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Reminders for Your Life in the UK Test

life-in-the-uk-test-prepThe Life in the UK Test is nothing like your typical exam. The context is broader and its importance much larger. The forty five minute exam composed of twenty four multiple choice questions is part of the application procedures when one wishes to apply for UK citizenship naturalization or an indefinite permission to stay in the country for residence, travel, education, employment, business or any other reasonable purpose.

The very purpose of the exam is to assess the examinee’s knowledge and understanding of the British way of life in areas that include government, history, society, culture, customs, traditions, education and employment to name a few. If you are about to take one in the coming days or are planning to then the following reminders below should help you ace the test.

  • Study and prepare for it. Don’t assume that you could easily wing this out. Preparation is the key to success so see to it that you read up on available study materials.
  • Peruse through the Official Life in the UK Test Handbook. This material has been advised for use by the British government and is said to be where most of the questions in the exam are to be taken. Again study.
  • Be sure that you book early. One is required to schedule a test at least seven days ahead of your preferred date for a price of £50. You are also given the liberty to pick among over sixty testing centers spread across the country. Choose one that suits to your convenience. Also don’t forget to bring the required documents with you.
  • Come on time on the day of the exam. You do not want to be looking like one big mess hurriedly rushing to the exam venue. Plus, you will not be allowed entrance should you miss the allowable time and you cannot rebook or refund the Life in the UK Test should you miss it.
  • Shake your nerves away. One has to admit that there is a certain vibe that examinations bring. It can be pretty daunting and nerve wracking. To some it could be easily brushed off while others need more effort on that. So do some breathing exercises, shake your hands and feet, drink a glass of water, think positive and smile. Believe that you can. Besides, if you prepared, there’s no need to worry.

Good luck on your Life in the UK Test!

Tips to Better Listening

ListeningListening is necessary in life and this does not only pertain to personal encounters but also in everyday circumstances in general. Take an oral exam, a seminar, a presentation or an interview perhaps. You’d have to pay careful attention and listen intently to the speaker/s in order to gain full insight of what they are saying or trying to convey so that you in turn could respond accordingly. But how does on listen better? We asked the experts over at the English Academy for some advice and listed below are what they had to say.

1st Tip: Calm those nerves. – In cases such as exams or interviews, one of the main reasons why your mind drifts into space or your hearing seems to be at a loss is all because of excess nerves and unnecessary anxiety. We can’t help but get nervous in certain situations but that shouldn’t hinder you from the things that you are supposed to do. Shake it off or at least fake it until you make it. Don’t allow it to get the better of you.

2nd Tip: Keep your focus. – When someone else is talking avoid thinking about other things. Consciously put your mind at the task at hand and listen. Remember about the saying that goes “mind over matter”? That is what you should do. If you feel like you are drifting away pull yourself back.

3rd Tip: Make eye contact. – This is a good way to keep yourself from thinking about other unrelated stuff. Avoid looking at your surroundings or noticing other details of the room or place that you are in. Look at the person speaking but don’t glare or stare them down either.

4th Tip: Keep yourself hands free. – Another thing that can hinder you from listening better is if your hands are busy with something. Perhaps a pen or a smart phone? Sometimes it is indeed necessary to have them with you as when you are listening to a board meeting presentation and taking down notes. Just see to it that you don’t distract yourself with them. The same holds true for cellular phones.

5th Tip: Practice makes perfect. – If you are well aware about your poor listening skills, the English Academy suggests that you better practice to improve. One way to do so is by listening to speeches or songs and then later on transcribing what was said or at least sharing the idea or concept behind them.

Succeeding in Oral and Listening Exams: Tips from the English Academy

When it comes to oral and listening exams, the game differs. Unlike written ones that ask you for essays or let you choose between options A to E, these require a whole new level of wit and critical thinking. Add to that excellent communication skills and grammar proficiency. So when you are about to take one, better pack up on the following tips from the English Academy.

listen to audioWiden your vocabulary. – You cannot speak well if your vocabulary is very limited. To fix this you have to consciously make an effort to do simple daily practices. Pick up any reading material or even a dictionary spot on. A few new words a day will go a long way!

Read more than to your heart’s desire. – If you adore books then good but if you don’t then you should start learning to love reading. Novels are a good way to expose you to sentence structures and common expressions. Even simply doing so with newspapers and magazines will benefit you.

