5 tips to ace the IELTS

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Taking the International English Language Testings System (IELTS) test? The best way to pass is to be prepared. Don’t worry. There many resources to help you get ready. Here are few tips to get you started:

  1. Prepare (even if you are a native English speaker)

    Don’t be overconfident. Prepare for the test. Learn about the experiences of successful IELTS test takers. Learn from their successes and mistakes. Get tips for studying and answering. Visit IELTS forums online. Try: IELTS Preppers on Facebook, IELTS Blog, or the IELTS forum on CanadaVisa.

  2. Understand the IETS Test format

    The test has four sections: reading, writing, listening and speaking. You will have two hours and 45 minutes to finish the test. Go to Test Format to see a description for each section.

    Know what to expect to become comfortable and less nervous. Think of strategies to use your time wisely for each section. Learning how you will be scored will help you focus. It will help you know what to prepare and study for.

  3. 5 Common mistakes made by IELTS test takers from IELTS IDP Education.

  4. Have enough time to study

    Choose the best study method for you. This will depend on your learning style and needs. Don’t rush. You will be stressed and nervous on test day. Enroll in a review class if you have time. Use mobile apps if you are busy. Download audio tools and use them while traveling to work or on the job. Use free resources online. Read Top free online review resources for IELTS.

  5. Focus on your weakest spots

    Focus on areas that are hardest for you. Is it grammar? Vocabulary? Spelling? Following instructions? Ask your teacher for more exercises if you are in a review class. Do more IELTS practice tests on that language area. Ask for feedback from a friend or a teacher about your progress.

  6. Practise!

    Do practice tests. See what type of questions are asked, how much time per question, how to answer questions. Develop an answering technique. For example: Leave harder questions for later and answer easier ones first. This will help maximize the time.

    Practise note-taking, essay-writing, and spelling if writing is hard for you. Use Merriam-Webster to boost your vocabulary and spelling. Watch speaking test interview samples on YouTube. Think of what you would say if asked the same question. Be surrounded with English every day. Converse in English. Read books, magazines and newspapers. Watch movies or TV programs. Listen to conversations and songs. Become used to the flow of the language. It will help you think in English.

On the test day

Relax. Know the location of the test centre before the test day. Pack all your things (documents, IDs, etc.) the night before. Get a good night’s sleep. Wake up early and have a good breakfast. Leave early. Make yourself comfortable in the testing room. Be confident! You’ll do well in the exam.

Sources: IELTS. British Council.org; and YouTube IELTS videos. Retrieved September 12, 2018.

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Community Resources

Use the CLB Calculator if you have IELTS General, CELPIP-General or TEF to know your equivalent CLB score.

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