Understand the Reading test of IELTS

IELTS tips

You will need to read quickly and efficiently, and manage your time

You will be asked to read three different passages and respond to related questions in your IELTS Reading test.

The content of the Reading test is different for IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests. Details of each version are given below.

Purpose of the test

The IELTS Reading test is designed to assess a wide range of reading skills, including how well you

  • read for the general sense of a passage
  • read for the main ideas
  • read for detail
  • understand inferences and implied meaning
  • recognise a writer’s opinions, attitudes and purpose
  • follow the development of an argument

This is the case for whichever version of the IELTS test you are taking.

Timing

The IELTS Reading test takes 60 minutes.

You are not allowed any extra time to transfer your answers, so write them directly on to your answer sheet.

You will need to manage your time during the test because you will not be told when to start or finish each section.

Three sections

You will be given three different passages to read, each with accompanying questions. You can expect to read 2,150 – 2,750 words in total during your test.

IELTS Academic Reading test

There are three sections to the IELTS Academic Reading test, and each contains one long text.

These are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers. They have been written for a non-specialist audience and are on academic topics of general interest.

They range from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical.

Each text might be accompanied by diagrams, graphs or illustrations, and you will be expected to show that you understand these too.

A simple glossary is provided if the material contains technical terms.

IELTS General Training Reading test

There are three sections to the IELTS General Training Reading test.

The texts used in each section are taken from notices, advertisements, company handbooks, official documents, books, magazines and newspapers.

Section 1 contains two or three short factual texts, one of which may be made up of 6 – 8 short texts related by topic, e.g. hotel advertisements. The topics are relevant to everyday life in an English-speaking country.

Section 2 contains two short factual texts focusing on work-related issues, e.g. applying for a job, company policies, pay and conditions, workplace facilities, staff development and training.

Section 3 contains one longer, more complex text on a topic of general interest.

Questions

There are 40 questions.

A variety of question types is used. You may be asked to

  • fill gaps in a passage of written text or in a table
  • match headings to written text to diagrams or charts
  • complete sentences
  • give short answers to open questions
  • answer multiple choice questions

Sometimes you will need to give one word as your answer, sometimes a short phrase, and sometimes simply a letter, number or symbol.

Make sure you read the instructions carefully.

Marking

Each correct answer receives one mark.

Scores out of 40 are converted to the IELTS 9-band scale. Scores are reported in whole and half bands.

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Understand the Writing test of IELTS

IELTS tips

Write clearly, organise your ideas and use a varied vocabulary.

Purpose of the test

The IELTS Writing test is designed to assess a wide range of writing skills, including how well you

  • write a response appropriately
  • organise ideas
  • use a range of vocabulary and grammar accurately

This is the case for whichever version of the IELTS test you are taking.

Timing

The IELTS Writing test takes 60 minutes. Spend 20 minutes on Task 1, and 40 minutes on Task 2.

You will need to manage your own time, so make sure you move on to Task 2 after 20 minutes.

Two tasks

There are two tasks in the IELTS Writing test. You will be asked to write at least 150 words for Task 1 and at least 250 words for Task 2.

IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training Writing tests

The content of the Writing test is different for IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests.

IELTS Academic Writing test

Write in a formal style in the IELTS Academic Writing test.

In Task 1 you will be presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram. You will be asked to describe, summarise or explain the information in your own words. This might involve describing and explaining data, describing the stages of a process or how something works, or describing an object or event.

In Task 2 you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. You should find the issues interesting and easy to understand.

IELTS General Training Writing test

The topics used in the IELTS General Training Writing test are of general interest.

In Task 1 you will be presented with a situation and asked to write a letter requesting information or explaining the situation. You can write the letter in a personal, semi-formal or formal style.

In Task 2 you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. You can use a fairly personal style.

Marking

Your Writing test will be marked by a certificated IELTS examiner.

Task 2 is worth twice as much as Task 1 in the IELTS Writing test.

Scores are reported in whole and half bands.

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Understand the Listening test of IELTS

IELTS tips

You will be listening for a purpose and hear a variety of accents.

