IELTS

10 Most Helpful Tips for Achieving a Better Band Score in Writing

  • Read the questions very carefully. Often the question will ask you to do three or four different things, aside from the main question. Write them down and make sure you address all of them in your answer. The IELTS examiner will be checking for this.
  • Practice writing tasks within the given time limits. It really doesn’t matter if you can write a beautiful answer in two hours. Always recreate the conditions of the exam as closely as possible, when doing any kind of practice exercises.
  • Plan before you write. Even though you feel under pressure for time, spend the first few minutes planning your writing. Decide what you’re going to say and how you’ll expand on it. When you know what to write, you can concentrate on how to write it best. Experiment with the great variety of outlining and mind-mapping techniques to help you sketch out a plan quickly. I’d recommend allocating up to 5 minutes for planning your essay.
  • Write in an organized way. When you’ve planned in advance, you’ll end up with a more organized, logical piece of writing, which will earn you higher marks. There are many ways to be organised – linear, circular, etc. – but in the end the final product must be cohesive which means that there must be a clear flow from the introduction through the body to the conclusion.
  • Stay on topic. You will be penalised if you stray off topic. This is where the initial few minutes of planning can help you a great deal.
  • Divide your writing into paragraphs. It is confusing to be faced with a block of writing, with no divisions. You wouldn’t expect to read a magazine article or book like this. Always divide your writing into paragraphs. Depending on the essay type, two or three paragraphs for the body of your essay.
  • Write clearly. This is not the time or place to experiment with new vocabulary or idioms. Use simple, clear English to get your ideas across in a powerful way.
  • Write legibly. Though marks are not granted or taken away for poor or messy writing, the examiner should be able to read what you have written without undue difficulty.
  • Spell correctly. Yes, this does affect your score so avoid careless mistakes. A careless mistake is when you have spelt the same word in various ways in the same piece of writing or when you misspell a word which is already given in the exam topic and all you have to do is copy it correctly. That’s not okay. Watch for this when you’re practising and resolve to overcome it.
  • Edit your essay. This part is often neglected by students, but it can end up paying out for you. Make sure you don’t just randomly review your essay. Understand your weaknesses and check specifically for them.

10 Tips on How to Approach The IELTS Reading

  1. It would be not advisable to read the whole passage before looking at the questions. We do not enough have time to read the whole passage unless your English is so good and you can read 300 or more words a minute.
  2. Go to the questions first in order to find key words.
  3. Look for synonyms, or words with the same meaning, in the passage.
  4. It is better to do the questions one by one. The most important thing to consider is that the answers to most questions within one set questions will follow the order of the information given in the text, so you will gradually read the whole passage anyway as you find the answers.
  5. Make sure that you fully understand the question which is especially important with TRUE/FALSE/YES/NO/Not Given questions, as in this question type a seemingly insignificant word may determine the final answer.
  6. Once you have identified key words from a question, read around that part of the text properly in order to understand it and get the right answer.
  7. IELTS designers paraphrase certain parts of the passage in order to create the question In other words, they pick up a word or phrase from the passage that they want to test you on, and they make a question using words which have a similar meaning.
  8. Another piece of advice, especially if you understand that you running out of time, is to do easy questions first. In case you got stuck with a difficult question skip it and move on.
  9. Many students get the wrong answer because they think too much! They worry about small differences in meaning. Don’t think too hard about small differences in meanings.
  10. The General Training reading test is a bit different to the Academic test. However, the techniques you need to use to find the answers are the same.

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January 2018
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