IELTS Reading can often be an area that poses great challenges for students. On the one hand there are a lot of questions to complete and the texts themselves can be quite difficult and on the other there is a time constraint which can at best add some stress to the exam and at worst, cause students to panic.
The key, as with everything in IELTS, is to be well prepared. Knowing all the techniques is important but unless you practice these they won’t help you a lot. ‘Reading about’ is not the same as ‘being able to do’.
Here are 5 things that you must get good at in order to do well in IELTS reading
One thing to realise about IELTS reading is that it is not simply a test of comprehension. It is more to do with study skills and extracting specific information than meaning. If you think of it in these terms then it will be easier to approach.
The technique you need for the reading is the same you would use if you were looking for the telephone number of someone in a large telephone directory i.e. looking for a small amount of information in a large body of text. The key to this process is that you DO NOT READ THE WHOLE TEXT just as you would not read every name in the telephone book to find the one you are searching for.
Students often tell me that they worry about Part 2 in the IELTS speaking exam because they don’t have enough to say. The key, as with everything in IELTS, is more practice. Make sure that you get good at this part – don’t worry about it.
Here are some ideas for practising this part of the speaking test. I’ve used these with students and they really make a big difference.
Here are some things that you MUST do in order to secure a band 7 or above in your Task 2 writing.
Much more important about IELTS writing is the language and how you can handle the language at band 7 to express your ideas. I know that anybody who lives in the 21st century, reads a newspaper, watches the TV and engages with the world will have more than enough information to formulate the ideas required for task 2. After all you are only writing 25 sentences and 6 of these will be introducing the idea (using information in the questions) and concluding (mirroring your introduction).
If you are looking for band 7 and still keep getting band 6 or 6.5 then this post will show you how to move beyond your current level and get on track for the band 7.
Last week I received an email from one of my students who had just taken the IELTS exam and got the score she wanted – in fact her score was amazing and much more than she wanted (Writing 7.5, Listening 8.5, Speaking 7.5, Reading 8). Yet just 3 months ago this student was struggling at band 6.5 with writing.
What made the difference in the end was change – a change to her approach.
The examiner will feed you the questions but you must take the opportunity to use this part of the test to really show what you can really do in English.
Students often worry about the speaking test because they don’t know what answers the examiner expects. I used to be an examiner and I can tell you that when I did IELTS speaking tests, I knew exactly what the questions were that I had to ask but I NEVER had any idea about the answers. I was only looking for good, sensible and interesting answers from the candidate.
Task 1 is sometimes given less attention because students are often more concerned about Task 2. It is true that Task 1 is shorter and slightly more straightforward and that task 2 carries more marks but Task 1 is just as important and it is your first piece (normally) of writing that the examiner sees. As such, this task will give the examiner their first impression of your ability in English writing and you really want this impression to be a good one.
Task 1, whether Academic or General, is a more practical piece of writing than Task 2. This means that you need a more objective style of writing. Here you are not being asked for your opinion or ideas.
You are either being asked to describe something or to write a letter to achieve a certain result.
Let us first look at Task 1 Academic:
I hear this often with IELTS students. I really don’t understand why people leave it so late.
Going over the exam procedure, making sure that you know what to do and when things are happening, checking the times etc.. is one thing you should do the night before, but trying to address the whole speaking test the night before or even in the days before the exam begs the question – should you even be doing the exam?
What should you do the night before an IELTS exam?
It seemed that the results do not necessarily relate to the amount of effort they put in. All of them worked hard and made progress and were delightful to teach and work with but analysing their preparedness and study methods gave me some insights into what sort of things seem to work well.
As teachers and learners we know that different people have different preferences and styles when it comes to studying. I see, as a teacher, where I need to adapt my choice of material or style to suit different students. Things which work fantastically well with one student might fall completely flat with another.
Did you know that the IELTS writing usually scores to lowest band in any IELTS exam session? The IELTS writing test can be a hard mountain to climb but with the right preparation you can make sure that your IELTS essay will be good enough to attract the score that you really want.
Taking time over your IELTS writing practice and making sure that you are not repeating the same mistakes over and over is essential and with some focus you will soon be on track to get the score you dream about.
There is a lot to remember: you need to manage your time, not make mistakes, find valid points to make about the topic, keep to the word limit AND find time to use great vocabulary and check your work. It may look impossible but it is all achievable if you work systematically and keep control over what you are doing.