Tuesday, March 7, 2017

IELTS Test Tips (For Achieving 7-9 Bands)



IELTS TIPS (Guaranteed 7-9 Band)

Courtesy: Sir Faisal (ieltsonlinepak@yahoo.com)

• The examination takes 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete, and consists of four Subtests in the skills of listening, reading, writing and speaking.

• There are two IELTS test modules available - the Academic Module and the General Training Module. The results of the Academic Module may be used to determine a candidate's suitability for study at undergraduate or postgraduate level. The General Training Module is suitable for candidates wishing to continue their studies at diploma level only. The General Training Module is also used for immigration purposes to Australia or New Zealand, and for students who wish to complete their secondary education in an English-speaking country. The General Training Reading and Writing Sub-tests are less demanding than the corresponding Academic Module Sub-tests, but the Listening and Speaking Sub-tests are the same for both modules.

• You may write on the question papers, but you may not take the question papers from the examination room. All your answers must be written on the Answer Sheet provided.

• You cannot pass or fail the IELTS examination. The university or college that you wish to enter will inform you of the overall IELTS Band Score they require for enrolment in the particular course you wish to study. Note that you may also need to achieve a minimum score in a particular Sub-test (often the Writing Sub-test).

• You will be given a mark between 0 and 9 for each of the 4 Sub-tests (there are no half marks in the Writing and Speaking Sub-tests). Your Overall Band Score is an average of the 4 Subtest Band Scores, with fractional scores rounding up or down to the nearest x.0 or x.5 score (withx.25 and x.75 rounding up.)

Therefore, if you score 6.5 in the Listening Sub-test

5 in the Reading Sub-test
7 in the Writing Sub-test
and 6 in the Speaking Sub-test
Your total score is 24.5

By averaging the scores (dividing the total score 24.5 by 4) in the example above, you would achieve an Overall Band Score of 6.0 (which is 6.125 rounded down).

• You will usually receive your results within two weeks of the date of your test.
• If you want to take the examination again, as per new policy there is no time restriction, yet there is no limit to the number of times you can sit for the IELTS examination.

BEFORE THE TEST

TIP 1: CHOOSE A REALISTIC AND ACHIEVABLE GOAL - To obtain a satisfactory IELTS Band Score, it is necessary to be realistic. If the goal is to reach a certain level of English proficiency, success can only be achieved with much practice. It is important to know what an IELTS score in any of the Sub-tests means before you set yourself a goal. An outline of the Overall Band Scale levels is given below:

9 Expert User -Has fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.
8 Very Good User - Has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and in appropriacies. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well.
7 Good User - Has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning.
6 Competent User - Has generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
5 Modest User - Has partial command of the language, coping with overall meaning in most situations, though is likely to make many mistakes. Should be able to handle basic communication in own field.
4 Limited User - Basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has frequent problems in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language.
3 Extremely Limited User - Conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.
2 Intermittent User - No real communication is possible except for the most basic information using isolated words or short formulae in familiar situations and to meet immediate needs. Has great difficulty understanding spoken and -written English.
1 Non User - Essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.
0 Did Not Attempt The Test - No assessable information provided

TIP 2: FOLLOW A REGULAR STUDY PLAN - Set aside the maximum number of hours you can spare each day to practice English for all four Subtests. Do not concentrate only on your weakest areas. Be regular in your practice, and give yourself a rest between tasks. Take at least one day out of your week to rest and forget the test completely. The secret of success is to work towards your goal slowly, steadily and regularly.

Take every opportunity to listen to English whenever and wherever you can. Watch TV programs and films, listen to radio programs and English language tapes - even songs in English on tape. Have as many conversations with native English speakers as you can, and practice in English as often as possible with your non-native English-speaking friends.

Try to read texts in English at least once every day. You should always be in the process of reading a book in English - a page or two each night before bedtime is an excellent plan. Read newspapers, magazines, and novels written for your English level (available from good language bookshops). Academic Module candidates should obtain academic articles, if possible. Always carry English texts with you, so you can read when you have spare time that would otherwise be wasted.

Do not worry about understanding every word. Read some articles in detail and some for speed.

TIP 3: INCREASE YOUR PERSONAL SPEED - In the IELTS test, time is your enemy. Candidates who have taken the test and did not perform as well as they had hoped often complain that they were unable to give all the answers in the Listening Test because the tape was too fast, and that they ran out of time in the Reading Test.

