Time is the Enemy



  • “I don’t have time to practise!” I hear this over and over again and I get it, I really do. Life takes over, work takes over, responsibilities take over 🙁
  • “I can’t do the reading and writing in the time” – this is another ‘time refrain’ that I hear a lot – it’s true, there is a lot to complete in a short space of time 🙁
  • “I must have my result in 3 weeks or I will lose my offer” – again I hear this over and over and this is the biggest problem facing many IELTS students.




Yes, it seems time is the number one enemy.

The problem, in a nutshell, is this:

You don’t have enough time to practise so you aren’t able to establish strong techniques to overcome the time pressures in the exam and as a result, you cannot make sure that you are ready when your exam date comes.

The solution is actually quite easy – make the time.

  1. Make sure that you start long before your exam date – or better don’t book the exam before you are ready.
  2. Can you reach the required score by the imposed deadline? If not then maybe you need to apply later – IELTS is often a barrier to taking the next step so don’t rush into applying if you can’t get the required IELTS score.
  3. See how best you can make time during your busy week for IELTS – ideally you need to do something every day – even if it is just 20 minutes (you can complete one reading passage or a task 1 in this time).
  4. If your time really is limited then don’t try to plough through test after test – do something that will improve your skill – focus on 1 question type or revise a grammar point that is causing a problem.
  5. Track your progress – unless you do this you won’t know where you are in relation to the exam or even if you are improving!
  6. Expose yourself to English every day – read the news, watch a TV programme, write something and have a conversation – these are the best ways to improve your English.
  7. The better your English skills the easier the IELTS exam and the less time it will take to complete the questions.
  8. The more you can control the time the higher your score will be because you’ll have time to check.
  9. Just as lack of time can snowball into disaster, so managing time can snowball in the opposite direction to give you success. Practice does make perfect.
  10. Finally and this is from my long experience in teaching IELTS students – when you make the time to practise well you will find that the exam seems easier and you actually will have plenty of time to do everything in the exam and do it well! Once you are in this position – you’ll get your band 7 or 8 without too much difficulty.

What is your experience with IELTS and time? Put your comments below.

If you want to get my help with your IELTS then tell me something about your exam and I’ll tell you how I can support you.

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