Improve Your IELTS Score: Practical Tips
IELTS or The International English Language Testing system is a group of tests that measures a person’s proficiency of English in four areas:
Getting a good score on the IELTS is important for anyone who wants to study or work in a place where English is used as a language of communication.
Understand the Test Format
You can learn all about the test format on the official IELTS website: https://www.ielts.org/en-us/about-the-test/test-format
There are clear instructions explaining the format of each part of the test. If you understand the test format ahead of time, you will spend less time reading instructions and will have more time to focus on giving great answers and getting a higher score. You will probably be nervous so understanding the test format of each section will help you be more prepared and confident.
Take Practice Tests
You can find free practice tests on the official IELTS website at: https://www.ielts.org/en-us/about-the-test/sample-test-questions
Visit the IELTS Facebook page.
There are lots of great test preparation tips there and they post new information regularly.
Consider taking an IELTS preparation course.
You can find courses and official IELTS test preparation material on the IELTS website.
Tips for Improving Your Score In Each Section Of The Test
Immerse yourself in English
You’ll be asked to listen to conversations between two people and also in monologues (just one person speaking.) Prepare yourself by frequently listening to both types of speaking situations. Here are few suggestions:
- Watch TV and movies (great for conversations between people)
- Listen to audiobooks (books tend to have more advanced vocabulary than TV shows or movies: both basic and more advanced vocabulary are important for a higher score)
- Listen to podcasts (comedy podcasts are great for learning new idioms, more basic vocabulary and common English sayings)
- Listen to news broadcasts (pay attention to and gather information on a variety of topics since you won’t know which topic you will given as a prompt during the test)
- Listen to any of my common word lessons. You can find some of my lessons on the blog and on my YouTube channel. You can access all of my full -length common word lessons in our Learn The American Accent program at The Accent Channel. I give instructions and corrections on pronunciation. Do you understand everything I am asking you to do? If not, repeat until you understand EVERYTHING.
Read as much as you can. Obviously.
- Read and understand one newspaper article a day. Summarize and discuss with a friend.
- Read an article in your native language first, then in English. Did you get the same message? If not, where did you go wrong?
- Improve vocabulary. If you read a word that you don’t understand, make a note and look it up. Keep a list of these words and review them daily.
- Understand idioms. Idioms are common expressions or sayings used in a language. Idioms are not easily defined by the actual words that they contain, so you need to learn them as you go. Again, if you don’t understand an expression, make notes and keep learning.
- We learn new vocabulary and idioms in almost every lesson of our Learn The American Accent program, so join us to practice with those lessons. If I use a word in a lesson that you can’t use in a sentence, write it down and add it to your list. You can also learn new vocabulary and idioms with me on the blog and on YouTube.
This is an area where knowing the test format will be really useful to improve IELTS your score.
Use practice tests and be sure you understand what the prompt is asking you to do. Have a tutor or English-speaking friend help you make corrections to your answers.
In addition, look out for these common writing mistakes:
- Know when to use articles “the”, “an”, and “a.”
- Be careful of subject-verb agreement also called noun-verb agreement. If you use a singular noun use a singular verb. If you use a plural noun, use a plural verb.
- Learn to use commas correctly. This one is difficult for native speakers too (I have to look up the rules occasionally too!) so study the rules and practice.
- Learn and practice using verb tenses correctly. Again, this is tricky for native speakers too but luckily you can find lots of lessons online and on YouTube. Search for lessons about using verb tenses in English.
- Learn to use prepositions correctly after nouns and adjectives. Again, you can find lots of lessons online and on YouTube.
- Study homophones (words that sound the same but are spelled differently) to avoid common misspellings. Check out a short lesson on homophones here.
Spoken English is my area of expertise, so next week, I’ll be back with lots of really effective tips for improve your IELTS score on the speaking portion of the test. This is the area that many people find the most difficult, so stay tuned for some great, practical tips.
See you next week,
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