The IELTS, or International English Language Test System, evaluates your English abilities in listening, reading, writing, and speaking. The test is designed to be challenging, which means that this is not something to bluff your way through. Scoring well on your test can help you in a variety of areas, such as with visa applications or to accompany your application to English-speaking colleges and universities.
As your date for the IELT quickly approaches, here are 5 key strategies you can use to improve your score and make sure you are as prepared as possible.
Build your vocabulary
Vocabulary building will help you improve your understanding of complex passages that you read or listen to. It will also help you create more sophisticated answers when speaking or writing.
Build your vocabulary with an emphasis on phrases. Remember that English uses many expressions in everyday speech, so reading new words in context is helpful. When you come across new words and phrases, record them and note their meaning in the passage. Try to find vocabulary pertaining to a variety of different subjects, such as daily life, office culture, and travel.
Spend a lot of time reading
Read everything you can get your hands on in English. Look at local newspapers and magazines as well as books. Reading helps you practice understanding the context of the new words you encounter and will help you internalize common phrasing.
When you read, try to use only an English-to-English dictionary instead of translating it back to your native language. It will further build your vocabulary and language skills.
Listen to English media whenever possible
As you prepare for your exam, also make an effort to listen to English media whenever possible. Watch the news, listen to the radio, and watch movies and TV shows in English. If it helps to have the captions on, use only English captions.
When you come across words you do not know, pause the broadcast if you can to look them up. It will boost your understanding and help you deepen your vocabulary.
As you listen, practice discussing what you hear out loud in English. If you have a native speaker you can practice with, that is even better. If not, at least take care of this step on your own. It will force you to practice forming English sentences and try out pronouncing new words.
Use a variety of different sources
While you prepare for the test, try to use a variety of sources. For example, instead of only listening to your favorite crime drama that takes place in New York City, try to listen to radio broadcasts from England or read nonfiction books. Using a variety of different sources on different topics will help you build a wider range of vocabulary. It will help you understand a variety of different types of texts for various situations.
Review your weak areas
Finally, look back over your work in English as you have gone through your studies. Review notes that you have taken from past English courses. Look closely at the tests and essays you have submitted and the grades you received. Take note of your common mistakes and practice correcting them. If you do not understand something that was corrected, reach out to an English teacher or a native speaker to see if they can explain it to you.
Preparing for the IELTS can feel like a lot to manage, but keeping these tips in mind can help you perform well and increase your understanding of English.