Having done a lot of work with IELTS students (in fact eons ago I administered the Davies Test which was a pre-cursor of IELTS!!) I felt it might be useful to pass on a few ideas I give my own students who are preparing for this test.
In the next 3 posts I plan to give an overview of the way to approach the tests and then look in more detail at Reading and Writing and then Speaking and Listening.
Most of the students I work with need to achieve a band score of 7 or 8 and in some cases they require a band 7 in each part of the test. This is no easy task and in order to be successful you need to be prepared for not only hard, but also smart work.
If you are preparing for this test:
- How do you feel about it?
- What is your experience?
Please share your thoughts on IELTS in the comments box below.
I am sure that much of what I say in this overview you will have heard before but it is tried and tested and should be given consideration.
Three Golden rules for IELTS:
- Remember it is a test of your English language ability.
- The better your English language skills, the easier it will be to approach the test.
- Concentrating on IELTS books and IELTS practice tests alone is not the best way to prepare for the exam.
This may sound obvious, but the emphasis should be on improving your language skills not practising for test.
The test is a means to an end not an end in itself and the danger of only concentrating on the test is that you are not seeing the wood for the trees!
ie: You may be lucky enough to pass the IELTS with the score you need but you will not be adequately prepared for what comes after it – your course, your job etc…
- How do you feel about this advice? Do you agree?
7 more things you can do to make you better prepared for IELTS:
- Use the language around you. If you are in an English speaking country then this is easy. If not then use the internet.
- I you have the chance, join an English speaking club where you can practise your speaking regularly (this could be a book club, cultural exchange or a hobby club) – or start one yourself with other ‘IELTS’ friends and have one rule – ‘English only’! See if you can invite native speakers to give short talks at your meetings. The value is in the speaking and trying to improve fluency.
- Do one English activity every day – listen to the radio, watch a film, read a magazine or newspaper article, have a conversation in English. Make it something that you are interested in and then ENJOY it!
- Volunteer to do something where you have to speak English – read to the children at your local primary school, help some high school students with their English etc… (if you live in an English-speaking country there are many opportunities – go to your local library to find out.)
- Join an online community. There are several to choose from, try out a few and see which you like. My own is Gapfillers, everybody welcome!!
- Practise little and often. Choose one activity at a time – for example reading, and really concentrate on that during your daily practice.
- Make sure you understand why things are wrong, go over any mistakes and learn from them. If you have a lot of mistakes then do the exercise again.
- If you have other tips that you can add here please share them with us.
Here are some other posts that might be useful:
- 10 ways to increase your vocabulary
- An A to Z of effective language practice
- Thinking in English, how to make it happen
Here are some exercises you might like:
- 3D Films– a news video with short questions
- See if you can correct these sentences
- People in Conversation – Ferhat- a listening exercise
In my next post we will look at ways of approaching the IELTS Reading and Writing tasks.
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Do you need help with your IELTS exam?
As a former IELTS examiner and with over 15 years of experience preparing and coaching people for the exam especially at Bands 7 and 8 I know what it takes to achieve these scores.
I work a lot with professionals (especially doctors) who need high band scores to move on with their careers.
Using my own Advanced English training site, Gapfillers and my own expertise in IELTS I can help you to get the score you are looking for.
Join my free IELTS Group in Gapfillers and get regular updates about preparing for the exam and also the chance to join in my teleseminars and seminars and all the other IELTS training opportunities I offer.
Joining is easy; follow this link, register (it’s absolutely free), (don’t forget to tick the IELTS group button) and that’s it!
As soon as you register you will have access to my free 1-hour presentation THE TROUBLE WITH IELTS – the link is on the welcome page. Watch or download it, it’s your choice.
I hope to see you there