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IELTS Reading: What to do when retaking the test

IELTS Reading: What to do when retaking the test


Many candidates say that they find it very difficult to retake the IELTS test: they feel they have already done what they were supposed to do and they cannot figure out what went wrong in their last test. For candidates who take IELTS for immigration or college application, re-sitting the test can be a stressful experience — but still, there are many things you can do to achieve the best possible band score.

Mental Preparation

Stress can be your worst enemy in exams if you do not know how to handle it — uncontrolled stress will eventually turn into fear and stop your brain from thinking critically in the test. Stress, however, can be turned positive, keep you on your toes, sharpen your senses and help you stay focused.

When you are actually in the test, instead of thinking about the consequences of failing to achieve your desired band score, try to pay attention to your time management and think about the strategies that you have prepared for the test. Making your stress work in your favour is actually quite similar to how race car drivers push their limit: you cannot slow down, and you cannot let your fear interfere with precision.

Give it time

If possible, it is always better give it at least six months before you re-take your IELTS test, especially when your actual band score is significantly lower than your expectation. The proficiency of a language is not something that you can vastly improve in a short period of time. More often than not, many candidates are well prepared in terms of exam strategies, but they overlook the importance of good grammar and vocabulary. If you are looking to brush up your grammar and vocabulary, consider adding Tense Buster into your Road to IELTS subscription.  

Make the most of your last test

We have said this many times, but do allow me to remind you again: the experience of taking an IELTS test already gives you a very big advantage. You are now familiar with the test formats, the question-types and which part of the test you should focus on improving. Think about the 3 sections in the Reading test — did you have enough time to complete all 3 comfortably? Was there a topic (e.g. science, history, etc.) that was significantly harder than the rest? Think these over, and you should have a clearer idea of what and how to prepare for your next IELTS test. Good luck!


  1. aditi says:

    Amazing content and very useful tips. I have been following your blog and every time you post there is something new and useful. Hope you continue with such a great work.

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