Preparing for any examination or test can make you feel incredibly overwhelmed about where to begin and how to learn, which is why proper planning is necessary to get you started. It is always necessary to plan your work and then work your plan rigorously.
Firstly, take a lot of practice tests as this serves as a key to identifying your strengths and weaknesses. This will help in building up your strengths and improving your weaknesses, thus creating a solid foundation for the examination.
If it is difficult for you to understand your mistakes, you need an expert by your side to clear your doubts and guide you. Preferring an IELTS Preparation Course is one of the easiest ways to approach the test as this focuses solely on preparing you for the examination.
Secondly, you have to understand the format of the test before beginning your practice. It is necessary to familiarize yourself by reviewing the content of the test along with the questions and task types for each section. Sound familiarity with the test pattern and format will help you pass through the test easily.
Thirdly, understanding the structure of the test will help you in completing it successfully within the allocated time frame. Conduct your preparation under timed conditions so that you can follow the pace of the test.
Each module has a fixed time and if you are unable to complete the modules within the prescribed time limit, it will be difficult for you to concentrate accordingly due to the timing pressure. The tests conducted during a preparatory course are under the time limit which will help you get used to the pace of the test.
Fourthly, students tend to focus only on IELTS but forget to improve their English which is the biggest mistake made by them. IELTS is an English proficiency test but many people forget to assess their current English level which is most probably in the intermediate or lower level.
Learning IELTS is a process and it takes 12 weeks on average to move up a score band by one point. Thus, it is necessary to start preparations at least 3-6 months prior and it is highly recommended to find a guide who will help you with English development and IELTS strategies.
Fifthly, in an IELTS test, the listening module is demanding and you will have to provide 40 questions throughout 4 recordings. The challenge is that the recordings will be played at once and it is found that questions include sentence completion, summary completion, multiple-choice and form completion.
If you are lost during a conversation, you will have to recover fast or you will miss all the questions of that task which would be a disaster. Thus, it is necessary to learn how to follow a conversation and how you can recover to continue answering the following questions. Also, you must be aware of the type of information to give depending on the question type.
Sixthly, the reading module serves the purpose of testing a wide range of reading skills such as reading for main ideas, reading for gist, reading for detail, understanding logical argument, skimming and recognizing writers\’ opinions, attitudes and purpose.
Test takers will have to provide short answers, complete sentences, match information and headings or complete diagram labels. It is necessary for you to practice a wide range of questions so that you are accustomed to each time. You will not be able to go through the given text several times due to the time limit and thus, it is necessary to just skim the text and look for the information alone.
Seventhly, the writing module is the part which is found difficult by people and both tasks must be written in a formal style. Task 1 expects the candidates to describe and explain data and task 2 presents several challenges.
The topic will be hard to develop if you are not familiar with it and the essay must have a proper structure. You must understand the requirements of each task and must be prepared to answer both of them.
For task 1, appropriate language must be used and it is necessary to ensure that your practice includes different types of charts such as line graphs, pie charts, bar graphs, etc. For task 2, familiarize yourself with the structure of an essay which will help you in connecting your ideas using appropriate English.
Eighthly, the speaking test is less than 15 minutes long and is split into three parts from which the first 5 minutes are reserved for introduction and general topics between the examiner and test taker. The second part assesses the ability of the test taker to speak on a random topic given on a task card and the last part adds complexity to the second.
The examiner will pay keen attention to the pronunciation, lexical resource and fluency of the candidates. It is necessary to practice each part under the condition of the examination to get accustomed to the pressure of the examination. You can make a note that will help you to talk for two minutes during the second part of the test.
It is equally important to practice answering questions when the answer is not known. It is important to keep in mind throughout that you are tested for your English proficiency and not your knowledge. Consistent practice is the key to success during the preparatory phase of the examination.
Ninthly, along with your test preparation, expose yourself to the language as much as you can such as reading things that interest you in English, blogs, online magazines, etc. Keep a diary for yourself and write English every day by keeping a blog or communicating with an online community.
Listen to native speakers talking to one another and try the shadowing technique which involves repeating what someone has just said which will help in pronunciation, intonation and stress. Self-learning will be a possible route only if you are committed and consistent and are able to find someone who is able to give you feedback.