13 Actionable IELTS Tips & Tricks

IELTS is a detailed exam with plenty of marking criteria to check your level of English. In order to ace this highly...

Indulekha Prabha Written by Indulekha Prabha · 3 min read >

IELTS is a detailed exam with plenty of marking criteria to check your level of English. In order to ace this highly objectified test, you have to take a very systematic approach. After years of dealing with IELTS students, we have compiled a list of actionable tips and tricks that will help you achieve a high score.

General Actionable Tips:

Here is what you have to do while you prepare for IELTS:

  1. Know about the full pattern of the exam and types of questions you will encounter.
  2. Make a list of genres.
  3. Identify sources of various articles, like websites nbd blogs.
  4. Read at least 1000 words every day.
  5. Listen to British English; news, films and podcasts.
  6. Familiarise yourself with different accents.
  7. Get at least one essay evaluated in a week.
  8. Practice listening mocks with your trainer. It is important to do minimum 30 mocks before exam.
  9. Identify grammar, punctuation, vocabulary errors and evaluate every 5 days to find out which errors you have stopped making.
  10. Do not stop preparing after 10 days or two weeks. Take at least 2 months to prepare thoroughly.
  11. Practice around 2 hours every day. Too much will be strenuous and too less will be inadequate.
  12. Include English in your everyday life.
  13. Try to learn 5 new words each day and try to use them in your daily conversations. 

Actionable Tips for each component:

Listening:

IELTS Listening consists of 4 sections. Here you will have to listen to some conversations. Then you will be given 40 questions based on what you heard and you need to answer them. You are also allowed to read the questions before the conversation starts. So try to make use of it.

In section 1 and 2 you get to hear conversations about general topics or social issues.

Section 3 and 4 are mostly about educational scenarios (group conversation) and a monologue on any academic subject.

After listening to all the audio clips you need to write answers on the answer sheet.

TIPS:

  • Read the questions before the recording starts. So that you can stay focused on the conversation.
  • Always hear the introduction when the recording starts which contains the information of the speakers.
  • Concentrate and listen to the conversation rather than understanding.
  • Don’t think much about the answer you have missed. The recording will be heard only once.
  • During listening, write the answer on the question paper. During the extra time, you can transfer the answers to the answer sheet using a pencil.
  • Pay attention to the word limit.
  • If you have to answer within three words, try to answer within that only.
  • Write only missing answers. For example, the name of the speaker is ———–, then you should answer ERIC (For instance)”. No need to write: the name of the speaker is ERIC.”
  • Try to use the same words you listened to.
  • The answers should be grammatically correct without no spelling errors.

READING:

It consists of 3 sections. You are given some lengthy paragraphs and some questions will be asked and you have to answer them within the stipulated time. Topics range from work-related issues to that of general interest.

TIPS:

  • Start by reading short paragraphs i.e., 1 and 2 sections. The last one is usually more complex.
  • Try to write the answers directly on the answer sheet with a pencil while reading because no extra time is given.
  • Don’t try to understand the whole paragraph just know the crux of the passage.
  • Don’t spend too much time on a single question.
  • Answer without any grammatical mistakes.
  • Focus on word limit.

WRITING:

It consists of 2 tasks. Here you have to write the essays within 60 minutes (150 words for task 1 and 250 words for task 2).

TIPS:

  • The essay should be relevant to the question asked.
  • Write the answers within a minimum number of words or else you will lose marks.
  • You can write using a pen or pencil.
  • Avoid bullet points.
  • Follow a structure. 
  • Don’t write random points.
  • Avoid spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Try to explain both positives and negatives during the argument.

SPEAKING:

It consists of 3 sections.

In the first section you will be asked general things about yourself, your interests or your ideas on any issue.

Then you will be asked to speak about a particular topic for 2 minutes. You will also be provided with one minute for preparation.

Finally, there will be a discussion for 4-5 minutes. During which you will be cross questioned on the topic you have discussed previously.

TIPS:

  • Always support the answer with an example at least instead of single word answers.
  • Don’t try to use fancy words which don’t come naturally to you. 
  • Answers should be grammatically correct.
  • Don’t drift from the topic during the discussion. IELTS is a test of communication skills, not a general knowledge test.
  • Be confident and look into the eyes of the examiner.

Conclusion

A good preparation definitely has its perks. If you are adequately prepared you will automatically feel relaxed and confident on the day of your exam. Nothing beats a cool head during examination! Therefore, it is important that you prepare in the right way and improve continuously as you practice. 

Written by Indulekha Prabha
My name is Indulekha Prabha. I am an English teacher and a content writer by profession. When I'm not working you can find me writing fiction, reading poetry and painting. Profile

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