Published date: 29 Aug 2018 Updated on: 06 Apr 2020 Used by more than 9,000 educational institutions worldwide, the International English Language Testing System or commonly known IELTS is the English Language test that is mandatory for international students who are interested in studying in a country where English is the main language of communication. The test assesses the candidate’s communication skills in English Language and gives them a score for their performance. Though an IELTS score in the band of 7 is accepted by top American Universities, a band score between 6 and 7 is accepted by most Universities in the U.S, U.K, Australia and Canada. However, many non-native English speakers fail to get this score – which by the way is not rocket science - and thus have to retake the test. In this article, we discuss a few tips and tricks which will help all the non-native English speakers ace the IELTS in their first attempt itself. Looking For Low-Cost IELTS Prep Courses! Get Help From GyanDhan To Find One! Preparation for the IELTS: Let us start our discussion with some tips and tricks on how to be optimally prepared for the IELTS. We are sure that all our prospective IELTS test takers might be aware of the four sections that the IELTS is divided into. For the benefit of our readers, we will address the preparation strategy for each section separately. 1) Preparation for the Listening Section This section is of 30 minutes. The listening section consists of four sections. Test takers get to read the question for every section before hearing that particular section. Once the recording is played, test takers can answer the questions related to that section and the same pattern continues for the other 3 sections. The reason why students find this section challenging is: The recordings are played only once Different kinds of English accents might be represented The variety of questions asked might be vast and the passages tend to get harder as the sections get covered. To overcome the above challenges, we give below a few tips that will help our readers score well in this section. We suggest our readers practice for this section by listening to as many conversations- English news bulletins, discussions on television as possible and noting down important points simultaneously. This will not only help them get acquainted with varied accents but will also help them get accustomed to the habit of multi-tasking (taking down notes and writing answers while listening), which will help them in the actual test. We also suggest our readers practice short forms while writing down notes, in order to save time. Another advice is to practice spellings and grammar as well as increase vocabulary – all of which are extremely important not just for this section but for the entire IELTS. In order to do well in this section, students need to have a timed practice of as many different questions as possible. 2) Preparation for the Reading Section The Reading section is of 60 minutes duration and consists of three long reading passages with different tasks for each section. To be aptly prepared for this section, we encourage our readers to understand the different types of questions asked in this section and develop their skills to tackle every single type of question. Some of the questions asked in this section can be: match the heading with the paragraph, true or false, matching paragraph information, completing a summary by filling in the blanks, complete the sentence, MCQs, choose correct answer from a given list, match sentence endings, categorize something, complete a table or flowchart or diagram and short answer questions. We suggest our readers to develop their skills in answering these through practice tests and question banks. Students should also develop their speed reading and their habit of skimming and scanning a paragraph for important information – like keywords. The other tips for this section remain the same as the listening section i.e. timed practice and building grammar and vocabulary. 3) Preparation for the Writing Section Next is the writing section - which is also 60 minutes. The writing section contains a task where the student has to describe a chart, graph, diagram or table (of 150 words minimum) and a short essay task (of 250 words minimum). Tips for this section are as follows: Students preparing for this section should first read and analyze as many sample essays as possible. They should then practice writing as many essays as possible. While writing the essays, a few things that should be kept in mind are – jotting down all the points, in short, that comes to mind; filtering the relevant points from the above and then framing them in a logical flow and presenting their point of view with clear arguments. They should also take care of their grammar, spellings and vocabulary – all of which have a significant importance. They should also practice to always meet the word limit mentioned – since the examiner will penalize them in case they fall short of the word limit. Another thing to remember is to practice formal language and avoiding abbreviations and 1st degree, 2nd degree and possessive pronouns. Practice writing neatly and learn to recognize the length of 150 words and 250-word essays as there will be no time in the exam to actually count the words. While practising the essays, students must always adhere to the time limit and finish the first section in 20 minutes (as the next task is of higher word limit and of double the marks). 4) Preparation for the Speaking Task The last section is the speaking task which is of 11 to 14 minutes. There is a face-to-face interview, which is recorded, with an examiner. The interview consists of short questions, a structured discussion and a short speech on a familiar topic. Tips for this section are listed below: Since our readers have built upon their vocabulary and grammar by practicing rigorously for the other three sections, they now need to practice speaking on some commonly asked topics in this section. Record your answers. This will help you to analyze your response and try to improve. The key in this section is clarity in speech, a coherence of thoughts and fluency. So never forget these. On The Day Of The Test: On the day of the test, it is natural for the test taker to have butterflies in the stomach. However, we would suggest them to maintain their calm and follow the tips given below to give their best in the exam: To state the obvious, we advise the students to rest well the night before the exam, eat a nutritious meal before coming for the test and wear comfortable clothing for the exam. All the above will help them remain relaxed, calm and focused towards the exam. Ensure that they are carrying their ID cards, pen, pencil and eraser. We would advise them to reach their test centre early. Always listen to the instructions being given before the exam. Since the Listening section is the first section which test takers face, it becomes imperative that they perform well in this section and thus maintain their confidence for the rest of the test. Before the start of the listening section, ensure that you are able to hear the test properly. If not, inform the invigilator immediately. Once the listening section commences, follow the following tips: Make use of the time before the recording starts to read the given questions. Do not try to understand the entire recording. Rather, be on the lookout for answers for questions that you had read. Write your answers on the question paper. After all the recordings have ended, make sure to transfer your answers to the answer sheet. Use only capital letters for your answers. For the reading section, remember the following tips: Read the instructions carefully and make note of the number of words you can use Keep a check on the time. If you are unable to answer it, move to the next question. You can always come back to it later. However, since there is no negative marking, make sure that you attempt all the answered questions at the end. Make sure that you write your answer on the answer sheet and not on the question paper. Keep your eyes open for paraphrasing Use capital letters for all answers. Students attempting the writing section can follow the below tips: Remember to spend 20 minutes on the first essay and the remaining (40 minutes) on task two. Plan your essay before starting to write. Students should stick to the topic and write only what is necessary. Make use of paragraphs and use one idea for one paragraph only Do not repeat the same idea in different ways. Pay attention to the word count and never write below the mentioned word count. You can always count the number of lines written and estimate your approximate word count Always write a concluding paragraph In the end, spend time re-reading your essays and making the necessary changes For the last section, i.e. the speaking section, keep the following points in mind: Be confident and relaxed When asked a question, listen carefully. If you do not understand something, do ask for a clarification. While answering, speak clearly and fluently. Do not recite prepared answers. The examiners are highly experienced and will see through it. Therefore, be spontaneous and express your ideas and opinions. Try and speak more than the examiner. We are sure that by following the above-mentioned tips, our readers will certainly be able to ace their IELTS. We wish our readers all the best!
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.gyandhan.com/blogs/ielts