If you have made it here, congratulations because you have increased your chances of passing the International English Language Testing System modules by 80 percent, either Academic or General Training.
The remaining 20 percent is practice, practice, and practice.
Now let us get at it.
According to my observation, I figure out that a lot of people failed this test as a result of a lack of preparation and practice techniques. I strongly believe you need at least 4 weeks to prepare.
If you are taking your exams in Nigeria, register under MOD centers, from my findings, this is the best option. Do not register under British Council.
My study plan
I dedicate at least 5 hours daily, not at a stretch, sometimes I take a break, a walk, chat, eat, tweet in between. The only thing I do at weekends is listened to the News, read 2 articles per day related to sports, politics, governance, science, geography, and any related interest online.
On the day of the exam
Eat before you go for the exams because it is a long wait. I did not eat before going for the speaking test, I hated myself for this because I was so famished yet it was a long wait before it reached my turn.
On the day of the rest of the exams, I went with a bowl of ofada rice, supported by smoke fish and assorted meats, I can not come and kill myself. It is a long 3hours plus exams plus excluding all the ID checks and sitting arrangement process.
One more thing before we get to the tips, have a target score and aim above. I needed an overall score of 5.0 in the academic module but I aimed for 6.5 and boom I had an overall score of 7.5, with no tutorial classes and it was my first attempt.
Identify your weakness and concentrate on methodology to strengthen it. I believe my weakness was reading and listening, I spent so much time on these two, however, this is risky as it means other components had to be neglected which may reflect during the actual test and actual score so you need to balance your preparation for all the components.
In my case, reading was a problem because I am naturally a slow reader as I love to read to understand every detail just like the Chinese. However, in other to smash this component, I practiced using the technique of just reading the questions and running to the passage to identify where the answers are and read the sentences in that paragraph only. I practiced speaking 3 days before the speaking test, I did around 30 practice questions and actual exams for the writing component.
The biggest obstacle for test-takers is reading because you have to read 3 boring long passages that are not related to your interests or background and you have an hour to answer 60 questions which means you have to spend a minute on each question.
Here is the technique.
You need to first understand the question types that you are likely to face. There are more than 14 question types and the easy way is to understand how to tackle them.
This component is not asking you to read and understand, rather your ability to skim, scan, and read to identify details.
- Read a lot of articles, my surest link is the ScienceDirect website, there a lot of boring but useful articles.
- Go to YouTube, search for E2 language with Jay, there are a few videos that explain how to identify question types and answers.
- Go to https://ieltsfever.org/academic-reading/ for the academic module, it also has general training practice questions. There are more than 50 questions and key answers on the website. The practice questions on the website are Cambridge question, very tough but practicing these questions make the actual exam easier. I am talking from experience.
- Read the questions first, don’t read all the passages as they are only testing your ability to skim, scan and read for detail.
- If there is a question you found difficult, leave it and come back to it later.
- Know a lot of synonyms as you will not see the exact vocabulary you see in the passage in the question. For instance, if the question says the majority of Nigerians love rice, expect the passage to say some or a lot of people in Nigeria love rice.
The best way to hit a target of 6.5 or above in this component is to know the different question types, methodology, and practice.
There are 6 different question types in Task 2 of IELTS academic namely; agree and disagree; double questions; problem&solution; opinion question; discuss question type; advantages&disadvantages.
Task one in a report for the academic module and general training, you are to write a formal letter.
- Write and solve at least 30 practice questions.
- The best way to practice this component is by taking a pen and paper, write, don’t type on a device or a computer.
- Also, you need to master the methodology, the best link. go to YouTube, search for E2 language with Jay.
- Your ability to use conjunction verbs, subordinate clauses to write complex, compound sentences matters a lot.
- Learn a lot of vocabulary and uncommon words, be able to showoff but with words that you are comfortable with.
This is a tricky component in that you only get to listen to the audio once. This requires 2 key abilities; concentration and patience.
- You need to build your listening stamina, get used to a quiet environment, please go to the library to practice if you can, why? Because the exam settings are the same as the library and it makes sense to get used to such an ambiance.
- Listen to the podcasts, I would recommend these; BBC 6 minute English for British accent; Stuff you should know for American accent; Big ideas for Australian accents.
- Watch BBC News, CNN, Al Jazeera
- Practice materials: go to YouTube and search crack IELTS with Rob. There is a lot of bunch of practice materials and actual exams there, too good to be free.
This component is the craziest to me because I had 3 days to practice as I have been spending time practicing reading and listening, boom I got an email telling me that my speaking test is in few days, however, I was able to have band 7 as a result of my English background.
This component I believe is much easier for people with a good English background, nevertheless you should be able to pass this if you follow the tips listed below.
- Go to YouTube, search for English-speaking success with Keith. This is a great learning resource, another too good to be free materials.
- Search Keith speaking academy on google, the website YouTube channel listed above on this website.
Here is a warning, do not memorize any key answers to past questions because what you may have cramped may not come out.
I wish you all the best and a remarkable year.
Adetunji Bolorunduro loves to read and write, and when he is not doing any of these, he is watching football. he can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org