Tips To Prepare For IELTS And How To Crack It
IELTS or International English Language Testing System, is an English exam launched by Cambridge English Language Assessment and the British Council in 1980. It is designed to test non-native’s proficiency of English language. The exam is important for immigrants who are looking forward to study or work in the foreign countries. Almost all the universities abroad ask IELTS score for any student who is coming from a non-English speaking country for undergraduate or postgraduate programs. For instance, if you are a student who wants to pursue higher education in Canada, UK, Australia, or the USA, you would require a minimum IELTS score.
Understanding the format of IELTS
Before preparing for the test, it is important to know about the format. IELTS has four parameters, which include listening, reading, speaking, and writing. The entire time taken for the test is 2 hours and 45 minutes. It takes 60 minutes for reading, 30 minutes for listening, 60 minutes for writing, and 11 to 14 minutes for speaking. The candidate needs to attend the test for two days, wherein first day is for listening, writing, and reading, while the second day is for speaking test.
How to study for IELTS?
Not all students can enroll in a coaching center and get help from the professionals. There’s no need to worry about it. It is possible to prepare for IELTS test at home by following some strategies and tips. There are different books and guides that help aspirants to study from anywhere and practice as much as possible. Even the official website of IELTS has study material to help students get tips and guidelines. We have some preparation tips for you to make your studying process simpler.
As the test is divided into four sections, you need to give time to each section and study accordingly.
There are 40 questions covered under 3 sections of the reading part. You are supposed to solve them in 60 minutes. Reading assignment requires time management technique. Set the timer whenever you are reading something, and keep a track of the time you are spending on it.
- Section 1 and 2 are easier in comparison to the section 3 of the reading part. Hence, make sure to keep enough time for the last section and practice more on that.
- Before reading the comprehension or text, it is better to have a glimpse over the questions. It would help you to understand what is being asked, which you can note down while giving a read.
- Work on vocabulary. As time is a critical factor in the reading section, you should not be stuck at a word. Therefore, try to improve your vocabulary skills.
- You need to habituate yourself with reading. Do read as much as you can. You can read essays, editorials, stories, news, and anything that you come across.
- In case you are reading something big, you can keep making notes while you are reading. It helps in solving comprehension questions.
- Try not to spend much time on one question. If you are unable to solve it, move ahead.
- It is essential to read instructions and keep a note of the title and subtitles to know what the context is.
- Do not make spelling or grammar errors while answering the questions.
For most people, listening seems to be the easiest of all. You will have to listen to 4 recordings with 49 questions in all. The time given to complete the section is 30 minutes. One of the most important aspects of listening is to understand different English accents. Besides that you need to practice a lot of recordings and try answering the questions.
- Listening requires focus, as you need to be calm to listen to every line of the conversation. Sometimes, if you miss out a few seconds of the recording, you might not be able to answer a couple of questions. This mistake can bring your score down.
- While practicing listening, you need to listen to multiple speakers and not just one person.
- Learn the best and fast way to make notes by using abbreviations or short handwriting as it helps while listening the recording.
- One of the best ways to improve listening ability is to listen to English news, podcasts, and watch English movies and series. It helps you to understand the English accent better.
- It is essential to focus on the introduction of the recordings, as it helps you to grasp the important information.
- Listen to certain cues carefully. For instance,’ firstly’, ‘to conclude’, ‘however’, ‘but’, and, ‘lastly’ are some words to understand the tone of the conversation.
- Ensure that you are not making any spelling mistakes or grammar mistakes while giving the answers. It helps in getting you scores.
There are two sections in the writing part of the assignment. The first section includes analyzing the concept or situation or analyzing the diagram or chart or graph. The second section requires you to write an essay on the topic assigned. Even for this section, time management is the crucial aspect to focus on.
- Don’t write one long paragraph, instead write short paragraphs and divide the content into four or five parts.
- Working on your language is essential when you are writing an essay. You can learn writing essay by summarizing a story you read or a movie you watched.
- The introduction of the essay should be appealing, while the conclusions have to be meaningful.
- Make sure you are not repeating words, instead use synonyms.
- While practicing, see that you are keeping a track of your time.
- Work on your grammar and vocabulary skills.
- Whenever you are going through newspapers, material, or magazines, circle or underline new words you come across.
- Do not use first person pronouns while writing an essay.
- When reading multiple things, do focus on the titles and subtitles to understand what the major aspects.
- Keep writing essays with proper introduction, conclusion, and body so that your ideas are not loose.
- Do not use numbering or bullet points in the essay. There should be complete and proper sentences.
- Your paragraphs should be linked to each other and make sense.
- Do not make spelling or grammar mistake as those can bring down your score drastically.
- The ideas you are using in the essay should be relevant to the topic and the paragraphs should be consistent.
It takes only 15 minutes for the speaking test and it is taken after a day of the other three tests. There are three parts of a speaking test that includes introduction, two-way conversation between you and the examiner, and an individual long turn.
- Do not repeat anything while you are speaking.
- Make sure your starting and ending sentences are proper.
- Use shorter and simpler sentences so that you make no mistake. It is important to know your punctuation, which means where to take a pause and where to stop.
- Practice by talking to your friends and family members in the language and try to get their feedback on the same.
- Don’t give one word or one line answers; instead try to answer in detail citing some examples. You can make it a conversation rather than an interrogative session.
- You should understand that nobody is judging you in the test. So, feel free to say anything in proper language.
- Do emphasize on right pronunciation while speaking.
- You need to be confident when you are speaking, but it doesn’t mean that you have to raise your voice. Talk softly in a low tone.
- You need to train to be responsive and prompt when responding. You can however, take half of a minute to think before speaking.
General tips to study for IELTS
Practice and consistency are the two most important aspects to become a professional in any language. It is not your usual exam that can be prepared in a week or a month.
- Make a time table to be organized, and cover all the sections so that you do not ignore any of the parameters.
- Be disciplined while you are preparing for IELTS, this way you would not require a coaching center.
- You can reach out to forums or online groups and talk to the people who have already taken the exam. They could give you the best advice.
- Instead of memorizing, understand the concepts so that you get clarity.
- Try to solve as many papers as you can and give mock tests. It will help you get familiarized with the concept and you can identify your weak and strong areas.
- Do not ignore any section thinking you know all about it. Give equal time to each of them to get a score more than 6.5. You can spend 4 to 6 weeks to study and get a good score.
Cracking IELTS is not difficult once you are disciplined, organized, and have practiced a lot. Make sure you remember the above-mentioned tips and are all set to study and give the exam soon. Good luck.