This week Dan's C1 class at English Language Centre York share their top tips on how to prepare for your IELTS test, and why you shouldn't panic:
Whenever someone talks about IELTS a change in the atmosphere will occur. No matter what else is happening, this topic will manage to catch everybody’s attention. It is the most infamous subject among students, but also it is considered to be the ultimate dream for the majority of language learners. To fulfil that ambition, you have to overcome the IELTS nightmare and focus more on language aspects rather than waste your energy on just being scared. We consider the examination to be an evaluation of our level of English rather than a trial of our studying performance. The IELTS should not be such a stressful ordeal: it should be exactly the opposite.
Despite what some students think about the IELTS test, we had a unique experience when we took our test in Edinburgh on the 5th of March. We booked our test as a group of four, which was not a bad idea at all, but in fact a relief to think that we were not going to be tortured. It was a fun journey with companions. The booking plan included not just an IELTS test but also a hotel, train and city tour. Here are some other tips that we have gained from our experience:
1. When you are practising IELTS try to use different pens. You will not have the liberty of bringing your own. And rehearse focusing only on your paper and not looking around, because in the actual test this is considered to be cheating.
2. If you are a smoker, try to cut down, because you will be under pressure but you are not going to be able to sneak a drag. It was a hundred and eighty minutes before we were able to have another cigarette.
3. Choose the right companions (someone who is committed to speaking English, responsible and willing to help you if you need it).
4. Go to the city where the exam is held, one day before, and do book a hotel near to the IELTS centre, in order to not be late.
5. Practice more and more then take a little break one day before the test.
6. Drinking alcohol and partying with your friend may not be such a good idea.
7. Before your test, please sleep well because you are going to be under pressure.
8. Eating breakfast is a good idea. You might be hungry in your exam otherwise.
9. Do not bring valuable stuff with you. You only need your passport, and you are going to worry about any other precious items.
10. Bring your own bottle of water; it is difficult to get one during the test.
11. Do not forget to use the toilet immediately before your test starts. Going to the toilet whilst taking the exam is time-consuming and embarrassing.
12. In the reading, listening and writing, pay attention very carefully to the examiner and do not be shy to raise your hand if you have any question. Better safe than sorry.
13. Do not waste your time on questions you do not know how to answer. On the other hand, do not leave any questions blank. Probably at the end you will have time for it or perhaps you can just guess.
14. Do not be scared in the speaking test. The examiner just wants to see if you understand the question and how you answer it.
15. What is said about IELTS is not always true, so be careful what you listen to.
At the end it is only an exam and you are writing on paper so please do not be scared and remember it is not meant to be a tribulation. It is JUST A TEST.
by Abdulrahman Kadi and Ali Alazran