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IELTS exam advice: three tips to passing

Updated: May 11, 2022

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Are you preparing to take the IELTS exam? Here are three quick tricks to help you achieve a higher IELTS score band!

Get to know the question types:

There are four areas of the exam you will be scored on: speaking, listening, reading and writing.

In the reading and listening part of the test, you will be presented with many different types of question, and you may find some easier to answer than others. It is advisable that you practise all of the different questions types you may encounter on the exam and then focus on the ones which you find more difficult.

With many question types, you can predict the kinds of content that may come up and it is a good idea to prepare possible answers beforehand. With other types, it is handy to underline key words and to listen out for or underline synonyms in the reading text.

Avoid careless mistakes:

This is something that may seem obvious, but it is also where many people end up falling short on their exam scores. If you pay lots of attention to both the questions and answers you are given this can be avoided.

Another way to avoid careless mistakes is leaving yourself time at the end of the exam to proofread your answers. This helps you make sure you have included everything you want and anything you do not want in is removed.

Make sure you always follow instructions given to you. For example, if the instructor says write no more than three words to answer a question, these words include things like prepositions, contractions and articles. With questions like these (short answers or sentence completion), the words you require will either be the recording or in the body of the text. If the word itself is within the reading text, do not change it, and you can copy the spelling of it. If you do not spell a word correctly that is already in the body of text on the question paper. Needless to say, you will lose marks which could have easily been prevented.

With things such as sentence, note or summary completion, make sure you always read through the question and your answer again after you have completed the task, before doing so again when you proofread towards the end of the exam.

Focus on the language you know you will need:

With a exam such as the IELTS, it is impossible to predict the exact vocabulary topics you will be tested on. This makes it hard to prepare for.

However, there is some language that you will always find useful. For example, in part one of the writing test, you will always be asked to summarise data, therefore it is essential that you learn how to be descriptive of trends and patterns that occur in data.

You will also need to know phrases to summarise things, such as, 'To sum up...' or 'Overall...'. The same also goes for the essay within part two of the writing section. You will need connecting phrases such as 'However...' or 'In addition...', as well as passive structures which are used for describing common ideas (for example, 'It is widely believed that...').

Most importantly, you must be able to understand the grammar and meaning of the vocabulary you are using, as there is nothing more confusing for a reader than many complex words used in an incorrect manner.

Notting Hill College are the leading providers of IELTS exam preparation in Manchester, with the majority of our students passing their examination with ease. If you would like help passing, or are considering working or studying in the UK, get in touch with our friendly tutors to discover more about the IELTS Preparation course.


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