How important is it to simulate an exam-like environment when you take an OET practice test?
Taking an OET practice test is a great idea, and something you should definitely plan on doing before you sit for your OET exam at a testing center. And one of the most important things you can do is to make sure you simulate the exam experience as closely as possible.
When you feel comfortable and relaxed, you will likely perform better on your test. Let’s discuss these 5 simple ways you can create an exam-like environment for your practice test. We’ll include tips for OET on paper as well as OET on Computer.
Setting Up Your Workspace
First, use a desk or a table and chair in a quiet space. Don’t take your practice test sitting on a couch, or in a room where other family members may need to be.
You will only be allowed to have a few things at your computer station, whether at home or at a testing venue, so set up your practice test the same way. You can have your ID (the same one you used to book your test) and a clear bottle of water with no labels. If you will be taking OET on paper, you can also have a blank piece of paper, a pen, and several sharpened number 2B pencils. If you will be taking OET on Computer, no writing materials are allowed.
Wear the clothes you plan to wear on test day, and make sure you are comfortable. Take off your jewelry, because you will not be allowed to wear jewelry during your test. You won’t be able to have your cell phone or a watch with you, either. Wear minimal or no accessories, because hair clips, bow ties, etc. will all need to be removed or at least inspected before the test, as will your eyeglasses if you wear them.
You can wear a light jacket or sweater into the center, and that’s a good idea, as the room might be cold. You can always take it off if you need to.
At the testing venue, you will be required to always wear a mask, so you might want to wear one during your sample test, too.
Follow All the Test Rules
Following all the test rules, even during your practice test, will help you feel more confident on test day. Bring the exact materials you will take with you to the official test. For example, If you want to have a bottle of water with you on test day, get a clear bottle with no label for your practice test, too.
Read the Instructions Carefully
It might be tempting to skip reading the instructions while you are practicing, but it’s very important that you use the entire time allowed to read the instructions carefully. Even if you’ve read them before, read them again! The more familiar you are with what the question is asking you to do, the more confident you will be on test day, and the better your answers will be.
Writing on the Test Paper – OET on Paper
If you are taking OET on paper, be sure and take care when filling in your answers. Erase any unwanted marks completely. Reading parts B and C and Listening parts B and C will be scored by machine, so you need to mark these answer sheets with a number 2B pencil.
Follow the Rules About Writing Stationery for OET on Paper
The test regulations give clear instructions about which items of stationery can or can’t be used at the testing center. It’s a good idea to get comfortable with the actual pens and pencils you will take into the testing center with you.
Remember, you are not allowed to bring mechanical pens or pencils (anything you must click), highlighters, correction fluid, or any other kind of writing material other than a simple pen with a cap, number 2B pencils, a sharpener, and an eraser. Keep a supply of sharpened 2B pencils handy because it will be faster than pausing to sharpen your pencil repeatedly. Get used to having these supplies with you and use them while you practice.
Timing and Timers
First, be sure to allow yourself enough time to take the Reading, Listening, and Writing tests in one sitting, like you would at the testing center. Taking the entire sample test in one sitting will help you know how well you will hold up after three hours of testing.
The Best Time of Day to Take Your Test
It’s a good idea to start at the same time of day as your official exam would start, if you know the time you need to arrive at your testing center. Even if you are a “night owl,” and do your best work later in the day, take your practice test in the morning if that is the time you are scheduled for your official exam.
Practice With a Timer
Practice your tests with a timer handy and be strict with yourself about keeping to the time limits, as if it were a real test. Use the stopwatch feature on your phone or try www.online-stopwatch.com . Make sure you won’t be interrupted during the three hours you will need for the practice test.
Don’t End a Section Early
If you finish a section quickly, use the extra minutes to review your answers, just like you would during the real test.
How to Practice the Speaking Role Play
You can find practice role play cards online, so practice as much as you can. Friends and family members are usually willing to help, but remember that they probably do not know how OET will score your Speaking test. Practice with them, however, be sure to book an OET Speaking Mock Test with one of our experienced OET trainers who can coach you according to OET marking criteria. Click here to book your affordable OET Speaking Mock Test today.
Submit Your OET Letter for Correction
Use Benchmark’s OET Writing Correction service to submit the letter you wrote for the Writing test. Our experts can analyze it according to OET scoring criteria and give you personalized suggestions on ways you can improve. Check out Benchmark’s Writing Correction Service here.
More Tips for Taking Practice Tests
There are no officially scheduled breaks during the Reading, Listening, and Writing part of the OET exam. If you need to use the restroom, you can raise your hand during acceptable times and the interlocutor will allow you to take a break. To avoid having to do this, try taking your entire practice test without stopping.
Have the Right Mindset
Treat your sample test as if it were a real test. Perform to the best of your ability, keep to the time allowed for each section, and take it seriously.
Take Your Test with Others
If you know other OET candidates, it might be helpful to take your practice tests together. Just like at the testing center, you can get used to having other people in the room with you, and you can get used to the noises other people will make, such as coughing or shifting position in a chair.
If you are taking OET on paper, many testing centers will play the audio for the listening section on speakers, instead of through headphones. Check with your testing center to see what they use. If you are taking OET on Computer, you will take your test with a headset.
Use a Mirror
Try practicing your speaking role play on your own by using a mirror. Make sure your mouth is in the correct position to make the appropriate letter sounds and practice pronouncing words you may find difficult.
Using a mirror can help build your confidence as well. Having someone in the mirror to look at while you speak may help you feel like you are having an actual conversation. Speak clearly and at a good volume, as if you were being recorded for the actual test.
Build Your Confidence with Practice Tests
Practice tests are a great way to prepare yourself for what you will encounter on test day. Remember, the better you simulate the conditions of the actual test, the more accurate your sample test score will be. Review your scores carefully – then focus on areas where you may be weak.
Study smart, and you’ll be able to succeed on OET test day!