How to Prepare for English Exams (TOEFL, IELTS, etc.)

By kamya

When you decide to do a master’s or bachelor’s programme in another country, one of the first things that you have to check is the language requirement(s). At Wageningen University & Research (WUR), all Master’s programmes and 7 Bachelor’s programmes are taught entirely in English. Therefore, the university requires potential students to have a minimum level of English. This is to ensure that you will be able to understand the content of the courses and that you will be able to express yourself in English.

Before getting into – how to prepare for English proficiency exams, let us first look at the language requirement for applying at WUR.  If you are interested in a master’s or international bachelor’s programme at WUR, you will have to demonstrate sufficient English language proficiency.

Unless you fall under the exemption category, you will have to provide Wageningen University with proof of English language proficiency. For instance, applicants who have completed their higher education entirely taught in the English language (except online and double degree programmes) in one of the following countries are exempted from submitting an English proficiency test: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, the UK or the USA. Click here to view all exemption

Let us move on to preparing for English exams, such as IELTS, TOELS, etc. Here are some tips that can help you with your preparation for English proficiency exams –

  • Gather all relevant study material

First things first, try to gather all the reading material that is essential for the exam. Usually, exams like IELTS and TOEFL share preparation material and resources with prospective exam givers. Personally, I submitted IELTS, and what worked best for me was to go through the material shared and complete the sample tests.

Going through this material will give you an idea of how the different exams are structured. You can familiarise yourself with the exam format. And accordingly, you can prepare yourself in areas which need improvement/ focus.

  • Set a target score and make a study plan

Depending on which exam you are giving, set a target score for yourself. It would be good if you can judge your level of English proficiency first (i.e., basic, intermediate or advanced). This can help you prepare for your exam. Do keep in mind that similar to any other exam, it is better to be prepared. Hence, make a study plan which will help you achieve your target score.

  • Work on your vocabulary

Learning new words can get boring but it will undoubtedly help you in these exams. You can refer to the ‘Academic Word List’ which can prove helpful for your preparations. Besides this, you can start conversing with your friends and family in English in order to improve your spoken English, and potentially learn new words!


  • Improve your listening and reading skills with articles/ content that you enjoy

The easiest and best way to become a good listener or reader is via practising and honing your reading and listening skills. You can do this by reading and/or listening to books, magazines, radio, music, etc. Some suggestions on newspapers and magazines which can help you improve your English skills include The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, The Economist, The New York Times, etc.


Quick note, don’t forget to reserve your test at least 3 months in advance of your application deadline at Wageningen University. Do keep in mind the date of expiry as well, as these tests should be taken no longer than 24 months prior to the day of your application. Information and registration for these different tests can be found on the website of TOEFLIELTSCambridgeTOEIC and RATEr.

Try to not feel overwhelmed by these exams, they are just to check your level of fluency in English and are not “pass-and-fail exams”. They can certainly open up opportunities for you, and with that in mind, good luck if you plan to take such as exam in future!

By kamya

There are 5 comments.

  1. By: Kevin Nzoyisaba · 08-02-2023 at 15:46

    Am kevin Nzoyisaba from Burundi. I would like to know how I can write TOEFL OR IELTS test. But during my bachelor’s degree, I learnt in English at Africa University Mutare-zimbawe.

    1. By: Luisa Fernanda · 09-02-2023 at 09:22

      Dear Kevin,

      To apply for an English exam, you need to go to either the official website of TOEFL or IELTS. Those tests are independent of the university.

      Kind regards,
      Luisa Gomez

  2. By: Sampson Kitsi · 10-02-2023 at 18:28

    Please I want to know whether I fall within exemption category since I had international diploma certificate at Netherlands with 38 credit hours all courses were taught in English language.

    1. By: Luisa Fernanda · 13-02-2023 at 09:43

      Dear Sampson Kitsi,

      Thank you for your question. I will send you an email with the information of the department you need to contact for this inquiry.

      Kind regards,
      Luisa Gomez

  3. By: Masaba Shakim · 01-03-2023 at 13:23

    Can I use an English proficiency letter I got from my university of study that I am fluent in English instead of doing IELTS exams

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