1. The higher the level, the more grueling they are. While A1 and A2 exams are relatively quick, B1 and B2 exams can take up more than half the day. C1 and C2 can take from 1-2 whole days to complete.
2. It’s all or nothing. This isn’t a test in your high school foreign language class. This is an exam. That you’re paying for. That you’ll have to shell out even more money for if you fail. Do your absolute best. Go all in.
3. Smaller test centers tend to be less nerve wracking. Have you ever taken a standardized test with just a few other people in the room? Now take that same test with 50 people in the room. Ok, now try 100. It went from 0 to 100 real quick, didn’t it? Try to pick a test center that may be smaller and have less traffic, if at all possible.
4. Trying to impress the examiners will get you flunked. Don’t try to be witty or impress the examiners by saying anything out of the ordinary or picking a subject matter that you’re not familiar with because it seemed ‘cool’. It won’t give you an edge and you’ll end up looking like you don’t know how to speak the language very well (can you say failed verbal?).
5. You WILL be compared to your speaking partner. One of you will have the upper hand. Which one will it be? If you notice that your speaking partner seems to speak better than you do and seems more confident and fluent, play off of what they are saying by rephrasing or re-using some of their wording. You can also try adding some of your thoughts when doing this. It will help you to ease into formulating your own thoughts and give you a fighting chance at seeming as if you are on equal footing linguistically to the examiners.
6. If you are offered options, always take the ones that are the most convenient to you. Things happen and you may be offered alternative options by the examiner. Do NOT consider other test takers, other situations, other circumstances, etc., when choosing options. The examiners offered you the option for a reason. State what is the most convenient for you. This may seem selfish but no one in the room cares about your score but you. Do everything you can to put yourself in a position to pass.
7. Get a good night’s rest, make sure you have a good breakfast and lunch. This should go without saying, but I feel the need to say it. Especially since I went to one of my exams with an empty stomach and tired. I managed to pass but just barely.
8. Be Positive. Do not go into the exam thinking you’ll fail. If you go in defeated, you definitely will fail. Be positive and imagine yourself with the certificate that you worked so hard for! Trust me it works.
What tips, tricks or advice do you have about foreign language exams?