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Test your English
Web Watch

Earlier this year, Delhi girl Shreya Vardhan created a world record with a 100 per cent score in SAT and Toefl exams. Shreya, a student of DPS RK Puram, credited her voracious reading habit as having helped her get the perfect score. Like Shreya, it pays to be a booklover when it comes to clearing qualifying exams to study abroad because proficiency in English is an important factor for admission at most universities.

Foreign universities need Indian students to take English language tests such as Toefl (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and IELTS (International English Language Testing System) to prove their language and communication competence. The tests assess how well a student can read, write, listen and speak in English. Our featured website www.examenglish.com delves closely into these important exams and offers tests to help practise for them.

The site gives a brief introduction about each test, explains the entire structure of the exam with sections on grammar and vocabulary building. The other prominent English exams featured include Toeic (Test of English for International Communication), the Cambridge exams, the Pearson test for English, Cambridge Michigan tests and CEFR (Common European framework of reference for languages). There is also a SAT reasoning test category.

First timers should ideally attempt the level test on the site. It basically tests grammar and vocabulary skills with an additional link to a listening test. The results will tell you the level at which you should begin practising on the site.

All important English exams are mapped according to the CEFR level put together by the Council of Europe. The CEFR divides learners into three broad divisions — the breakthrough user, the independent user and the proficient user.

The level test of the site has links to information about the complete CEFR levels and prescribed grammar at each level. For instance, if you are at the A1 level, also called the breakthrough level, you will have the basic ability to communicate and exchange information in English. You would have to begin practising common adjectives, prepositions and adverbs.

Coming back to the topic of exams, several international universities accept both IELTS and Toefl scores these days. If your desired institute accepts either of the two, the decision to choose which one to attempt rests on you. The detailed descriptions of the test format of both IELTS and Toefl on the site make it easier for students to compare the features of the tests.

Answers to questions on costs, duration, time and test centres are also listed on examenglish. A few tips, articles and related books feature in the sub sections. But the most useful aspect on the site is the free tests. There are tests on reading, listening, writing, speaking and vocabulary skills.

Five lesser known but equally important English tests also find space on the site following a similar format with sub-sections and tests. Each section is well-explained.

Grammar is an essential aspect of any language. Getting your grammar right would mean half the battle won in a language test. Head to the grammar section from the homepage to practise your tenses and master sentence construction.

The site makers have listed grammar topics according to each level in a tabular format with links to each topic. In the vocabulary section, the academic word list is a life saver. It has tests based on 570 of the most frequently used words in academic texts. The usage and meaning of the words are described as well.

However, for all the detailed explanations about vital English exams, the appearance of the site is a sore point. The site is heavy on text and comes with no images and graphics. Overlook the dull appearance and be here for the tests, the vocabulary wordlist and exam details.

Additionally, each exam and its format is well explained with examples. The site is easy to navigate and comprehend. Although the site has a fair number of advertisements they do not appear to distract readers. Follow the site’s Facebook page to get a daily dose of grammar teasers, word puzzles and to interact with other test takers.

FAST FACTS

WHAT IS IT?

A portal that offers tips to ace English language tests

ADDRESS

www.examenglish.com

DOWNSIDE

The appearance of the site is a sore point. It is heavy on text and comes with no images and graphics

Tessy Koshy

tessy_koshy@yahoo.com