Preparing for a language exam is probably not the best fun-time one has in mind. It takes a lot of commitment, effort, self-study, and dedication. Studying for exams is quite challenging, especially if the person doing it doesn’t have a perfect command of the language in the first place. We would agree, however, that exams nowadays, have to do more with techniques than with a deep understanding of the language. So, preparing learners for international exams like TOEFL and IELTS requires an in-depth understanding of both the language and the tricks on the part of the trainer. At the same time, it is crucial to make sure learners keep their motivation in the process as it guarantees success and provides the best learning outcome.
So, how to help your students to stay motivated while preparing for the TOEFL exam? Let’s look at some advice that can help you do it.
Set achievable goals
It’s a lot of information in all 4 aspects of language learning. Not to overload your students with so many things to learn and remember to set achievable targets and goals for them. You can set weekly, daily goals and challenge the students to achieve them. Those can range from assimilating a type of writing assignment to learning 30 new words/phrases, etc. Don’t forget to praise them once they hit the targets as showing the results they score in a tangible manner is the best motivation there can be.
Avoid overdoing it
It’s common for learners to have burnout when studying hard. As a result, they can lose motivation and give up. To avoid this, make sure you give them breaks, time to rewind, and take a rest. Assist in doing so by not assigning them too much homework, setting up more interesting tasks, like watching a movie together (optional) and sharing the impressions, etc.
Try out different approaches
Although one might say that preparing learners for international exams has kind of the written rules of doing so, no one said that a more creative approach will harm. As it is in the case of regular language learning, people learn better when they are relaxed and are enjoying the process. So, go ahead, apply more techniques of teaching reading skills, for instance, experiment with different types of activities, make the sessions more interesting and fun. This will help to raise the motivation level for the learners no matter what their age is.
Change study times, partners
Some people focus better in the morning hours, some in the evening, etc. One of the reasons your students might be losing motivation can be the study hours. A simple change might freshen them up and set them on track. Another good idea is to assign study buddies together, to help each other learn and progress. People like socializing, so why not get them together to help each other? Seeing each others’ progress can propel them forward to a new level.
Make sure you conduct mock assessments not only to train your students for the real exam but also to put emphasis on their progress. Show them how they’ve grown, find something to praise, and encourage them to work on things that need more attention. In other words, make the progress more visual.
All in all, they say that motivation mostly comes from inside the person, however, extrinsic motivation can be a game-changer. Whether it’s an exam preparation class or a regular language class, to help your students keep their level of motivation, make sure you vary the classroom environment and scout out for new ideas and approaches that can make the learning process more enjoyable and less stressful.