A variety of voices is used in the IELTS Listening test, so you might hear Australian, British, New Zealand or North American accents.

You will be listening to a pre-recorded CD-ROM, and the passages that you hear will increase in difficulty as you go through the test.

The content of the Listening test is the same for both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests.

Purpose of the test

The IELTS Listening test is designed to assess a wide range of listening skills, including how well you

  • understand main ideas and specific factual information
  • recognise the opinions, attitudes and purpose of a speaker
  • follow the development of an argument

Timing

The IELTS Listening test takes approximately 30 minutes, and you are allowed an extra 10 minutes to transfer your answers from your question booklet to your answer sheet.

Four sections

The IELTS Listening test is broken down into four sections:

Section Description
1 You listen to a conversation between two people set in an everyday social situation, e.g. a conversation in an accommodation agency, and answer questions on your comprehension.
2 You listen to a monologue set in an everyday social situation, e.g. a speech about local facilities or a talk about the arrangements for meals during a conference.
3 You listen to a conversation between up to four people set in an educational or training context, e.g. a university tutor and a student discussing an assignment, or a group of students planning a research project.
4 You listen to a monologue on an academic subject, e.g. a university lecture.

You will begin by listening to a recording of instructions and a sample question for section 1. Then you will read the questions for section 1, listen to section 1, and answer the questions.

This procedure is repeated for sections 2, 3 and 4.

In the final 10 minutes, you will transfer your answers onto the answer sheet.

Each section is heard once only.

Questions

There are 40 questions.

A variety of question types is used, and you may be asked to

  • answer multiple choice questions
  • label a plan, map or diagram
  • fill in a form
  • complete a table
  • complete a flow-chart
  • give short answers

Marking

Each correct answer receives one mark.

Scores out of 40 are converted to the IELTS 9-band scale. Scores are reported in whole and half bands.

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9 important tips to quickly prepare for the IELTS

ielts
Do you speak English well already, but are still not sure how to pass the IELTS?

TIP 1

The first step – define your level and record your results while you prepare for it. It’s always a good idea to see visible progress and understand your weaknesses.d then you just have to come, focus – and achieve

TIP 2

Make a plan! One day focus on all the sections, some day only on Speaking or Listening. Depending on your results, and progress. (#1!)

TIP 3

Include constant English language on your background at any time of the day or night (yes, even if you sleep, the brain learns some of the information ). The BBC Podcasts, the HSE podcasts, podcasts IELTS, anything, as long as you are nor overwhelmed. In addition, repeat after listening. This can be very useful in the exam! After all, if the repeat skill becomes a habit, the listening becomes merely an exercise in vocabulary: even if you did not catch the answer at first, then certainly when your mouth silently repeats it for you, you just need to carefully write it in the note-book.

TIP 4

Reading – it’s pure logic plus some British formalism. The main advice: Do not read the text! Read the first question and immediately look for the answer to it. Then the second question. And so on. The practice is so simple that you can handle for half an hour. Check everything.

TIP 5

Speaking – it’s about how to make an impression. Do not learn the answers. Just speak as fluently as possible for at least for an hour every day. Pinpoint two minutes, choose a theme and forth. Talk to the mirror. Talk to the camera. Meet up with friends in pairs and threes, talking turns on various topics, throw around ideas and vocabulary. Experiment with a mirror, a video camera and the human beings.Practice makes perfect. Exercise, download manuals, go through special apps and online exams. As a student, the world is your information oyster! And, generally, if you attend IELTS classes your teacher will guide you in a way that will force you to create and learn. The best teachers inspire progress and fun from their students!

TIP 6

Make yourself a picture of successful results and visualize it. Yes, in the best tradition of the movie “The Secret”. As corny as it sounds, our body, mind, psyche adapt to the images of the desired result. If you see yourself in the exam (or even from the eyes of the examiner), you can see your confidence pose, relaxed and calm voice – your neurons are gradually aligned to the desired number. And then you just have to come, focus – and achieve

TIP 7

Get a tutor or attend professional IELTS preparation classes. This is not only useful for Speaking, but in general allows you to organize your studies better and learn tips and tricks of IELTS.

