1. IELTS Academic/General reading practice Tips :
Look out for the title, headings and any special features such as capital letters, underlining, italics, figures, graphs and tables . Map a short summary of the passage – in other words write the content of the paragraph in the margin in summary – 3 or 4 words – this will help you find where to look in the reading for answers and also Register Online IELTS Test via IDP Australia or British Counsil Make sure that you understand the questions and follow instructions carefully – try to paraphrase the answer in your mind. Pay attention to timing; do not spend too long on one passage or question – try to stick to 15 – 20- 25 timing in order to maximise the chance to finish the test as it is a progressive test – meaning each section gets harder. Do not try and read every word; remember, you are reading for a purpose – skim for general purpose of the passage/paragraph scan for specific information – looking for key words – remember to look for synonyms not the same words and remember in this it may be a negative antonym. If you do not know the answer to a question, attempt it but do not waste time; move quickly onto the next one Do not panic if you do not know anything about the subject of the text; everything is in the text right before your eyes – no knowledge needed. Do not assume anything – if it is not there, it is not there – do not use your own experience here. The words you use must be taken from the reading text; you must not change the form of the words in the text Do not worry if there is a word that you do not understand – look at the sentence before and the sentence after and see if you can work out the meaning or the general idea or look for explanations within the text itself Be careful to use singular and plural correctly . Focus precisely on what you are asked to do in ‘completion’ type questions If the question asks you to complete the note ‘in the…’ and the correct answer is ‘evening’, just use ‘evening’ as your answer; note that ‘in the evening’ would be incorrect . Pay attention to the word limit; for example, if you are asked to complete a sentence using no more than two words, if the correct answer is ‘silk shirt’, the answer ‘shirt made of silk’ would be incorrect. Read lots of books – start your own little dictionary – if you don’t understand a word – look it up and find 4 synonyms and 2 antonyms for the same word – now you have learned 7 words instead of 1 – the main idea is to improve your vocabulary Do crossword puzzles; play scrabble; boggle or other word games – Western speakers have 15000 head words here in the Middle East you have 2000 head words ( Most commonly used words) This deficit in vocabulary is what makes it hard for ESL to understand the questions Attempt all questions; there are no penalties for incorrect answers, so you have nothing to lose Check your answers and Check your spelling – spelling mistakes are counted as incorrect
2. IELTS Academic/General Listening practice Tips :
If you cannot hear the audio clearly, let a member of staff know straight away . Concentrate on the speaker – do not let your thoughts wander to the next section or on unrelated thoughts Only concentrate on the section of questions the speaker mentions – no further. Follow the instructions carefully; they may be different to the practice tests Listen for the specific information you want Ary and anticipate what the speaker will say – look at the words around the gap to see if you can guess what is needed – a name a number a time a place. Do not worry if there is a word you do not understand – try to use the sentence before and sentence after the word to see if you can work out the meaning or get a general idea at least If you do not know the answer to a question, attempt it but do not waste time; move quickly onto the next one Do not panic if you think the topic is too difficult or the speaker is too fast – try to relax Read, write and listen at the same time ( put the notes in the corresponding section so that if you miss a question the answer may be there) If you miss a question – DO NOT PANIC – simply listen for the next question and continue the test – if you have been taking notes then the answer you missed may be in the notes and you can simply add the answer when you transpose the answers to the answer sheet. Focus precisely on what you are asked to do in completion type questions Pay attention to the word limit; for example, if you are asked to complete a sentence using no more than two words, if the correct answer is ‘leather coat’, the answer ‘coat made of leather’ would be incorrect If the question asks you to complete the note ‘in the…’ and the correct answer is ‘morning’, note that ‘in the morning’ would be incorrect; the correct answer is ‘morning’ Attempt all questions; there are no penalties for incorrect answers Check your spelling and grammar – if it is spelt wrong it is wrong
3. IELTS Academic/General Writing practice Tips :
Spend 5 minutes to write a plan of what you need to say – this helps keep the writing organised Analyse each task properly and make sure you understand the question Answer all parts of the question – do not leave out anything mentioned in the instructions Highlight or underline key words in the tasks to make sure that you focus on what you have to do Set the writing out in paragraphs clearly; put one idea in each paragraph Do not repeat ideas using different words – you will not get any extra marks for this Do not copy whole sentences from the question – you will receive no marks for this – instead put the question in your own words Stay focused on the topic ; do not write about unrelated subjects as this will not score you marks Manage your time; remember, Task 2 is worth twice as much as Task 1 Spend approximately 20 minutes on Task 1 and approximately 40 minutes on Task 2 Write at least 150 words for Task 1 and at least 250 words for Task 2 under this will result in lower marks Learn to recognise how long 150 and 250 words look in your handwriting; you will not have time to count during the test Write your answers in ENGLISH and in full sentences. Use compound complex and simple sentences ; answers written in note form or in bullet points will lose marks Pay attention to spelling, grammar and punctuation; you will lose marks for mistakes Avoid informal language – do not use contractions like : I’ll ; we’ll can’t etc Do not memorise model answers; examiners are trained to recognise them and your test will be invalid Make sure you spend 5 minutes re-reading and correcting any grammar/spelling mistakes in your answers
4. IELTS Academic/General Speaking practice Tips :
Pretend that the examiner is your friend and he/she has asked you this question – Relax, be confident and enjoy using your English – speak like you would to your friend . Look at the examiner in a friendly manner – not like he is the enemy .Try to talk as much as you can – as fluently as possible and be spontaneous When you give an answer tell a little more about it – for example when asked “Where do you live” the answer of “Dubai “ is not good. “ I live in Dubai which is the 2nd largest city and Emirate in the UAE” is a much more acceptable answer. Check out the You-Tube Tips for IELTS Speaking Section 1 2 and 3 Speak more than the examiner – do not wait for the examiner to prompt you to talk Take notes in the second section so that if you have a mind blank you have something to jog your memory Ask for clarification if necessary – if you do not understand just say “ Could you repeat that please – I didn’t hear it” – or “ Could you rephrase that – I don’t quite understand the question” Do not memorize answers; the examiner is trained to spot this and will change the question Express your opinions; don’t be afraid – there is no right or wrong answer here – you will be assessed on your ability to communicate.