Tips to prepare for the OPI

  1. Familiarize yourself with the proficiency levels, so you know what is expected.
  2. Record yourself answering questions similar to the sample ones available here.
    • Try your best to record without much time to prepare or think about the question.
    • As you listen to yourself answering, do you notice “breakdowns” (e.g., struggle to elaborate, halting speech, long pauses, frequent errors, etc.)? 
    • If you seem comfortable, fluent, confident in responding to some questions, that’s probably your level. “Breakdowns” happen when you’re reaching higher than where you are, so to speak.
  3. Things you can do daily, especially a couple of weeks prior to taking the test :
    • Lots of input! Podcasts, movies, TV series, reading the news (fiction is great too, but for many advanced-level functions, it’s good to be versed in current events)
    • Talk to yourself or think in the target language!
    • Write reflections, narrations, short argumentative paragraphs supporting an opinion. Even if nobody else will read it, it is good practice for organizing your thoughts, realizing what you know/don’t know yet, etc.
    • If you plan on connecting with Spanish speakers, keep in mind that those conversations might be more along the lines of intermediate topics (getting to know you), as opposed to more advanced-level prompts. Many informal conversations tend to consist of short responses and interlocutors rarely push you to elaborate! To score at the Intermediate-High or above, you will need to elaborate on your answers.

Tips to prepare for the Content Test

  1.  Familiarize yourself with the Test Framework and Design
    • The test consists of 65 multiple choice items and two open-ended assignments.
    • The content test is designed to assess five areas:
      • Knowledge of Language Acquisition and Instruction (20 multiple-choice questions)
      • Interpretive Listening (23 multiple-choice questions)
      • Interpretive Reading (22 multiple-choice questions)
      • Presentational Writing (open-ended response)
      • Presentational Speaking​​​ (open-ended response)
  2. Review the Sample Items
  3. Purchase a Practice Test from ILTS 
    • Currently this option is only available for Spanish (Test 260)