TIP 8

Listening Make sure you practice listening as much as you can! You can practice with sample IELTS listening tests but you should also expose yourself to as much English as you can. Find resources on the internet that suit your level and gradually increase difficulty. And don’t worry if they are not exams or specifically for IELTS, any kind of listening helps. Try to make listening fun and listen to things you like.

TIP 9

Writing – it’s the same logic, plus a bit of vocabulary. Read reference essays, discharge design, compose sentences. Get flashcards or conventional paper for the repetition of terms and phrases.
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Timing and word length in the writing module

IELTS tips

The writing module contains two compulsory tasks, namely Task 1 and Task 2. In Task 1, you must summarise and compare information from a graph, chart, table or diagram, or a combination of these, and Task 2 is a topic on which you have to write a discursive essay. The topic may be in the form of a statement or a question.

Task 1 tests your ability to analyse data objectively without giving an opinion, whereas Task 2 usually requires a subjective piece of writing on a fairly general topic. In addition, it is worth noting that the exam is not testing knowledge of English language, but rather competence in using English. In other words, it is not testing memory. Awareness of this might help reduce some of the problems that many candidates have in the IELTS exam.

In the exam, the minimum word limit for Task 1 is 150 words and you need to spend about 20 minutes on this part of the test. Task 2 must be at least 250 words, on which you need to spend about 40 minutes. In both Tasks, there is no upper word limit.

Many candidates frequently exceed the minimum amounts by a very wide margin, which creates several problems. Rather than concentrating on producing a good essay, candidates write beyond what is necessary, thinking that there are extra marks for writing more. This is usually not the case.

It is very important that you try to keep the word limits, and perhaps write just a little more. You could write between 150 and 180 words for Task 1 and 250 and 300 for Task 2. If you write too few words, you will lose marks. While practising for the IELTS exam, count the number of words you write per line and then work out how many lines you need to reach the 150/250 word limit. It may surprise you how little you have to write! You could draw a line to mark the word limits when you are writing your homework. This will help train you to keep to the limits and help you to focus on where you are going and what you are aiming for.

One important reason for writing just a little more than the word limit is to give yourself enough time to check what you have written. During the actual exam, you should spend 6-7 minutes analysing the question, about 30 minutes writing your essay, and 3-4 minutes checking your essay for mistakes.

Task 1 or Task 2 first? Students frequently ask whether they should do Task 1 first or Task 2. This obviously depends on the individual. It is probably wise, however, to do Task 1 first. From the psychological point of view, it gives you a sense of accomplishment when you have finished it.

Note that the value of the marks given to each Task is reflected in the time. There are twice as many marks for Task 2 as for Task 1. The marks are combined to produce one Band Score from 1 to 9 for the whole test. Note also that if you write less than 150 words for Task 1 and less than 250 for Task 2, you will lose marks.

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Advice for IELTS General Training Task 1 Letters

letter-writing

If you are preparing for the IELTS General Training test, you will be asked to write a letter to a fictional person or organization. The reason for writing the letter and the details you need to include will be given to you.

That may sound easy to some of you but before you write the test, I think you need to sit down and ask yourself, “Do I actually know how to ORGANIZE a letter in English? If you are unsure, keep reading because this advice about proper letter structure could make a big difference to your performance.

This isn’t your typical DO and DON’T article. Instead, I am going to demonstrate ORGANIZATION for you using an example correspondence. What follows are two letters: The first is a request for letter writing advice and the next is my reply. In this way, you can read about and see how to organize your ideas.

As a BONUS, although this entry focuses on organization, if you look carefully, you will get some clues about how to use TONE or polite language when writing to a stranger. Remember, using the correct TONE is important in letters.


Dear Sir or Madam,

I signed up for the IELTS General Training exam and would like some advice about Task 1 letter writing.

I have a lot of questions but I will start with asking about how to organize my ideas. I write lots of emails, but I am not sure if I can write a letter well. How do I know if my ideas are arranged correctly on the test?

