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How to Prepare for your C1 Advanced Exam

Whether you’ve decided to take C1 Advanced or are still thinking about it, it’s good to know how to prepare for the exam. Planning ahead and taking certain steps will ensure you are in the best position to succeed and then be able to move on with the adventures that this qualification opens up.

So, here are our top tips on how to get yourself prepared…

Check you are at C1 Advanced level

Before booking the exam, make sure that your English is at C1 Advanced level. Not only will this make you more likely to pass the exam, but it will make the rest of the preparation phase easier, as you will be able to understand and complete the activities and tests.

Practice makes perfect

The first step in preparing for the actual exam is familiarising yourself with the exam format and expectations, so that you know exactly what you will be doing on the day of the exam. You should then start doing practice activities and exam papers. It’s essential to time yourself doing these so that you get used to completing the tests within the time restrictions. It’s no good being able to get top marks on a test if it takes you too long to do it – so get a stopwatch out!

Information on the exam formats and expectations, as well as sample activities and tests, can be found on the official C1 Advanced website.

Use English as much as possible

On top of doing practice activities and tests, you also need to use English as much as possible. Here are some ways you could do this for each skill needed for the exam:

  • Speaking – find people to speak English with – ideally native speakers. Do you know anyone at your school, workplace or in your neighbourhood that you could set up a language exchange with?

  • Reading – choose something in English to read every day. It doesn’t have to be a long, difficult book, but could be the news, a magazine, or a blog you’re interested in. The important point is to read regularly, as it’s a fantastic way to improve all aspects of your language, including your vocabulary, grammar and writing skills.

  • Listening – turn on the radio or spend time watching TV in English. Instead of watching programmes dubbed into your own language, watch the original versions. You can turn on the subtitles to help you understand what is being said… and then it becomes a listening and reading task!

  • Writing – it can be hard to find an excuse to write in English, but it’s essential to improve your skills. Could you find a buddy to work with where you choose a format (letter, report, essay) to write and then you correct each other’s? Apps such as Grammarly and Hemingway are also great tools to self-correct your work.

Create a study plan that works for you

Creating a study plan will mean you are more likely to stick to a schedule and achieve your goals. However, it has to be a study plan that works for you. There’s no point in trying to stick to a plan that has been created for someone else if you don’t study in the same way or at the same time as them.

A really important factor is finding out when your energy levels are highest, and plan to study then. This will mean you’re more focused and your brain will process and retain information more effectively. This could be first thing in the morning or late at night… whatever works for you.

Sort out the logistics

Once you feel ready to take the exam, it’s time to find your nearest test centre and book your exam date. Also think about the logistics of how you are going to get to the test centre on the day of the exam. Doing this in advance will mean you will arrive in a much calmer state than if you get lost or arrive late.

BUTTON: Find a test centre

Look after yourself

And last but certainly not least… it’s crucial to look after yourself while you are preparing for an exam. So make sure that you eat healthily, take regular exercise and get plenty of sleep.

If you have any questions or would like to enrol on one of the C1 Advanced Academy courses, then we’d love you to get in touch!

Contact us directly at julia@c1advanced-academy

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