To begin with, do not worry if you do not finish the tests. Remember, the test is designed to measure candidates over a range of scores from 0 to 9 (0 indicates the test was not attempted).

Candidates whose English is near perfect can expect to score 9, but even native Englishspeaking people would be unlikely to complete every Listening Test answer perfectly or finish the Reading Test a long time before the examination ends. Remember, the test is meant to be challenging.

The IELTS test measures many aspects of your English ability including the speed at which you listen, read, write, speak, and think in English. Your personal speed is not something which changes a great deal from day to day, but does change considerably over a longer period of time, as a direct result of practice in working with the English language.

Your personal speed and ability in the 5 areas previously mentioned is pretty well fixed at any given time. The official IELTS Band Scores you receive are extremely accurate, since each test is trialed extensively to achieve standardized results for candidates at all English levels.

Nonetheless, there are certainly many things you can do, before and on the day of the test, to help maximize the use of your time and give yourself the best chance of success.

The Listening, Reading, and Writing Tests are given in that order, and are usually held on a single morning. The combined length of those three tests is 2 hours and 30 minutes. (The Speaking Test is conducted at an appointed time in the afternoon.) Only one short break is given between the Reading and Writing Tests, so you need to be at your best for a long period of time, which is why you must sleep and eat well before the test. The hints and guidelines in this book should help you achieve your "maximum speed". The more effort you put in, the faster your personal speed will be on the day.

TIP 4: INCREASE YOUR SENTENCE READING SPEED - The faster and more accurately you read, the more questions you will be able to answer. In all the tests, the instructions, the example, and the questions themselves need to be read quickly, and must be well understood in order for you to have more time to find the answers. It pays to increase your overall reading speed.

To increase your reading speed, you must learn to read in groups of words that form logical units of thought within sentences. Look at the following sentence:

Britain has been a popular choice for thousands of international students over many
years.

Notice how you can think of the sentence as being made up of 3 main parts:

1. Britain has been a popular choice (What and where?)
2. ... for thousands of international students (Who for?)
3. ... over many years. (When?)

Note also, that in this case (and many others) all the phrases answer wh/how questions. It may be helpful at first to think of wh/how questions when trying to read in phrases.

If you read each word in a sentence one at a time, you will read very slowly and most likely misunderstand the meaning of much of what you read. So read your sentences in phrases by considering all the words of a phrase as a single unit.
Notice how much quicker it is to read the sentence, and how the meaning of what you say is more clear. Practice reading in phrases everyday. Look ahead on the page as you read, and always aim to find logical places in the sentences where phrases begin and end. Note also that there is often more than one solution as to where the logical breaks between phrases occur within sentences.

Read faster by reading words in groups that form logical units of thought

TIP 5: DEVELOP A MEMORY FOR ENGLISH - In the Reading Test, it pays to remember as much as you can of what you have just read, but at least the words can be read again.

However, in the Listening Test you cannot go back, and the tape is only played once. If the answer comes before the keyword/phrase, your memory of what you have just heard is even more important. Nevertheless, the answer usually follows the keywords/phrases that you hear, and is close in time to the main keyword/phrase you are listening for.

To improve your "English memory", try the following exercise. Using the pause button on the tape recorder, repeat the sentences spoken in the passages on the audio cassette tape that comes with this book, gradually increasing the length of what you repeat. Do not worry about repeating the exact words. Simply aim to remember more of what you have heard.

DURING THE TEST

TIP 6: MANAGE YOUR TIME CAREFULLY -

The Listening Sub-test
The tape is heard once only, and the questions are answered as you listen. Time is, therefore, managed for you, but you have a short period of time after each passage is heard to check your work.

Do not use this time to transfer your answers to the Answer Sheet because you are given minutes at the end of the test in which to do this.

The Reading Sub-test

An advised period of time is usually given in which to complete each of the three sections of the test. Keep an eye on the time as you progress through the Reading Sub-test, and as you complete each question group. Make sure that you stop answering questions when the advised time is up. Move on to the next group of questions even if you have not finished those questions. If you do not, you will probably not complete as many questions as you could.

Remember that you are in charge of managing your time in the Reading Sub-test.

TIP 7: THE GOLDEN RULE OF IELTS - The Golden Rule is "Always give the monkey exactly what he wants".

