Tips To improve your IELTS Performance
- Read instructions carefully, don’t just glance at them. They are not
always the same as in practise or previous tests.
- Often the speaker will give you an answer and then correct
themselves-watch out for this. It’s a common trick.
- Try and anticipate what the speaker will say. This requires
concentration-easy in your own language, but more difficult in English.
- Remember if you want a high score you should aim to get all questions in
parts one and two correct. Don’t make any careless mistakes in the easier
- Although there are not that many IELTS books on the market other
Cambridge exam preparation materials can provide valuable practise such as
FCE and CAE preparation books.
- Small errors can lead to low score such as spelling, omitting 's' or
- Don’t panic if you think the topic is too difficult or the speaker is
too fast. Relax and tune in.
- Read, write and listen at the same time. Tricky but practise!!
- Don’t leave blanks, you might as well guess you won’t be penalised.
- Leave a question if you can’t answer. To spend a long time on one answer
is disastrous. Go back later if you have time and guess if you have too.
- Don’t panic if you don’t know anything about the passage. All the
answers are in the passage and you don’t need any specialist knowledge.
- Remember you have no extra time to transfer your answers, many
candidates think because they have extra time in listening they are able to
do this in reading too. You can’t.
- Before the exam read as widely as possible e.g. Newspapers, magazines,
journals. Don’t limit yourself to one type of text and read articles with an
academic style where possible.
- Look at ways paragraphs are organised.
- Try and predict content of paragraph from the opening sentence.
- Give a paragraph you read an imaginary heading.
- Don’t concentrate on words you don’t know. It is fatal and wastes
- Careless mistakes cost many marks. Copy the answer correctly if it is in
- Check spelling.
- Only give one answer if that is all that’s needed.
- Be careful with singular/plural.
- Highlight/circle key words.
- Clearly divide paragraphs.
- Don’t repeat ideas in a different way.
- Stick to the topic.
- Careful with timing-don’t rush Task 2, it’s longer and carries more
- Paragraph simply with one idea in each paragraph.
- Avoid informal language.
- Learn to recognise how long 150 words is in your handwriting. You don’t
really have time to count.
- Get used to always spending several minutes re-reading and correcting
- Don’t memorise model answers, they won’t fit the question and you will
make more careless mistakes.
- It tests your ability to communicate effectively not just your
- Don’t learn chunks of answers. The examiner is trained to spot this and
will change the question.
- Develop your answers as much as possible.
- Speak more than the examiner.
- Ask for clarification if necessary.
- Remember it is not a test of knowledge and there is no single answer,
but ensure that you give your opinion. Don’t worry if you feel it is not
- The areas covered are fairly predictable and not infinite so practise at
home recording ideas onto a tape recorder.