This lesson is about how to improve your IELTS score overnight. What I say may seem obvious, but often the obvious is what matters. In a way, all other tips for IELTS exams are just explanations of this point. Please do read this post: take a look at the examples at the end – it could make all the difference. I really do believe that if you understand this, you will learn to avoid the most common mistake in IELTS.
Mistakes in IELTS – two categories
1. Language problems
2. Exam skill problems – how you think
Read, understand and answer the question
Step one: read (or listen to) the question
Step two: understand the question
Step three: answer the question
This part should be the simple part if you have read/listened and understood – IF your English is at the right level. Still, mistakes do happen here. Here is just one handy hint. Before you write the question in, read the question again. Make sure your answer is an answer to the question. Some things you can check for include:
- words like always and never – they can change the meaning of a question
- is your answer grammatically right?
- have you written the correct number of words?
Listening paper example
“You may have problems because you don’t like the local food and this can affect your health and studies. Angela Pease is our dietary representative in the Student Health and Welfare Department and you should contact her.”
Students should contact Angela Pease when:
a) their health is poor
b) they need to diet
c) they can’t eat the local food
Reading paper example
Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from Reading Passage 1 for each answer
Which of these possible answers must be wrong?
a) Blue Moon b) Blue Moon Cheese C) The Blue Moon Cheese Company
A footnote – you too can learn from Nadjwa
This is a new version of a very old lesson. I believe it to be a really important lesson too. Some of the most common pieces of advice you hear in IELTS are:
- focus on key words in the question
- you don’t need to understand the whole text
I know why people say this. I just happen too disagree. Why?
- key words can only ever tell you where the answer is, not what the answer is – for that you need to read/listen to the whole question
- the better you understand the text, the more likely you are to find the answer – reading and listening are both complex skills, but most of all they are about understanding. Thank you Nadjwa – you taught me an invaluable lesson