7 IELTS Preparation Tips to Score Higher Bands
Cracking the code to a high IELTS score might seem a magical trick to students, but it’s more of a common sense than a secret. It’s a surprising fact that many students tend to make taking the exam more difficult for them than it should be. However, this not only adds to the cost for the students but also the additional stretch of time required, considering the number of attempts one makes, to achieve the desired result.
Hundreds of students appear for IELTS exam with a vision to achieve the required score, and hence, move on for a better life abroad. Achieving a high band score of 7 or 8 has become a nightmare for many while others are able to easily achieve the target and get started with a new life in a developed nation. The major difference between success & failure lies in the approach to preparing for the exam. Consider the important factors below if you are planning to, or preparing for, an IELTS exam.
Book your test only when you know you can achieve the required score –
Though this seems to be a matter of common sense, yet many students start thinking about their English level and the exam only after booking the test. This is probably because many students hold the belief that they have to book a slot for the test without considering their skill level and grip on the language. But they get disappointed after scoring a mere 5-6 band level while having a target of 8 bands.
Considering the enormous gap between the two scores, you need to study hard and practice a lot to bridge the gap. So, before booking the exam, it is advised to evaluate your level against the target goal and start preparing for the same. Almost every IELTS training center conducts mock tests for students before their actual test, which measure the level of their English language skills at an almost accurate scale. Get your evaluation done at a center, and if you get a score of around 5-6 bands in such a practice test but targeting a higher score, booking a slot now will be a waste of money only.
Create a preparation plan –
Organize your preparation for the exam with a plan and stick to it, in order to achieve the needed result instead of leaving it to the last minute. A stronghold over a language comes with time and practice, so making any hurry could lead to less than expected results in the end. Since IELTS exam comprises of 4 parts/segments of the English language, you need to devote time to each module equally.
Start with evaluating the number of hours per day/week that you can invest for your preparation and divide the available time for each part. Also make sure that your preparation plan helps you cover almost every section on a regular basis. This will help you improve on all parts equally and hence, deliver an all-round performance on the day of the exam.
Learning & skill enhancement is different than practice tests –
Another belief that holds students back is that starting their preparations with practice tests helps them perform better in the exam. However, this doesn’t help much as working on skills and creating a strong grip on the language is required before taking any test (be it a practice test or the real one). Students should start with improving on different sections of the language by learning grammar points, vocabulary, and other things. Only after all the areas of the learning part are covered, you should start with attempting the practice tests.
Since the IELTS exam evaluates students for their application of the language skills, so taking the exam and scoring higher seems easier if you are well versed with different parts of the language and their use. After taking some practice tests, do carefully check both your strong and weak areas and work on improving the latter. Point out your mistakes and find their root cause, which could be grammar, vocabulary, or any other. Practice more on your weaker areas and start improving to avoid repeating mistakes.
Practice regularly –
Don’t forget that the IELTS exam tests your level of comfort with the English and mastering a language needs regular practice. Moreover, improving language skills needs regular investment of time and attention, so you shouldn’t stop practicing until you appear for the exam. And, if you fail to achieve the desired result and plan to appear for the second time, you should keep practicing regularly.
This doesn’t always mean sticking around with your IELTS books, but with the language and its application. You can read English books, novels, listen to podcasts, English songs, watch movies, news, and do much more. Everything that involves a communication in English will help you improve your skills in one way or the other. You can also find local friends or join online groups with people on the same path of IELTS preparation as you. Having conversations and discussions with other students preparing for the exam can help in mutual benefits of skill enhancement.
Self-belief and confidence are essential –
If you believe in yourself that you can achieve the target score, you can do it with ease. However, building self-confidence becomes difficult if you have failed to achieve the required score after taking the exam for a few times. This failure doesn’t mean that you can never get the desired band score, but it means that you need to learn more and practice more. Learning a language is easy if you do it regularly, as you all have learned/mastered all aspects of your native language with regular practice (use) from your childhood.
What makes leaning a language harder is that it demands practice, patience, and a belief that you will definitely reach the level that you desire. Thus, giving up is not an option or an answer to the failure. Allow more time to yourself and gain better exposure to the language (not only through books but through other modes as well, mentioned in the above point). And, if you think you have lesser time than it will take you to reach the required level, getting an IELTS expert (a trainer) help will speed up your learning and skill enhancement.
Preparing for IELTS should be fun, and not a headache –
When you prepare for IELTS, you not only learn the language but get a chance to communicate with people across the world. Moreover, you also get a chance to learn about a new culture, its literature, customs, and music as language is a common mode of expressing all of these. There are many exciting things that you can do to improve your written as well as spoken English while preparing for the exam. However, if learning the new language is becoming tedious or seems like a burden, you should change your study approach.
Many students start feeling panic during their exams due to the fear of IELTS being considered as a nightmare for many taking the exam. Some feel nervous while attempting the writing or reading part, others feel problems during the writing part as they haven’t practiced it much. Those who don’t have many options to speak to others or converse in English, face difficulties while taking the speaking test. Any sign of nervousness is signifies lack of preparation for that particular part. When you start feeling confident about how to attempt each section, you are ready to take the exam and score the desired result.
Be realistic about your skill level while booking a date and make sure that you are ready to take the exam or have enough time for the required preparations.
Get help from an expert –
Getting help is recommended if you are running short of time and wish to make the learning curve simpler and easier. The more the expert help you get, the faster you can achieve your defined goal. Not only this, having an IELTS trainer by your side helps you with an honest evaluation of where you stand against your target score and how you need to practice & prepare for the same.
If you have already taken an IELTS exam and aren’t able to score the required bands, you need to find gaps in your preparation strategy and create a new plan. As mentioned above, there is no secret magic to a big score in the language testing exam, but a regular practice along with the knowledge of some exam techniques. An IELTS teacher will help you prepare the right strategy, learn techniques to attempt different sections of the exam, and hence, reach your target score without making multiple attempts.
Apart from a professional teacher (or trainer), you can also connect with other people who are preparing or have taken the exam. You might get help from someone better at reading (or any other module you are weak at) and in return, help him/her with the section you are better at.
Thus, a combination of the right strategy & preparation plan, based on the evaluation of your language skills with the right amount of time & practice is the key to success in