The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is among the most popular English language proficiency exams in the world. Aspirants choose IELTS to enhance their international opportunities for migration, studies, and work. Clearing the IELTS exam opens a lot of doors to study or work outside the country.
The United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand require a migrant to have cleared the IELTS to grant permanent residency, or ‘leave to remain,’ as it is referred to in the U.K. Ten thousand global institutions accept the IELTS score as a testimony to the holder’s English proficiency1.
The exam tests the four critical language skills – Speaking, writing, reading, and listening. These skills are tested in a very short time during the exam, and a candidate must be adequately prepared. We present the five most important tips to clear the IELTS exam.
- Know your exam
It is crucial to know the detailed specifics of the exam. There are two types of exams – IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. The speaking and listening aspects of the exam are similar. The difference is in reading and writing.
Before you start preparing, research deeply to Know your exam. Build a clear understanding of the exam type, which exam to appear for, exam structure, and other essential facts.
A clear understanding helps builds a roadmap for preparation. The reading, writing, and listening sections of the exam are assessed on a single day. A couple of hours is what it takes for you to perform. The speaking test is conducted separately.
There might be an upcoming change in exam structure or pattern, so it is essential to remain updated.
- Read and focus on vocabulary
Reading is the best tool you have in your arsenal. Become an avid reader in the months leading to the exam. Focus on good quality content.
Use various sources – newspapers are a great way to build vocabulary and also have an understanding of how to use words to convey the intended meaning correctly. Singaporeans, or those residing in Singapore may use the most circulated daily English newspapers – The Strait Times, Today, and The New Paper.
You can find quality content on leading international newspapers like The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and websites like Forbes.com. These newspapers and their digital editions are known for their quality, vocabulary, and meticulous editing.
Maintain a word-diary. When you come across words unknown, look up the meaning in a quality dictionary like Cambridge, Oxford, or Merriam-Webster. The Internet has sufficient content to help you with context, usage, and other finer aspects of words.
- Practice to listen and understand
If you want to crack IELTS, you need to transition from hearing to listening and understanding. The listening aspect of IELTS preparation is lighter than the others. Select English news channels, podcasts, and preparation videos on educational sites or video sharing sites like YouTube.
Listening to a podcast could be done at leisure. It is better if you do it at leisure. Put on the earphones while you go for the morning jog. Load a podcast and try to understand during your run. The advantage of listening at leisure is that your focus is divided. If you can understand the language then, you surely will understand it when your entire focus is towards listening.
Some candidates feel that speaking speed is a challenge that hinders their ability to comprehend. Technology to your rescue – many websites allow playing the videos slower or faster than usual. Start with 0.5x speed if you are not able to comprehend. However, before your exam, you should be able to comprehend at 1.5x speed!
- Record yourself as you speak
Narrate an experience aloud with a voice recorder running. If you have apprehension about speaking while being on a video-call, the mirror may help you dissolve your fear.
It is true – many individuals are unable to speak fluently to themselves. The consciousness of “someone looking at me” causes the person to stumble and mispronounce words. With practice, however, you shall overcome the fear.
You may then progress to speaking in front of your friend, tutor, family member, or anyone you feel comfortable with. Classvio has the best coaches to help IELTS aspirants to prepare for the exam. Sign up for a trial class and explore Classvio to understand the professional coaching environment.
Review the recordings, and find your most common mistakes, identify weak areas, check if you are using filler words, or having too much gap while you think.
The end-goal is to reach a level of fluency where the language flows naturally.
- Quality of learning
What you learn should be high-quality. Reading common lingo may help you on the street but not during your exam. As a speaker, you need to learn to use correct words, tenses, sentence formation, and proper intonation.
Intonation is the rise and fall of voice pitch and speed that is used to convey your thoughts better. Watch documentaries and plays – these have quality intonation.
It is better to have a peer group that has shared goals. That’s an excellent way to keep yourself motivated and to have help at hand.
If you feel that despite the availability of preparation material, information, and other resources, something still lacks, seek coaching from a good teacher, or sign up for a coaching program.
Practice makes perfect. Those who have been coaching individuals for the IELTS exam or other English language exams are well aware of the nuances and know a lot of tips and tricks. Seeking mentorship also dissolves a lot of anxiety that you may have about the test.
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam is your highway towards an accelerated career, enhanced job opportunities, or migration to your favorite country. Always have good quality material, be persistent in your efforts, identify the weak areas, and improve upon those. You may appear for mock tests that simulate a real-life exam.
It may be challenging for some individuals to figure out everything unguided. IELTS coaching, tuition, and mentoring are fantastic ways to equip yourself with the skills to crack the exam and become an excellent English speaker and writer. Signup today on Classvio to understand where you stand on your IELTS preparation.