Your advice would be greatly appreciated.

Yours faithfully,
Mr. John Rochon


Dear Mr. Rochon,

Thank you for your letter. It would be my pleasure to help you prepare for the writing test.

You are wise to ask about the format of the IELTS letter. You may write letters or emails everyday but the IELTS letter is part of an exam so it’s important to be clear about what is expected. Knowing the most effective way to organize your ideas will improve your score.

The good news is that you already know a lot about the correct structure. In your letter to me, you began with a greeting. You used “Dear Sir or Madam” which was suitable because you did not know my name. You also ended with the complimentary closing “Yours faithfully” which signaled that the letter was finishing. Finally, to close, you ended with your signature. IELTS candidates lose points for forgetting these little details, so excellent work!

Between the salutation and closing is the body of the letter and it is made up of short paragraphs that are organized simply and logically. In fact, if your letter focusses on each of the bullets from the task assignment in a separate paragraph, you can be sure that your letter will be easy to read.

To help you a little more, I am providing you with some useful pointers for organization and a model letter.

If you have more questions, please call me at my office and we will set up a face to face appointment.

I hope you find this information useful and good luck with your exam.

Yours sincerely,
Mrs. Angela Rutherford


Here are some pointers for organizing your ideas in IELTS letters:

  1.  Think about how each sentence relates to the one before and after.  Choose words that clearly guide the reader from one thought to the next.For example, where appropriate:
    1. Use sequencers – “To begin with . . . Finally, . . .”
    2.  Use phrases to signal your ideas – “The reason why I need time off . . . The solution to this problem is . . .  “
    3. Use specific linking words to show contrast, similarity, cause – “similarly, however, as a result . . .”
  2. Avoid repeating key words in your answer.  Don’t be boring and repetitive – you want to demonstrate that you have a variety of words in your vocabulary bank.
    1.  Think of synonyms for words that you are repeating (the problem, this issue, these complications, another annoyance . . .)
    2. Use pronouns (she, them, these . . .)
  3.  Each task bullet point can be used to create the body paragraphs.
    1. Let the first sentence of the paragraph communicate the subject in some way.
    2. Either indent the first line of each paragraph or separate the paragraphs from each other with a space.
  4. Be sure the main purpose of the letter is clear from the beginning to the end.
  1. Open the letter with a short explanation of the purpose and close the letter with a call to action that relates to this purpose.

Open the letter with a short explanation of the purpose and close the letter with a call to action that relates to this purpose.


Sample Question and Model Answer

You recently ordered a small item online but when it arrived it was unusable.
Write a letter to the company that sold you the item:

  • give details about the order you made
  • explain what was wrong with the item
  • tell the company what you want them to do about it

Dear Sir or Madam:

Three weeks ago I ordered a cover for my Samsung phone from your online store. I was excited when it arrived but very disappointed to find that the product was poorly produced and unusable. I am hoping you will replace it.

In relation to the specifics of the order, I purchased this leather wallet/phone case through your website called Phone Fun on January 14th using my PayPal account. The order number is 257380 and I am attaching a copy of my receipt.

The issue with the cover is that the credit card pockets are sewn shut and I am unable to store my cards inside securely. The picture of the item on your website clearly shows cards safely stored in the little pouches so I’m sure this is a manufacturing flaw.

As a solution, and because I really like the functionality of the cover, I am hoping that you will agree to send me another one for free. Otherwise, I would like a full refund and I will be contacting PayPal complaints if I do not hear back from you in regards to this within a week.

Thank you for giving the matter your attention and I hope to hear your reply soon.

Yours faithfully,
XYZ

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How to Prepare for IELTS Exam | Tips to Crack IELTS in First Attempt

IELTS tips

How to Prepare for IELTS Exam

If your next step is to study abroad, then you have to pass the International English Language Testing System [IELTS] first. How to Prepare for IELTS Exam is the major problem for the contenders who plan to study or immigrate to the other countries. So to help you with your preparation, we are providing the Tips to Crack IELTS in First Attempt. To give yourself the best opportunity to achieve this goal, you need to be painstaking in your preparation and capable of providing critical literary analysis in both written and oral formats.

