The first thing that you will do before enrolling in an English academy is a level test.This can be daunting for some people as they feel as if they are taking an exam without having studied for it. They may also be shy and find it difficult to speak with strangers.
The thought of having to answer questions in a language other than their own can also make taking a level test an unwanted task.
In reality there is nothing to worry about when it comes to a level test. Remember that you are not under any pressure to perform, you are not taking an exam, therefore the result of the test is not a pass or a fail. A level test is carried out by professionals to assess your level of the language and put you in a level that best suits you.
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Why do I need to take a level test?
A level test is done for your benefit, not the school’s. It is designed to discover what you already know and what you need to learn. This makes it very clear where you need to begin your studies with the school you have chosen. If you didn’t take a level test, you might begin your studies in the wrong level and therefore the course would be a waste of time.
The test is designed to establish how well you know the grammar and how much vocabulary you have. This indicates the stage at which you should begin. If you start too low, it is wasteful because you will not learn anything new, but if you start too high, you will be missing a lot of material that you need to learn before getting to that level and so your English will have holes in it.
What do I do if I don’t understand the teacher?
If the teacher is speaking in English and you don’t understand something they have said, don’t worry, just ask them to repeat it. Before the test begins he or she might explain a few things about the school or the course you wish to take. If they say something you didn’t catch or you are finding they are talking too quickly, just ask them to speak more slowly or ask them to repeat it.
What can I expect during the test?
During the test you will be asked a number of questions which use different tenses, for example the present perfect, past simple, conditionals etc… These questions are designed to find out how well you understand the grammar. The teacher will know from your answers which level to put you in. Remember this is so you get everything that you need from your course.
You may have to write something such as a dictation. This is when the teacher reads a passage which you must listen to and write as they are speaking. A dictation will help the teacher to know how well you understand spoken English.
This will be corrected by the teacher when the dictation has finished and the type of mistakes and number of them will show how much you understood and what you found difficult.
What happens after the level test?
At the end of the level test you will be told your level and often the teacher will explain why he or she has put you in that level. This means that you know your strengths and weaknesses.
How should I prepare for a level test?
There is no correct way to prepare for a level test. The idea of a level test is to see what you know and what you don’t. There is no point studying before taking it because this is not a precise reflection of your level of the language, so just take the test without preparation.
When you go to the school to do a level test or take a level test online, relax and don’t panic. The teacher will help you with everything you need. It is for your benefit, not the school’s.
1. Fernández C. 2018. ‘Pruebas de nivel de inglés: por qué y para qué’. Julio 2018 – Callan School of English.
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