Tips for IELTS test preparation
A few helpful tips and links to online resources that will help you and your group to prepare for the test.
Chapter 1. Get to know the IELTS test - and know yourself as a test taker.
Chapter 2. Practice language skills in general (reading, speaking, listening, writing -- lexis, grammar etc)
About the test
First: Decide which module you will sign up for: Academic Module or the General Training Module. The listening and the speaking tests are the same for both modules. The reading and writing tests are separate. The Academic module is more demanding, but universities and many employers usually require that the candidate has taken the Academic test. Once you know which test you need to take practice the task types for that particular module.
Second: Decide what your goal is. Read the band descriptors (scores and requirements) and take practice tests to see what you need to work on.
a) Know the test really well. Why?
- You do not want surprises during the test situation.
- You don't waste time trying to figure out what you are expected to do.
- 'Practice makes perfect'. If you know the different task types you can be more relaxed during the test.
- When you know the task types you know what special features and tricks to look out for.
- In the reading test you can implement appropriate reading strategies for each task type and save time.
- Know how the test is structured. Create familiarity with the format and understand how it is scored.
b) Know yourself. Why?
- Know your own strengths and weaknesses (grammar, vocabulary, expressing yourself, pronunciation issues etc). This will help you practice the things you need to improve the most.
- Know what takes time for you and focus your practice on that skill (for example reading speed)
- Practice the different tasks and time yourself (use a timer to improve your time management)
- Try to develop relaxation techniques to cope with stress. Panic will destroy your chances.
c) Use online materials. Work with friends. Why?
- Find several sites where they have actual IELTS tests (listening and reading tests, writing samples and typical topics for the speaking.)
- Share useful materials with friends. When you give you get!
- Work with friends. In groups or with a friend:
- Share materials and sites
- Give and get feedback
- Correct each other's writing tasks
- Do practice interviews
- Take turns in "being the teacher". Take turns preparing a presentation on a grammatical structure or vocabulary etc...
- Decide what is important to you and prepare a work calendar. Work 10 - 30 minutes every day
Find List of sites for Ielts materials
This is NOT an exhaustive list. You will find more good sites and materials on the web. Many of these sites have ads as they are free of charge.
About developing the language skills in general (for life) and for the test
First: Learning to read, speak, write and listen English better is a life skill. The time you spend learning English is never wasted. You will have more choices and opportunities when you speak good English.
Second: IELTS test preparation will help you learn better and faster. As an added bonus you also learn how to learn effectively, you learn to collaborate with friends, and you learn to control your emotions in test situations.
a) Plan your learning and create a calendar of things to do everyday.
b) Make learning fun by reading and listening to things you are interested in.
c) Use apps and various cool tools on the web to make learning fun.