Important tips to ace your IELTS with confidence
November is the time of the year when most scholarships are opening their applications for aspiring scholars for January intake. Although nations are still struggling with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and universities are operated on blended learning, young professionals are actively seeking post-graduate degrees in world-class institutions.
As a scholar myself, I don’t want to miss opportunities to hone my knowledge and skills through higher education especially, I know that it will equip me to better support my country’s economic recovery from the post-pandemic world.
Let opportunities motivate you
IELTS is quite expensive, and some students opted not to take IELTS because of the price. However, IELTS is still the most widely accepted English language proficiency test worldwide. And without achieving the set band score of each university, we cannot secure an admission offer from our chosen university.
Thus, I highly advise you to never delay or hesitate in taking your IELTS as early as possible and instead focus on the opportunities that lie ahead after acing your test such as the IELTS Prize which I won this academic year.
Know which test to take
There are two IELTS tests, the Academic test, and the General Training test. It is very important to know which one to take before you start preparing. The difference between the two is that the IELTS Academic is undertaken to meet university requirements. For work or work-related training in an English-speaking country, test takers must take IELTS General Training.
For my postgraduate studies here in the UK, I took the IELTS Academic for UKVI offered by the British Council. Like me, if you aspire to study in the UK or apply for professional registration, I suggest you take the IELTS Academic. This is a Secure English Language Test (SELT) approved by the UK home office for visa applications to the United Kingdom.
Learn the IELTS test
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an internationally recognized language test designed to assess the language ability of test takers who aspire to study or work in areas where English is the language of communication.
Understanding the IELTS content and format is quite important. The test covers listening, reading, writing, and speaking with a specific schedule. Therefore, learn as much as you can to know exactly how the test is being conducted and what challenges you might encounter in your grammar, comprehension, vocabulary, and speed. This will help you to practice more in which area of the test you needed to improve through simulating yourself with mock exams.
In the actual Reading and Writing section, you are only given an hour each to accomplish the passages and tasks. So, learn to manage your time wisely. During my test, I allotted 50 minutes in Writing Task 1 and 2, and 10 minutes to review my grammar and spelling, and at the same time make sure that my essays do not exceed the word limit.
Another factor that I considered is the scoring, to put it simply, understanding the way, you are assessed the better prepared you are. That’s why I made sure I know how my band score is assessed.
I read blogs of other test takers about how they give more time in Writing task 2 because the percentage of scoring is higher and it needs more critical thinking. Since I know my capabilities as a writer, I realized that Writing task 2 is my strength. This allows me to balance my time and focus more on practicing Writing task 1.
For the Listening and Reading section, you get points for every correct answer. I reviewed sample tests from the IELTS Prep App and Cambridge IELTS 15 to prepare for these sections. For the Speaking and Writing sections, an examiner will assess you. To gain a higher band score, I requested a friend to review my writings and practice some mock speaking interviews with her.
I also read some of the Frequently asked questions (FAQs) in the British Council website.
Aim to reach your target band score
In preparing for your IELTS, you have to set your goals and be clear with your target band score. In my case, my university required me to have a 6.5 overall score with no less than 6.0 in any section, this means that I have to be a competent user.
Once, I set my target band score, I then assessed my level of English language. Since English was my undergraduate university’s medium of instruction, I know that my level of English can qualify with my target band score. However, if I aim higher than this, I need more time to improve my competencies and achieve the right level of English.
This English skill assessment made me plan my time frame and maximize the review materials provided by the British Council. I booked my IELTS one month before the actual test to give myself ample time to study and be physically and mentally prepared for my test.
That’s it! Just be confident and enjoy your IELTS journey!
To keep myself updated, I followed these online platforms: