IELTS General Tips: Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing!

Let’s say you’ve passed your IELTS exam with flying colours after 3 attempts! Imagine if you could’ve passed on your first attempt … (perhaps you hadn’t seen anything on IELTS general tips before!) 

IELTS general tips
Put your study hat on and try to anticipate what your expectations are! 

Looking back is easy, but having the foresight to realize your success in the future is more difficult. Hopefully this article from E2Language will equip you with tips and knowledge for success! 

Alright! I know you want to see ALL the best IELTS general tips in one spot … So here they are!

There’s not a lot of free quality IELTS study material on the internet. So, it’s important to have a study strategy and learn some crucial tips that will guide you in the right direction.

The TOP 3 IELTS general tips you can’t miss! 

#1 Know the format

You’ll see this repeated throughout this article and that’s because it’s NO JOKE. Having a familiarity with the types of questions you’ll get on test day will save you the time of figuring out “what is being asked of you” for each task.

#2 Timed Practice 

Whether preparing for writing or speaking, reading or listening, practice with a TIMER! The time restrictions within the exam is often what trips up test takers! Adding this pressure will make you comfortable with responding to questions in a timely manner. 

#3 Strengthen your language skills

Grammar, spelling and vocabulary MATTER! Make sure you use the correct articles, and be careful you don’t record a noun as singular if it was supposed to be plural! These seemingly “little” mistakes can cost you your desired score!

IELTS General Tips for Listening

IELTS general tips
Be prepared to listen carefully to the audio recordings.
TIP #1

Read the questions before the audio starts. This will help you pick out the right information! I used this same tip in my French Language Fluency exam and it made all the difference!

TIP #2

It’s important to write down your answers in the booklet you’re given! TRUST ME! Under that kind of pressure you’ll need the notes! Be sure to transfer them onto the answer sheet correctly.

TIP #3

WRITE IN ALL CAPS. Handwriting is important! Because if the examiner marking your test can’t read your answer, it will be marked as incorrect! Don’t lose points on a question you know the answer for.

TIP #4

If you think you’ve missed an answer … stay focused! You may miss the next if you spend your time freaking out. Move on and try to answer the next question.

TIP #5

Follow directions! If they specify “write no more than one word”, don’t write more than one! It’ll be marked as incorrect! So pay attention to word count specifications!

For more suggestions on IELTS listening check out this blog post here

IELTS General Tips for Reading

PTE speaking preparation

TIP #1

If you don’t already, read plenty of English books and articles in your spare time! Practice summarizing, identifying key information, and main ideas within texts.

TIP #2

Know the format! Don’t underestimate the difficulty of this section simply because you’re an avid reader and you feel like the Reading section is the last thing you need to spend time preparing for.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: IELTS success is largely centered around whether or not the test taker knows the format of the test.

TIP #3

Not only should you know the test’s format but practice answering those same type of questions! Having a strategy for each task is as important as knowing what they are.

For more on IELTS reading tips, check out the E2Language article here

IELTS General Tips for Writing

TIP #1

Have an essay structure! This is a tip I use regardless of whether I’m writing in my second language or first! Having a clear structure and flow is CRITICAL. The best way to write is by following a structure!

TIP #2

Practice! Just like summarizing articles try writing about a passage you’ve read! Use a variety of essay question types and recreate your own scenario.

Here are the 5 types of IELTS essay types:

Writing is hard for everyone and it most definitely does NOT come easily. So be patient with yourself. Practice, read it over and try to learn from the mistakes you make.

TIP #3

Don’t forget Task 1! It’s easy to get scared and focus only on practicing for Write Essay. But remember that there are other tasks in IELTS General Writing!

Use videos like this one to prepare for Task 1:

IELTS General Tips for Speaking

Tip #1

Find a TV series in English you like. Or maybe, movies are more your thing. The most important thing is you watch regularly. This is a great way to improve your pronunciation.

Tip #2

Read out loud. Grab a book or pull up an article and find a place you can comfortably read out loud. Listen to yourself.  I promise it’s worth every minute of practice! Sometimes you feel silly but I’m telling you: the better you get the more confident you’ll feel!

Tip #3

Recording yourself as you speak is another great way to evaluate where you’re at. Try answering simple questions about your hobbies, your family, where you grew up, and your favourite movies.

NOTE: Make sure your answers aren’t too short. But don’t make your responses too long it’s easy to get off topic, and it’s more important to directly answer the question.

Now, rewatch the recording. Do you have a “nervous tick”? Maybe you use a certain word or phrase too often when you’re thinking.

Others have a certain sound that they repeat which can make understanding them difficult. Sometimes it’s a “Mmmmh..” or “Urrrrmms”. These ticks are all giveaways that you’re struggling to find the right words.

REMEMBER: Confidence goes a long way. Try to cut back on any habits that make you look hesitant.

PTE Summarize Spoken Text
This guy could be listening carefully to his recordings (…or maybe he’s sleeping)
Tip #4

If you slip up, try not to let that distract you. Keep going! It’s easy to pause or stutter when, in your mind, you’ve realized you’ve made a mistake on the way you pronounced a word.