Get to writing. – Knowledge if not applied will be put to waste. After reviewing your grammar lessons it would be nice to start practicing with a pen and paper or even with your computer and keyboard.

Try listening to recordings. – To learn diction and pronunciation try listening to recordings, songs or even audio books. It’s like observing but only with your ears.

Practice transcribing. – To hone your listening skill, try transcribing a speech or even a song that you haven’t heard of yet. This should help train your listening aptitude and perk up your skills.

Keep talking and conversing. – Talk and converse in English as much as you can. Finding a partner to do this with or even asking family and friends to support you in this endeavor will help a lot. After all, practice makes perfect.

Clear your head. – During the exam itself or minutes before it, see to it that you clear your head off of any negative feelings and doubt. Take away anything that could bother you and keep you out of focus. Stay relaxed because nerves are an ugly beast. They can cripple your verbal and listening skills. So remember to breathe and smile.

Oral and listening exams are nothing to be afraid of says the English Academy. If you prepared for it right then there is nothing to be scared of or to hinder your path to success. Good luck!

An English Academy Tutorial on Improving Diction and Pronunciation

When it comes to language, English is the one considered to be universal in usage with many countries including it in their education curriculum. In fact a lot of countries which are popularly chosen for immigration purposes like the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom will require its citizenship applicants to pass certain exams to prove their English speaking proficiency. If you are one who is struck with wanderlust and wishes to hop from one country to another, discovering cultures as you travel, learning English is necessary. So how can one improve their diction and pronunciation if they are not native speakers? The English Academy is here to help us with the following advice.

  1. read bookTALK – Practice always makes perfect and if not it raises up the bar a few notches higher. It earns a lot of improvement so always talk and speak in English. You will need as much practice as you can. Do so not only in the school, office or other formal institutions but at home as well. Talk as much as you can as you need all the practice you can get.
  2. WATCH – Here’s a fun way to learn diction and pronunciation: watch movies and television shows. Observe the movement of the lips of actors and actresses. Try replicating them too. You will not only pick a handful of learning and new discoveries but you will surely enjoy a good dose of entertainment as well. Whoever says learning is boring is terribly wrong.
  3. THINK – To help hone your skills better at speaking English, think in English as well. When trying to pick out your lunch from the menu, arguing with yourself whether a new pair of pump is practical, choosing what dish to cook for dinner and pretty much everything else, think using the language. You’ll see yourself getting that needed improvement later on.
  4. READ AND SING– As much as reading exposes you to grammar structures and disciplines it also helps you improve your pronunciation. Pick a good literary piece such as a poem or a few lines from a book and read them aloud. If you want to add melodies then do so. Sing your heart out and mind your diction.
  5. WRITE – Likewise, writing is beneficial according to the English Academy. It helps enhance your brain and make you remember both old and new words and terms. Also for any kinesthetic learners, this is as good an exercise as reading al

English Academy What not to Do Before and During an Oral Exam

It would be completely safe to say that many people fill anxious and uncomfortable taking oral exams. Probably this could be because it first and foremost requires speaking and when one is nervous, one tends to stutter, go blank or talk in a weird and funny pitched voice. Also unlike in writing, you have lesser time to think and you will be looking at someone face to face instead of a piece of paper staring blank at you. Now fear not because oral exams do not bite and it is completely feasible to survive one. On that note below are things which you should never do during an oral exam according to the English Academy.

speaking-test# 1: DO NOT PULL OF AN ALL NIGHTER – Because you will need your mental prowess to be alive and kicking you should never cut on sleep. Get as much rest as you need before the exam itself because you would not want to look like a zombie screaming for brains!

# 2: DO NOT TAKE CAFFEINE – Coffee, soda and sports drinks are some of the items that contain caffeine which can increase anxiety and blood pressure. We would not want any of that. If you insist on taking your usual morning cup then see to it that it’s decaf.

# 3: DO NOT SKIP A MEAL – Eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and if your stomach asks for it some snacks. Many people skip from eating for fear of throwing up which should not be the case. Just see to it that you keep your stomach full but not too full to keep that from happening. Hunger headaches and tummy rumbles do not look good to an examiner.

# 4: DO NOT ARRIVE LATE – Always arrive on time. We do not need to stress more on this because no amount of excuse will suffice for coming in late.

