• Constantly expand your vocabulary by reading everyday.  Some interesting articles with vocabulary sections and comprehension questions are here.

  • Phrasal verbs are key at this stage.  Try to learn at least 5 each week.  Here are some tips

  • Keep a record of new vocabulary and use it!

  • Recognising synonyms and paraphrase are hugley important, so practice using them to summarise passage you read


  • Speak English every day!  If you have no one to talk to, talk to yourself in the mirror.  

  • Think of the exam tasks as conversations with friends.

  • Watch example videos of the speaking exam and read the examiner comments here

  • Everyone makes mistakes when they speak, even natives.  Don't worry when you do, just correct the mistake and move on.

  • Record yourself speaking to see how clear your pronunciation is.


  • Look at samples of writing from past exams.  You can find examples with scores and comments from examiners for First Certificate here and for IELTS here.

  • Look at the structure of the good examples and practice writing in a similar way.

  • State your point.  Support it.  Give an example.

  • Good writing does not have to be complicated - keep it simple!

  • ALWAYS make a detailed plan before you start writing!


  • Do some kind of listening activity everyday.  It doesn't have to be directly connected to the exam.  Listening to the radio, TV or podcasts in English will all help.  You can find some good podcasts here

  • Read the instructions! This may seem obvious but can be the difference between getting the score you want and not.

  • Read for context, underline keywords and anticipate what might be on the recording.