Enhance your vocabulary
Your English language vocabulary is your power. Not only your rich vocabulary will help you read faster, write well, speak in an organized fashion, and understand what you listen to, but it is a life-time achievement that would help you in many ways.
Write down new words in a note-book or diary and revise them. It is likely that you would forget some of the words you will learn, yet try to learn at least 5 new words each day.
You will find that after 2-3 months you have learned many words and you would be able to use many of them in your use of English. Reviewing the words that you read is another important aspect to enrich your vocabulary.
Develop a positive attitude
Positive attitudes matter and that’s why you should develop a positive attitude. You have the possibility to invest a lot of time learning English. You know the IELTS exam format and know how to prepare for the test.
You have plenty of resources available related to this test and you have the spirit to do really well in IELTS. It is difficult to master a language but not quite impossible and if other people can achieve a band score 8, 8.5, or even 9, why can’t you. Target, work hard, and be positive. You will get the score.
Avoid Language Bias
Avoid language that reinforces stereotypes or excludes certain groups of people.
Sexism is the most difficult bias to avoid, in part because of the convention of using man or men and he or his to refer to people of either sex. Other, more disrespectful conventions include giving descriptions of women in terms of age and appearance while describing men in terms of accomplishment.
Avoid mankind, man, a man in the street.
Use human beings, humans, humankind, humanity, people, society, men and women, average person, ordinary person.
Race, Ethnicity, and National Origin
Some words and phrases that refer to racial and ethnic groups are clearly offensive. Other words (e.g., Oriental, colored) are outdated or inaccurate. Hispanic is generally accepted as a broad term for Spanish speaking people of the Western Hemisphere, but more specific terms (Latino, Mexican American) are also acceptable and in some cases preferred.
Avoid: Negro, colored, Afro-American.
Use: black, African-American (generally preferred to Afro-American).
The concept of aging is changing as people are living longer and more active lives. Be aware of word choices that reinforce stereotypes (decrepit, senile) and avoid mentioning age unless it is relevant.
Avoid: elderly, aged, old, geriatric, the elderly, the aged.
Use: older person, senior citizen(s), older people, seniors.
The term homosexual to describe a man or woman is increasingly replaced by the terms gay for men and lesbian for women. Homosexuality as a noun is sometimes used only in reference to a male. Among homosexuals, certain terms (such as queer and dyke) that are usually considered offensive have been gaining currency in recent years. However, it is still prudent to avoid these terms in standard contexts.
Study in a Group rather than Individually
It’s been proven that IELTS preparation works best if you study and share with others rather than studying all by yourself. The speaking section of the IELTS test is an interview part between the candidate and an examiner. So having a speaking partner not only lets you speak more but also helps you to find out how you really do while speaking with others.
Read the Instructions Carefully
Candidates who do not read or listen to the instructions carefully may believe they are saving time, but the instructions contain vital information that must be understood in order to answer correctly. The instructions may contain information about the passage topic which helps to predict what you may hear or read.
The instructions tell you what to do, what kind of answer to give, and, in the case of the Listening Test instructions, they tell you when to answer.
It is important to read the instructions quickly and accurately. You might not have time to complete the test if you are too slow at reading the explanatory information.
Increase Your Sentence Reading Speed
The faster and more accurately you read, the more questions you will be able to answer. In all the tests, the instructions, the example, and the questions themselves need to be read quickly and must be well understood in order for you to have more time to find the answers. It pays to increase your overall reading speed.
To increase your reading speed, you must learn to read in groups of words that form logical units of thought within sentences. If you read each word in a sentence one at a time, you will read very slowly and most likely misunderstand the meaning of much of what you read. So read your sentences in phrases by considering all the words of a phrase as a single unit.
Scanning is the method to use when you need to search a page quickly for information that you require. You may be looking for the general idea of the information on the page (skim quickly through the information), or you may wish to scan for specific information.
In either case, the method is to sweep your eyes across the page slowly and smoothly, starting at the top left, and working your way across and down the page in a wavelike motion.
Follow a regular Study Plan
Set aside the maximum number of hours you can spare each day to practice English for all four Sub-tests. Do not concentrate only on your weakest areas. Be regular in your practice, and give yourself a rest between tasks. Take at least one day out of your week to rest and forget the test completely. The secret of success is to work towards your goal slowly, steadily, and regularly.
Take every opportunity to listen to English whenever and wherever you can. Watch TV programs and films, listen to radio programs and English language tapes – even songs in English on tape. Have as many conversations with native English speakers as you can, and practice in English as often as possible with your non-native English-speaking friends.