But focus on what you’re saying. Don’t try to apologize too much. If you can finish your answer and show confidence in your speaking the examiner is less likely to focus on tiny mistakes.

Tip #5

Make eye contact! This is a great way to show your confidence. Try not to end up staring down too often or spend your time looking at the table. I know it can be scary, but you’ve got this!

Tip #6

Another great way to make yourself seem very confident and comfortable speaking the English language is to use common phrases, and slangs.

You may even want to try turning “It is” to “it’s” or “He is” to “He’s”. These little changes will make your speech sound smoother and more natural.

Follow our social media for more IELTS resources and updates!

Written by: Olivia   

IELTS Listening Tips: How to Boost your Score!

Having the right amount of IELTS preparation is critical for your success. In this article, Jamal provides some crucial IELTS listening tips to improve your score! 

IELTS Listening Tips: An Overview

There are four parts to the IELTS listening test. Each part is about a different topic and gets increasingly more difficult.

The first audio is usually an informal dialogue in a social or everyday situation. For example, a conversation about opening a bank account, or someone inquiring about accommodation or a training course.

The second audio is usually a non-academic monologue. This could be one person giving information on something such as a guided museum tour, information about a conference or tourist information.

The third audio is usually a discussion (between 3-4 people) related to education/training. This may be a discussion between 2 students and a tutor about a group assignment, or among a group of students talking about a project.

The fourth and final audio is usually a university style lecture. This could be related to any academic topic.

Remember to speak to the examiner immediately if you’re having audio problems! 

IELTS listening tips
Listen carefully to the audio sounds, if you cannot hear the audio well, you might need to invest in some bigger ears!

Summary of the Listening Test

  1.  Part 1 – Social context (2 speakers)
  2.  Part 2 – Social context (1 speaker)
  3.  Part 3 – Education/training (2-4 speakers)
  4.  Part 4 – Academic context (1 speaker)

No specialist subject knowledge is necessary. All the answers you need will be provided in the recordings.

The total test time is 40 minutes: 30 minutes of listening, and 10 minutes to transfer your answers from the test sheet onto the answer sheet. There will be 40 questions in total.

Helpful Hints for IELTS Listening

The IELTS listening answer sheet is a very important piece of paper! Your listening scores are calculated according you what you have written on your answer sheet. Therefore, you must make sure you have completed your answer sheet before the end of the time allocated and filled it in correctly!

When transferring your answers from your test booklet to your answer sheet, there are some important things to consider.

Hint #1 Grammar

Incorrect grammar will cost you points. So, be careful with things like plural and singular nouns. There may be clues such as an indefinite article in front of the blank space for the answer which would indicate the answer is a singular noun. Also, be careful with tenses and subject/verb agreement. If the answer is second person singular, don’t forget the ‘s’ at the end of the noun.

Take care with verb tenses. An incorrect noun form or verb tense will be considered an incorrect answer (even if your answer is right!). Capitalization of proper nouns is also important. For example, names of countries, cities or geographical locations (among other things) must be capitalized. For example, if you write “Australia” as “australia” your answer will be marked as incorrect.

Hint #2 Spelling

The same goes for spelling. Incorrect spelling will be marked as an incorrect answer. So, take care.

Hint #3 Handwriting

Although you may feel rushed for time, handwriting is important. If the examiner cannot read what you have written, it will be marked incorrect.

Hint #4 Use all capitals

If you have messy handwriting, or aren’t sure which words you need to capitalize, it might be safer to write your answers in all CAPITALS. For one, words written in all capitals are usually neater and easier to read. Also, you don’t have to worry about losing marks for not capitalizing a word that needs to be capitalized.

Our E2 IELTS YouTube Channel has some useful IELTS Listening tips, including this one:

IELTS Listening Tips

Here are some important IELTS listening tips to remember:

Tip #1: You will be given some time to read the questions before each recording is played. Read the questions very carefully as you will hear each recording only once, so you want to be familiar with the questions before you hear the recording

Tip #2: As you listen, write your answers in your test booklet and then transfer them at the end of the listening test. You will be given 10 minutes to do this. Be sure to check that you have transferred your answers correctly and remember to check your spelling and grammar. Also, be sure to complete your answer sheet. An incomplete answer sheet means and incomplete score.

Tip #3: Don’t worry if you don’t understand everything you hear. Listen out for the keywords from the questions and focus on what you need to be listening out for.

Tip #4: If you miss a question, don’t dwell on it because you may miss the answer to the next one. So, if you miss one, move on.

Tip #5: Make sure you follow the word count in the instructions of each question. For example, if the instructions say “write no more than one word” and you write “the train” instead of “train”, your answer will be marked as incorrect.

Tip #6: There is no negative marking, so you will just get a zero for an incorrect or incomplete answer.

Tip #7: Always cross check your answers from your answer sheet to your listening booklet.

The IELTS Listening and Reading Test Sheet

IELTS Listening Tips
See this sample of the IELTS Listening and Reading answer sheet from the British Council.

To do well in the IELTS Listening Test, register and attend the E2Language IELTS General and Academic Live Classes. And check out the E2Language Blog IELTS activities for more practice!

