Okay so the title is a cheat. I just wanted you to read this. I’m going to try make you think about whether it makes better sense to pay for a teacher to help you rather than spending your money on a second or third test.
Do some maths. Understand how you improve your English skills
An IELTS test costs around 100 pounds. To get 4 essays marked can also cost something around 100 pounds. The question is which is the better learning experience and will help you more
The test – 100 pounds
If you take a test what happens. You find out what the test is really like – until you do it you don’t really know. If you get your the score you needed – great. Job done.
But what happens if you don’t? You’ll get a score but you won’t really know why you got that score. What went wrong? Was it this? Or was it that? You won’t know and that’s a problem as you don’t know what you need to work on and if you don’t know that you may not improve – or only improve slowly.
What I think too many people do is just decide to go again – spend another 100 pounds. I’m not at all sure that that is always money well spent – especially if it’s your third or fourth time around.
Pay a teacher to look at 4 essays – perhaps also around 100 pounds
Let’s suppose it’s the writing you need to improve. You could – say – pay almost the same amount of money to a teacher to look at your writing and tell you what you need to work on. This I can tell you is priceless info – you can now work on the skills YOU need. It may take you a little time, it may take much longer – it depends on who you are.
See an example of how a teacher can help you
I recently posted this lesson. It was based on some writing someone had sent to my site. If you look through it you’ll see how I analyse the problems of the person writing it and show a way to improve – what to work on – in this case I think that there’s a way the candidate has a good chance of improving their writing by focusing on one aspect of coherence and task response. He needed to improve from 6.5 to 7.0.
Do I guarantee that my advice would work? No certainly not – I’m much too experienced a teacher to do that! But I do think I have given him a way to improve -something he only found out because he talked to a teacher. He now has a better chance and learnt more than if he had just gone for another test.
Where can you find a teacher to help you like this?
Right here on this site.
If you look at the Find a Teacher page you’ll see lots of friendly faces there. They all offer professional services. Choose one of them and they may be able to help you. I genuinely believe it’s going to money better spent than doing the test again – especially if it’s 3rd or 4th time around.
Which teacher should you choose?
Here are some tips.
Find one you can afford! – I do understand that 100 pounds may be too much for you and I used it here just as an example and to make you think about the comparison with cost of doing the test again – even one essay marked (hopefully cheaper than 100 pounds) could make a real difference
Find a face you like – No really. It really helps to have a close bond with your teacher – especially if you’re going to be doing speaking. Attitude matters.
Check their services – different teachers will do different things – find one who is going to give you the right sort of feedback.
Ask for a sample perhaps – you’re paying money so you want to know what you’re getting.
Perhaps someone who knows your language can help best – native speakers are not always the best teachers. Someone who knows your language can often help you solve problems as they understand the problems at first hand
Think about their experience and qualifications – old teachers and well-qualified teachers may just be old and well-qualified of course and not any good but experience can count!
Look at recommendations – again this is just sensible – see what their students say
Forget who’s at the top of the page – at the moment it’s Annabelle. I know her. She’s good – very, very good I happen to know. She’s also experienced. Really quite experienced by now! But I rotate the teachers around – I try to feature everyone. Your best teacher may happen to be at the bottom right now.
Can’t I teach you?
I run my site as a hobby at the moment. I have very limited time and all the time I have I’m spending on making it better. I have no time I’m afraid for helping individuals. If you send me a bit of writing I can only glance at it really.
Of course. That’s what my site’s there for – to help people learn for themselves and become their own teachers.
One limitation of my site is that I don’t know who YOU are. I can give you good advice – I hope -and detailed explanations but language is very personal – one of the most personal things about us – and I don’t know how to help YOU as an individual as I don’t know what YOUR problems are. That’s why I have my Find a teacher page – it adds a service to the site I can’t perform.
If you really don’t want to pay a teacher that’s fine. You’re a committed self-learner. I admire you. One way you can help yourself is sending bits of writing in as comments for other people to read. Yes I’ll look at them and try and give brief comments – no guarantees again. But the idea is that if you publish a bit of writing other people may look at it and perhaps even comment on it. This already happens on some lessons – it could happen more.
I get emails every day from people asking for a teacher. They’re right there on my site. All you need to do is pay them. This is almost certainly the most useful page on my site: