Is your current IELTS score somewhat lower than you expected? Maybe it's time to adopt a different approach for your IELTS preparation.
IELTS is a prestigious examination system that allows students and professionals to study in international universities and get a job in a country of their choice. It is designed to test your proficiency in the English language. It has four sections namely listening, writing, reading and speaking. Candidates are required to score individually in each section. Various organizations and universities in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the USA recognise IELTS as a key factor to apply for a work visa or a study visa.
Millions of people take the IELTS examination every year. How do you think they prepared for IELTS? Simple: through hard work and rigorous preparation.
When you prepare for IELTS, you get ample opportunities to boost your test scores. You can choose to prepare through IELTS coaching or IELTS online classes or prepare at home, remember, you must go through the hardship of homework to get the desired score.
If you choose to prepare for IELTS at home, what can be done to maximise your efforts?
Here we'll discuss some of the most effective methods to enhance your IELTS scores at home.
1. Acquaint with the test format
If you are new to IELTS, get familiarized with the test format first. Because smart preparations involve in-depth paper analysis. You may start by studying the Cambridge IELTS student's book. It is packed with previous year's exam questions with answers which provides a clear picture of what IELTS is and what type of questions you may face.
Note, in this phase, you're not actually practising a mock test. Only skim through the questions and get to know the IELTS exam format. Since you can make errors when trying to solve the problems at the beginning. Making plenty of errors in the first phase can discourage you from trying any more, and you may end up with nothing.
Similarly, listen to the audio recordings of the listening section from the past examinations. You must include this practice in your initial IELTS preparations so that you can identify different accents in the listening section. That means you can polish your accent and adjust to a particular one in time. Moreover, this practice can eliminate the difficulty in understanding various accents.
Besides, by going through the questions in the writing and speaking section, you can develop your understanding of the type of question that has been asked in these modules. With time, you can become so familiar with the IELTS format that you can devote completely to the rest of your training.
2. Practice, practice and practice
The fundamentals of any test preparation have always been the same. You must practice till you get confident enough to attempt the real examination. There is no other way to succeed than hard work.
IELTS is an international test and you cannot hope to master it overnight. You must dedicate a good amount of time in practice to become efficient.
Practice for reading
Develop a reading habit. It can boost your reading abilities in many ways. It helps enhance your brain functions on various levels. As it involves topics of international stature, a mere reading of national newspapers and magazines can never help.
Now, the question is how to develop a good reading habit for IELTS preparation?
Here are some great online sources that will improve your reading skills to the academic level.
As the title suggests, the content of this esteemed online magazine does not cover news and articles only in the field of economics. Instead, it contains a broad range of publications on society, economics, research and politics and technology.
These subjects are also covered by the IELTS reading section. Therefore, familiarizing yourself with the language in the Economist will significantly increase your odds of scoring well in the IELTS reading segment.
BBC is a highly popular and reputable source for news. It covers general as well as the unique stories from around the world. It provides a thoughtful and in-depth view of a story to the entire world. That is why reading BBC online can significantly improve your reading skills.
Practice for speaking and listening
Would you like to score above band 7? Then, listen to the TED Talks.
As mentioned earlier, the listening section in IELTS contains several accents including British, Australian, Asian, North American and more. TED Talks can be your one-stop 'destination' for practising for your listening section.
Ted Talks includes informative and well-formulated scholarly lectures by experts from a wide variety of countries. There are brief expert analyzes of contemporary issues. They're constantly updating these discussions, so you can verify the views of dominant people in different fields.
3. Overcome challenges in each section
The IELTS Academic Reading section includes three paragraphs each of at least 3 to 4 thousand words. It's a lot to process and answer in just 60 minutes.
The first task is to allow you to absorb a large amount of information quite quickly. This method is called "speed reading" which literally goes beyond looking through the passages quickly.
Instead of reading it completely, try these:
Skimming is very practical for this reason. It means looking through the text to find a reaction to a specific object. This method requires reading three to four times quicker than the usual method. The reader should travel easily through the phrases in a passage with the clarity of which sections they can miss.
The IELTS listening section includes 4 audio recordings and 40 questions based on these recordings. You will have 30 minutes to answer them. The major concern is, accents can be different for different recordings.
Three main English accents will be used in the IELTS listening exam.
Watching films is a decent way to get a foreign accent. You can also watch documentaries if you love history. Search on YouTube for the latest documentaries from Australia, Canada, America and Britain and get on with accent acquisition.
The IELTS speaking section tests your power of speech. Effective speech is about the vocabulary, tone and body language. However, the IELTS consortium has set certain conditions for assessing your speaking abilities:
The writing section in IELTS contains 2 tasks. In task one, you are required to write a 150 words answer in just 20 minutes while task two involves writing 250 words of essay in 30 minutes.
This implies that time management and preparation is an important part of the IELTS writing section, but the actual work falls at the revision point, where you must give 10 minutes to refine your writing. All you need to do is compile key facts, modifications, and comparisons to create the framework for your response.