Try to read texts in English at least once every day. You should always be in the process of reading a book in English – a page or two each night before bedtime is an excellent plan. Read newspapers, magazines, and novels written for your English level (available from good language bookshops).
Academic Module candidates should obtain academic articles, if possible. Always carry English texts with you, so you can read when you have spare time that would otherwise be wasted. Do not worry about understanding every word. Read some articles in detail and some for speed.
Study regularly and at the same time if possible. If you have planned to take the test after 4-5 months, reduce your social networking and gaming addiction apart and give yourself some challenges like, I won’t have my dinner until I finish this particular portion or I won’t leave the study table unless I finish writing this essay.
Spending time for the preparation every day for particular hours instead of sitting down to review once a week for several hours is far better. Even though you are studying for the same amount of time, researches shows that daily shorter sessions produce better results on the IELTS test.
Choose A Realistic & Achievable Goal
You should target for a score which you require and achievable. Be realistic to achieve a reasonable band score in each module as well as an overall score. Find your strength and weaknesses and work accordingly.
For instance: if you have some weaknesses in the reading module, put some extra effort into this module. You can achieve your success with a constant and wise study plan. For the IELTS preparation and for your IELTS result you should be reasonable and fix a target that is feasible yet challenging.
Don’t give an impossible target to yourself; be it a daily study plan or the result. Get flexible with the IELTS exam by practicing your best level and taking part in mock tests.
Think About the Possibility
Be prepared about the possible questions you might be asked in the speaking module. In the Speaking session, there are generally 3 parts. In part 1 you will be asked basic questions. There are only so many possible basic questions that can be asked about someone. You can easily be prepared for every possibility. Go through and write down all the possibilities and a good answer for each.
When you’re asked about your family, don’t have to struggle to come up with descriptions for your family members. Practice ahead of time and know what you are going to say. Right now as you are reading this, stop and take a minute to answer each of these following questions. If you were asked these in an interview, what would you say?
- Please describe yourself.
- Please describe your family.
- Please describe your home.
- Please describe some of your interests.
- Please describe your job.
- Please describe your studies.
- Please describe your job.
- Please describe your hometown/village.
This is an important practice. Make sure that you can spend a minute or so answering each of these questions without having to take time to think of a good response. These are basic questions and you should have your basic answers.
with a little thought and practice, even you can turn your dull past experiences into exciting exploits. Stories are your strongest weapon for captivating the interviewer and demonstrating your mastery of speaking English. The questions in Part 2 of the Speaking Module literally beg for stories to be told.
These need to be compelling stories, real-time drama, and you’re the hero. You want the interviewer begging for more, asking follow-up questions, eager to hear how it ends. Once you begin a quick exciting story, you set the tone of the interview, and you will determine what will be the follow-up questions.
The easiest way to prepare for these Part 2 questions is to scour your memory for any exciting instance in your past. Perhaps where you played a leadership role or accomplished a goal. These can be from any part of your past, during your education, at home with your family, projects at work, or anything that you might have had a part in.
Identify the main characteristics of the story, you want to have things straight. Make sure you know the basics of what happened, who was involved, why it occurred, and how the events unfolded sequentially. You certainly don’t want to stumble over the facts and repeat yourself during the interview.
If you are going to take the IELTS on the computer, spend some time on your keyboard getting familiar with the shortcut keys to cut, copy, and paste. It will help you to quickly move text around on your paper. First, highlight the text you wish to move or copy and then type:
Ctrl+C = copy
Ctrl+X = cut
Ctrl+V = paste
You must hold down the ctrl key and then tap the “C”, “X”, or “V” key to perform the desired function.
Proper guessing is a good idea on the IELTS- unlike other standardized tests. There is no penalty for getting the wrong answer in IELTS. Even if you have no idea about a question, you still have a 20-25% chance of getting it right. Most students do not understand the impact that proper guessing can have on their scores. Unless you score extremely high, guessing will significantly contribute to your final score.
The process of elimination of the wrong answer is valuable. According to this process, you first eliminate the wrong answer. If there are 3 options for the answer then after eliminating the first option increase the chance the hit the right answer to 50%. be a little more prudent here and eliminate the next option among the rest of the 2.
Bingo! Now you are 100% correct about the right answer. However, if you accidentally eliminate the right answer or go on a hunch for an incorrect answer, your chances drop dramatically: to 0%. By guessing among all the answer choices, you are guaranteed to have a shot at the right answer.
Prepare do not Procrastinate
Do you believe that, if you take the IELTS three times, you will get three different scores? This is due to the way you feel on test day, the level of preparedness you have, and, despite IELTS’s claims to the contrary, some tests will be easier for you than others. Since so much depends on your score, you should maximize your chances of success.
