The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a standardized test that is used by many universities worldwide to test the English language skills of international students. It is also a requirement for several jobs in many different countries.
The IELTS test format and rules are relatively different from regular school exams so we’ve prepared some IELTS exam tips and advice to help you get prepared for the test and get your desired score.
To score a high grade on the test, you need to know the most effective study strategies to help you score a high mark. In this article, we will provide you with 15 tips to help you score an A+ on your IELTS test.
Before test day – Tips on how to prepare for the IELTS test
1. Identify your strengths and weaknesses
Work on your weaknesses to make sure it does not negatively affect your total score. For example, if you’re a slower at reading in English, focus on the reading test more than writing, listening and speaking tests.
2. Have a study plan
Make a plan before you start studying for IELTS test and have a tailored study plan based on your areas of strengths and weaknesses.
3. Study the material
Attend an IELTS preparation course, if possible. The preparation courses provide you with the IELTS material, as well as the tips and tricks that you need to know. If you don’t have access to IELTS preparation courses, you can hire a qualified private teacher instead. An English teacher will also help you make a study plan.
4.Practice until you feel confident
Practice boosts your self-confidence. For the speaking test, find a friend to practice speaking English with. While reading English magazines, practice skimming the texts for the reading test. Watch movies in the English language every night and surround yourself with English language news and songs to improve your listening skills.
5. Practice under time pressure
Test yourself in a 2 hours and 45 minutes time-frame just like on exam day. This will help you get to know what it feels like to take the reading, writing and listening tests consecutively. The more you practice under time pressure, the better you can manage your time.
6. Check out the official IELTS website
The official IELTS website is the best source of information for IELTS candidates. You can read about the rules and regulations of the test, the test format, and find useful IELTS exam tips and materials such as books, tests and videos on the website.
7. Check the location of the exam
In order to be on time on exam day, make sure that you know exactly where the IELTS test center is and find out how to access the location.
IELTS test day – some helpful IELTS tips
1. Get a good night’s sleep
Make sure that you get enough rest the night before the IELTS test. Tiredness will directly affect your ability to concentrate.
2. Eat breakfast
Eat a good meal before the exam. Your brain definitely functions better when you’re not hungry.
3. Wear comfortable clothes
Wear appropriate clothing that won’t distract you from concentrating on the exam. Don’t wear clothes that are too tight, and consider the fact that the exam room might be cold or warm so dress in layers.
4. Take a soda to the exam hall
You are allowed to take a transparent bottle of water, pencil, eraser and passport to the exam hall. But instead of water, you can also take a bottle of soda to keep your awareness and blood sugar high as it contains both caffeine and sugar.
5. Pay attention to spelling & punctuation
Spelling and punctuation are very important throughout the entire IELTS test and you’ll lose points if your answers are spelled incorrectly or you use punctuation incorrectly.
6. Pay attention to the word limits
Keep in mind that you will lose marks if you exceed the word limits. So pay attention to where the answers should be “not more than three words”, as well as the writing tasks, which should be 250 and 150 words.
Tips for the IELTS writing test
- Don’t use spoken English in your writing.
- Write Task 2 first, as it contributes more to your total score.
- Make sure your handwriting is legible, tidy, and neat.
Tips for the IELTS speaking test
- Listen to the questions carefully before you answer.
- Don’t answer the question if you’re unsure about what to answer. You can ask the examiner to repeat or clarify the question for you.
- Be confident and relaxed, and do your best.
Tips for the IELTS reading test:
- Don’t spend too much time on the questions you can’t find an answer for. Move to the next question and get back to that question if you have any time left at the end.
- Read all the questions and underline the keywords before reading each text.
Tips for the IELTS listening test:
- Skim the questions before listening to the recordings.
- Make sure that you can write the dates in the correct format.
- If you have any problem hearing the recordings, raise your hand and ask for help.
- Practice on both British and American pronunciations, as some numbers and words are pronounced differently.
How to stay motivated for IELTS Test
Let’s face it, IELTS is hard. For some students, it is not a journey that takes weeks, but months or even years. So, it is normal to feel sometimes that you want to quit, or at least return to a life that doesn’t involve spending all your free time studying.
But, like anything hard in life, it’s in these dark moments that you need to dig deep and find some extra motivation. Yes, IELTS is hard, but you are strong and determined and can get this job done! So, here are 5 tips to help you stay motivated for IELTS Test!
1. Look how far you’ve come!
Think about all of the things you’ve learned since you started studying for IELTS. I am sure that if you think about it, you could list LOTS of new skills that you have learned. Yes, there are still more grammar structures to study and new lists of vocabulary to memorize, but you have already come a long way. You should celebrate your achievements so far!
2. Stop focusing on your score and focus on the steps that will take you there
Thinking about the final score you need can make you feel tired, especially if it is 8777 and you are currently at 6666. The key to overcoming this is to focus on the small steps you are making today that will eventually take you to that goal.
That means you have to commit to doing something every day. You aren’t going to jump a band score overnight, but if you do a little bit today and then a bit more tomorrow, you will get there soon.
3. Reward Yourself!
What’s the best way to make sure you will do something every day? Rewarding yourself!!!! Nothing motivates me more than a potential reward! So, set yourself a goal for today – maybe it can be learning some new vocabulary, or practicing your subject/verb agreement, or writing an essay, (or all three) – and then decide how you will treat yourself if you hit that goal.
It doesn’t have to be anything big – maybe you could watch a film, or spend some time with your family, or have a nice big slice of cake – but it must be something that you would like to do. Then, when you are feeling tired, focus on the goal for motivation.
4. Focus on the Future
Why are you studying IELTS? Is it so you can go and study abroad? Are you hoping to migrate? Do you want to register in the UK as a doctor? Whatever your goal, I’m pretty sure you aren’t taking IELTS for fun!
So, when you are feeling tired or down, close your eyes and actually imagine what your future life will look like once IELTS is behind you. Where will you be living? What will your day to day life be like? How happy are you going to be once that new life starts? Let the answers to those questions be what motivates you
5. Take some time off!
However, if you try all of these mind techniques and still feel tired, it’s time to take a break. When you are completely exhausted, any learning you do will be a waste of time as your brain won’t be able to process the new information properly. The human body is not designed to cope with high levels of stress over long periods of time.
We hope you enjoyed our post on how to achieve a perfect score on your IELTS test. We know that the test can sometimes be a bit daunting for international students, but we are here to help you feel more confident in your ability to achieve a great score.
Use these tips in combination with the tips from our other blog post and you’ll be scoring an A+ in no time! Keep these things in mind as you are preparing for your test, so you can be a success! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Thank you for reading, we would love to hear from you!