Last Updated on February 8, 2019
There is no hard and fast rule of scoring big in the IELTS exam. However, there are a few things-to-do that always help. Some are detailed below.
Tips and Tricks for IELTS Test Taking Students
- There is no short cut. The key to master English is practice and not just through preparatory books. These books do not give the expertise needed to cope with sudden circumstances such as an unexpectedly difficult question in the exam. However, preparatory books are helpful in enabling us to understand the test format and do a few practice tests. I find Barron’s IELTS a quite nice book.
- Read Dawn newspaper online to improve your idea of sentence formation. Try to read English literature i.e. Dickens, Austen, the Bronte sisters, Agatha Christie and so on, rather than the crap that’s published nowadays. Reading good English books is a sure way to improve your English in every way – works all the time.
- Be confident. This is the thing that makes you tick in the Speaking section. Be relaxed and easy and talk as if you are conversing to a friend. The topic may be unexpected but we can all talk on unexpected topics in Urdu. Just try to do that in English. Even if the initial sentences are broken, you will improve as you let yourself go with the flow.
- The writing section is the hardest. Contrary to common belief, I think Task 1 i.e. analysis of charts/graphs is more difficult because there is usually no flow in writing and many times our analysis can be wrong.
- Try to write an introductory para summarizing the graph, then write one para for significant trends and write another para to talk about specific trends.
- A conclusion is not necessary but a line would do.
- Task 2 judges your capability to think, market your ideas and put them into words. Make a short outline on a rough page i.e. whether you agree/disagree with a given statement or what’s your opinion, then sketch why you think this way. Two, three short sentences will do as an outline.
- When you start writing, choose a nice way to begin the first para and summarize the given statement. Then say what’s your take on it. Detail your reasons in the following para 2 and 3, preferably with examples from your own experience or society. You can also choose to agree with many parts of the statement and disagree with some. Write about your disagreement, if any, in para 4. Conclude similarly by summarizing.
- Always indent at the start of the paragraphs and precede “and”/or with a comma while connecting two parts of the sentence. 6. Improve your handwriting and try to think before writing. Too much cutting does not look nice and stops the flow of writing
- The flow of writing is crucial – Ideas must seem to flow from each other. Do not fly from one topic to the other.
- Time management is very important in Listening, Reading and Writing. Try not to run out of time.
- Concentrate very hard. It is easy to lose concentration in the Listening section and then one is lost. Focus hard on what you are listening.
- You can check more than one answer on your listening question paper if you are confused. Decide later which is better suited when transferring answers to answer sheet.
- Practice hard on Australian, New Zealand and American accents as these are hard to understand compared to the British accent. The exam uses a lot of these accents nowadays.
- While reading, first look at the questions and then start reading the paragraphs. Look for the words in the questions in the passage – the answer will be nearby.
- Only skim the passages and read fully only when you have enough time.
- The hardest questions are True, False and Not given – Pay special attention here. Do not assume the answers- see only what’s written in the text.
- The text in reading and the listening audio makes use of synonyms. Try learning different words.
- Try not to repeat your vocabulary in speaking and writing sections. Also, change your sentence structure frequently and use link words, such as, although, because, nevertheless, though, while, whereas…etc
- Do NOT try to improve your English by watching Hollywood movies. They will destroy your English. If you want to really improve your English, watch BBC period dramas. They are easily available on YouTube, vimeo, etc…They may not be to your liking but they are the best way to learn about English culture, language and way of life.
- Practice writing. Write a blog or a daily diary, on a notebook or on the computer.
- Build your stamina – you should be able to give different sort of exams in a row and switch between sections.
- Copy your answers carefully. Answer only what is asked for, i.e two words, one word only or a letter.
- Don’t worry about accents in Speaking. Speak as it comes naturally to you and concentrates on what’s being asked, not on how you sound. In the end, it all comes down to how wide your ability to understand, speak and write English is. This does not come from preparatory materials only. Try to read literature, novels, encyclopedia; watch documentaries and BBC; read research articles on net and in newspapers and speak to yourself frequently about different topics. This comes gradually and improvement is assured. Academies and books don’t teach things that come from practice.