As a student, or someone who is learning English as a second language, you would be faced with one form of exams or the other. These exams are not to punish you rather they act as stepping-stones for you to move to the next level in your studies.
Success or failure begins with the mind. So the majority of work lies on how you study, whether it's the right or wrong way; your attitude to study, whether you are disciplined or not; practice, and whether or not you avail yourself to the various ways of flexible learning.
1. Believe You Can Ace The Exam
As I mentioned earlier, success or failure begins with the mind. The very first step to acing your English exams is believing in your ability to pass it with flying colors. Once you believe that you can, it acts as a propeller and a motivator that drives you with passion. Take care of this, every other little thing flawlessly fall in place.
2. Discover Your Optimum Study Time
It is good to study but when is your best study time? For an effective study, you must discover your optimum study time. This is the time you have heightened focus for a prolonged time. Your friend may enjoy studying during the day, but it does not mean you would or could. Your classmate may be able to read 8 hours straight without a break does not mean you have same capacity to do so. I am someone that loves studying at night. I can skim and scan during the day for a few minutes but when I really want to study, it would be during the night hours. I can read for three to four hours at a stretch and assimilate quickly but need a few breaks in between. This means I go to bed very early, wake by 11pm and that is a new day for me. The best thing for you to do is to discover your studying style.
3. Study Smart Not Hard
You cannot just start reading vaguely. It has to be targeted. This means that before you even set in, you must get to know what the exam format is (and how the examiner's mind think), and then structure your readings and revisions in line with it. This is called working backwards. As you study, have a notebook where you jot down unfamiliar words, proverbs and idioms. Look them up later on your Cambridge Dictionary (highly recommended). Avoid cramming. If you start preparation early and prepare well, you would not need to cram.
4. Attempt Tons of Past-Years' Questions
English past-years' questions open your eyes to real-time examination questions. They come with everything you would be experiencing in the exam hall. Find out how many sections there are and how much time is allocated to each. These past-years' questions help you to simulate the exam formats and situations before it even begins, and this would ultimately serve you well. Therefore, go attempt past-years' questions when you are studying for your English exam.
There are also loads of quizzers online and they come with timers and answers after you have taken the test. This goes hand in hand with purchasing prep guides and exam-specific textbooks. Check them out on Amazon or eBay.
5. Learn to Take a Break
Yes, I know, the more you study, the more it seems there are still much more grounds to cover. That does not mean you should not take a break. Let the brain relax a bit. Have some juice or water, take a walk in the park, or listen to some pleasant sounds or music. Whatever you do, know that you would achieve more by taking a little bit of rest off study. Your mind would be able to absorb better after a short break.
6. Watch TV Films, Read Magazines or Newspapers (in English)
To become a pro you must first study and model after the pros. The best way to do that is to read power magazines and newspapers, watch news channels (BBC, CNN) and great films that have people with good command of English language.
Lastly, know where the test centre is and arrive at the location 45 minutes earlier. This would help you avoid shooting your adrenaline levels up when you run late.