a year ago
For millions of people, their future depends on passing the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) exam. Passing it can get you accepted in an English speaking university or allow you to work abroad.
The IELTS is designed to test your abilities in writing, reading, listening and speaking. There are actually two IELTS exams; an academic one and a general one.
Basically, scoring in IELTS ranges from 0 to 9. Each individual skill gets a band score as well as an overall band score for the whole test. A band score of 7 shows that you generally handle complex language well and understand detailed reasoning, despite mistakes.
Students of IELTS always need some do’s and don’ts for the test, which we’ll get into now.
The writing test has 2 tasks that you must finish within 60 minutes. This means spending 30 minutes on each section. Task 1 is report writing, and task 2 is essay writing.
Do learn report writing
Writing task 1 in IELTS Academic is a report on a chart, like a bar chart or line graph. There are 6 types of charts that can be used: bar and pie charts, diagrams, maps, line graphs, tables, so familiarize yourself with how to write a report for each type.
Do stick to simple wording
If there are complex sentences that can be broken down in simpler language, do so.
Do improve grammar
Be careful with grammar mistakes as that will lower your score. Pay attention to the common errors that often occur and fix them.
Don’t use informal language
In any academic writing test, use formal language. This includes contractions, so instead of writing “you’re” write “you are”.
Don’t go over the limit
If instructed to stick to a word count, then do so.
Don’t spend too much time on task 1
Since there are 2 tasks, make sure you have enough time to finish. Practice allocating enough time to each task before the test.
The reading is a 60 minute test. You will be given 3 (sometimes 4) reading passages and a total of 40 questions to answer. The text of IELTS Academic is more challenging than IELTS General.
Do learn to time yourself
You should spend a maximum of 90 seconds on each question. You need to keep practicing this timing.
Do learn to scan read
You should understand the general gist of what you’re reading rather than every word. Learn to skim the reading for its major points.
Do develop vocabulary
Before the test, develop your vocabulary by reading different things; books, articles, etc. The ideal is to learn how to use new words you learn within a context.
Don’t base answers on your own assumption
A reading exam will test you on the text you’re reading, not on your own knowledge of the topic. So, for example, if the topic is on cats and you happen to own one, don’t answer according to what you know about your own cat. Answer only according to the reading passage.
Don’t leave a blank answer
You will not be penalized for wrong answers, so don’t leave unanswered questions even if you are not sure of the answer.
Don’t obsess over unfamiliar words
You don’t have enough time to linger on words you don’t know. Just try your best to understand them within the content of the text.
The speaking test is between 11-14 minutes long between the student and the examiner. It is in 3 parts. Part 1 is general questions about you. In part 2, you are given a topic and have one minute to prepare to speak about the topic. Part 3 involves a discussion between you and the examiner. The discussion will revolve around the topic in part 2.
Do show confidence and be yourself
Hesitation during speaking will make you less fluent.
Do use a broad vocabulary while speaking
You can use both formal and informal English, idioms, expressions, and native slang.
Of course, if you are already in an English speaking country, like the UK or planning to visit, you have a great opportunity to practice and take the IELTS in Manchester, as well as take courses there for the test. Professional instructors will give you the best practice to improve all your English skills to pass the test.
Don’t use scripted answers
Examiners are never impressed with rote and memorized answers.
Don’t use big words
You might think this is extraordinary, but it’s much more impressive to talk naturally.
The listening involves 4 sections and each section has 10 questions. As you progress, the questions become harder. The entire test lasts around 30 minutes.
Do listen to instructions carefully
Instructions will be included in the recordings you will be listening to, so make sure you don’t miss them.
Do practice listening only once
You will hear the recording only once. When practicing listen to recordings more than once, but eventually start practicing by listening only one time.
Do practice multitasking
You will read the question, listen for the answer and write the answer. This needs quite a bit of practice till you get the hang of it.
Don’t take notes
You often lose track and miss on hearing something important when taking notes.
Don’t skip ahead
Listen to the instructions and do exactly as they tell you.
Don’t ignore spelling and grammar mistakes
You will have some time to check your work so fix any spelling or grammatical mistakes.
With enough practice, you can nail the IELTS. There is no scarcity of sources to help you out. These tips are not exhaustive, but they’ll help to know a bit more how to approach the test. A combination of practice and commitment will help you get the desired score.
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