(Why) Should I take Tests and Exams?

Hello Exam Seekers,

Did you enjoy our beginning-of-the-year post about your goals? So go there and check it out before reading today’s text. It was a text about New Year’s Resolutions. I believe that people who have read it set as a goal for 2019 to sit for an exam. Is that person you? Well, there are other people, though, who haven’t set that as a goal yet and are still in doubt about the idea of sitting for exams at all.

I’ve been preparing to write this text for a while now, but the opportunity was never there. So today, I’m talking about the importance of sitting for a test or an exam.

At the beginning of the year, some students asked me what my take on sitting for an exam was. Well, for an “ExamSeeker” it is pretty obvious that I am all for the idea of taking any kind of English examination, but I didn’t actually explain why.

Are you ready for Exams?

Everyone knows that “collecting” certifications is a very reasonable step to get upgraded. I mean, when you start listing the qualifications you achieve, lots of things start to happen:

  1. The sense of achievement is one of the first sensations you get. To know that you’ve worked hard. That you paid for a qualification for a couple of months or years and you achieved it. That you did all the homework attached to the test, all the study and dedication, and it was all worthwhile because you were rewarded with a positive certificate. It’s really satisfying.
  2. Secondly comes pride. You get proud of yourself knowing that you and other few have gotten this or that certificate. That you are now part of a small group of people who have gained knowledge for that. That you are certified to teach this or that, or the recognition that very few people get from achieving such a mark.
  3. The sensations above are incredible, but what about the actual tangible achievement? Once you get specific certifications, you can get better job positions. I know that not everyone sees the results, but they are true. You know that if you want to start teaching at specific schools, you can only do that by having studied at certain universities, having taken the CELTA, the TKT, and other courses. Some schools demand a C1 (former CAE) or a C2 (former CPE) certification. So don’t take it for granted. Taking exams gets you higher and hired.
  4. You cannot only achieve better job positions at a specific company/school by having your certifications, but you can also create your own business. You can start your own company, your own course, your own private classes, etc… etc… By having a certification, you can create your own business and sell your product because you own that piece of information.
  5. Not only own that piece of information, but it proves your skills and knowledge. Once you have studied and you got a certification from places A, B, or C, people will know how qualified you are because a specific institution signs under your certificate.
  6. You also keep up-to-date in the market. People will see your resumé and know that you were not doing anything in 2017 or 2022, but you studied and took an exam. Certain companies need to know that their employees are not stopped in time.

There are many other reasons that I could list here… but let me tell you why I decided to talk about this topic. A student of mine asked me a question related to this topic. He was not about taking an English Proficiency Exam, he was talking about the final exam of his English course. Let me contextualize so that it can be clear for you:

He has been studying English for a while and at this specific English school, you have the option of taking the FINAL EXAM after taking the regular level exams and get a certificate for that. If you opt not to take the final exam you don’t get the certification from the school, just a piece of document telling the number of hours you studied there. I know that other schools provide you with the certificate without this final exam, but that’s how this specific school works.

Then this student asked me if it was relevant taking this exam. Now, before saying my answer, I want you to guess what I told him and the reasons…

Clock - Counting the time

Time’s up!

So my answer was: YES, OF COURSE! First of all, the final exam is for free, so there is basically no reason why he shouldn’t take it. As it is a final exam, it might be a little boring because it’s long, so it takes him some time to prepare for it and for actually taking it… So that would be the only bad thing about trying and taking this exam. Other than that, if he gets the mark, he gets a certificate. And there are many reasons for wanting to have that certification in his resumé:

  1. It proves his skills and knowledge acquisition;
  2. It shows that he is part of a few in a bunch;
  3. It gives him self recognition and self-awareness;
  4. In the region he lives, his certification is recognized and praised.

And this piece of advice I gave him, is the same I would give you all. There are many reasons to take a free exam, but the real question is: Why not taking it? .

I have students who have just left the course after achieving the highest level of this school. These people didn’t worry about granting themselves a certification, even though they were pretty capable of getting a high mark.

These people usually say that “it doesn’t matter” or that “my job doesn’t require it” and you are left with nothing but a piece of paper saying that you have an X number of hours studied there. But we never know the future, and we never know when it will be needed. I mean, in a couple of years your boss might ask for your certification or you might travel somewhere and they require any type of certification related to languages, for instance. You also might want to do a portfolio or a journal with your academic history, etc. It is even possible that you change jobs and have to show a simple document which you could have had, but now you have to call that English school you studied ages ago to get it. If you are lucky… they are still there and have you in their files.

Anyhow… the main point is.

Cover for Should I take Exams, Certification

Yes, whenever possible.

Not only for professional reasons, but it is also a way to assess your level of knowledge, which is even more important than the resons mentione before.

I am studying Japanese and I have recently taken a Japanese exam called “Nihongo nōryoku shiken“. Do I know enough Japanese to take the first exam? I don’t really think so, however, I tried. I still don’t know the results (I’m not so optimistic, but let’s hope for a pass), but the important thing is that you have to try and test yourself. Only by doing that you can force yourself into achieving more and studying more and trying more. Don’t let yourself drown in the ordinariness… You can do much more, so do it! 🙂

Well, I hope you all can take lots of exams and have great results. As for me, I’ll keep taking mine, and share them with you. Now, tell me: What is the next test, or exam, that you are going to take? Comment in the comment section below.


That’s it for today! Please like the post and follow the blog on:

You can also listen to this post at Anchor!!!

Have a great week,
Patricia Moura


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