Tips to succeed in ielts exam
. whats in the IELTS exam and how it works. A lot of people dont really find out much about the exam and its content so they dont know what to expect.
. Practise as much as possible. Work on your global level of English; read lots of academic and general texts, read English newspapers and magazines; watch films so that you improve your listening.
. Concentrate on time management. Make yourself a revision timetable as this can help to keep things in perspective. Over time you can see real progress and concentrate on the areas that are problematic.
. Dont let insecurity hinder all your hard work. Show the examiner what you know, dont be afraid to try. If you make a mistake, carry on. Find a study buddy and practise together. You dont even have to be in the same room, you can use skype, instant messaging or Google Hangout.
Boost your vocabulary
. Vocabulary lists are one way of learning mind maps, word association, picture matching, synonyms and antonyms, and placing words in context will all aid vocabulary memorisation. For example, if you are learning about food, think about where you buy it, store it, cook it. Then visualise yourself buying food or ordering a meal at a restaurant and use the new words in sentences. You can even do some role play with your study buddy, where, for instance, you are the waiter and your buddy is the customer. Other good study techniques include carrying a vocabulary notebook that can go everywhere with you, use post-its and your phone to store words lists.
. Read through the questions to predict what the topic will be about. It will be easier, if you have an idea of what you are going to hear. Use the time allowed for reading the questions to identify the signposts to the answers.
. Read the questions first. Identify the key words and then scan-read the text for the answers.
. Write clearly, making sure you include paragraphs and use a varied vocabulary. Most of all, answer the essay questions and stick to the topic. Check the word count when you are done.
. Try to give full answers. Give your opinion and then add reasons and examples to support it. If you dont understand a question or a word, tell the examiner and ask for clarification.
Last wise words
. watch the clock on the big day and dont leave any gaps. Guess the answer if you dont know it.
Improve your English
. It takes time to learn a language and one of the very best ways to learn is to take an English language course. The feedback you receive from your teacher will help you improve the specific skills involved in speaking, listening, reading and writing English.
Use your English every day. Read, speak, listen and write in English as often as you can as this is a proven way to improve your English and therefore your IELTS score.
Practise sample questions
. Practise the test using these free IELTS test sample questions.Use the Official IELTS Practice Materials two books available which you can purchase online or from your local test centre.There is a wide range of IELTS materials available you can purchase from a variety of publishers.
Try to feel relaxed on the day before you test
. On the day before your test, take the time to refresh your memory of the test rules, test format and location so that you feel as relaxed as possible.Read the Information for candidates booklet again this contains essential information to help you do your best. Make sure you know the test rules read the Notice to Candidates.Get plenty of rest the night before your test.Plan your journey ensure you are familiar with the location of the test venue and know how you are going to get there so that you arrive on time.
Read Academic Texts
. Read in your free time! The IELTS texts are general academic texts. This means they are taken from sources such as textbooks and specialist magazines and journals. If you are not familiar with reading these kinds of texts in English it is essential that you start reading them in your free time so that you are used to the types of language and structure used when you meet them in the exam. Three typical sources for IELTS texts are in order of difficulty easiest first the National Geographic, the New Scientist and the Economist. You can get these magazines in most newsagents.
. Focus on the text first, the questions second! A good understanding of the text helps you answer the questions more efficiently and effectively.
. IELTS exam writers select a range of specific types of texts. Learning to recognise the type of text you are reading can help you predict its structure and therefore understand it more quickly. There are four types of IELTS texts a analytic texts, which discuss the reasons why something happened or make recommendations or explain a concept b descriptive texts, which describe a situation, explain how something is done or categorise something c discursive texts, in which different opinions are expressed about an issue and d narrative texts, which explain a chronological sequence of events.
. Develop your ability to skim. Skimming is reading quickly by skipping over unimportant words like prepositions and ignoring difficult words that you dont need to understand. Do this to get a general idea about a text or a paragraph or to intensively search for the answer to a question.
. Learn to scan. Scanning is what you do when you look for a price in an advertising text or a name in a telephone book. When you scan you do not actually need to read the text but move your eyes quickly over it. You can scan from left to right or right to left, from top to bottom or bottom to top. Do this to find the location of answers in the texts looking out for easy to spot words like numbers, dates and words beginning with capital letters such as place names.
. Learn to recognise paragraph structure. This often involves spotting the relationship between the main ideas and supporting ideas in a paragraph. Paragraphs are most frequently descending, i.e. they begin with the main idea somewhere near the start and develop from there, although some, frequently the first and last paragraphs of a text, are ascending the main idea is located towards the end. This can be particularly helpful when matching headings to paragraphs.
. Get an overview of a text before dealing with the questions. Do this by reading the title and subtitle as well as focusing on the beginnings and ends but not JUST the first and last sentences of paragraphs. This helps you process the information in a text and thereby answer the questions more quickly.
. Learn to spot parallel phrases. These are different ways of expressing the same thing, such as, I like to ski and skiing is enjoyable. Many questions, e.g. YES NO NOT GIVEN questions and gap fills, test your ability to match up a similar phrase in the task with its equivalent in the text.