In order to maximize the likelihood of success, you’ve got to prepare in advance. This means taking official practice tests and spending time learning the information and test-taking strategies you will need to succeed. You can always retake the test more than once, but remember that you will have to wait a minimum of three months before retaking the test.
Don’t get into a situation where you need a higher score and can’t afford to wait, so don’t take the IELTS as a “practice” test. Feel free to take sample tests on your own, but when you go to take the IELTS, be prepared, be focused, and do your best the first time.
Wear a Watch
Wear a watch during the IELTS Test. At the beginning of the test, check the time (or start a chronometer on your watch to count the minutes), and check the time after each passage or every few questions to make sure you are “on schedule.”
Remember that on the Listening and Reading Modules you have a little over half a minute for each question. If you can work quickly, you can pace yourself at half a minute per question, which makes it easy to keep track of your time and let you finish your exam in time.
If you find that you are falling behind time during the test, you must speed up. Even though a rushed answer is more likely to be incorrect, it is better to miss a couple of questions by being rushed, than to completely miss later questions by not having enough time.
It is better to end with more time than you need than to run out of time. If you are forced to speed up, do it efficiently. Usually, one or more answer choices can be eliminated without too much difficulty. Above all, don’t panic.
Don’t speed up and just begin guessing at random choices. By pacing yourself, and continually monitoring your progress against the clock or your watch, you will always know exactly how far ahead or behind you are with your available time. If you find that you are a few minutes behind on a module, don’t skip questions without spending any time on it, just to catch back up.
Spend perhaps a little less than half a minute per question and after a few questions, you will have caught back up more gradually. Once you catch back up, you can continue working on each problem at your normal pace. If you have time in the end, go back then and finish the questions that you left behind. Furthermore, don’t dwell on the problems that you were rushed on.
If a problem was taking up too much time and you made a hurried guess, it must have been difficult. The difficult questions are the ones you are most likely to miss anyway, so it isn’t a big loss. If you have time left over, as you review the skipped questions, start at the earliest skipped question, spend at most another half a minute, and then move on to the next skipped question.
Four Modules of IELTS
Listening at a glance
Listening consists of 4 sections. There are about 38-40 questions in total. You need to answer all the questions as you listen to the tape The tape is not paused at any time and you hear it only once. The questions get more difficult as you progress through the test.
Are you scared yet? Don’t be! There is a technique to get you through it. Just make sure that your answers are readable and easy to understand when you copy them to the Answering Sheet. You may write in pencil only.
Reading at a Glance
Reading consists of 3 text passages and has about 40 questions in total. Your job is to read the passages and either answer questions, label diagrams, complete sentences or fill gaps.
For every type of task, there are instructions and an example Passages are taken from books, newspapers, magazines and the topics are very diverse, from scuba diving to space exploration. Passages progress in difficulty, with the first being the easiest and the fourth is the hardest.
The good news is that you don’t really have to read the whole passage, thanks to a technique I will refer to later. Not so good news is that there is no additional time to copy your answers to the Answering Sheet and you need to squeeze it in the 60 minutes that you have.
Please, don’t forget to do it – I witnessed someone who did, and it was not a pretty sight. The poor guy was crying, he received a score of 0 for the whole Reading test. Here too you may write in pencil only, no pens are allowed.
Writing at a glance
Writing has 2 sub-tasks. The first one is to write a report according to a graph, a diagram, or a table you receive, using about 150 words. The second task is to write an essay on a given topic, present and justify an opinion, or to get a solution to a problem, using not less than 250 words.
Nothing to worry about here! Once you’ll start using a certain structure which I’ll explain later on for the report and the essay in addition to your imagination, it is a piece of cake This task requires a bit of training, but after you have written a few essays and reports you will be well-prepared for it and you will feel confident.
Speaking at a glance
This is the fun part of the test, for many reasons. You get to rest before it, you are a little tired from the previous 3 parts and therefore more relaxed. The examiners are trained to smile no matter what, so you feel as if you were speaking to your best friend.
The first sub-part of the Speaking test is an interview, which means that the examiner asks you questions about yourself; your work, studies, parents, brothers/sisters, pets, etc. This is an easy task to prepare for.
In the second sub-part of the Speaking test, you receive a card with 3-4 questions. After one minute, that you have to think about something to say, you should give a little speech for one to two minutes, which answers those questions. In the end, the examiner might ask you a couple of additional questions.
In the third sub-part of the test, you have a discussion with the examiner. The topic is somehow related to the one from section two, but it is about more abstract ideas. You have to express and justify an opinion. The examiner will record your session on tape. Don’t worry about it; the tape is to test the examiner and not you.