What is the IELTS Exam?
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a test designed to test your proficiency in the English language. It ensures that you are eligible to migrate to an English speaking country for education and job. This test is crucial to see if you can survive in English speaking nations if you aim to do any of the above.
The idea behind the IELTS is to ensure that you can understand and communicate well in English. If you’re seeking higher international education, the IELTS will help you determine if you can understand and keep up with the lectures conducted in English. If you’re applying for a job or looking to migrate to a foreign country, the assessment is vital to ensure proper communication. It will help you communicate with the locals better and blend in and adapt to the new setting more efficiently.
The IELTS assessment is structured to evaluate the reading, writing, listening and speaking skills in English. To ace this test, you will have to invest your time and work hard with dedication. Here are 5 simple strategies that you can employ to prepare for your test. These tips will allow you to prepare for the IELTS optimally and smartly!
Understanding the Structure of IELTS Test
Before you appear for the IELTS assessment, you must understand the format of the test. Being well aware of the same will make you feel confident and put you at ease. The IELTS test has 4 vital parameters or sections based on which you will be evaluated.
If you want to crack the assessment, you will have to prove your proficiency in every parameter. You will have 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete your test. You will have 30 minutes for the listening section, 60 minutes for the reading section, 60 minutes for the writing section and 11-14 minutes for speaking.
You will have to finish the listening, reading and writing tests in one day. The speaking evaluation will be conducted either a week before or after the other three assessments.
A great way to start your IELTS training is by understanding the structure of the test. Additionally, it would be beneficial if you are aware of the grading system and other relevant details. Doing this will allow you to have a clearer picture of the final test.
Training Regularly and Thoroughly
Practice! Practice! And Practice! You are required to practice and train regularly to crack the IELTS in one go! As mentioned, there are 4 different parameters that you need to focus on. The ideal approach to going about the training is by dealing with each section individually.
Try to split your training time to give each section equal weightage. By doing this, you will not flood your brain with a lot of ideas at once. You can start with the reading section and answer the questions provided in the mock papers. You can even try to read the passages aloud. Doing this will allow you to understand the text better and also improve your pronunciation.
Then, you can move on to the listening section. It is quite a tricky section to master due to the difference in accents. Explore and listen to a variety of audio clips to have a better grasp of the language. Be patient with yourself and focus on understanding the words as they are said. Pay attention to the way words are being enunciated and try to understand the linguistics of the language.
Next, focus on the writing section. You will have to write two essays. To master this, you must practise writing for 60 minutes frequently. You can start by writing on topics that interest you the most. Something along the lines of your favourite childhood memory, your favourite subject, or anything under the sun!
Make sure that your grammar is correct and your essays are fluent. There must be a cohesive flow in the topics as you progress further. You can even ask your family or friends to critique your writing. The honest feedback will show you where you can improve your writing skills!
Another point to keep in mind is that time is the essence in the writing section. Try to write quickly without wasting your time unnecessarily. It may also help to time yourself while practising to help you with your speed!
Finally, devote a fair amount of time to hone your speaking skills. Practising in front of the mirror can help boost your confidence. It can help you improve your presentation. You can try conversing with your peers or family to understand the intricacies of the language better. Always remember, fluency does not come in a day. So practise regularly. You will see that your language speaking skills would have improved tremendously from when you started.
You might feel that the beginning is rocky. But with regular practice and a set timetable, you will soon see that your English language skills are enhancing!
Focus on Quality Over Quantity- Be Sure To Avoid Monotony
A lot of aspirants make the common mistake of writing too much in their writing assessment. Although you may have a lot of themes that you would like to touch upon, doing this is tedious and time-consuming. Knowing how to manage your time is one of the most vital aspects of the IELTS assessment.
Remember, you need to produce two essays in a 60-minute interval. You have to finish either before or on time! Thus, stick to writing a 350-word essay. It will give you ample time to complete your test and prevent you from repeating sentences to fill in the gaps.
Be sure to avoid monotony during your tests. It holds for both your speaking and writing sections. Including variations in sentence formation, rich vocabulary and having control over your delivery and tone is crucial.
Yet again, do not overdo it! Do not use words that you aren’t familiar using. It will make the sentences misconstrued. Try variation but not any innovations! In such cases, regular practice will get you well acquainted with new words, their meanings and usage. It also allows you to know your limitations and your strengths. This self-awareness is crucial to give you confidence yet to keep you humble during the test.
Practice Audio Clips for Improved Language Fluency
A fantastic tip to crack the IELTS is to listen to audio. Doing this will allow you to get comfortable with different accents. Additionally, it will also improve your vocabulary and grammar by introducing you to varied sentence formation techniques. Audios are great to ensure that your tone and delivery are correct.
If you’re a movie buff, try watching English movies. You can also choose to stick with news reports, documentaries or even interviews. Doing this will result in you being well-versed with the linguistics of the languages. You may also find that your overall grammar will improve by doing so.
Another thing that you can choose to do is have conversations with someone fluent in English. Along with self-practice, communicating with your friends, teachers or even family in English daily can be highly beneficial. Their replies and feedback will allow you to gauge the areas where there is scope for improvement. Doing this will instil confidence in you and make you more comfortable with English.
Taking Mock Tests Repeatedly
Take as many mock IELTS tests as you can. The more you practice and train yourself, the higher are the chances of you acing your test. You can find tests online or even invest in books that contain the appropriate (and revised) mock test papers. Specialised books are great tools for you to improve your grammar and overall command of the language.
Hence, it is wise that you spend some time researching and finding the right books to help you in your study sessions. Additionally, you can enrol in IELTS training programs where you will receive training from highly experienced faculty!
It is always advisable to take at least two well-timed mock tests per day in the last few days of your preparation. With thorough and diligent practice, you will be able to get a 7-plus score in your actual IELTS assessment.
Why is the IELTS test important?
If you’re looking to migrate, seek a job or apply to a university in an English-speaking nation, IELTS is your ticket! There is no restriction on the number of times you can appear for an IELTS test. However, it is always preferable that you crack it in the first go!
Most universities require a minimum score of 7 for admission. Thus, by getting a score above 7, you will have a wide range of the finest universities to choose from!
Also, remember that the IELTS score is valid for 2 years. In this validity period, you can apply for your dream job or university!