How to Improve IELTS

fearIELTS phobia is not funny and it is a genuine fear for some people.

If you find that when you start a reading or listening that you can’t concentrate or you begin to panic as soon as you sit down and you easily get lost and the more you try the worse it seems to get the you may be too stressed about the exam. Or perhaps you are anxious about even opening the book and getting started – some of my students get this feeing. The key thing is that all of this is counter-productive and in this state you will not be able to perform well and the more you push yourself the worse it may get.

What can you do?

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dont-do-ielts-aloneIf you have been watching the interviews that I have done with some of my students who have now passed the IETS with the bands that they wanted you will know that they all said one of the things that changed everything for them was not trying to get their IELTS score alone.

Here are the first two interviews in case you haven’t seen them:

So can you do it completely alone?

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improve-ielts-scoresI once received a comment from a student who had asked me for the best way to improve their IELTS score which made me laugh but was at the same time quite tragic.

I had told him that the best way to get a higher band was to focus on his English language skills and he write back:

“I know that this would really help me but I don’t have time to do this as I am too busy with my IELTS”

Do you sometimes catch yourself thinking like this when your teacher tells you to go and practise your present and past tenses or to check out vocabulary for numbers?

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practice-ielts-examI was speaking to an IELTS student today and she told me that because she had got a low score in the listening test last time she was now concentrating just on listening and would review the other parts of the exam the week before the exam.

This is a high risk strategy and shows a lack of understanding about how language learning works. Basically if you don’t use a language you will forget it. Just because you reached a band 7 in writing 3 or 4 months ago does not mean that that band 7 will be set in stone.

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ielts-successMany students I teach want at least band 7 in their test and although this is not easy, it is possible with the right level of English language and the right preparation.

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.

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ielts-language-learning-stylesI have taught many students and am always interested to see how they each approached the process of IELTS language learning.

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.  

Learning styles

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.

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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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