A new law passed in October 2013 requires all applicants for British citizenship to pass two important tests:
As you prepare to take both tests, it’s natural to be nervous. But these five tips will help you get ready by explaining what will be expected of you and showing you the best ways to absorb the study material.
Tip No. 1: Broaden your English vocabulary
If you don’t understand all the terms and common names that are in the study guides, it will be difficult for you to answer many of the exam questions. Proper comprehension can mean the difference between passing and having to retake the tests, so research any words that are unfamiliar to you. Most study guides have a glossary that you can consult whenever necessary.
It’s also a good idea to have an English dictionary close at hand while studying. Not only will a good dictionary help you pass the exams, it will also be extremely useful as your life in the UK unfolds.
Tip No. 2: Acquire the audio versions of the British citizenship test study guide
Mastering a new language requires you to be able to understand it as well as speak it. There are audiobook versions of the study guides that you can listen to while driving, walking, or riding the bus. Since you will be required to have a speaking and listening qualification at B1 CEFR or higher, these audio tools will help you reach the necessary proficiency.
Tip No. 3: Remember that some test questions will have more than one answer
With most tests, there’s one specific answer for each question. This is not the case with the citizenship eligibility tests, so be prepared. Some questions will have more than one correct answer, so familiarise yourself completely with the subjects covered in the study guides.
Tip No. 4: Practice with friends
Because the tests have conversational components, you can prepare by having practice sessions with English-speaking friends. They will correct any mistakes in an easy-going, low-pressure way that increases your confidence when speaking and listening.
There are also ‘conversation websites’ where you can find someone who is fluent in English but interested in learning your native language. The two of you then schedule conversation sessions that allow both of you to practice your target languages.
Tip No. 5: Study the guide AND take the practice tests
Some people just do the practice tests online, and are surprised when the actual exams cover subjects that the tests did not. You need to use both the study guide and the practice tests, not just one or the other.
The official study materials are all in the guide, so read the entire book. The practice tests are only meant to give you an idea of what the actual exams will be like.
On the day that you sit for your tests, give yourself lots of time to find the location if you have never been there before. That way you can arrive early and even fit in some last-minute study time. Make sure that you have all necessary identification and documents, ready to present when needed.
Remember: the more prepared you are for the tests, the more confident you will feel. Succeeding at the citizenship tests is only the beginning of a successful personal and professional life in the UK.
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