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ielts_improve_scoreHave you been dissappointed with your IELTS results?

Wondering if you will ever reach the Band 7 or Band 8 in IETLS?

Sometimes it happens, you study hard, you know you have put in 200% effort, you are really prepared, motivated and ready for the exam but somehow, for some reason you don’t get the result you need and it’s a BIG BLOW.

Some of my own students have experienced this and I shared the disappointment with them, especially as I really knew that they had everything they needed at their fingertips to pass with the band they wanted. Whatever had gone wrong on the day, the most important task now would be to do a post-mortem and then decide on a way forward.

So here’s my plan of action that you can put in place when your exam doesn’t give you the score you want.

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I feel like I have been working with IELTS for years, in fact a long time ago I administered the Davies Test which was a pre-cursor of IELTS!!

ielts-test-preparationI wanted to pass on to you my top 10 tips for improving your IELTS exam results.  This is what I give my own students who are preparing for this test.

Most of the students I work with need to achieve a band score of 7 or 8 and in some cases they require a band 7 in each part of the test. This is no easy task and in order to be successful you need to be prepared for not only hard, but also smart work.

If you are preparing for this test:

  •  How do you feel about it?
  • What is your experience?

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  • Are you struggling to get those band 7/8s?
  • Do you practise english every day yet still seem to be stuck with the same IELTS scores?
  • Have you sat the test multiple times and spent a lot of money on teachers?
  • Are you worried that you’ll never get the score you want?

If you are feeling like this then you are definitely in the right place.

Do you work for hours every day, get excited about your progress and even gain confidence in your ability just to get the same old result at every IELTS exam?

So why is this? Surely the harder you work the more certain the rewards? Isn’t that what we’ve always been told?

Well here’s the thing, working hard will not necessarily give you the results you want – hard is good but there is a more certain way of getting those results and it IS possible and without TOO much effort.

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improve-ielts-speakingAs with reading and writing, these two skills are linked.

You can use language from your listening practice to help with your speaking and vice versa.

The more you practice the speaking the more you will be able to pick up on the listening.

  • Can you think about examples of issues you have with either of these skills?
  • How have you been preparing for these papers?

Whenever you are listening to English if you find useful expressions and words write them down so that you can use them in your speaking. Don’t restrict your practice to text books, IELTS or otherwise, what you really need is exposure to authentic language. Continue reading

ExamI’ve just been helping my 11 year-old daughter prepare for a mid-term French test.

I was ironing and she was at her books. We practised some short dialogues about the weather, transport, time etc.. did some drilling on pronunciation, new words and word order and then the usual recitation of irregular verbs. A few weeks ago another daughter took a French oral exam. This was a little more involved, we practised dialogues on given topics and I sent her a couple of questions in French during the day as text messages and she responded. Our big area of grammar was tenses.

My reason for describing this is not to give you an insight into domestic bliss in our household or to boast about my dedication to my children’s education. In fact I have two older daughters, now working, neither of whom speak any language other than English (cobblers’ children and all that). No, in fact it got me thinking about language exams and approaches to language exams and what activities might be most productive when facing a language exam. Don’t forget that the IELTS exam is a language exam – a test of your English language ability.

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