7 tips to score highly in the IELTS Exam
The IELTS exam is the most recognised English proficiency exam in the world, and so a large number of students take the exam regularly. Every student has a different requirement whether you are taking the academic or general test or a require band of 8 or 5.5, you have to be fully prepared and have a good understanding of what is expected.
Below we have given you seven tips to help better prepare yourself for the IELTS exam.
Know your current level.
The purpose of the IELTS exam is, of course, to test your English proficiency but finding out your English level beforehand can really help you understand your current level and in turn, allow you to make a decision on how long it may take you to get that desired score.
Immerse yourself in the language.
While taking IELTS preparation classes and or General English classes can be hugely beneficial, the learning process shouldn’t end there. By challenging and exposing yourself to the language outside of the classroom, you are much more likely to develop your skills.
- Listen to the Radio in your car or watch TV.
- Read newspapers, magazines and books,
- Chat with your family, friends and colleagues.
By regularly engaging with the language, you will pick up new vocabulary, phrases and be able to put what you have learnt into practice.
Know the Test
Having a good understanding of the exam structure, timings, question types, and what is expected of you will not only keep you well prepared but relieve any anxiety you might have before the exam.
- Do past papers.
- Learn the structure.
- Take a preparation course.
Know your weaknesses
Attempting mock exams and past papers will not only give you an understanding of the actual exam but also enable you to discover which question types and skills you might be having trouble with. You may find that your receptive skills, such as reading and listening, are better than your productive skills of speaking and writing.
- Have someone look at your writing and highlight errors.
- Record yourself speaking and listen back to it.
- Time yourself.
By having an understanding of this, you can focus your preparation on those areas of weakness.
Practice the sub-skills
As you know, the IELTS test is a skills-based test, testing your reading, writing, listening and speaking. Each of these skills can be broken down into sub-skills, and by becoming familiar with these skills and practising them, you will be better equipped at answering the questions within the time limit.
- Paraphrasing, which simply means re-stating something but using different words and structure, is required in all parts of the exam, whether it be paraphrasing the question to help write an introduction or recognising a paraphrased question in a reading or listening question.
- Skimming (reading to get a general overview) and scanning (reading to find specific details) are important time-saving skills that will enable you to find the answers quickly without having to read the lengthy texts multiple times.
- Predicting what kind of answers you might be looking for is essential; this can come from reading the questions and guessing the possible answers from the surrounding words, or by predicting the context of the text before the reading begins. By developing this skill, you are more likely to get the answers right.
These are just some of the sub-skills that can be developed through classes and practice; developing them will allow you to save time.
Learn new vocabulary
Knowing every word in the English language isn’t possible, and so you will always find some words that are unfamiliar but don’t worry, trying to guess the meaning of words is just another skill you can work on and this can be done by finding out the word type or by looking at those words around it.
While guessing the meaning of words is important, but if you already have a wide range of vocabulary at your disposal then you are much more likely to get a higher band and have less difficulty understanding the texts and questions.
- Reading newspapers and website will expose you to more vocabulary.
- Note down new words and expressions.
- Use a dictionary and thesaurus.
- Practice using the words.
Improve your grammar
Grammar is not tested directly in this exam, but accurate English grammar is very important for getting a high IELTS score. Having good grammar is obviously important in the productive skills of speaking and writing where examiners will be specifically looking for a wide range of grammatical structures. But it is also important for reading and listening where this knowledge can help you better understand what the speaker or writer is saying.
- Know your tenses, using variety of present, past, future and perfect tenses is crucial to getting a high score.
- Try using passive tense to sound more formal.
- Add more nuance to your production by using modal verbs, i.e. could, should etc.
- Use comparatives and Superlatives to be more descriptive.
Taking these seven tips into consideration is a good start to helping you improve your IELTS score, but a full comprehensive preparation course is the surest way to get to grips with the details of the exam, where a qualified teacher can give you the best advice and feedback.
English Language Programme Leader,
For more IELTS tips and tricks, you can reach me on firstname.lastname@example.org