“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.
Are you having an IELTS test soon and looking for some quick tips and insights? Read on for six handy tips that I have come up with through the years as an IELTS trainer.
Most people find the Listening test more stressful than the Reading test. That’s because when you are reading, you have the texts in front of you and you can refer to them more than once. When you are listening, if you miss an answer, it’s gone — and because you only hear the recording once, you can never get it back. So you need to work out some strategies in advance.
The IELTS Speaking test is the shortest test in all four modules: it lasts between 11-14 minutes. You might be forgiven, however, if you think of these 14 minutes as the longest in your lifetime, as they determine your future. Nervousness and lack of preparation are your biggest enemies, so what are you going to do about them? Here are my suggestions:
To my surprise, we have actually got quite a bit of really interesting feedback and questions from my last post about my experience of taking the IELTS test, so thanks for that! This time, I want to talk about how we can get into our best possible form on the test day.
First, try to answer these questions:
- What is the minimum number of words you need to write for Writing Task 1?
- What are the five points the examiner is looking for in IELTS Writing?
- How should you divide your time between Task 1 and Task 2?
If you can’t answer these three questions confidently, you are not ready to take IELTS. 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.
‘I don’t understand how some candidates could complete the paper within just one hour — there is just so much to read!’ We often hear candidates complaining about the lack of time in the Reading test: the articles are long and difficult, and it seems impossible to complete all the questions in an hour. In this blog post, we will look at a smart way to manage your time in the Reading test.
IELTS is an international test, so you might hear a range of different accents, including Australian, British, New Zealand and North American. Remember that you only hear the audio once in the Listening test so you need to be absolutely confident that you can pick out every detail first time. An unfamiliar accent can get in the way of that. While there will not be any extreme accents, you should at least be familiar with a range of ‘standard’ accents.
You might be surprised to hear that grammar is one of the four criteria used to assess your IELTS Speaking test performance and that it carries 25% of the points.
Many test-takers assume grammar in speaking is only about accuracy and not making any mistakes. This is only half the story. Making errors is natural, and IELTS understands this: even IELTS Speaking Band 7 expects that ‘some grammatical mistakes persist’.
To avoid mistakes, it helps to think about the tenses you use, and ensure these tenses relate to the questions being asked. So, if the question asked is What did you do at work today?, a key word here is did, which is in the past tense. So your answer should be in the past tense too, e.g. I wrote a report.
However, grammar is also about showing a range of grammatical structures. This means going beyond simple sentences (e.g. only using the simple present), and using a variety of tenses and grammatical features.
How can you demonstrate a wider range of grammar in your speaking? Read more
Can’t find a good place to study for IELTS? Struggling to fit IELTS prep into your schedule? Dr Ammar Hadi Kadhim, a neurosurgeon living in Iraq, offers a solution. He achieved the band score he needed with just one month’s practice using Road to IELTS. Here’s his story…