Every candidate wants to pass IELTS on the first attempt. As with any other test, the key lies in the preparation. As the foremost English-language test for international students going abroad, though, your preparation may differ from the average test.
IELTS is unique in its format, providing assessment in four separate categories: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. You must therefore prove sufficient skills in each to pass the test. Check out these five tips to pass IELTS on your first try.
Practise, practise, practise
As with any other language, you must practise English a lot before you can pass IELTS. Take advantage of the free practice papers from the British Council, among others available online. You could also sharpen your skills with the IELTS Indicator, which is a test you can take from the comfort of your home.
Diversify your sources
Learning English is fun because there are many ways to improve your listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills. You can watch the world’s most famous movies and series. You can listen to all types of songs and podcasts. You can read everything from subtitles to the news.
Diversifying your methods allows you to identify what works best for you. Besides the steps above, you should also study model answers and read books to familiarise yourself with good English usage. A dictionary comes in handy, too.
Have everyday conversations
Have you ever heard the saying “The best way to learn is to do”? It applies to learning English, too. So have conversations in English whenever you can: in school, at the store, and even online. Speak to people who are more fluent than you, so they can help fix your mistakes.
Besides that, you may also record yourself speaking and listen to it. This allows you to examine your grammar, accent, and pronunciation, and make corrections if needed. Many non-native speakers struggle with the speaking part of IELTS — but your confidence will show the examiners that you are ready to live abroad.
Polish your weak points
Besides speaking with others, you should also get your writing checked by your teacher or a fluent peer. Once the teacher checks your essays, rewrite them following their comments and corrections. This is called a fair copy; making fair copies is good practice, especially if you want to improve on your writing fast.
If you want to pass IELTS without a fuss, always learn from your mistakes. Take note of words or phrases that confuse you or common slip-ups. Then go over them until you learn the correct version.
Prepare to pass IELTS on test day
Once you’re ready for test day, don’t forget to get your relevant documents together. Bring your identification card or document along — particularly, the one you used to sign up for IELTS. You may also need to bring passport-sized photos, or be photographed on the day. Check the requirements at your test centre just before the exam to be safe.