Do you know how good your English skills are? For instance if you needed to submit a job application would you be able to accurately state your level of communication skills in English?

It could be that you’re out of practice speaking English and you can feel your fluency and pronunciation starting to get rusty. Sometimes competition in the work environment can mean that you have to put effort into your English proficiency and grammar skills if you want to hold onto a sought after position.

person at desk using phone and laptop
Many jobs now require good English writing skills in order to communicate effectively on various social media platforms - Unsplash

At times the best way to settle conflicts, whether work related or personal, is by written correspondence. A simple text or email can sometimes be the best way to settle a dispute amicably. For this reason it’s important to keep your writing skills and vocabulary up to date.

The big question is: how do you maintain or improve your English skills? The good news is there are loads of options out there.

From free English lessons online that offer English worksheets that you can use for revision to English tests and quizzes that can help you evaluate your skills, you’re really spoilt for choice.

Use English Quizzes to Put Your Skills to the Test!

With so many apps, educational sites and fun online games to choose from you really have no excuse not to squeeze in a little English language skills practice here and there.

The opportunity to learn English as a second language is right at your fingertips. A quick online search will reveal countless platforms that are geared to help you improve English grammar, speaking skills, spelling and more.

But before you jump into your English lessons or ESOL course it’s important to take some form of English language test and assess where your abilities are at.

When you don’t know what level your English is you stand the risk of  wasting time by choosing the wrong language course. 

If you choose English classes that are too easy you are likely to get distracted and could become demotivated, feeling your attempts to learn English are a waste of time.

On the other hand, if you aren’t in touch with your level of language skills then there’s a big chance you could end up taking an English language course that’s far too advanced which will have the same result: a highly demotivated English learner.

student working on laptop and using headphones
Beat the stress by knowing your limits and doing thorough language level tests - Unsplash

For students who have taken more advanced English and are aiming towards a certificate or diploma from a language school, there will be a certain amount of exam prep involved.

But it’s crucial that you understand your abilities because at this level of learning you will be paying for textbooks and examinations. If you choose the wrong course (either too easy or too challenging) you will have wasted precious time and money.

Testing Your Language Abilities

Cambridge offers a simple, free online test to assess your English skill level. These quizzes will assess your fluency in English by testing your basic grammar, spoken English, reading comprehension and English vocabulary.

By the end of the assessment you’ll have an accurate understanding of what level of English you’re at, which will enable you to find the correct classes in English or course of action to achieve your English learning goals.

 

Remember These Points in Order to Excel in English:

  • Watch English movies
  • Commit new English words to memory
  • Keep practising your speaking skills
  • Focus on pronouncing new words correctly

Try More Level Tests

There are actually so many English language level tests out there such as Language Level. If you’re looking for something more challenging then give the British Council’s language level tests a bash.

Similar to the assessments offered by Cambridge, the British Council’s test also consists of 25 questions. Both tests are very alike but the British Council test has a few more subtle challenges. It tests your knowledge of collocations which can be tricky for non native English speakers.

Just remember that these level tests are nothing to stress over. The purpose of figuring out your level is so that you can make more informed choices when you begin to learn English online or choose a specific English language course.

Level tests and other learning aids can also help you to get prepared if you’re planning on taking an exam to test your to really put your language skills to the test and beef up your resume. This kind of prep is beneficial for students pursuing English studies in an academical capacity.

Level Tests for Business and Commerce Communication Skills

TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) or BURLATS are challenging and require sufficient preparation. And because your career depends on the results of these assessments, you really don’t want to waste time doing the wrong kind of English proficiency training.

person reading newspaper
It's common practice these days for businesses to assess their employees English skills, rather be prepared - Unsplash

 

How TOEIC Works

TOEIC is internationally recognised. It’s designed to verify your skill level when it comes to communications in English. Usually used by companies to verify employees and job applicants English skills when a job requires candidates to be fluent in English.

If you want to do a test-run before writing the real thing then there are lots of free TOEIC mock tests that can be found online. These tests assess listening skills, spoken English and reading and writing skills.

Use etsglobal.org to practise one or more sections of a TOEIC exam and even check your answers in preparation for the real thing. This is a great website for English learners who are improving their language skills for professional purposes.

Here are some sample TOEIC questions.

Top tip: wait before you make any payments!

There are many professional English language assessments such as TOEFL, IELTS, or one of the Cambridge English exams, too.

How to Better Your Grammar Skills

The website usingenglish.com has lots of useful resources that cater for students of all levels. There are loads of tests, quizzes and English activities that cover the following CEFR levels:

  • A1: Basic User: Breakthrough or Beginner
  • A2: Basic User: Waystage or Elementary
  • B1: Independent User: Threshold or Intermediate
  • B2: Independent User: Vantage or Upper Intermediate
  • C1: Proficient User: Effective Operational Proficiency or Advanced

If it’s your grammar that you’re worried about then you need to think about obtaining suitable textbooks, resources like worksheets and signing up for English classes that cater for your level of language skills.

There is so much to choose from on this website. Whether it’s online English lessons you’re looking for or the chance to have some real-time English interaction, Using English has it covered. You can learn grammar, hear how unfamiliar words are meant to be pronounced, improve your language proficiency when it comes to different forms of writing and find fun games.

Sometimes it helps to approach a new concept from different angles to really get to grips with unfamiliar topics. And fortunately this site makes it possible. For instance if it’s tenses you’re working on, don’t just quickly skip over it. You could find puzzles, worksheets and also practise saying them aloud.

This way you’re making use of repetition without making the topic boring and you’re reinforcing what you’ve learned.

Finding a Good Textbook

Our devices may be the gateway to the world wide web and all it has to offer, but there’s still nothing that can replace an actual book.

In fact, its recommended that some of the learning should take place off-screen. And there are lots of  brilliant textbooks out there that aren't available in digital format. The amount of educational books available for foreign language students seeking to master their English is truly astonishing.

pile of textbooks
Never underestimate the value of book-learning! -Unsplash

And no, they don’t all cost an arm and a leg. In fact chances are you’ll probably find an affordable second hand version of just about any English grammar guide or textbook that you may be looking for.

A little pocket guide to basic grammar is an invaluable tool that you can always keep on you. Whenever you’re uncertain about something like word-order you can turn to your trusty little guide.

The nifty thing about books is that they don’t rely on batteries or good wifi!

Choose Your Path

When you’re confident that you know what skill level you’re at with your English studies then there are lots of ways that you can take the learning experience to the next level.

  • Want to learn to speak fluent English? Start by practising over Skype. There are plenty of language exchange sites that put aspiring students in touch so that they can practise their spoken English in real-time.
  • Learn English online and quiz your progress with some of the amazing free educational sites,
  • Think about hiring a personal English tutor, especially if there’s a specific topic that you are struggling with.
  • Consider signing yourself up for a proper language school. This is especially helpful if you’re becoming serious about your English studies and need decent exam prep.
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Kyla

Born from a family of creatives, Kyla has a passion for the arts and interior design.