Useful IELTS Tips:
IELTS Writing Task 1 Tips
1. You should spend 20 minutes on this task. Do not spend longer than 20 minutes.
2. Only describe and compare the data. Do not give reasons or your opinion.
3. Learn all the vocabulary needed for describing trends and data. I specifically suggest learning the vocabulary for line graphs and maps.
4. Learn the phrases needed for comparing trends and data such as ‘By contrast’ and ‘However’.
5. Learn the vocabulary needed to describe future trends and data such as ‘is expected to’, ‘is predicted to’ and ‘is projected to’.
6. When describing a process mainly use the present simple tense and passive voice (e.g. is used, are heated). If part of the process is natural or environmental, use the present simple tense and active voice (e.g. the sun heats the water, the rain falls into a reservoir). Also, use time connectors (e.g. Firstly, Next, Then, Finally).
IELTS Writing Task 2 Tips
1. Have a quick think about your opinion and make a plan before you begin writing.
2. Have a clear main idea or opinion and do not change or contradict it.
3. In your introduction, try to start the first sentence with the main subject or something interesting and avoid phrases such as ‘I think’, ‘I believe’ or ‘In my opinion’. Example sentence: Traffic congestion is certainly one of the most serious problems in big cities and it has made people’s lives more difficult.
4. Every paragraph in the main body of the essay should have a topic sentence. A topic sentence is usually the first sentence in a main body paragraph. A good topic sentence clearly summarises the main point of the paragraph.
5. Good essays contain detail and explanation so make sure you support ideas, opinions and topic sentences with specific details or examples.
6. You can make up some research to support an idea or opinion. Example sentence: Recent research revealed that vehicle fumes are one of the main causes of air pollution.
7. You can add some personal experience to support an idea or opinion. However, do not write too much as you are not writing a story. I suggest one or two sentences at the end of a paragraph.
8. Do not forget to indent. Indentation is an empty space at the beginning of a line to signal the start of a new paragraph.
9. Try to avoid always using the first person (I, we, me) and the second person (you, your, yours). It is fine to use them occasionally.
10. Learn the words and phrases used to link sentences and paragraphs such as ‘however’ and ‘on the other hand’.
11. Use as many adverbs as possible such as definitely’ and ‘certainly’ as they will add clarity and precision to your sentences.
12. Make sure that you answer the question specifically and completely.
13. Make sure you have written at least 250 words as you will lose points if you write less.
14. Try to leave a minute or two at the end to check for and correct spelling and grammar mistakes.
15. Keep an eye on your time. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
IELTS Reading Tips
1. Do not spend more than 20 minutes on each passage. The last passage is usually the most difficult so save enough time for it.
2. Do not spend too much time on one question. If you do not know the answer make a guess and move on to the next question.
3. At the beginning, read the title, any headings, the first paragraph and the topic sentences of each paragraph to get an idea about the passage and to have some understanding where information is likely to be. After this, start the questions. Do not read the whole passage as there is not enough time.
4. True/False/Not Given and Yes/No questions are the most difficult type of question so practice them as much as you can before the test.
5. Be aware that sometimes a word in the question or statement will not be the exact same word in the passage, therefore you need to look for synonyms (words with a similar meaning).
6. Be aware that in some questions or statements there are important and specific words such as ‘very’, ‘only’, ‘usually’ and ‘sometimes’. You should check the passage carefully to see if these types of words are appropriate or not.
IELTS Listening Tips
1. Do not get stuck on a question. If you did not hear the answer, move on.
2. Be very focused. Do not let your mind think about other things. Keep listening.
3. If you have to write any words, make sure you spell them correctly. You will get a lower score if you spell words incorrectly.
4. Practice listening to different accents such as British, American and Australian as they can be heard in the test.
5. If you do not know an answer, make a guess. Try to answer every question.
IELTS Speaking Tips
1. Prepare for as many topics as possible. Usual topics include: education, the environment, family, travel, celebrations, famous people. You could do some research on the Internet to find out some information and facts.
2. Make full sentences. Do not give 1 or 2 word answers.
3. Be careful when using verb tenses. You may need to talk about the past, present and future in the same topic. Also, you may be required to use different verb tenses in Part 1 of the Speaking test.
4. You should speak for at least 2 minutes without stopping in Part 2 of the Speaking test.
5. Be prepared to give your opinion and support it in Part 3 of the Speaking test. Use expressions like, ‘In my view’ and ‘I believe that’. Use words/phrases like, ‘because’, ‘due to’, ‘however’ and ‘on the other hand’.
6. Body language is important. Try to appear confident and happy. Sit up straight and smile. Make eye contact with the examiner. Do not fold your arms.