In the years that we have tutored for IELTS, we have noted something interesting. Most test takers with an English medium schooling background feel that they do not need much of a preparation for IELTS, while those with a non-English medium background consider this test a nightmare. Well, let me tell you cracking IELTS and getting a high band score, requires a perfect understanding of the pattern, a focused approach, a lot of practice and a firm grasp on the strategies for different sections. For those planning to take the test, we would like to suggest some useful tips, you must bear in mind. Hope they are helpful!
- Get your passport ready before you plan to take IELTS
Passport is the only form of identification accepted for taking the test and getting registered for the test. So apply for your passport well in advance.
- Follow a question specific approach in the Reading and Listening sections
In the Reading and Listening sections work with a question specific approach i.e. read the question, identify keywords/answer types and develop strategies before you approach the text or the listening excerpt.
- Manage your time judiciously in the reading section
Most of the students falter in the Reading section because of poor time management skills. Please remember that IELTS doesn’t give you more than 1.5 minutes per question. So if a question is taking too much time mark the best answer and move on.
- Don’t leave any question unanswered
Remember there is no negative marking in IELTS so don’t leave out any question, always take a wise guess if you are unsure of or have missed an answer. Moreover it increases the chances of scoring high than leaving a question attempted
- Plan out your essay before you begin writing
In writing task 2 i.e. essay writing, spend at least 8-10 minutes planning the essay before you start writing. This will help you develop a well-structured essay and avoid redundancy.
- Take a balanced approach in Essays
In case of discursive essays which are more frequent in IELTS, it is advisable to work with a balanced approach than taking a stand
- Refrain from answering in monosyllables in your speaking section
In the Speaking section of IELTS, refrain from answering in monosyllables or making one liner responses. Remember for a correct judgment of your speaking skills, first, you need to speak.
- Be descriptive in your response to Impromptu task in the Speaking Module
For a successful response in the Impromptu section of the Speaking module, practice describing people, events, places, objects and situations in detail. A detailed description is a must for speaking without repetition for 2 minutes.
- Use the one minute preparation time in the Impromptu to structure your speech
In the Impromptu section of your speaking module, use the preparation time of 1 minute to collect your thoughts and ideas, pen down key points and structure your speech.
- Compare & contrast trends rather than quote values in the Report Writing task
While attempting Writing Task 1(Report Writing), focus on comparing and contrasting trends and not just stating values. Remember the examiners are looking for an analysis of the given statistics.
- Take at least 4-5 full length tests before the real exam
The full length tests will help you judge your level of preparation, master on time management, and prepare yourself for maintaining adequate concentration for 3 hours at a stretch as there is no comfort break between the Listening, Reading & Writing modules on the real test.
We are sure that if you will follow these tips and do a regular practice for 2-3 weeks, you will not get disappointed.
Best of luck,
About IELTS: IELTS is English language proficiency test which students, professionals and immigrants all need to take for further studies, work or settlement in English-speaking countries. The test comprises of Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking sections. (For more details on test pattern, please click here.