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!)
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 check out this blog post on IELTS Listening Tips: How to Boost Your Score!
IELTS General Tips for Reading
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
Written by: Olivia