The International English Language Testing System, or IELTS™, is an international standardized test of English language proficiency. They test the ability of students in 4 sections Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Most students who have been educated in English for the entire degree should not have a problem getting a good score, however, some do find it difficult. Listed below are some things one may follow to enhance their performance in the test.
Before the IELTS Listening test:
Listen to radio programmes, news, and lectures; watch films and online videos in English.
Familiarize yourself with each listening test question type such multiple-choice, matching and labeling.
During the IELTS Listening test:
Listen to the audio instructions before each section carefully. These instructions are not printed in the test booklet.
Read the instructions in the test booklet carefully for the number of words you need to write on the answer sheet. If you write more words than required, you will lose marks.
Read the questions before listening. 30 to 60 seconds are given for reading the questions and instructions.
Underline the keywords in the question. However, listen to the synonyms and paraphrases too.
Visualize the situation and try to predict the answer.
Pay special attention to negatives (not, never, none, no one, barely, hardly, scarcely, etc.)
Check your answers during the 30-second pause time after each section.
During the 10-minute time, transfer the answers from the test booklet onto the answer sheet.
Make sure you have used the correct grammatical form and correct spelling of the word(s) in your answer.
Before the IELTS Reading test:
Read newspapers, magazines, journals, and books in English. While reading, underline or highlight less common words.
Practice guessing the meaning of an unknown word from the context.
Keep up with the news. The topics of the reading passages often deal with current affairs.
Be familiar with the question type.
Time management is key. You need to be able to read fast in order to be able to read all three passages and answer 40 questions in 60 minutes.
Skimming, scanning and intensive reading techniques should be adopted
During the IELTS Reading test:
Read the instructions carefully during the test as they may slightly differ from the practice ones.
Underline key information and/or make notes in the reading passages in the test booklet.
Divide your time wisely: if you spend more than a minute answering a question and still do not have an answer, leave it and proceed to the next question. If you have some time left after you answer the rest of the questions, you may return to the question.
Before the IELTS Writing test:
If you plan to take the IELTS Academic module, look for model graph/chart/diagram descriptions (model Writing Task 1 answers) online and analyze them in terms of organization of ideas and vocabulary.
Find model IELTS essays online and analyze them in terms of task response, essay structure, coherence, vocabulary, and sentence variety.
During the IELT Writing test:
Analyze each task carefully and underline the keywords.
Do not use the task words in your writing; use your own words and sentence structures.
Make sure you understand the ‘essay question’. Are you asked to give an opinion, to compare or contrast, to discuss causes and/or effects or to present solutions to problems?
Try to limit your essay to 350 words. Your priority should be quality, not quantity.
Keep track of time. Leave about 3 minutes for revising Writing Task 1 and at least 5 minutes for revising your essay.
Before the IELTS Speaking test:
Practice speaking as much as possible.
Read books, watch movies and TV, listen to the radio, preferably in English. While reading, watching or listening, think why you like or dislike it.
During the IELTS Speaking test:
Keep calm. If you are relaxed, you will be able to give better performance.
Say as much as you can when speaking; give extended responses.
Don’t think about grammar or vocabulary. Concentrate on answering the questions to the best of your ability.
Correct yourself if you make a mistake.
Ask the examiner to clarify or repeat the question if there is anything you do not understand.
Pay attention to your body language; do not overuse gestures.
Keep to the topic.
As the exam is a formal situation, use neutral or semi-formal language.
Make sure you have transferred all answers onto the answer sheet. Do not leave empty spaces even if you don’t know the answer; make your best guess. Preparation for IELTS is similar to any other exam and needs practice.