The problem You need to spend a lot of time preparing for IELTS on your own. But studies show that even when independent learners know which of their language skills are strong and which are weak, they still tend to spend more time on their strong areas. In a 2015 study at the University of Hong Kong, Professor David Gardner found that students ‘ultimately preferred to remain in their comfort zone.’
You perform well in class. You understand the IELTS question types. You’ve worked through the IELTS prep books. But studies show that this doesn’t mean you will do well in the IELTS test itself. Why is this? Dr Sian Beilock, a psychologist at the University of Chicago, studied why people perform badly in stressful situations such as exams. She found that exam stress takes up your working memory — the part of your mind you use to focus on the questions. As a result, you perform worse than you would in a less stressful environment, such as the classroom or at home.
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.
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.
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.