IELTS, the International English Language Testing System, is designed to assess the language ability of candidates who need to study or work where English is the language of communication. Though most of us try to converse in English these days But in India, where English is not a native language, most of us may not be proficient in the language.

  • In Listening, use the example at the beginning of the first section to familiarize yourself with the sound, the situation, and the speakers.
  • Keep listening until the recording stops, looking only at the questions that relate to the part being played.
  • There are often pauses in the recording between different sections. Use these to prepare for the next set of questions.
  • Answer Listening questions in the order they appear on the Question Paper. Remember that they normally follow the order of the information in the recording.
  • At the end of the recording you have some time to transfer your answers to the Answer Sheet. Check your grammar and spelling as you do so.
  • In Academic Reading, begin by going quickly through each passage to identify features such as the topic, the style, the likely source, the writer’s purpose and the intended reader.
  • As you read, don’t try to understand the precise meaning of every word or phrase. You don’t have time, and those parts of the text might not be tested anyway.
  • Reading tasks sometimes have an example answer. If this is the case, study it and decide why it is correct.
  • Some tasks require you to use words from the text in the answer; in others you should use your own words. Check the instructions carefully.
  • The instructions may also include a word limit, e.g. Use no more than three words. Keep to this by avoiding unnecessary words in your answer.
  • In Academic Writing, you must always keep to the topic set. Never try to prepare sections of text before the exam.
  • Keep to the suggested timing: there are more marks possible for Task 2 than Task 1.
  • Organize and link your ideas and sentences appropriately, using a wide range of language and showing your ability (in Task 2) to discuss ideas and express opinions.
  • If you write less than 150 words in Task 1 or less than 250 in Task 2 you will lose marks, but there is no maximum number of words for either.
  • When you plan your essay, allow plenty of time at the end to check your work.
  • In Speaking, don’t try to give a prepared speech, or talk about a different topic from the one you are asked to discuss.
  • Always speak directly to the Examiner, not to the recording equipment.
  • Whenever you reply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the Examiner’s questions, add more details to your answer. In each case, aim to explain at least one point.
  • Remember that you are not being tested on your general knowledge but on your ability to communicate effectively.
  • Organize and link your ideas and sentences appropriately, talking clearly at normal speed and using a wide range of structures and vocabulary.

IELTS Exam Tips – Listening Section Tips:-

  • Read the questions at the beginning of each section carefully before the recording starts. This will help applicants to follow the recording & identify the appropriate answer.
  • Concentrate on the introduction of each section which will give you useful information about the situations & the speakers.
  • Listen very carefully for clues that indicate which stage of the recording they are listening to for example words such as ‘Firstly’, ‘Lastly’.
  • Write your answers clearly without any grammatical mistakes, otherwise you will not be awarded with any marks.

IELTS Exam Tips – Reading Section Tips:-

  • Concentrate on the item as it may pass very fast, so make sure you don’t spend too much time any question or text.
  • Start from beginning of the exam, if you are unable to answer, do not waste your time and move on to next one. You can re-visit the question later, if you have time.
  • Read instructions carefully and concentrate on title of text subtitles & illustration to get a quick idea of what the text is for.
  • Make sure to answer without any grammar mistakes. Copy words accurately so that you can avoid any spelling mistakes.

IELTS Exam Tips – Writing Section Tips:-

  • Make sure your ideas are relevant to the questions and your last paragraph should be a conclusion which is consistent with the arguments you have included in your essay.
  • Avoid any spelling, grammar mistakes and write as clearly as possible.
  • Organized and logically linked paragraphs and also make sure to have language used is in academic style.
  • Write with required number of words and do not use bullet points.

IELTS Exam Tips – Speaking Section Tips:-

  • Make sure to involve in the conversation and concentrate on the questions being asked.
  • Always answer the questions with some detailed manner.
  • Always support your opinions with good examples.
  • There is no right or wrong answers in the speaking test and this is just to assess on how good

In the end, we must understand that listening comprehension skills improve with more and more practice. But reading skills improve with more and more analysis. Always spend time in finding out why certain questions went wrong. The above mentioned tips are a few important things we advise you to keep in mind for promising results.

