‘IELTS has four parts – Listening (30 minutes), Reading (60 minutes), Writing (60 minutes) and Speaking (11–14 minutes). The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes. The Listening, Reading and Writing tests are completed in one sitting. The Speaking test may be on the same day or up to seven days before or after the other tests.’
You can get a high score in the IELTS by following the tips given below:
TIPS FOR LISTENING
1. Read before you listen – predict the answer
One difficulty in the exam is that you are not just listening but reading the question and writing the answer simultaneously. One simple tip is to read the questions before you listen to know what you are listening for. It is a difficult skill to master, but it can sometimes help to try and predict the type of answer you are looking for: is it a name, for instance, or a number?
2. Read as you listen – focus on the whole question
A considerable proportion of mistakes are made not because you haven’t listened well but because you do not focus on the question. As you are listening, focus on the precise wording of the question.
3. Look at two questions at once
One difficulty is that the answers to 2 questions often come quickly, one after the other. Can you get both answers? Maybe, maybe not: but the only way you can is to be ready for the next question.
I’d add that it’s no problem getting one question wrong; the real problem is if you lose track of your position in the listening, and you are still listening for question 13 when the tape has moved onto question 15.
4. Don’t leave the writing to the end
Sometimes candidates leave the writing part to the end, thinking that they will remember what they listened to. In my experience, this rarely works: there’s a lot of information, you’re under stress, and, most importantly, after each listening, you should be moving onto the next set of questions to read them.
5. Practice your shorthand
You do not have to write everything that you down: you have 10 minutes, in the end, to copy your answers onto the answer sheet. So what you need to do is learn how to write down enough to understand as you are listening to write it out in whole later. The one exception to this is in part 1 with numbers and names where you have to write everything out in full as you are listening – that is the challenge.
6. Don’t write the answer too quickly
Sometimes you hear what you think is the answer, but the speaker goes on to correct themselves or give slightly different information:
“So I’ll see you on Wednesday afternoon.”
“Sorry, I’m busy then. How about Thursday evening?”
“Fine, Thursday at seven 0’clock.”
7. Don’t leave any blank answers
There are two reasons for this. Firstly, your guess may well be accurate, mainly if it is a multiple-choice style question. Secondly, there is a danger if you leave a blank that you write the answers in the wrong boxes on the answer sheet, and that can be a problem.
8. Listen for repeated information
This doesn’t always work, but sometimes the answer’s words are repeated: if you need to make a guess choose the words you hear repeatedly, they could be the answer.
9. Look for clues in the question
A frequent question type is completing a table; in this type of question, you will often find clues to the answer by looking at the other information in the table. In particular, look at the headings of the rows and columns: if, for example, the heading says “equipment” and some of the completed boxes say “paperclips” and “cardboard”, you have a good clue as to what you should be listening for.
TIPS FOR READING
Read Academic Texts
Read in your free time! The IELTS texts are “general academic texts”. This means they are taken from sources such as textbooks and specialist magazines and journals. If you are not familiar with reading these kinds of texts in English, you must start reading them in your free time so that you are used to the types of language and structure used when you meet them in the exam. Three common sources for IELTS texts are: National Geographic, the New Scientist and the Economist. You can get these magazines in most bookshops.
Focus on the text first, the questions second! A good understanding of the text helps you answer the questions more efficiently and effectively.
IELTS exam writers choose a range of specific types of texts. Learning to identify the type of text you are reading can help you predict its structure and understand it faster. There are four types of IELTS texts a) analytic texts, which discuss the reasons why something happened or make recommendations or explain a concept b) descriptive texts, which describe a situation, explain how something is done or categorize something c) discursive texts, in which different opinions are expressed about an issue and d) narrative texts, which explain a chronological sequence of events.
Develop your ability to skim. Skimming is reading quickly by skipping over unimportant words like prepositions and overlooking difficult words that you don’t need to understand. Do this to get a general idea about a text or a paragraph or search for the answer to a question intensively.
Learn to scan. Scanning is what you do when you look for a price in an advertising text or a name in a telephone book. You do not need to read the text when you can but move your eyes quickly over it. You can scan from left to right or right to left, from top to bottom or bottom to top. Do this to find the location of answers in the texts looking out for easy to spot words like numbers, dates and words beginning with capital letters such as place names.
Learn to recognize paragraph structure. This often involves spotting the relationship between the main ideas and supporting ideas in a paragraph. Paragraphs are most frequently descending, i.e. they begin with the main idea somewhere near the start and develop from there. However, some, often the first and last paragraphs of a text, are ascending – the main idea is located towards the end. This can be particularly helpful when matching headings to paragraphs.
Get an overview of a text before dealing with the questions. Do this by reading the title and subtitle and focusing on the beginnings and ends (but not JUST the first and last sentences) of paragraphs. This helps you process the information in a text (and thereby answer the questions) more quickly.
Learn to detect parallel phrases. These are different ways of expressing the same thing: “I like to ski” and “skiing is enjoyable”. Many questions, e.g. YES NO NOT GIVEN questions and gap fills, test your ability to match up a similar phrase in the task with its equivalent in the text.
Don’t panic when you find an unknown or difficult word. IELTS texts are packed with highly specialized vocabulary. Skip over difficult words which are not necessary for your understanding of the text. For words you do need to understand, practice trying to guess their meaning using the overall context of the text and sentence and the form of the word – e.g. is it a noun or verb.
Manage Your Time
Time management in the exam. Most IELTS candidates run out of time in the third reading section. Each text should take you roughly 20 minutes (the examiners will tell you after 20 minutes have passed). Never spend too much time on a single question – guess the answer or leave it to return to later. Also, if you feel you are running out of time, tackle questions like gap-fills before doing “easy to guess” tasks like YES NO NOT GIVEN questions. Don’t forget you also have to have all your answers on your mark sheet by the end of the test. A good tip is to write them on the mark sheet in pencil as you go, correcting where necessary at the end.
TIPS FOR WRITING
Practice as much as you can because practise makes a man perfect.
Always stick to the word limit whenever you practice writing.
Make it a habit to read daily. Expand your vocabulary. Also, pay attention to sentence formation while reading, which would further help you make your writing skills more effective.
Always structure your ideas first before you start writing on any topic.
TIPS FOR SPEAKING
- Be optimistic that you will achieve a good band in the IELTS exam.
- Record what you speak and listen to it carefully. By doing this, you will come to know about your areas of improvement.
- Practice speaking in front of a mirror. Try and make eye contact with yourself while speaking because, during an IELTS exam, it is always good to make eye contact with the examiner to impact positively.
- Visualize while speaking, which will give you enough confidence about speaking on any topic. Also, you will have enough points to say.
- Read an article and summarize it in your own words.
- Be confident and spontaneous in expressing your views.
- .Work on your pronunciation daily.