If a monkey asks for a banana, you must give him a banana and not an apple. In other words, your answer to a question must be exactly what is required. You must be quite sure of the type of information you are asked to give as an answer, and what you must do with that information to give an accurate answer.
You might think that this advice is too simple to be worth remembering. It might seem obvious that you have to do what the test asks you to do and give the answers the test asks you to give.

Yet failure to remember and apply the Golden Rule is one of the main reasons why candidates do not score as well in the test as they believe they should. Read the questions very carefully.

Know the type of information the test asks you to give:

Is the answer a method of transport? ... a person? ... a place? ... a number?
If you know, you have a better chance of giving the correct answer.

Know what you have to do with the information:
Do you have to complete a sentence, or fill in the missing words in a sentence?
If so, your answers must, therefore, be grammatically correct within that sentence.

Do you have to provide an answer with no more than a maximum number of words?

If so, your answer must not contain more than that maximum number of words.
Do you have to name two items that you must hear on the tape, or find in a reading passage?

If so, your answer must contain two items only; three items would be incorrect.
Always know exactly what type of information you need to give and what you have to do with it

TIP 8: READ THE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY
Candidates who do not read or listen to the instructions carefully may believe they are saving time, but the instructions contain vital information which must be understood in order to answer correctly.

• The instructions may contain information about the passage topic which helps to predict what
you may hear or read.
• The instructions tell you what to do, what kind of answer to give, and, in the case of the
Listening Test instructions, they tell you when to answer.
• It is important to read the instructions quickly and accurately. You might not have time to

complete the test if you are too slow at reading the explanatory information.

TIP 9: ALWAYS LOOK AT THE EXAMPLE - The example is given to you for a number of very good reasons. It is important to read and/or listen to the example carefully. Some candidates believe they can save time by not looking at the example. This is a mistake. If you do not know how to give the answer, you are very likely to give an incorrect answer or a correct answer in the wrong form.

The example tells us 3 very important pieces of information about the task:

1. The example tells you how to give the answer to questions.
You should usually answer questions in the same form as the given example.
2. The example gives you information about the listening or reading passage.
You will understand more about what you listen to and read if you can predict what is to come.
The example gives information that is easily understood and helps you predict information about
the ideas behind the main topic of the passage.
3. The example tells you when to start listening, or where to start reading to find the answers.

CHECK BEFORE THE END OF THE TEST

TIP 10: DO NOT FORGET TO MAKE LOGICAL GUESSES - In the Reading Sub-test, if you are having trouble completing the questions to a particular passage, you should leave a minute or so at the end of each advised time period for that passage (usually 20 minutes) to guess those questions that can be guessed. In the Listening Sub-test, you are given a minute of silence after each section has finished. Candidates who forget to give a logical guess to questions they cannot otherwise answer, do not give themselves any chance at all to get a
mark!

TIP 11: ARE YOUR ANSWERS GRAMMATICALLY CORRECT? - While it is true that not all words and phrases given as answers to questions in the Listening and Reading Tests need to be grammatically correct, it is often possible to work out the correct answer by using your knowledge of grammar. Always consider whether your choice of answer is grammaticallyacceptable before making your final decision.

TIP 12: CHECK YOUR SPELLING - In the Listening and Reading Tests exact spelling is not always essential. It is only necessary in the Listening Test if a word answer is spelt out for you on the tape.

Other correct answers in the Listening and Reading Tests can be incorrectly spelt and still count towards your Band Score, but they must be sufficiently well spelt to indicate the correct answer.

Copy answers from the passages accurately in the Reading Test. In the Listening Test, if you are unsure of the spelling, write an approximation of the way the answer sounds.

TIP 13: MAKE SURE YOUR ANSWERS ARE EASY TO READ - You cannot expect to do well if your answers cannot be read. Candidates may be unaware that their answers cannot be understood by the examiners who mark the tests. Be careful!

Words: If you have trouble with English letters, you could write your Listening and Reading Test answers in BLOCK LETTERS. Practice, so your letters look like these:

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz

Your letters must be distinguishable from each other. Pay particular attention to: E and F I, J and L M, N and W U and V I and T

(It is often hard to tell the difference between these letters when candidates write them quickly.)

Numbers: Numbers can be even more difficult to read:
1234567890

Many candidates do not realize that their numbers cannot be recognized by the examiners. 

Practice so that your numbers look similar to those shown above.

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