To understand the test, you have to have a basic understanding of standard English conventions. They include common punctuation, a decent vocabulary and dictation. However, without a clear strategy to follow easily, the test taker may face various difficulties and disadvantages.
IELTS is a common English proficiency test taken around the globe. It is considered as a fundamental requirement for admissions to many institutions across the globe. Therefore, it is crucial for you to understand the test. You must also have a reliable strategy that works for you exclusively.
Basically, to understand the test, you have to have a basic understanding of standard English conventions. They include common punctuation, a decent vocabulary and dictation. However, without a clear strategy to follow easily, the test taker may face various difficulties and disadvantages.
This article offers an approach consisting of eight steps to build a preparation strategy that will form a solid base.
Understand the test
You must work to avoid any surprises on the test day. Go through the pattern of IELTS in detail and focus on the structure of the test, question types and timing. Also, attempt mock tests before attempting the examination. In general, you must first begin your preparation as this will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses.
Improve your vocabulary
The critical component of the test is Vocabulary. Almost 25 per cent of your total marks depends on your vocabulary. They form a part of the writing and speaking sections. You must develop a daily reading habit. You must also work on identifying words that you do not know.
You must then create a list of antonyms and synonyms for them. Also, try making short sentences using those synonyms and antonyms. Thus, you will be able to understand the usage of each word in different contexts.
Improve your reading speed. This will help you in identifying the essential parts of a passage quickly. Also, it will enable you to pick up the important and right parts. It is crucial to start reading from the websites that mention the average reading time of the given article. Aim to finish the article within that specified time and continue your practice till you reach the speed of 400 words per minute.
Focus on tracing the conjunctions once you achieve the required rate of speed. This will help you in navigating the passage more efficiently and accurately. The main idea of the passage is the point of view of the author. Therefore, pay attention to the lines where the opinion of the author is presented.
Create an idea bank
Create your idea bank to improve your score in the writing and reading sections. This must comprise a list of words that are unfamiliar and new to you. They must also consist of topics that you like, a list of ideas relevant that are relevant to your field of work, news articles of interest, etc.
You must skim through this idea bank before the test. Therefore, a variety will be provided to your sentences. This will also improve your writing and speaking ability.
Record yourself while speaking
Record your answers for the speaking task. Ask the people around you to feed questions. You can improve your speaking skills by listening to your recordings.
Immerse yourself in the English language
You must surround yourself with an environment which will enable you to store English in your mind in active as well as passive ways. You can watch movies or series, listen to songs, and talk or chat with friends in English. These are some of the fun ways that will help you improve your command of the language.
Build a Study Plan
Divide your entire preparation into phases. You must also set a target score based on the requirements of your admission.
- Focus on understanding the fundamentals of your weak areas and for the strong areas, attempt topic-wise tests.
- Start trying topic-wise questions or tests once you have improved on the weak areas. Also, track your accuracy and speed for each test or practice session. In order to improve yourself, revisit the errors made during the timed practice sessions.
- Next is to practice mock tests intermittently. However, it is a common mistake. Make sure to practice the complete test undistracted.
Practice all sections every day. The reading and listening require you to process the given information and answer the questions. However, in writing and speaking, you must make the content independently. You must get feedback from an expert on all sections. This will help you in identifying your mistakes.
You must study the following resources to make the preparation for IELTS easy.
- Road to IELTS
- The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS
- Cambridge IELTS 17 Academic Student’s Book with Answers
- Newspapers and magazines
Lastly, it is extremely crucial to write the exam at the right time. Begin with the end in mind. Plan your IELTS test date according to the deadline of the university admissions. Start your preparations at least six months before you have to submit the targeted score.
This ensures that you have enough runway to prepare i.e., 30 to 60 days, practice i.e., 15 to 30 days and then write the exam. You can repeat the entire process if you don’t get the targeted IELTS score on the first attempt itself. Also, it is necessary to relax, sleep, and eat well on the day before the examination.
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