How To Improve Your IELTS
Read instructions carefully, don't just
glance at them. They are not always the same as in
practice or previous tests.
Try and anticipate what the speaker will say.
This requires concentration, easy in your own
language, but more difficult in English.
Remember if you want a high score you should
aim to get all questions in parts one and two
correct. Don't make any careless mistakes in the easier
Small errors can lead to low scores so be
careful with your spelling at all times.
Don't panic if you think the topic is too
difficult or the speaker is too fast. Relax and tune in.
Read, write and listen at the same time.
Tricky, but practice well.
Leave a question if you can't answer. To
spend a long time on one answer is disastrous. Go
back later if you have time and guess if you have to.
Don't panic if you don't know anything about
the subject matter covered in the passage. All
the answers are in the passage and you don't need any specialist
Remember you have no extra time to transfer
your answers, many candidates think because
they have extra time in listening they are able to do this in
reading too. You can't.
Before the exam, read as widely as possible
(e.g. newspapers, magazines, journals). Don't
limit yourself to one type of text and read articles with an
academic style where possible.
Look at the ways paragraphs are organised.
Try and predict content of paragraphs from
the opening sentence.
Give every paragraph you read an imaginary
Don't concentrate on words you don't know. It
wastes valuable time.
Careless mistakes cost many marks. Copy the
answer correctly if it is in the passage.
Only give one answer if that is all that's
Be careful with singular/plural.
Highlight/circle key words.
Don't repeat ideas in a different way.
Careful with timing - don't rush Task Two,
it's longer and is worth more points.
Paragraph simply, with one idea in each
Learn to recognise how long 150 words looks
in your handwriting. You don't really have time
Get used to always spending several minutes
re-reading and correcting your essays.
Don't memorise model answers, they won't fit
the question and you will make more careless
It tests your ability to communicate
effectively, not just your grammatical accuracy.
Don't learn scripts of prepared answers. The
examiner is trained to spot this and will change
Develop your answers as much as possible.
Speak more than the examiner.
Ask for clarification if necessary.
Remember it is not a test of knowledge and
there is no single answer, but ensure that you
give your opinion. Don't worry if you feel it is not
The areas covered are fairly predictable and
not infinite so practice at home recording ideas
onto a tape recorder.