Preparing for your IELTS test? Here are 10 top tips to give you the best chance of passing:
- Preparation. The IELTS test is a test of your level of English. So you need to start by learning English. Find a motivating class or a English language tutor. If you are not sure where to start the look for a tutor with a CELTA or DELTA qualification.
- Learn from your mistakes. This especially applies if you self study. You need to do exercises which you self-mark, or an electronic system which marks your work for you. Similarly a class where the tutor corrects your English and marks your work is essential.
- Learn, don’t memorise. When learning English try not just to memorise it for the exam – you will find it very difficult and it is unlikely to stick. Instead relax and work through exercises and speak in English to native speakers as soon as possible.
- Prepare for the listening with active listening. This involves listening in short extracts, repeating what you have heard and explaining what you have heard. Another form of active listening is to take notes whilst listening – whether to a recording or a native speaker.
- Know the IELTS test format. If you are not prepared for what you see you will feel under more pressure in the test. The test is divided into three sections and has 40 questions to answer.
- Start with the title. The title will give you the contact of the text – it might be a question which the text will answer.
- Skim read the text. You don’t need to understand all the text, nor translate it. However if you have had a read through first you will know where to start looking to answer questions.
- Look out for key words. As well as the vocabulary you need to look out for the link works. For example but means that one statement may contradict another, and not is a key word to look out for and understand.
- Answer Listening questions in the order they appear. The listening questions normally follow the order of the information in the recording.
- If you write less than 150 words in Task 1 or less than 250 in Task 2 you will lose marks. There is no maximum number of words for either task.
- In the speaking task always speak directly to the Examiner, not to the recording equipment. If you reply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to an Examiner’s question, try to add more detail to your answer. For each question, aim to explain at least one point.
- Manage your time. A very common mistake is to take too long on the first part of the test. Overall you have 60 minutes to answer 40 questions. So ensure you move on to the next part – and then at the end decide where you are going to spend the remainder of the time.
- Practice. Practice Makes Perfect is a common English expression. Ask your tutor for some practice IELTS tests – as well as learning new English you will experience the test and have an idea about where you need to spend your time.