How to Improve IELTS

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listening

When you focus on things they improve – this is a fact and for anybody who needs an overall score of say band 7 or 7.5 or an overall score with a minimum of 7 in each part (which is commonly asked for from medical professionals) then the listening part is probably your best bet for a higher band. So here is a strategy that will get your score to a very high band such as band 8 or even band 8.5.

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There seem to be lots of IELTS myths going around about IELTS writing. Let me tell you that in my experience (and I’ve been teaching IELTS at bands 7 and 8 for well over 20 years) there are no short cuts, tricks or quick solutions to writing. The best way to improve your IELTS writing is to do it! You can read, watch YouTube videos, speak to teachers, ask friends and even contact examiners and they will all give you lots of advice all of which might be very good BUT unless you put your pen on to a sheet of paper and write that task none of it will make the slightest bit of difference to your writing. It’s a fact. It’s rather like trying to learn to drive from a book or manual and then expecting to take a driving test having never been inside a car.

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Fact 1

You’ll find these in the question NOT the text. Sometimes when I start to work with IELTS students I see them going through the passages and underlining lots of ‘keywords’ – ‘Why are you doing that?‘ I usually ask them, ‘You don’t even know what the questions are yet so how will that help you?’ It is also a great way to waste time – and time is very precious in reading. (The only words that it might be a good idea to underline in the text at the beginning are the names of people for the specific matching exercise of names to their comments or ideas – but check first that you actually have this question!).

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IELTS study

I don’t know if these are really secrets or not. In fact most of them are really just common sense but I am often surprised how many students seem to make life more difficult for themselves in terms of IELTS than it needs to be. By taking this route it not only costs more (how many exams do you want to take before getting your score?) but it can also take more time to actually achieve your score.

I have been an IELTS teacher for over 20 years and in all that time I have mostly taught students who need band 7 and 8. In fact I specialise in teaching bands 7 and 8 and of the hundreds of students that I have taught and prepared for IELTS over the years I have seen most pass their exam and move on with their lives and I can see among these successful students the reasons why they were successful and also perhaps why others are not. So here are some of the most important things to consider when deciding to take the IELTS exam.

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IELTS Speaking isn’t just a ‘chat’. Just like all the other parts of the IELTS test, it is put together in such a way that you can demonstrate a variety of speaking skills to the examiner – such things as showing your vocabulary, being able to communicate at length about various topics and presenting a short ‘talk’ on a particular subject.  These are all things you will need to do as students and also in your future work. What this means is that you can and should prepare for your IELTS speaking just like you prepare for every other part of the exam.

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I meet students every day who need IELTS for various reasons; higher education, immigration to get jobs, to keep jobs or for promotions. One thing that strikes me often about some students is how they will just book a test without giving any thought to, firstly, whether they are ready to achieve the band they require and, secondly, to the amount of preparation that they may need in order to be ready for the exam.

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The Ultimate IELTS Study Plan for Band 7 and 8

It’s important to remember that a language is a skill (like driving a car or playing the piano). The more you practise the better you will become and if you don’t practise then you won’t be able to do these things well at all. There are some techniques and strategies for IELTS which you can learn but these are really exam techniques and unless your English language level is where you need it for your band, they will not help you a lot.

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