How to Score HIGH on NEW English Tests

 The ESL English tests that students are preparing for include: TOEFL, TOEIC, IELTS, CELPIPS Cambridge CFA CPC CAE FCA, GMAT, GRE, SAT, LSAT, DSAT, CAEL, Cantest, college board, IH, AP, TSE, YLE, BULATS, ILEC, and Michigan exams.

Why international students score low on English tests

  • Students score low because they do not understand the test requirements.
  • Students underestimate the large volume of work necessary to pass.
  • Students score low because they have limited English vocabulary.
  • Students score low because some English skills are not practiced.
  • Students score low because they rely on "secret tips" rather than real skill.
  • Students score low because they cram for tests and become confused.
  • Students score low because they become upset and cannot perform.

How international students can SCORE HIGH on NEW English tests.

First step in your plan to score high on a specific English test is to understand the test requirements. Is the test a written test only? Do you have to read a text? Do you have to listen to a conversation on tape? How much speaking is required? What type of questions will be asked? What type of answers are required? Students must understand how the English information is presented, what English skills are being tested, and how answers must be submitted.

Second step is to understand the volume of advanced English skills and vocabulary required to score high on these tests. Students must have studied and practiced English for 2500 to 5000 hours counting school classes and self study.

Students require a vocabulary of between 8,000 and 15,000 words to score high on the new TOEFL, TOEIC, AP, IELTS and Cambridge tests. Students who score over 95 in the IBT or 900 on the TOEIC have English language vocabularies of over 10,000 words.

To score high, students require all four English skills (reading, writing, speaking, listening), technical language structure knowledge (grammar) and the application of the grammar knowledge in the active productions of speaking and writing.

The "secret tips" of using specific words that have a higher percentage of occurrence in the correct answers may give you the opportunity to raise your score from 0 to 1 %. If your vocabulary is less than 8000 words or your listening skills or writing less than advanced then you will still fail despite using all the "secret tips" or "secret vocabulary indicating correct answers".

Everyone knows that cramming helps memorizing facts for a short time but does very little for the practice of the application skills. All new English tests are a combination of facts and the application of English skills including technical grammar knowledge. Students who only cram for tests will fail most of the new tests as answers require the application of English grammar skills. The students who cram can only help some of their factual knowledge if they can remember it perfectly. I have never met a student who can remember crammed English facts correctly.

Students become upset when they read questions they cannot answer, questions they cannot understand, words they do not know the meaning of, or "secret words" that occur in two or more answers.

Remember students that are prepared have less chance of becoming upset.

Students that are rested, relaxed and arrive on time at the test site will score higher on the tests.

What English Should I study to PASS English Tests?

Diagram showing the overlap between the English classes TOEFL TOEIC Business English Academic preparation and Advanced English

Diagram showing the overlap between the English Classes

There is only one English language.

There are a variety of programs and courses that overlap each other. Many business English courses cover 90% of what students require to pass the TOEIC exam. Many advanced English courses cover 90 % of what is required to pass TOEFL, TOEIC, AP, IELTS and other English tests.

Many Toeic, toefl, IELTS courses only provide practice tests without teaching any vocabulary the four English skills and applied grammar practice. Students must create a plan to increase all applied English skills, vocabulary and become comfortable with the test requirements and answer formats.

Students can take combinations of English language programs and enjoy high test scores.

For example: Advanced students could take 100 hours of business English, 200 hours of academic preparation and 10 hours of toefl and score high on the new Toefl test.

The only secret to high English language test scores is to have a balance of applied English skills and factual knowledge. The following is an example of a balanced study program.


  • 20% vocabulary
  • 15% grammar comprehension
  • 15% reading comprehension
  • 15% listening comprehension
  • 15% writing skills, short answer and essay
  • 15% speaking skills
  • 5% practicing test formats

Additional Links to Study English as a Second Language

ESL English as a Second Language descriptions, definitions, explanations

English Conversation Lessons and Classes Explanations Definitions Examples

English Language Conversation Skills - pronunciation - social - cultural - non-verbal

How to Study English Plan to Learn English as a Second Language

Link to registration form - get your English Language Study Plan

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