Follow our social media for more IELTS resources and updates!

 

 

Written by Jamal A.

How to Develop Your IELTS Vocabulary

The development of comprehensive IELTS vocabulary is crucial to your IELTS score.

Vocabulary is one of the building blocks of language and a necessary requirement for success in the IELTS. Being ready for the IELTS requires a lot of preparation, including understanding the test, knowing the strategies, and practicing. In addition to all of that, you need vocabulary. It is essential for the reading section, the listening section, for writing a good essay and for being able to speak impressively in the speaking test. To do well, you need to know words. It is believed that it takes 15-20 exposures to a new word for it to become part of your vocabulary. So here are my top 10 methods for integrating new words into your English library.

IELTS Vocabulary Tip: Read, read, read!

The more you read, the more words you’ll be exposed to. This is essential for IELTS preparation, and for increasing your English fluency. Reading doesn’t have to be boring. Read about things that interest you: Food, gardening, fashion, celebrity news, economics, science, politics, etc. As you read, you will discover new words in context. You can infer the meaning of new words from the context of the sentence. If not, then look the word up in an English to English dictionary.

IELTS Vocabulary Tip: Use an English to English dictionary and thesaurus.

You can use hard copies or online versions such as dictionary.com and thesaurus.com.  When you come across a new word, look it up in the dictionary. An online dictionary will give you the definition and will let you hear the pronunciation. It’s important not to just use a translation tool. A translation may be helpful for you to understand the meaning of the word in your native language, but it will not help you integrate the word into your English mental library. You need to be able to think of the word in English, and not rely on a translation. Otherwise you will be thinking of the word in your own language and will have difficulty recovering it in English when you need it. Then use the thesaurus to find synonyms. You don’t have to memorise every synonym (there may be too many). Choose a couple of interesting ones and add them to your vocabulary journal.

IELTS Vocabulary

IELTS Vocabulary Tip: Use a vocabulary journal.

This can be a little notebook that you keep with you where you record new words that you hear or read. Steps 4-7 will explain useful ways to use a vocabulary journal.

IELTS Vocabulary Tip: Organise your journal thematically.

Group words together that relate to a similar topic to make it easier to remember and relate them. These categories could be food, hobbies, nature, society, etc.

IELTS Vocabulary Tip: List the different forms of the word.

For example its noun, verb, adjective and adverb form, as well as its past participle. Let’s take the word “manage”. It is a verb. The noun form is “management”, the adjective is “manageable” and the adverb is “manageably”. The past participle is “managed. Now you know five new words instead of one! This will impress your IELTS examiner and increase your mental word bank. A dictionary will usually give you the different word forms abbreviated as (n) for noun (v) for verb, (adj) for adjective and (adv) for adverb.

IELTS Vocabulary Tip: Collocate!

List words that the word collocates with. For example, manage effectively; manage competently; efficient management; competent management, etc.

IELTS Vocabulary Tip: Write, write, write!

Writing helps to ingrain new words into your memory. When we hear and see a new word, it becomes part of our passive Our passive vocabulary includes words that we can understand but not use. We want to make new words part of our active vocabulary. This means we can both understand and use new words. To do this, we need to use them! One way is to write sentences using the new word in two or more of its word forms. Even better, integrate reading with writing by writing a short summary of an article you have read using 2 or 3 new words from the article in their various forms. Remember to check your spelling! At the end of each week, go back to your list. Pick 10 words from that week and write a short story, even if it’s just 100 words. It can be a personal reflection, a review of something you read that week, or a practice IELTS essay.

IELTS Vocabulary Tip: Listen!

Hearing words in context will help you hear how words are used and also familiarise you with their pronunciation. Watch music videos or short movie clips on YouTube with English subtitles. When you hear a word that you don’t know, or have difficulty pronouncing, play it again and sound it out. Also, Ted ESL and Ted Ed are great sources for interesting and inspiring talks on a variety of topics. You can watch videos and read the transcripts to see the spelling of new words that you hear in the talks. This will help you understand the pronunciation of words, how they are used in context, and how they are spelt.

IELTS Vocabulary Tip: Learn a word a day.

Check the English Learner’s Dictionary word of the day for a new word each day with the definition, pronunciation, word form and example sentences. Add them to your journal list and use them in your journal writing and IELTS writing practice.

IELTS Vocabulary Tip: Speak!

Incorporate the new words into your everyday conversation. Talk to your friends about a movie you saw or an article you read, or a hobby you did, using new words you learned that week. The best way to remember words is to use them! This will grow your vocabulary and make the word part of your mental word bank. This will increase your speaking fluency which will help you in the IELTS speaking test, and in your everyday English development.

Check out our free webinars on YouTube, including our recent IELTS reading webinar:

Do you have any questions about IELTS vocabulary or IELTS preparation? Ask us on our free forum!

 

Written by Jamal Abilmona.

Jamal Abilmona is an expert IELTS teacher, curriculum designer and language buff. She has taught English for general and academic purposes in classrooms around the world and currently writes e-learning material for E2Language.com.