Useful Tips on How to Do Better in the IELTS Exam…
The International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS) examination is one of the most popular tests in the world for demonstrating English proficiency, with more than 9,000 professional organisations including employers and universities recognising the standards set by the course. Whether you’re looking to live, work or study abroad, this certification is often a must-have, so if you’re determined to change your life for the better, take your career to new heights or are simply looking for a new challenge – here’s how to improve your IELTS score.
Don’t Just Study for the Exam
The IELTS qualification is made up of four parts covering reading, writing, listening and speaking and, while you might just be tempted to look at past questions and focus solely on exam style answers, it’s a good idea to think more broadly – after all, IELTS is a test of your English proficiency and therefore the better grasp you have of the English language, the higher your score is likely to be.
There are many ways you can improve your overall linguistic skills, but the below ideas should help:
Immerse yourself in British Culture
Being surrounded by native speakers will encourage you to use English on a daily basis helping you to grasp the complexities of this foreign tongue and push your learning to the next level which is ideal when studying for IELTS. Those studying IELTS in London for instance, have the chance to socialise with Brits, watch British TV, enjoy English/American movies at the cinema, read English literature such as books, magazines, menus and tour guides, and ultimately fully embrace the British way of living – even getting to grips with slang, colloquialisms, accents and idioms.
Practise, Practise, Practise
Learning a new language can be both time-consuming and frustrating, but with the prospect of a more diverse social life and exciting new career paths, it’s well worth putting in the effort. Why not try putting your English skills to the test and practise everything from pronunciation to grammar as often as you can. This might mean recording lessons and playing them over and over again until the meaning of the words or phrases become natural, or it might mean listening to your favourite genre of music until you understand all of the lyrics to hit songs.
As writing is a key part of the IELTS test, you could also set up a blog to help you get into the full swing of forming English sentences (which will hopefully put you in good stead for the exam), or you could even keep a diary, write a letter, or try your hand at poetry. The more you push yourself before the exam date, the easier you will find the exam questions.
Vary your Activities
With many universities and professionals requiring a top IELTS score, there’s simply no time for slacking, so as part of improving your overall English proficiency without getting too bogged down by reading text books and past papers, try to do every day activities that cover the four main topics: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. This might mean setting yourself the challenge of reading a novel that captures your attention and circling words, phrases, idioms etc. that you could do with revising, or it might mean taking on a writing task. When it comes to speaking, you could invite a native English speaker out for drinks as the conversation the two of you share will most-likely enhance your listening abilities. In short, try to do everything in your power to put English at the forefront of your mind. You could even volunteer at a place where English speaking is a must or join an English-speaking club such as a book group, which will keep you on track and encourage you to read.
Don’t be Afraid of Making Mistakes
As we get older, the fear of making mistakes becomes greater. The thought of saying something foolish in front of fellow students or natives can make us cringe, but it’s essential to put these negative thoughts out of your mind and give your language skills a go. People, especially Brits, love a trier and if they can see you’re doing your best to communicate in their native tongue, they’ll be thrilled to help you out. What’s more, it’s better to make mistakes when you’re testing your English rather in the IELTS examination, so practice, practice, practice while you still can.
Know What’s Expected of you in the IELTS Exam
Of course, as well as immersing yourself into British culture, you also need to know what the IELTS exam is all about and what will be expected of you on the day. Studying for IELTS can be tricky if you try to do it alone as there are many key areas to cover, so it’s a good idea to find a reputable English learning college that offers IELTS preparation, as experienced tutors will give you a programme of study that’ll guide you in the right direction. They’ll also give you useful tips and hints such as paraphrasing to improve your IELTS score.
Paraphrasing During the IELTS Listening Exam
When it comes to the IELTS listening exam, you’ll be given a list of questions and asked to find the correct answers based on what you’ve heard. For example, the exam may ask you to match listed descriptions such as “It is set in a rural area” with a specific hotel. This may sound simple enough but the recording is unlikely to mention the word ‘rural’ as this could seem too easy. It’s more likely to say “the XXX hotel is set in beautiful English countryside” which, of course, means it’s rural but requires you to think more. Therefore, if you paraphrase the word ‘set’ and use the synonym ‘located’ instead, it makes it easier to hear and catch the correct answers.
Paraphrasing During the IELTS Reading Exam
You can even do the same with the reading test. If you get a question such as; “What time did the scientists think it was a good time to eat dinner?” you can select keywords and find synonyms or antonyms to help you out. So instead of ‘scientists’, you can note down ‘researchers’ and instead of ‘dinner’ you could jot down ‘evening meal’. This way, if the written text says; “Studies conducted by researchers concluded that people should eat their evening meal before 8 pm”, you’ll be able to respond to the question more easily.
Even when it comes to the speaking test, you’ll be expected to paraphrase the question asked, rather than give short answers or repeat the question back to the examiner which could lose you marks – so it’s a good habit to get into.
Know Where you went Wrong in the IELTS Exam
If you’ve completed the IELTS examination before and are looking to improve on your previous score, be sure to know where you went wrong. That way, you can work on your mistakes and aim to do better when the test comes around again. If you’ve not done the test before, you can even ask your tutor for a list of common mistakes, as this will help you avoid pitfalls and errors that might lower your overall score. Everything from acknowledging and learning from errors to recognising your weak areas will help channel your study and this should ultimately help you pass.
Get Help with IELTS Exam Preparation Courses
IELTS exam preparation courses are available from The UK College of English, based on Oxford Street in central London. The UKCE is dedicated to providing the very best tuition and support for students. Call us today to find out how we can help you arrange your IELTS exams.