While some English proficiency tests offer training programs, at iTEP, we intentionally do not. We feel strongly that the International Test of English Proficiency (iTEP) should be an aptitude test, which means it accurately measures the English skills you already have, not language skills you learned specifically for the test.
However, that doesn’t mean there is nothing test-takers can do to prepare for iTEP. The key is to minimize your anxiety and avoid any potential confusion.
Here are 5 ways to help make sure your experience taking the test is as low-stress as communicating in English in your daily life. These ideas apply to all of our tests. Whether you’ll be taking iTEP Business at your workplace or iTEP SLATE or iTEP Academic for admissions or placement in school, all of our examsshare a similar intuitive structure, a convenient administration procedure, and a standardized scoring rubric.
Determine which skills will be assessed
One critical aspect of preparation is understanding what skills the exam is testing. iTEP exams assess some or all of the follow skills: speaking, writing, grammar, reading, and listening. It’s important to know which skills will be tested on the exam you are planning to take.
For admissions, institutions use iTEP Academic (college and university) or iTEP SLATE (young learners), which assess all five language skills. In some academic settings for placement and progress monitoring, only grammar, writing, and listening are assessed (these are the sections of iTEP that are scored instantly and automatically).
In some business settings, such as restaurants, hotels, and cruise lines using our iTEP Hospitality test, only speaking and listening are assessed because these are the skills most necessary for jobs in this field.
Learn the question formats of International Test Of English Proficiency
The questions you’ll find on the International Test of English Proficiency are in different formats than you will see on any other test. Becoming familiar with these formats ahead of time can make you more comfortable and relaxed during the test.
While previously it cost $10 to take the iTEP Practice Test, you can now take it online for free! The practice test uses questions that have been retired from the exam, so these are real test questions that just aren’t used anymore. You’ll be able to see exactly what the test looks like and how the different sections work. You will receive a score for the practice test which can help you get a sense of what your score may be on the exam.
Our social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Weibo also post retired test questions every week. Following these accounts is a great way to keep preparing for the test during your downtime playing on your phone.
Think like a grader
The Official iTEP Preparation Guide is a hard-copy book that is the only official guide to preparing for iTEP. In addition to examples and descriptions of every type of question you’ll see on the test, the Prep Guide provides information on how the different sections are scored. There are no secret tricks here, but it can helpful to have an awareness of all the different factors graders will take into account.
The speaking and writing sections of the test combine many language skills such as grammar,vocabulary, and pronunciation, so it can be helpful to give some thought to what graders will be looking for ahead of time.
Get comfortable with the clock
During the speaking and writing sections of iTEP, your response will be timed. Seeing a timer ticking the seconds away can make some people nervous if they’re not used to it. Find a friend and use the timer on your phone to practice speaking continuously for a certain period of time. On your own, you can practice writing out a complete thought within limited time.
Identify and focus on weaknesses
Either through taking an iTEP Practice Test or looking at recent homework assignments from an English class, try to get a sense of which skills your struggle with most. Then go deeper—within each language skill, iTEP also assesses sub-skills. For instance, the reading section assesses the test-taker’s performance on recalling details, understanding the main idea, recalling the sequence or order of information, synthesizing the information to draw conclusions, and understanding the vocabulary in the passage.
You likely will find that you are better at some of these sub skills than others. Even if you don’t have much time to build new language skills, being aware of your weaknesses can help you be more mindful during the test. For instance, if recalling details is hard for you, you may want to take extra care to slow down and absorb the details of the passage instead of rushing through once you see what it’s trying to say.
The best way to prepare for iTEP? Use your English skills in your daily life!
While this may be somewhat frustrating advice to some test-takers, our number one recommendation for preparing for iTEP is to learn the English language and practice using your skills. We’ve carefully designed the International Test of English Proficiency to be an English assessment that can’t be gamed or tricked. While familiarity with the test can help your score be accurate by eliminating nervousness, there is no way to artificially increase your score.
If you’re reading this the night before you take your test, don’t stay up late studying. You already know what you know. Take a practice test if you have time, but most importantly, get plenty of rest, eat well before the test, and take deep breaths during the exam.
Want to learn more about iTEP’s English Language Assessments?