IELTS, the International English Language Testing System, is designed to assess the language ability of candidates who need to study or work where English is the language of communication.
IELTS is jointly managed by the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL), British Council and IDP: IELTS Australia. IELTS conforms to the highest international standards of language assessment.
IELTS is recognised by universities and employers in many countries, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the USA. It is also recognised by professional bodies, immigration authorities and other government agencies.
These are some tips for what to do on the day of the exam itself and immediately before it. While IELTS is a test to measure your English, it does of course feel like an exam and the people who do best in exams tend to be those who have exam day strategies.
Just before the exam
You need to be as relaxed as possible. Of course you’re nervous, this is an important exam for you, but you will do better if you can control your nerves. People have different ways of dealing with nerves. If you have a technique that works for you be sure to use it – and allow plenty of time for this.
Get a good night’s rest before the test, and make sure you arrive at the test venue in plenty of time. Arriving late will not help you perform to your best.
Having said that , here are a few tips to help you do well on each section.
Keep the length of your answers relevant. If you decide to keep on speaking until the examiner stops you, that will be wrong as the examiner may never stop you and you may start losing focus.
Don’t learn answers ‘by heart’ and practice them. This process will make you more nervous, and the chances are you will not asked the exact same question you prepared for.
Listen to the question carefully and then answer it. If you need any clarification, ask before answering so that your answer is relevant.
Talk in English before your exam. The simple reason behind this is to get your mind to start thinking in English. The best way to talk in English is to first start processing your thoughts in English.
Don’t divide total time by the number of questions. You get 60 minutes to answer 40 questions, so that gives you one and half minutes on each question. This process is wrong as there are different strategies that you need to consider. The initial few questions will take longer because you still have to figure out how the text is organized. You can decide to give a bit more time to the more hard passage, and a bit less to the easier one.
It is not necessary to first read the question and then read the passage to figure out where the answer is. It might work for some people, and may not for others. You can read the text quickly to get an idea of the content. You save time this way as you know which part of the text has the answer. First try both approaches and see which one works better for you as there is no right or wrong approach.
Leave as much time as possible for planning out the written answers. If you know what you want to say, you will write quicker and more precisely. First take two minutes to organize your thoughts and then start writing.
Save five minutes for the end to read your answer again. This is done to make sure there aren’t any repeated words. This is called repetition in language, and is a fatal error in any language exam. Make sure to double-check your answer.
Focus on the whole question, not don’t just look for keywords in it. Two questions can contain one keyword but can be completely different. Keywords only tell you the context of the question, not the answer.
Don’t write down everything as you are listening. If you are busy writing, then you are not listening.
Similar to the reading section, look at the complete question and listen closely. You will be required to read, write and think at the same time but most of your time needs to be spent listening.
After the Test
Once you’re finished, take time to reflect on your exam.
Now, you have to wait 13 days to get your results. Don’t dwell on how you did because you cannot change it, you’ve reflected on the exam and that’s enough. Enjoy the next 13 days.
You will be able to preview your test results online, and your results will arrive in your mailbox not long after. Your test centre will also have sent your results to any Recognizing Organizations you have requested.
Do your part to stay calm and have a positive attitude. The administrators, invigilators, and test day staff will do their part to help your day go as smoothly as possible!
Do your best – By being prepared, studying before test day, knowing the rules, and being rested, you can focus all your energy on achieving your goals