If one wants to work or study abroad, International English Language Testing System or IELTS is one of the prerequisites that need to be fulfilled. This test is the measure of your proficiency and understanding of the English language. IELTS exam comprises four sections- reading, listening, speaking and writing. The candidates need to clear all the sections.
Here are some of the best IELTS exam preparation tips to improve your score in specific modules:
A writing module consists of 2 tasks, a report or letter of 150 words and an essay of 250 words. If you want to score high in this section, make sure that you draft accurate sentences. The grammar should be perfect too. It is true that simple sentences reduce the risk of grammatical errors considerably; however, examiners might not be expecting something very basic from you. Using a variety of sentence patterns is likely to help you score big.
Different techniques can be used to combine two simple sentences. For instance, you can use relative pronouns “who” or “which” to combine simple sentences. Similarly, participles and infinitives can be used to combine sentences. The duration allotted for the writing test is one hour. Students are advised to finish the first task in 20 minutes and devote the rest of time on the essay part as it carries more points.
Refrain from using informal language
The essay should be divided into paragraphs. One paragraph should discuss or present one idea at a time to avoid contradiction. Keep a few minutes in the hand to edit or proofread your letter and essay. Pay attention to the word combination, preposition and subject-verb agreement.
Do not spend much time on one question. If you do not understand a question, skip it to come back to it later. Always start with the easy question. Since there is no negative marking for incorrect answers, try to attempt all questions.
Good scanning skills come handy in this module. If you know how to skim through a page or the entire passage, you can attempt the answers even without reading it completely.
Do not fret over unfamiliar words. You should be able to understand the gist of the entire passage. It is not necessary to understand each and every word of the passage given to you. Be very careful with grammar and spelling while answering the questions.
Listening module covers four sections – a monologue such as telephone message, conversation between two people, a group discussion, a lecture monologue or talk. This module aims at evaluating your grammatical knowledge and lexical foundation. To clear this module, the candidates need to have excellent paraphrasing skills.
Before the start of this section, you will get time to read through the questions. Read the questions carefully, as this reading will determine your performance in the next section. While hearing the conversation, write down the appropriate answers on the listening booklet itself, next to the question. Students are given 10 minutes at the end of the listening test to transfer their answers from the listening booklet.
To understand the way language is spoken, test pattern and the difficulty level of the conversation, it is recommended that you take few listening practice tests before giving the actual exam.
Here is how to score high in the speaking module:
1. Listen to every bit of the question very carefully
2. Avoid long pauses and keep talking.
Few other general tips to score well in the exam
Understand the format:
The foremost thing students can do is to understand the test format. Read the information in the booklet and familiarize yourself with the format. Note the number of questions that need to be answered in a particular section and the duration allotted for each section. Also try to figure out how examiners judge the appropriateness of your answer.
Practice Sample Tests:
Practicing sample test papers can help you to evaluate your preparation and build up your speed. By taking these sample practice tests, you can gain confidence and know the areas where improvement is needed.
Try to communicate in English every day
Talk in English with your family and friends. Read English literature, magazines and newspapers. Make it a point to watch English movies and sitcoms. If you are finding it difficult to understand the language due to the way natives speak, take the help of subtitles. Reading subtitles can improve your language to a significant extent.
It is to be noted that language exams are a lot different from any other exam. Exams like IELTS need special practice and focus. It is not like preparing for a science or history exam as you cannot cram your way through it. You need to practice a lot to become well-versed in the language.
Margaret Jones is a business woman and a freelance writer who works in Bangkok and writes articles for websites and language schools, like Language Express.