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IELTS exam opens doors to thousands of universities around the world. Although you cannot technically fail at your IELTS exam you still need to get a certain score (or band, as they call it) to be admitted into university (the higher the score of the better your chances of getting in).
In this article, we have compiled some of the top tips you need to follow to ace your IELTS exam.
Identify your weaknesses.
- 1 Identify your weaknesses.
- 2 Familiarize rise yourself with all the possible question types.
- 3 Practice speaking and writing on a daily basis.
- 4 Read articles from different sources.
- 5 Record your speech and judge it based on the four criteria.
- 6 The importance of understanding different accents.
- 7 Vocabulary.
IELTS exam consists of four parts (listening, reading, writing, and speaking) and you cannot be equally good at all of them. You might have excellent reading and listening skills, but perhaps you have never practiced speaking or writing in English. You need to identify what your weaknesses are and devote more time to working on them. Since it can be hard to objectively judge your own performance it is highly recommended to hire a professional IELTS tutor (at least during the initial stage) and take into consideration their honest feedback.
Familiarize rise yourself with all the possible question types.
The next step is to familiarize yourself with various types of questions that might crop up at your exam. For example, in reading sections you might encounter multiple-choice questions, open-ended questions; in the listening section you may have to label diagrams or maps; in writing, you will have to work with bar charts, pie charts, diagrams, line graphs, or a combination of two of these. And last but not least in task two of writing (essay) you might be asked a direct question, to identify the problem and find the solution, to view the problem from other people’s point of view, etc.
Each of these question types needs to be answered in a specific way, you need to use appropriate vocabulary and grammar so even if you think you know English very well you still have to work on your writing style.
Practice speaking and writing on a daily basis.
Speaking and writing are usually the sections students struggle with the most because they have the least amount of practice in them.
Once you have established how each of the writing tasks needs to be completed you need to practice daily. There are hundreds of model answers you can dig up online; so initially, if you are unsure about your writing ability, you can keep re-writing those model answers until you gain confidence to write something original.
As for practicing speaking, the best way to go about it is to hire a qualified IELTS tutor; however, if you can’t afford it you can still practice by joining various Facebook groups and chatting with other students who have the same goal (but to do keep in mind that those students will not be able to provide you with accurate feedback).
Read articles from different sources.
The IELTS reading test might contain a text about any topic imaginable. You might need to read about the historic event, scientific research, a geographical phenomenon, etc. the possibilities are endless. So you need to be ready for any possible scenario and familiarize yourself with the vocabulary associated with various topics and different types of writing styles. For this reason, it is highly recommended to read as much as possible from as many different sources as you can. In this case, the internet is very useful since it provides access to millions of different types of articles free of charge.
Record your speech and judge it based on the four criteria.
Almost every student has a smartphone nowadays and all smartphones are equipped with a voice recorder application. So to gain a fuller understanding of how you sound when speaking in English record your answers on your phone and listen to them.
Your speaking ability is judged by four criteria (fluency, lexical resource, grammar range and accuracy, and pronunciation). Make sure that each of your answers satisfies all of the aforementioned criteria; if you are unsure about where you are making the mistakes you can hire a professional tutor who will be able to tell you exactly what you need to work on.
The importance of understanding different accents.
Although the majority of your listening exercises will be read out by a person who speaks standard British English there are still some tasks in which you can encounter different accents. English is spoken as a native language by hundreds of millions of people around the world and it can vary greatly depending on the speaker. So when you are preparing for your listening test listen as much as you can to speakers from Australia, Scotland, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, and so on. Even if you are absolutely confident in your listening ability a slight variation in the sound can confuse you and cause you to lose a point.
And finally, you don’t need me to tell you about the importance of vocabulary in the IELTS exam. All writing and speaking tasks require you to know specific vocabulary which is appropriate for the topic at hand. For instance, if you are trying to describe a line graph you need to know verbs and adverbs such as: hit a peak, increase gradually, plummet, reach a low, and much more. Maps and diagrams have their own list of specific vocabulary you need to memorize as do bar charts, pie charts, and essays.
And during the speaking task, you need to demonstrate your vocabulary range by using various descriptive adjectives, adverbs, etc.
So once you have written your task or recorded your speech onto a smartphone go over it in detail and highlight the simple words which can be replaced with more difficult alternatives (for example instead of good you can write excellent or remarkable, you can substitute the word bad with atrocious or reprehensible; depending on which one is appropriate for the context).
In the end, if you work hard and follow the tips given above you will greatly increase your chances of passing your IELTS exams successfully and getting the band score you want. Alternatively, you can get a good IELTS tutor from a private tuition agency, they have a lot of experience in this field and can help you pass the exam.