Students if you want to know more about How to Prepare for IELTS Exam then stay connected with us through our web portal that is http://blog.vatslya.com/  and get latest information time to time. You can also follow us on Facebook and Google plus to remain updated. You can also subscribe on our free email service from this you can get all career related information directly in your mail box.

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Reading task type one: summary completion

IELTS tips

Task description

The input for this type of question will be a summary of all or part of the reading text. The summary will contain a number of gaps. All of the information in the summary will be contained in the reading text, although the words used will be different. You will also be provided with a list of words to use to fill the gaps. There will be more words than gaps. These words have been chosen so that only one word will be suitable for each gap (the answer) but other words may appear suitable (distracters).

Your task is to complete the summary using one word from the list for each gap. Because the summary is a paraphrase of the reading text (rather than an edited version), you will need to have a good understanding of the overall meaning and main points of the section summarised, rather than a detailed understanding of the text.

What is being tested is your ability to:

  • skim the text for information
  • paraphrase the original text

Sample task


Complete the summary below. Choose your answers from the box at the bottom of the page and write them in boxes 1-8 on your answer sheet.

NBThere are more words than spaces so you will not use them all. You may use any of the words more than once.

passengers happy float advanced
lifeboats confident dangers ocean
worried inadequate enormous excitement
fast handbook water float
record fast procedures orders
drown size sink safety

The Finest Ship Ever Built
The North Atlantic Ocean crossing on the Titanic was expected to set a new standard for oceantravel in terms of comfort and safety The shipping industry had an excellent safety record on the North Atlantic Crossing over the previous forty years and the Titanic was the finest and safest liner ever built. The Titanic combined the greatest technology of the day with sheer size, luxury and new safety features. The Titanic’s owners were confident that even if the Titanic were letting in watershe would float indefinitely until help arrived. In hindsight we know that the Titanic was not unsinkable and that technology alone could not save lives when facilities were inadequate and humans did not follow safe procedures whether because of arrogance or ignorance.

How to approach summary completion questions


Step 1: Read the instructions carefully. Note that in this case you have to choose your answers from the words provided. Also note that in this case you can use any word more than once. Remember though that every IELTS test is different. So make sure that you read the instructions carefully even if you have practised the type of question before.
Step 2: Skim through the summary to get an idea of the topic. In this case the summary refers generally to peoples’ views about the Titanic in terms of safety.
Step 3: Decide which section of the text the summary covers – in this case mainly paragraphs A and C. In some cases the summary may cover the whole text.
Step 4: Read through the summary, referring to the list of words each time you reach a gap. Select one or more possible words from the list to fill each gap. Reject any words that do not fit grammatically, even if the meaning seems correct. Confirm your choice by referring to the relevant sections of the text.
Step 5: Quickly read through your completed summary to check that it makes sense.

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Some Tips that will assure a High Score in IELTS Exam

IELTS tips

The IELTS exam is an important prerequisite for candidates who need to study or work in countries where English is the medium of communication. Designed to test English language skills across four modules (reading, speaking, writing and listening), this Exam is recognised by Universities and employers in many countries.


Across the globe, professional bodies, immigration authorities and other government agencies accept IELTS scores as a benchmark to determine proficiency in English language skills. Candidates who wish to go for higher education must write the Academic IELTS Test, whereas those who wish to go for a career abroad write the General Training IELTS Test.
As with any Exam, there are certain techniques that must be followed to achieve success. You will be able to learn basic rules of grammar and vocabulary at a good English course.

 

Here are some tips that you should follow, to avoid mistakes in the exam.

1. Time: Please stick to the time constraints mentioned for each section. If you overrun your time in one section, you may need to leave questions unanswered in other sections and will lose marks.

2. Read the question carefully: if an answer is to be written in ‘not more than three words’, do not write four.

3. Number of words: Again, if you need to write a paragraph of 250 words and you only write 225, you will lose marks. Be careful with your numbers! Longer essays may lose you marks as the chance of making mistakes increases when your answers are too long.

