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IELTS preparation: Using your mobile to boost your band score

How many times do you check your mobile every day? North Americans check their social media accounts on average 17 times a day; young people in the UK spend more than 27 hours a week on their phones; in Malaysia and Qatar it’s 40 times a day! So do these devices, which we all have at our fingertips, offer opportunities to boost your IELTS band score? In this post we will look at three ways in which they do.

1. Start by practising for IELTS Reading (and Listening)

The official IELTS Guide for Teachers states that IELTS Academic Reading test passages ‘are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers and are on academic topics of general interest. All have been selected for a nonspecialist audience.’ This means that to do well in IELTS Reading, you need to familiarise yourself with this kind of text. You need to do some background reading.

Your smartphone gives you access to almost every major English language newspaper on earth, and most of them are free. Mobiles are good for reading because you carry them with you like a book. It’s easy to take them out in a cafe or on a park bench and to spend a spare ten or fifteen minutes reading an article. This way you are preparing for your Reading test without even realising it. Try The Guardian (UK), the New York Times (US) or The Age (Australia).

Incidentally, you can practise for IELTS Listening in the same way. I highly recommend BBC Radio 4. It’s almost all excellent — just choose a programme that interests you.

2. Move on to vocab work

The British Council’s IELTS Word Power app is specifically designed to help you build your vocabulary for the IELTS test. It is organised according to themes (Work and business, Mass media, Social issues, Science and technology, and so on), with target words and practice activities for each theme. While you are having lunch or waiting for a friend you can spend the time learning a few new words — words which might appear in the Reading or Listening tests, or come in handy for Speaking or Writing.

3. And get advice from IELTS experts

You are preparing for an important test. You may have read a few of these blog posts. Perhaps you’ve been working through an IELTS preparation book and it’s possible that you’ve also had advice from a teacher or from the IELTS website. It’s all a bit overwhelming, isn’t it? Clarity’s IELTS Tips app will drip feed advice to help you get the best possible band score. You will receive one tip a day for 30 days, in a form that is digestible and easy to remember. These tips come from British Council experts, experienced IELTS teachers and examiners from around the world. Like the Word Power app, the IELTS Tips app is free. Download it either from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

So next time you check your phone, remember that spending a few minutes away from Facebook could be all you need to nudge up your IELTS band score!

4 comments

    • Hi there. For reading, there are really no real ‘shortcuts’ — read widely and frequently, build your vocabulary, familiarise yourself with different expressions and build the right reading strategies for the right contexts. Good luck!

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