IELTS strategies to success – Exam tips

by UNITED COLLEGE LONDON – School of English.

There is no substitute for hard work and lots of study as far as the IELTS Test is concerned, so don’t think there are any shortcuts because simply there aren’t!

1- Our first IELTS advice is to read as much as possible. By this we don’t usually mean do endless IELTS practice tests, we mean do as much general reading as possible. Newspapers and magazines are a great resource in reading short articles on topics that are common in IELTS or even on topics that you find interesting. This is a very simple and effective idea because what candidates really need is confidence. If you will practice by reading original English texts then you will start feeling more and more confident and essentially you will not believe that reading is just too hard.

2- Our second but equally valuable advice is something that most students simply ignore as less important. Time management. You will need a well defined strategy on how to manage your time in the exam to make sure that you finish on time. This is because of the fact that the texts are so long and it will impossible without time management to finish on time. You will need to do a bit of an experiment here and find out for yourself which is the best style according to your needs. How long will you spend on each text? Do you leave time at the end to go back at look at unanswered questions? How long will you spend on each question? Try different approaches and just see what works best for you.

3- Take time and learn the exam. There are many different types of questions and you need to familiarise yourself with each type of questions. For more practical advice please check United College London’s articles: “Top 10 IELTS Speaking Test Tips” and “Top 20 IELTS Listening Test Tips”

4- Train yourself, don’t test yourself. Usually candidates are trying very hard to succeed on their IELTS exam and this leads them to a very common mistake. They are practicing exam questions too much. You have to learn the time management and you obviously need to learn the question types but this does not mean that you need to practice reading in exam conditions. As we advised above try to read something new every day. The more you read the easier it will be. Study the sentence structure and punctuation of what you read, but most of all, try to grasp the ideas in what you read.

5- Our fifth and last advice is fill out the answer sheet every time correctly. We know this sounds too simple to do but if we will stick on the numbers we will realise a far bitter truth that the one we were expecting as 23% of all candidates are filling out their answers wrongly on the answer sheet losing more points on this way. So, practice filling out the answer sheet before you get to the exam. Too many avoidable mistakes are made this way.

Paul Warren M.A.

Senior tutor


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