4. Stick to the topic: Do not stray off the topic, or elaborate on matters that are not strictly to the point.

5. Understand the topic: The examiners are looking for specific topics. If you write on something else you will not be marked at all.

6. Plagiarism: Some students try to memorise essays. This never works, as examiners can easily find out if your standard is not consistent through the exam. If your essay is brilliant (as it is one that has been learnt by heart!) and the rest of your work doesn’t match that standard, it becomes obvious that your essay is not original and you can be penalized harshly.

7. You are required to express your own view. There are no right or wrong opinions, and you will be able to express your thoughts better if your views are those which you yourself believe in.

8. Keep your sentences short and crisp. Avoid unnecessarily long sentences, which can lead to more mistakes.

9. During the Speaking test, your accent does not matter, as much as the coherence of your speech and your ability to make yourself understood. If English is not your native language, they will understand that you may have an accent. The examiner will usually be someone who is familiar with your accent.

10. If you wish to save time, use shortcut keys on your computer, such as Ctrl+ C = Copy. Check online to find a list of the most common shortcut keys that will work for your system.

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English speakers and the IELTS test

IELTS and english speakers

The IELTS test is a high-stakes scenario. There are many reasons why people take the test, but those reasons are rarely recreational. Education opportunities, immigration status and working in your profession often hinge on an IELTS score. If you speak English as a first language, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the expectations of the IELTS test. Or perhaps you have not prepared for the IELTS test at all, thinking that as a native speaker you are fluent and do not need help. That high band score is virtually guaranteed, right?

The reality

The IELTS test is demanding and requires significant preparation, even for native English speakers. The four modules of the test – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking – have questions specifically designed to challenge you. These questions are not merely comprehension checking; they are designed to elicit a wide range of thinking skills and expression on a wide variety of topics. This is the reality of the IELTS test.

Once you have decided to sit the IELTS test, you will need to prepare seriously for the challenges it will present. Here are some tips to consider.

  • Get comfortable with the material. Prepare for the test with official IELTS test prep materials. These are available online at www.ielts.org and at book stores.
  • Join the IELTS community. Online and in-class courses will familiarise you with the structure and timing of the test – both crucial to your success. Courses give you the opportunity to receive feedback from experienced IELTS instructors and learn the nuances and expectations of the test.  A community of people is out there waiting to support you on your IELTS journey.
  • Slow and steady. Start preparing for the IELTS test several months before your test date and practice in a test-taking environment.  Find a quiet place and use a timer to create the conditions of the IELTS test.  Eventually, you should prepare for the test in a public space (a library or coffee shop) with more activity to ready yourself for the inevitable distractions you will encounter on test day.

The Speaking test

Perhaps the most challenging part of IELTS is the Speaking test. Examiners meet enthusiastic people from every corner of the globe during the test, but often find native English speakers are the least willing to engage with them.

There are many very competent native English speakers who perform poorly during the Speaking test.  Examiners may think the candidate is highly fluent, but without evidence to satisfy the band descriptors the examiner is unable to award the desired band score.

The Writing test

The IELTS-trained marker is looking for very specific elements in your Writing test responses.  These include your ability to fully answer a prompt and develop a well-considered response; your use of cohesive devices and coherence in the response; and the flexibility and range of vocabulary and grammar. Again, familiarising yourself with the band descriptors and the structure of the test beforehand will save you valuable time during the test so that you can focus on writing a strong response.

In daily conversation and written expression, you may rely on prescriptive language and jargon related to your field of work or study. Taking some time to familiarise yourself with the test structure and completing practice tests will encourage you to think outside of your field and engage in a wider range of topics. An ability to communicate on a variety of subjects is paramount to IELTS success in both the Academic and General Training tests.

The native English speaker has an advantage in many ways when taking the IELTS test and perhaps you view taking the test as a formality. However, a good attitude is imperative, so use the test as a chance to brush up on your language and communication skills so you can show your full capabilities.

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