# 5: DO NOT STUTTER AND RAMBLE – If you need time to think, take a graceful pause and make eye contact. Do not look down or anywhere else. This is an indication that you are thinking and any examiner will appreciate this compared to stuttering. Also slow down and do not talk too fast.

# 6: DO NOT USE FILLER WORDS – Avoid using the so called filler words such as actually and obviously as well as the infamous ‘ummm’. These do not add any meaning to your sentences.

# 7: DO NOT HESITATE TO ASK – No one is perfect and chances are the examiner is too. There might be cases where they speak to softly or have uttered their question way too fast or in a way you did not understand. It’s oaky to ask so do so when you have to.

The English Academy Tutorial on Practicing Your Writing Skills

When one talks about English proficiency, this does not only concern reading, listening and speaking but writing as well. Basic command of the language greatly includes writing as we cannot always express ourselves through talking all the time as is the case of letters, corporate memos and journal writing for example. There are just cases when putting words on paper is best. So how do you develop such skill? The English Academy has a brief but useful tutorial guide and tricks in order to improve your writing skills. Read on up and learn how…

reading-a-bookREAD TO YOUR HEART’S DESIRE… AND MORE – Reading always has its perks and benefits. Your parents and teachers are right when they told you that doing so can do you so much good. First and foremost it exposes you to different sentence structures. It also adds more terms to your vocabulary. Furthermore it is a fun and good way to exercise your brain. You do not necessarily have to pick up a dictionary or an encyclopedia. Choose one or more from the many available reading materials out there such as newspapers, novels and magazines to name a few. You can even check out blogs!

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT – Okay we must admit that even the best authors out there commit mistakes but that’s the purpose of proofreading in the first place. The thing that makes journalists, authors and skilled writers out there good is their endless practice. Write during your spare time. It can be short paragraphs, poems or even short stories. If you do not feel like writing a piece like that then you can make a diary or journal. It doesn’t really have to be all secrets and stuff. You can just write about your day or about the movie you recently watched. It will be a good way to practice.

KEEP YOUR SENTENCES CORRECT – Texts, chats, emails and even the one hundred forty character limit on Twitter forces people to shorten their words and use abbreviations. People seldom use the right punctuation marks as well. If you really want to practice your writing skills then do so in cyberspace. There’s nothing wrong about making a correctly structured status on Facebook.

TRY PROOFREADING – Find a random article over the internet or if you want you can dig up your old files (or maybe your younger siblings’). Try proofreading them. As they say learning from your mistakes is a process that almost always sticks to mind. So give this one a try!

Tips on Practicing For Your A1 Spouse Visa English Test

With English coined as the universal language and skills regarding it is considered a factor in most careers in the market, it is important for many non-native speakers to practice their English speaking skills to learn as much as they can. Especially if you are married to a Brit, English proficiency is a must because you have to take the A1 spouse visa English test. Besides many countries require you to take and pass an exam to assess your language proficiency before they grant you with a visa. So, what then can you do to practice your English speaking skills? Read on below to find out how.

A1 Spouse visa testTALK LIKE THERE’S NO TOMORROW – Even if you commit mistakes and even if you sound funny, go ahead and talk. There is no other way to learn and improve than by practicing your speaking skills. If you commit mistakes while doing so, don’t be too harsh on yourself. It’s perfectly fine. Besides, you can learn from them and use them as building blocks to improve.

READ OUT LOUD FOR AT LEAST A FEW MINUTES DAILY – It could be anything like a newspaper article, a magazine article, a random poetry piece or even the back of your cereal and milk cartons. Practicing makes perfect. You already know that so go on and read out loud! Just make sure that it isn’t the dead of night and you aren’t being an annoyance to your neighbors. No need to shout just spit some words out.

USE THE DICTIONARY – Are you unsure as to how certain words are to be pronounced? Get hold of your dictionary and look it up. What if you don’t know how to read all those symbols and whatnots? No problem buddy! Use the Encarta dictionary as it comes with a “read” feature where a recording is available for you to listen and refer to. If you don’t have that you can Google it up. The internet is brimming with information so take advantage.

DO THINGS IN ENGLISH – Whether it’s talking on the phone, chatting with a friend, texting your hubby or even up to thinking what’s for breakfast, do, think, speak and write everything in English. It helps practice and trains your mind. Slowly, you will feel more comfortable with it.

SING SOME SONGS – Listening to music with good English lyrics helps you learn intonation, diction and pronunciation but don’t stop there. Do sing along and take away those inhibitions!

