5 common mistakes in IELTS
5 common mistakes made by test takers
Everyone makes mistakes!
Even the most prepared person can make simple errors on test day and lose valuable marks. Let’s take a look at the 5 most common mistakes so you don’t fall into the same traps:
Not reading the question properly.
Don’t think this applies to you?
In any test, have you ever written a few words over the set word limit?
Or maybe you’ve provided two answers when only one is required, and just hoped for the best?
In both instances, you’re answer would be marked as incorrect
because you didn’t follow the instructions! So, make sure you read the question and stick to what you’re being asked to do.
Changing the subject in the Writing test.
No matter how well structured your work is, you still won’t get a good score if your writing is off-topic. To avoid this situation, ensure you stick to the subject.
Mistakes in IELTS speaking test
Not pronouncing words correctly.
As a test of international English,
IELTS does not take off marks if you have an accent. Your accent is not important, but your pronunciation is! So, for example, for the word ‘probably’ don’t say probly or prolly. Make sure you practice and test your pronunciation with some English speakers before the test.
Repeating the question that was asked when answering in the Speaking test.
Don’t be a parrot!
For example, when the question is,
“Who’s your favourite actress of all time?”
you shouldn’t answer with, “My favourite actress of all time is Marilyn Monroe”,
this is because you are not showing your range of English
– you’re just copying the question.
A better answer would be, “I love movies, and I think Marilyn Monroe was a fantastic actress”. So, remember to show off the many different English words you know.
Not knowing what to expect:
One of the gravest mistakes you can make is going to the test center not knowing what is coming. Before your test, make sure to thoroughly acquaint yourself with the test format and pattern by taking some practice tests, so that there are no nasty surprises on the exam day.
The IELTS interviewers aren’t expecting you to be a brilliant orator: it’s more than enough if you talk as you normally would to a friend or colleague. That said, it is important to make good eye contact with the interviewer, smile every now and then, and talk politely and courteously.
Giving yes/no answers
The objective of the IELTS is to test your English language fluency, so it is necessary that you answer at least at some length and do not simply give monosyllabic answers.
Many students, in the midst of their interview, lose sight of the question asked and tend to go off on a tangent. Talking more is not the same as talking correctly.
Remember, the interview questions are usually straightforward and simple, and don’t need more than a 3-4 sentence long answer.
Giving no answer is much worse than giving a poor one—again, remember that these questions are about you— there is nothing you don’t already know. If there’s a word or phrase in the question you don’t understand, it is perfectly OK to ask the interviewer to clarify it, but choosing to give no answer will be seriously detrimental to your overall score.
It is usually very easy to tell when a candidate has memorized his answers, and doing so is likely to reflect poorly on your scores since the interviewers are looking for spontaneity and ability to respond correctly and quickly.
A native-like fluency is not expected of you, but it is important regardless to only use words whose pronunciations you are confident about; otherwise, choose a synonym you can actually pronounce.
Repeating the same word
One of the things the IELTS seeks to examine is the breadth of your vocabulary, and using the same word over and over again will not win you any favours.
Leaving blank answers.
In both your Listening and Reading tests make sure you provide answers even if you have to make a guess. You won’t lose marks for incorrect answers and you might just surprise yourself by getting some correct!
Take note of these common mistakes. and you will be well on your way towards improving your IELTS band score.