The International English Language Testing System, commonly known by its easier acronym IELTS, is a common requirement for those persons who wish to work in an English-speaking country or study in an English-speaking country or a university with English as a mode of instruction. The examination has been designed keeping in mind the linguistic ability of candidates as a result of which significant attention is paid to reading, writing, speaking, and listening. While the popularity of IELTS is worldwide considering it is accepted by more than a thousand organizations across the globe, you should not risk underestimating it.
IELTS is an important exam and requires dedication and hard work in the right amount. A good score can increase your chances of getting your dream university abroad or easier placement process, but good scores do not grow on trees. You will have to put your mind and soul into it, and I am going to tell you how to do that smartly. Here are 5 tips that can help you to crack IELTS. Apart from focusing on the substance of the paper, work on these operational aspects that will help you cope with pressure during the exam.
- Time is key
I cannot emphasize enough the value of time management during any exam. You may think that you can get done with the paper without losing track of time—but time waits for none, and if you make even a single mistake, then you won’t get back the time lost. It is, therefore, necessary to appreciate the task of keeping a track of time.
In an ILETS paper, differential section-wise time allotments happen. There are 4 sections, namely Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing of which the first and fourth are of 60 minutes each, and the second and third are 40 minutes and 15 minutes respectively. Unless you prepare for the exam keeping these time slots in mind, you are most likely to flunk in time management at the time when you must not.
- Avoid Picking up an accent you don’t have
Out of desperation or under a misguided notion that western accent gets you better scores, candidates often end up imitating the accent thinking that it would work. IT DOES NOT! Let me make it clear that it is very easy to note a forced foreign accent, and the invigilators can very well deduct marks if you do. It is highly advised that you work on your natural accent—in fact, focus on fundamentals such as grammar, pronunciation, sentence formation and vocabulary. A foreign accent won’t remedy the lack of any of these.
- Practice Mock Tests As If Your Life Depends on Them
Drawing from my own experience, I would strongly urge candidates of IELTS to practice as many mock tests as they can. The advantages of mock tests are multi-fold: you are exposed to a variety of questions, you will develop a knack for eliminating wrong answers, you will learn time management, you will be able to self-evaluate and work on your weakness, and you will become absolutely familiar with the format which will ultimately subdue exam-time nervousness.
For the listening and speaking sections, it is advised that you dedicate at least an hour for them. Ask your friends or anyone else you deem fit to engage in an English conversation or participate in learning activities. This is, especially, crucial if you come from a country where English is seldom spoken.
- WRITE ON PAPER!
This is the 21st century which has rapidly replaced handwritten documentation with computerized ones. Today, most of us end up typing out our work on PCs or laptops which means our handwriting skills might be not as polished as we expect them to be. IELTS is conducted in two forms: you can opt for the computer-based exam or the paper-based exam. However, note that in both the forms there is still one section you will end up writing on paper—and for that you need pace. How you write does not matter, but what you write and how quickly you write—that does. So, take my advice, and write as much as you can during preparation. Take up an essay topic every day and write about it.
- Be Moderate While Your Speak
One of the most common mess-ups during IELTS is that candidates end up speaking either too fast or too slow. Note that the pace of speaking should be moderate so that the invigilators are able to comprehend your speech. Also, the tone should not be too loud or low because that affects effective comprehension and signifies tension. You must regulate your breath and think before speaking. It is, therefore, necessary that you invest a great deal of time conversing with people around you to hone your speech so that you are not daunted during the exam.