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Best IELTS Tips

Posted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 3:06 pm
by FastTrackIELTS
Hi everybody,

Let's use this page to post your favourite IELTS tips. What has helped you to pass your exam? Post your ideas here.


Read the instructions and questions carefully before you listen.
Try to get an idea of the situation. Who are the speakers? Where are they? Why are they speaking?
Remember, you will only hear the audio once. You will need to read, write and listen all at the same time.
Listen for 'signpost words' such as however, although and finally. They help you to anticipate what the speaker will say.


Skim through each text to try to get a basic understanding of what it is about. What is the text about? Who was it written for?
Carefully read the title and any sub-heading.
What is the main point of each paragraph? Each paragraph contains a single main idea. The questions will focus on these main ideas.
Remember questions appear in the same order as the answers in the text.

Re: Best IELTS Tips

Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2017 10:13 am
by FastTrackIELTS
Writing Task 1 Tips

Spend 20 minutes on Task 1 (150 words) and 40 minutes on Task 2 (250 words). Task 2 is longer than Task 1 and is worth twice as many marks.

Before you write

Read the task and make a mental summary of the key points and overall trends/stages.
Why? Because if you misinterpret the data or diagram, you will lose a lot of marks for content.

As you write

Introduce the information, in a sentence or two, using your own words.[/b]
Why? Because if you copy the question, the examiner will not count these words.
Summarise the key points and use data to illustrate these.
Why? Because you will lose marks if you miss key points or fail to illustrate them.
Include an overview of the information - either in your introduction or conclusion.
Why? Because you will lose marks if your answer does not contain an overview.

How you write

Try to show that you can use your own words (wherever possible) and a range of grammatical structures.
Why? Because you will get more marks for vocabulary and grammar if you can do this.
Divide your answer into paragraphs and use linkers to connect your ideas.
Why? Because you will get more marks if you can organise your answer well and use a range of linking and reference words.

When you have finished

Count your words to make sure you have written enough.
Why? Because short answers lose marks. (There are no extra marks for long answers.)
Check your grammar, spelling and punctuation.
Why? Because mistakes in these areas can reduce your marks.

Re: Best IELTS Tips

Posted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:31 pm
by FastTrackIELTS
Listening Tip
In Section 1 of the IELTS listening exam, you may have to complete a form. Normally, each answer is one or two words.

In Section 1, the information is factual; for example, dates, telephone numbers and places.

Reading Tip
In the IELTS Reading exam, follow the instructions carefully. In tasks that ask you to summarize, the following instructions apply:

1) You are told how many words you can use in your answer.

2) Numbers can be written using words or figures. A number or symbol counts as one word.

3) Hyphenated words count as single words.

Writing Tip
In Academic Writing Task 1, don’t forget that you are not expected to give your opinion on the information you are given.

You should merely describe the information factually.

Speaking Tip
In IELTS Speaking exam, when you have to answer questions in Part 1, think for a moment before you respond.

You can use conversation fillers such as, “Let me think for a moment” or “What an interesting question!”.

Re: Best IELTS Tips

Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:49 am
by FastTrackIELTS
Advice from an IELTS student:

1. Focus more on your areas of weakness. I had some difficulty with reading, which is why I devoted more time to it.

2. I also paid more attention to both the listening and reading skills, because they will be graded objectively. The writing and speaking are both subjectively graded, you may not know what you will get regardless how much you prepare.

3. Time is your greatest enemy. Practice answering the reading passages within the allotted time limit, because 1 hour may not be enough to answer 40 questions.

4. In the writing part, always do task 2 first because it bears more marks than task 1. Also practice finishing essays in less than 1 hour.

5. When doing sample drills, always train yourself to follow instructions.

6. Always build up your stamina, try doing a simulation exam, wherein you have to answer 3 modules (listening, reading, and writing) continuously within 2 hours and 40 minutes.

7. On the night before the test, have a good night’s sleep, for it can help you concentrate on the day of the test.

8. Eat your breakfast in the morning before the test; you might fail to concentrate when you are hungry.

9. The speaking test is the most difficult part for me, so try to do “one on one” with a friend or a mentor. Simulate what happens in sections 1-3 of the speaking test. It helps you build your self-confidence.

10. Lastly, what really helped me a lot in the speaking test was the feedback from other test takers. Gather some information on what came out as their questions, and try to formulate your own answers.

Stop Practicing and Start Reading!

Posted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 3:48 pm
by ieltscharlie
If you're stuck at the same band score, despite lots of practice and lots of tips, it's probably time to stop practising IELTS. The reasons you're stuck at the same band score is probably because you don't have enough vocabulary.

So if you find yourself stuck at the same IELTS band score, stop studying IELTS and do some quality reading in English. This will help you to improve your vocabulary.

I've made a list of 11 websites where you can read IELTS-style materials. Read them initially as a way of learning new vocabulary. You will see words in context; you will see how words and phrases are used in natural English. Here is a link to the list. ... s-to-help/

So stop practicing and start reading! Good luck!


Re: Best IELTS Tips

Posted: Mon May 22, 2017 12:53 am
by ted_ielts
Work on your nerves. I've known some amazing students who just fall to pieces during exam situations. In particular, here in rural China many students have never met a foreigner before and panic during the speaking exam! :o It seems strange, but all their practice just goes right out the window. So a student must be familiar with the exam conditions and ready to deal with stress and nerves in order to reach their full potential.

Re: Best IELTS Tips

Posted: Mon May 22, 2017 10:42 am
by FastTrackIELTS
That's a great tip Ted.

I think watching videos of IELTS speaking exams can help students to get an understanding of what to expect.

Re: Best IELTS Tips

Posted: Tue May 23, 2017 11:22 am
by ted_ielts
That's right. It's very useful to watch other students going through the procedure to familiarize yourself with it.

Re: Best IELTS Tips

Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 9:30 am
by FastTrackIELTS
Listening Tip
In IELTS Listening exam, when you have to complete sentences, make sure that the word or phrase you write is correct both in terms of meaning and in terms of its grammar.

If it doesn't fit grammatically, it's the wrong answer.

Reading Tip
It is easy to forget the meaning of new words. Try to work with new words you come across: look at the different related meanings, look up the different word forms and use them in a sentence about yourself.

The more you do with a word when you first come across it, the more likely you are to remember its meaning later.

Writing Tip
In Writing Task 2, if the question asks you to “discuss both views” then you need a balanced argument, so make a list of ideas for and against the issue, and then give your opinion (I believe; I think).

Note that Task 2 counts for twice the marks of Task 1 so spend twice the amount of time on it. It is important to write at least 150 words for Task 1 and 250 words for Task 2.

Speaking Tip
In IELTS Speaking exam, when you have to answer questions in Part 1, don't just give one-word answers. You have to show that you can communicate in English. Try to say several sentences for each answer.