Why you should first fail the IELTS – an overview of the best study strategy

| 15/05/2012 | 24 Comments

Look. If you are seriously interested about studying in Australia, the UK or Canada you need to score high in the IELTS……the secret to scoring high and achieving a band 7,8 or 9 is your preparation.

And that’s why I decided to interview ex-IELTS examiner, experienced tutors and even confidence and pronunciation experts.

What Is the IELTS? Ask Google. I won’t rephrase what has been said a million times before. This is fresh content for intelligent study abroad readers.

First research the target band needed

Find out what the immigration authority or university require, also take note that some universities are flexible, so if you miss your score, still apply. In addition, the economic climate in Europe is dire, forcing the universities to be more flexible. As a paying student this is wonderful news! Use it to your advantage.

Also research the exact official stipulations of the band required, go directly to the official website, there are too many blogs copying, pasting and summarising, so be careful.

Do a Practise test and fail

Practice tests are available for free, especially the reading and listening so do not pay for these.

They are easy to find and are automatically corrected online, writing and speaking tests maybe more difficult.

Speaking and Writing tests deal with productive language skills and therefore need human evaluation. If you are without a teacher, there are many essay check services online, these cost money but it’s a sound investment, especially at the beginning.

For the speaking you could find an online tutor or even ask your local teacher for guidance. Some British Council offices even offer free practise tests in the actual building.

Identify where and why you failed, then aim to control these areas.

From the test identify what you need to study, this simple task will save you a tonne of time, you may need some help for this.

You also need to know WHY you failed?

In the writing, do you have a grammar issue or is it a task response issue? Here is a great resource for solving a certain grammar issue you may have. Here is another great site for the writing tasks.

Did you fail the reading because of your lack of vocabulary or was it your reading speed?

Do you have to start reading more material everyday or just learn a few skimming, scanning and speed reading techniques?

With the speaking, was it a pronunciation issue or a confidence issue?

Work on these areas until they are at the level required by your target band score.

The crazy thing is you will most likely need to develop skills that you don’t even have in your own language….never mind in English!

Take the speaking, how many times have you spoken for around 2 minutes, NON-STOP on a topic you saw for a few seconds previously? Practically never.

How many times have you read around 3000 words in under an hour? Practically never.

Work on the Identified Areas

Take a step by step approach, make a simple ‘TO DO LIST’, and work through it, focus on one area at a time.

Reach out.

If you need help, there are lots of communities and tutors out there, it’s an active community. Almost every website has a Facebook page where other students can meet and interact with teachers.


So to summarise:

First research the target band needed.

Do a Practise test and fail.

Identify where and why you failed, then aim to control these areas.

Work on the Identified Areas – use a simple to do list.

Reach out.


Author Bio:
Ben Worthington is a freelance tutor and an active podcaster. He is currently building IELTSPodcast.com, a free site which interviews IELTS experts. In his spare time, he enjoys paellas, boxing and sangrias.

 Photo acknowledgement: http://www.flickr.com/photos/macbeck/4003446559/



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