Many students come with the expectation that they can achieve the targeted band score in IELTS exam without much practice. Improving your English is a continuous process, and it cannot be achieved without great deal of practice and hard work. There is actually no shortcut to your success in IELTS. However, as an examinee, you should always try to work in an organised and consistent manner so that you can formulate a plan to improve. Let us try to highlight few important points which will help you to understand how to attain success and the desired score in the IELTS exam.
Have an understanding of your current level – It is extremely important to adjudge your current IELTS preparation level, as then only you can practise accordingly. You can also search for materials that are appropriate for your level and start working more effectively. It is also important to assess your current approximate band score, as then you can set realistic goals for your target achievement. For example, if you get a score of 5.5 to 6 in your mock test in one of the four modules, you should not expect to score a band of 7 in the real exam if you are targeting to sit for it very soon. Instead you should set a realistic goal and give ample time for preparing thoroughly before you go for the actual exam.
Make a proper plan for diverse studies – IELTS is an exam that tries to assess your command over English language as a whole, and for this you need to know your English speaking ability. One thing is for certain, if you speak English well, you will not struggle in the IELTS exam. However, only practicing specific IELTS techniques will not help. You have to work on your overall English skills. Here are a few pointers as how you can work on it.
- Try to strike a conversation in English with a friend, relative, speaking partner and practice every day. Do not worry about mistakes, grammatical errors or mispronunciations; this is just a way to build up confidence and fluency.
- Listen to podcasts and watch your favourite movies and TV shows. In fact, listen to or watch anything in English. Over time, you understanding of English will improve greatly.
- Start expressing your thoughts in English if you are not a native English speaker. Throw yourself in everyday situation where English is used. Join a club, a social networking site etc, where English is the mode of expression. Your command over English will improve drastically, and that too in a short period.
Seek expert advice or take some coaching – Self study is very important, but getting a proper guidance to assure success in the exam is also equally important. Try searching for IELTS classes in your locality/area. Online coaching classes also are of great help. It is very important to work with others in a structured, formative yet open environment where you get proper and systematic guidance regarding how to crack the exam with sure shot success. There are so many online courses and books that you can use as well. Remember though, that not all materials are equal. Check the reviews and recommendations to see which ones are the best, and of course look to see whether they are appropriate for your level.
- Read novels, articles, news stories, and so on. A little reading each day will help you a lot. Don’t worry if you don’t understand everything – even native speakers sometimes come across words or ideas they don’t understand.
- Get used to writing in English, even if it’s just a short post on social media. Even though it may not seem helpful, if you often write things in English, it will assist you better your English skills. You can even write a blog. As mentioned before, do not worry about errors. You will notice a marked improvement in your English skills within a short time.
- Try keeping a notebook of language. When you read or hear something interesting, write it down. You can check Google later or consult a dictionary to see how native speakers use it in everyday situations.
You can also look on YouTube for helpful videos about improving your English or IELTS scores.
Have a positive mental attitude – Although there is no alternative to hard work and no shortcut to achieving success in IELTS, one thing is of primary importance. You should have a positive attitude to ensure success above everything else! It is important to visualize your own reasons for learning English and taking the IELTS exam. Maybe you are doing it for immigration purposes, or perhaps in order to get into your dream college abroad. Whatever it may be, keep your goal in mind, and don’t lose focus. This optimistic mental approach and outlook will help you succeed when times get tough.
In a nutshell, one should be realistic and hard-working if he/she is really keen to succeed in the exam with the desired scores. Do not look for shortcuts or expect your score to magically improve within a short period of time. IELTS is an accurate assessment of your actual grasp of the English language, which has been authorised and proclaimed as the authentic standard worldwide. You should aim to study all areas of English in order to really do well in it. Take the exam only when you actually feel you are ready, and then you have a fair chance of achieving the target band score in all the four modules. Good luck and all the best!