think:

Before the course
Before the course starts you can prepare yourself in different ways. A good idea is to watch DVDs with subtitles to get used to listening to English. You should have a note book and a vocabulary book to keep a record of different vocabulary features.

At the beginning of the course
At the beginning of the course, it is useful just to talk and read books in English. Make a rule with your friends to speak English in your freetime too so that you can improve your fluency. Don’t push yourself too hard. Try to find a balance between studies and leisure time.

At a midway point in your language course, you might feel less confident and less motivated. We have worked out a couple of tips to help you carry on with your studies:
• The more you read the more you become familiar with the language. Vary your readings and listenings (newspapers, magazines, novels, audio books, DVDs, TV news etc.). At the same time, you will also improve your writing and speaking skills.
• Don’t forget to have fun with other people! You can go to the cinema, go on trips during the weekend, go on social programme activities or join a club. Don’t be afraid to meet new people from different cultures and speak with them!

Independent study in general
You may have already recognised that only studying in class is not enough to improve your English skills. You should also use the Learning Centre in order to practise your general English skills and in particular your weak points, which you have worked out before with a teacher. In the Learning Centre you can find a lot of resources to study almost every area of English and to practise specific points for the exam. What’s more it is important that you improve your general ability in developing familiarity with English.

by Bo Ra, Boris, Sonja, Tae Woo, Joel, Valerie, Darsh, Simon, Karen – all students at Languages International Auckland.