Mistakes are very common, especially in tests. Even some of the most prepared individuals naturally make mistakes. However, when it comes to your IELTS (International English Language Testing System) test, your points are valuable. By receiving a low mark, you may lose your chances of studying abroad (yikes)!
It doesn’t help that preparing for the IELTS can be both stressful and difficult. Students are tested in listening, reading, writing, and speaking. The test also takes up a lot of time, with reading and writing modules in the morning, and a speaking section taken in the afternoon. It can be a lot to deal with, especially with so much riding on the results of the IELTS.
To ensure you’re best prepared, here are the most common IELTS mistakes test takers make that cost them valuable points.
1. Spelling errors and poor vocabulary
When completing the written portion of the IELTS exam, it’s important to review your spelling. The most common IELTS mistakes include spelling and it’s one of the easiest ones to avoid by simply reviewing! If you’re unsure of the correct spelling of a word, avoid using it. Instead, find its synonym. It’s vital to remember many words in the English language are spelled similarly but mean different things.
With spelling errors comes poor vocabulary. You can build your vocabulary by reading more and writing down the words you’re reading. This will ultimately help with your spelling too! You must have a good vocabulary to succeed in the English language. Without it, you’ll face many challenges whether it’s reading signs, speaking to others or listening.
2. Time management
This is one of the most common IELTS mistakes made by test takers. It can be tough to complete the test within a certain time span and so, time management skills are critical when taking the IELTS exam. You don’t want to spend a lot of time answering one question and then get little time on the next.
It’s important to know exactly how much time is needed on each question. This way, you can answer each question fully to the best of your abilities. You might even consider a strategy. For example, answering the shorter questions that involve less brainstorming first. Time is of the essence!
IELTS test markers are aware you are an international student. Of course…this is a test of English proficiency! With this being said, your accent will not cause you to lose any points. However, the way you pronounce English words will.
You must ensure you are saying each word fully and clearly. For instance, if you are pronouncing the word ‘probably’ you shouldn’t say ‘probly’ as that’s incorrect. The best way to tackle this is to practice, practice, practice. You might even considering practicing with a native English speaker.
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4. Blank answers
Here’s a quick tip: don’t leave any of the questions blank. This is incredibly important. If you’re unsure of the answer, it’s better to write something as opposed to nothing. There’s a higher chance of you getting part marks even if you make a guess. You won’t lose out on anything by simply trying. Who knows, your guess may even end up being correct!
5. Lack of transition
Another one of the more common IELTS mistakes made is a lack of transition words. These are what make sentences smooth and make conversations flow. Transition words help the reader and listener understand your idea and make the connection between your previous sentences. Transition words make sure there’s structure to what you’re saying, and there are no gaps between your sentences. And so, transition words are very important and contribute to higher points in your IELTS exam.
6. Lack of focus
Focus is key, especially when it comes to listening and speaking. You must give your undivided attention when taking the exam. While this too is one of the most common IELTS mistakes made, it’s easily avoidable. Repeat sentences to yourself if you must. Make sure you understand everything being communicated to you before you respond. Focus on giving the correct response. Don’t try to memorize the questions and answers when you’re in preparation for the exam. Memorizing could possibly even result in fewer points. Just focus on absorbing what’s being communicated to you and delivering clear information.
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