. Dont panic when you encounter an unknown or difficult word. IELTS texts are packed with highly specialised vocabulary. Skip over difficult words which are not essential for your understanding of the text. For words you do need to understand, practise trying to guess their meaning using the overall context of the text and sentence as well as the form of the word e.g. is it a noun or verb.
Manage Your Time
. Time manage in the exam. Most IELTS candidates run out of time in the third reading section. Each text should take you roughly 20 minutes the examiners will tell you after 20 minutes have passed. Never spend too long on a single question guess the answer or leave it to return to later. Also if you feel you are running out of time, tackle questions like gap-fills before doing easy to guess tasks like YES NO NOT GIVEN questions. Dont forget you also have to have all your answers on your mark sheet by the end of the test. A good tip is to write them on the mark sheet in pencil as you go, correcting where necessary at the end.
Timing And Scoring
. Its an excellent idea to memorize the timing of the speaking part of the exam, as well as how it is scored. There are three parts to the speaking section.
Fluency Over Vocabulary
. While fluency and vocabulary technically carry the same weight in grading, its better to be fluent and fluid than to spend several seconds thinking of the best word. Your overall impression will be much stronger if you speak fluidly and only hunt around for a great word once or twice. Chances are that if you keep talking, your next chance to speak will yield a strong vocabulary word.
. You know the way beginners talk when learning a new language a slow, flat monotone. Nothing is less impressive and more yawn inspiring. Even if you speak perfectly, a bland tone can make you sound less fluent than you really are. Adding some range to your tones will make you sound more fluent, interesting and accomplished.
How To Buy Yourself Time
. It would be rare for someone to go through an exam and understand everything. Even if you do understand everything, you may need some extra time to formulate your responses. In part 2, this is not applicable because you have time to take notes and, since youre required to talk without pause, you will have no excuses to buy yourself more time.
How Much To Speak
. There are two basic, unspoken rules when it comes to how much you should speak during the speaking section. The first is to speak as much as possible; the more and the greater variety of language you use, the better. You dont want to talk incessantly and repeat yourself just for the sake of talking, but you should try to speak as much as possible within reason. As long as the conversation is lively and interesting, you cant talk too much.
Throw Away Your Prepared Answers
. If youve gone through the trouble of preparing answers to different questions, throw them away. Part of speaking fluently is speaking spontaneously, and the examiner will immediately know if youre regurgitating responses. This will drastically hinder your score as the examiner cannot count these as answers because they are nothing more than memorization. The key is to be relaxed, have fun using English and respond directly to the questions asked. Plus, theres nothing worse than trying to make a prepared answer fit a question that is just slightly different.
You Make A Mistake
. It happens to the best mistakes. Even when youre speaking your native tongue sometimes the wrong words come out. You might be talking too quickly or just accidentally say the wrong word. If you are able to quickly and fluently correct yourself, go for it. This will show the examiner than you are conscious and in control and, of course, that you know the correct answer.
. Like I said in my introduction to this post, you cant go back and revise your spoken responses. This is particularly relevant to vocabulary, as many students just write down easy words in the IELTS writing section and then change them once theyve finished writing the essay if you need help with the writing section, too, check out this IELTS Writing course on how to score a Band 7 or higher. But in speaking you should have a few really strong vocabulary words at your disposal.
Match The Grammar In The Question
. This is a simple trick that can help you stay on track during your response. Pay attention to the grammar the examiner uses when he or she asks you a question. This is particularly true of verb tenses. To re-use one of our questions from above, the examiner might ask, What was your favorite part of growing up in Paris? This is in the past tense was, so you would not answer, My favorite part is Matching the grammar will help you avoid simple mistakes and you can quickly learn the basics with this introduction to English grammar course or if you think youve got what it takes, this course for advanced English grammar.
. Make a good first impression by showing up presentable. It is basically an interview, so act, dress and prepare accordingly. Make sure youve showered, brushed your teeth breath mint and dressed appropriately. You should also sit up straight but not uncomfortably straight, make eye contact with the examiner, engage causally but energetically in conversation and speak at a natural pace. While this alone wont give you a high grade, its infinitely better than breathing foul air into your examiners face. A strong first impression will go a long way and this five-star course can help you make a powerful, professional first impression that lasts.
Think about time management
. You only get 60 minutes to answer 40 questions. It is essential to manage your time efficiently so you do not end up leaving out some of the questions. A single extra correct answer can potentially help you get the desired result.The clock can be managed in two ways. One is to practice lots in advance. Set a clock in front of you when you are solving sample papers. The second is to live in the present moment on the test day. Again, be clever about how you approach it. If for some reason you are unable to find the answer to a question, dont waste time. Move on to the next question immediately.
Alis methodology is quite effective here If you have answered questions one and three but cant find the answer for question two, know that you have already narrowed down the text. You dont have to read the entire text again to find that answer. You know it is somewhere between those two answers.
Practice makes perfect
. Practice is the key to your success. In the days leading up to your IELTS test, try to read as much as you can. Your favorite magazine could be a good start. While reading, try to identify the main points of the text and attempt to summarize it in your mind. The more you practice the efficient you get. Ali told me I finished 13 minutes before the time ended and still got a score of 9 bands. The point of telling this is that you have plenty of time, contrary to what many believe. Also, you just need to concentrate on practicing.
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