IELTS is a challenging test. You can reduce the stress by making sure that you understand all the rules and have all the practicalities under control for the test day. Here are four key points, and some do’s and don’ts.
The easiest way to fail to get the band score you need is to go into the test without fully understanding what is required of you.
In IELTS Reading, your biggest enemy is the clock. You have three passages to read in an hour, so you are going to be in a hurry — and when you rush, it’s easy to make mistakes. So it’s important to do some of the hard work before you even arrive at the exam hall. Try to spend 15 minutes, right now, reading and digesting three important facts about multiple choice questions in the Reading test.
At the beginning of the Listening test you are given 30 seconds to look at the question paper. This enables you to use the words on the paper to predict the words that you will hear in the recording. But that would be too easy! It’s much more likely that you will not hear these words; you will hear different words that mean the same thing. These are called synonyms.
A very important part of the fluency and coherence assessed in the IELTS speaking test are words and phrases called discourse markers. The term may sound complicated but the idea is simple: discourse markers are words and phrases we use to move through conversations, going from one idea to the next, to introduce new topics or return to old ones.
There is clear evidence that learning the various task types in IELTS is the quickest and most effective way of improving your band score. We recently conducted research on over 100,000 British Council candidates using Road to IELTS (our official IELTS preparation product) to do just this. We found that after using the program for just six hours, candidates’ scores in the Reading module activities improved by, on average, 64%.
Clearly, in six hours there can be no significant change in their level of English; their improvement came from learning how to answer the questions. This can be achieved in a relatively short period of time.
“In Academic Writing Task 1, it is very important to start by providing an overview of the data. If you don’t do this, you will lose points.” — Simon Cockell, Sultan Qaboos University, Oman
In this post we will look at what this means, and how you can use your data overview to get your IELTS Writing test off to a flying start.
You may have read one of our posts about nine commonly asked questions for the Listening module. In this post, I am going to discuss some common questions candidates have asked us about the Reading module.
The IELTS Listening test sets out to show which candidates can listen effectively, and which can’t. One of the ways of doing this is to set traps — and see whether you fall into them. You need to know about these traps and how to avoid them. In this post we will look at one of the most common traps: the distractor.
‘I have no experience of the subject, so how can I respond?’
I often get this question from candidates. They worry they do not have knowledge of some of the topics that examiners might ask them about, for example a favourite building, an eye-catching advertisement or a memorable trip. Maybe you feel the same way?