With all that your English speaking skills will be improved in no time.

How Not to Fail the B1 Citizenship Test

If you are planning to apply for a stay in the United Kingdom as a resident and citizen for purposes of employment, education or other personal reasons, you should first pass the required B1 Citizenship Test. This is a two part examination composed of both speaking and listening to test one’s proficiency and command of the English language. The test runs for duration of ten minutes with each part having equal time.

Now just like any other exam ample preparation is needed so as not to fail. No one goes off to take an exam expecting and hoping to fail it in the first place. So what preparations should you do before the scheduled date? Here are our tips for you.

study b1 citizenshipSNOOZE RIGHT AND DOZE OFF ENOUGH – You have to get at least eight hours of sleep days before the test most especially on the night before it. Sure the nerves can add up to the adrenaline and keep you awake but try as much to push the anxiety away. If you stay awake for about twenty one hours straight your mental capacity is akin to that of someone who got terribly wastes at a bar. Remember that drunken people don’t get to listen right and talk straight!

STUDY AND PRACTICE FOR IT – Observe the actors in a movie, listen to music, read books and similar publications, get a dictionary, read out loud in front of a mirror, think in English, practice with a friend and so on and so forth. No one gets to ace an exam for just sleeping the night before. You have to study for it days or weeks before. No cramming please.

EAT HEALTHY AND DITCH CAFFEINE – Eat a good and healthy meal. Don’t starve yourself and think that you might puke things out. Unless you want to faint in front of the examiner then go on and skip your meal. Make sure that it is packed with the right kind of foods. Also, skip your regular morning coffee, soda, juices and anything with caffeine. If you must sip some coffee make sure that it’s decaf. Caffeine is never good for the nerves and can increase anxiety. Thirsty? Chug on some water!

THINK OF WHAT YOU KNOW, NOT WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW – Sure you probably will miss out some stuff but it is okay. A few mistakes won’t really hurt. If you keep focusing on the things that you might get wrong you’ll end up getting them in the end. Focus on what you can deliver and think positive.

BREATHE IN BREATHE OUT – When taking the B1 Citizenship Test remember to keep calm, breathe in and breathe out. If you’ve prepared well, slept enough and ate right then there’s no stopping you from acing that exam.

How to Effectively Improve Written and Verbal English

With English dubbed as the universal language it is but important that one invest time and effort at learning the language and trying your bets to say and put it on paper right. Nothing makes travel harder than not being able to converse with someone at a common understandable knowledge. Your head tilts and hand gestures won’t cut it. Besides, miscommunication can lead you to a terrible fate if not something completely embarrassing. Furthermore, many countries require basic command and proficiency in the language to successfully apply for a visa whether as a tourist, resident or citizen. So how does one effectively improve one’s written and verbal English skills? Here are some tips from The English Academy:

# 1: BE A KEEN OBSERVER – With the internet, movie and television industry going on constant boom, it is easy to find videos of people who can speak well in English. Be keen at observing the way their lips protrude and the way they say words. Try to imitate them and where possible record your voice. Try to compare. This will slowly allow you to learn proper diction plus common sentence structures and expressions.

# 2: learn english onlineTRY ON SOME HEADPHONES – Another option for you to learn correct intonation and pronunciation is by listening to music. Just make sure that you do listen to songs with good lyrics.

# 3: READ WELL AND READ MORE – Grab a book, a magazine or a newspaper and start reading. This will allow you to have clear and visual contact with words, sentence structures, grammar techniques and the like.

# 4: GO FOR AUDIO – Now what if you’re not the bookworm type? What if you are not one who likes to read? That’s easy. Audiobooks are all abound in the market. If you don’t like to read them then you can listen to them.

# 5: DO BOXES – When you are eating your breakfast try reading the English portion of the information at the back of your cereal box and milk carton. Do the same when you are doing your grocery. It’s a small baby step but it will help you for sure.

# 6: OPEN UP THE DICTIONARY – If you come across a new word, open up your dictionary and look it up. Adding items to your vocabulary can do wonders.

# 7: PRACTICE AND READ ALOUD – For at least fifteen minutes daily be sure to find a good material and read aloud. Try doing it in front of a mirror so you get to see your lip movements and facial expressions. Also don’t forget to record.

If you do all that you’ll surely get to effectively improve your written and verbal English!