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Testing Language Centre English Test

Language Centre English Test - Preparation Tips

Speaking Skills

During this test, you will be assessed on your academic vocabulary, the fluency and accuracy of your English, and the way you interact with your partner.

  • Start practicing speaking English with someone on a daily basis before the test. On the day of the test, start speaking English at least 30 minutes in advance so you will be warmed up before the test starts and not during the test
  • Watch the English news and repeat/mimic what the news anchor says. This helps with your English intonation and pronunciation
  • Go through English discussion phrases (for example, take a look at this site about Business English and at the 'Functional Phrases' below)

Writing Skills

You will write a 500-word academic essay on one of the 5 topics given to you at the exam. The topics will range from being rather general to one that is probably related to your field of study (if applicable). You should write this essay as formally and academically as you can.

You should pay attention to:

  1. Your word choice
  2. Maintaining an academic tone and register
  3. Linking your ideas together with academic cohesive devices
  4. Structuring the essay in proper essay format (introduction, body and conclusion)

Listening Skills

You will listen to 2 short texts and be asked 10 multiple choice questions on each. You will hear each text twice but may not start and stop the recording yourself.

Reading Skills

You will read 2 texts and answer a variety of questions based on each. The questions will range from looking for specific details in the text to understanding the main idea. You will also need to place sentences that have been removed from the text back into their appropriate position to create text cohesion.

  • For practice, start reading some English articles or news papers such as the The Guardian, looking up unfamiliar words.


The on-line diagnostic language testing system Dialang will help you to discover how good you are in reading, listening, writing, vocabulary or grammar, and how you can improve. It will also help you to assess and understand your own language abilities. However, Dialang cannot be used for certification purposes.

Functional Phrases

Here are some useful expressions in English discussions:

Asking for opinions

  • What do you think?
  • How do you feel about this? What’s your view/opinion?

Giving an opinion

  • I believe…
  • It seems to me…
  • In my opinion…

Persuading and convincing

  • You have to agree that…
  • Let’s not forget that…
  • I’m sure you’d agree that…

Counter arguing

  • Nevertheless, …
  • Maybe, but don’t you think…?
  • That’s true, but on the other hand…


  • Yes, I’ll go along with that
  • I’ll agree with you there
  • You’ve got a point there


  • Just what I was thinking
  • I see what you mean
  • You may have a point there
  • That’s a good point
  • That seems a good idea to me
  • I agree (with you)
  • That’s right
  • Absolutely

Agreeing partially

  • I can see what you mean, but…
  • I agree with you to some extent.


  • I don’t think so because…
  • I don’t think that’s a good idea
  • I’m not sure I agree with you there

Disagreeing partially

  • Yes, but on the other hand, we must consider…
  • I’m not entirely convinced about…
  • That may be true, but…

Making your point

  • I must stress that…
  • The point is…
  • The thing is…
  • It’s my view that…
  • It (also) seems to me that…

Checking for agreement/consensus

  • Do you see what I mean?
  • Don’t you agree, Jim?
  • Don’t you think so, Mrs MacKenzie?
  • Does anyone object?
  • Do we all agree on that?

Indicating that you don’t understand

  • Sorry, could you say that again please?
  • Sorry, I didn’t catch that
  • I’m afraid I don’t quite follow you
  • Sorry, but what exactly do you mean by…?


  • Sorry to interrupt, but (I’d just like to say that…)
  • Perhaps I could just comment on that?
  • Could I just make a quick point, please

Keeping the discussion moving

  • Perhaps we could move on now to the next point
  • Let’s move on to the next point
  • Are there any (other) comments before we move on


  • Let’s summarise what we’ve agreed on so far
  • So far, we’ve agreed/decided that…
  • That’s settled then, we’ll…
  • Then we’ve agreed that…

Rounding off the discussion

  • I’m afraid our time has run out
  • To summarise, we have agreed/decided that…
  • Well, it seems we have managed to come to some sort of agreement
Last modified:05 October 2022 1.58 p.m.
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