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Three Tips to Excel in the English Exam

With the examinations just around the corner, British Council shares three top tips to help your Secondary school child in the last leg of exam preparation.

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#1 Planning for Paper 1 (Writing)

In the time it takes to churn out a full essay your child can produce three or four essay plans on a range of topics. To encourage your child to keep things short and in note form, give a 50 word limit to these plans. Discuss mind mapping techniques with your child and get them to see what works for them: some people like using charts to organise their ideas, some use pictures and symbols, others use old fashioned spider diagrams. It’s a good idea to help your child try out different approaches to figure out what works for them


#2 General Knowledge for Paper 1

The basic strategy to writing an essay is to identify the key words in the question and draw on background knowledge of the topic to develop ideas. Get your child to work on building up his general knowledge bank ahead of the exam. Identify common topics that usually appear in Paper 1, for example, technology, sports, travel and the environment. Just like how your child would plan an essay, ask him to make mind maps or charts using what he knows about the topics and then develop his ideas from there.


#3 Use the 10-year-series wisely

Every ‘O’ level student uses the 10-year-series to prepare for the big exam. But how your child uses this assessment book can make a difference. When your child works on an assessment, get him to look at the answers and ask himself why that particular answer is right. Then see if he can identify the common forms of errors. Common errors include those involving singular and plural nouns, tenses and subject/verb agreement.



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