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IELTS Strategies

IELTS Strategies

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IELTS Reading

In the reading section, the problem is the time. You are supposed to read three passages and to give a total of 40 answers. You have one hour. Therefore you can devote just 20 minutes for a passage, which is sometimes not enough time. First of all: use just 20 minutes for each section: if after 20 minutes you do not have some answers, guess and pass to the next question. Remember: you won't have extratime at the end of the hour to transfer the answers to the answer sheet. Therefore write them on it at once: this is an important difference from the listening section, where you will be given time to transfer your answers. Second: read the questions carefully before reading the passage: this is very very important. If you read the passage without knowing the questions, you will waste your time. Here is a useful procedure: use 3-4 minutes to read the questions; use 10-12 minutes to read the passage and to answer where you can. In this way you should be able to find a lot of answers. Use the last minutes to find the answers in the text that you did not find when you first read the passage. Usually, but not always, you will find the answers in order. Third: read the instructions given carefully: if you are asked to answer a question taking no more than two or three words from the text, then an answer with more words is definitely wrong. Sometimes you are given a sentence and you have to write YES if it is true according to the text, NO if it is not, NOT GIVEN if the information is not in the text. Remember: ACCORDING TO THE TEXT. You have to be very precise: sometimes just a word in the passage can make you have to decide between two alternatives. Other times the text is divided into a number of paragraphs and you are asked to choose a title for each paragraph from a list of possible titles. In the weeks before the exam, test when you read an article in a newspaper or in a magazine, try to give a title to each paragraph. The title is usually the main point of the paragraph. This will help you very much.

Tip from Ros (May 2001):

Read the following text and try to answer the question you will find at the bottom. One day my family and I decided to try windsurfing. We went for a few lessons first (only 5) which gave us some idea of the techniques to use when trying to windsurf. After our introductory course we hired a board and off we went for a day at the sea. Although we were not very good, we knew HOW to practice to improve. We only knew this because of our introductory lessons. Just watching others do it would not have been helpful at all, in fact we would have become frustrated and given up. Reading other peoples model essays is a bit like this. When you read it you think 'it seems so easy' but when you try you find out that it's exasperatingly, frustratingly, anxiety provokingly DIFFICULT. Like the poor people who had no lessons to learn to windsurf, you too feel like giving up. REMEMBER THIS: We only needed 5 lessons to learn enough to be able to HELP OURSELVES. We will never be champion windsurfers, just as you will most likely never be able to write English like me and I will never be able to write Chinese (which I am trying to learn) or any other language, like you. THE GOOD NEWS IS: you don't have to - you only have to get through the IELTS test. We didn't aim at being champion windsurfers - we only wanted to have fun. You, like us, only need to be given some techniques and away

Do not lose time trying to understand everything. and you won't get the chance to listen to the same piece again. Waiting could be a mistake because later you will not to remember the answer. (c) The IELTS Tutor will help you to do well in the IELTS Which one is the best heading (a). are given 30 seconds (1) to check the answers to the section just completed and (2) 30 seconds to read the section . (b) or (c). particularly if you have to write something. etc. It is very good for Listening practice. The total number of questions you have to answer is 40. but sometimes you may get an acceptable mark even with 27 or 28 correct answers. At the end of the listening test you will have 10 minutes to transfer your answers to an answer sheet: use those minutes to complete the answer sheet and try to write something in all the 40 spaces even if you are not sure of the correct answer. If you do not have the basics of English you will be in the same position. After reading the message decide which of the following would be the best heading for it: (a) The IELTS test and wind-surfing are similar. I would not have been able to learn to windsurf. The first suggestion is the following: write the answers as you hear them. an address.you will go. for example. A WORD OF CAUTION: If I had only one hand. MY VIDEO WILL HELP YOU WITH THIS. even though there you can listen to the pieces twice. You always have to know what question you are waiting for: when you hear the answer write it at once or. More than 30 anwers right means a good mark. IELTS Listening The listening part of the test is the first you will encounter. If you are used to doing difficult tests. you will find the real exam easier! Of course try to listen as much as possible to people speaking in English: films with subtitles are very useful. as the test candidate. A wrong answer is as wrong as no answer: so try! You could be lucky! IELTS material is in some countries difficult to find. • Tip from Ros (April 2001): Between questions you. It is divided into four sections with increasing difficulty. In fact you do not have to understand everything if you want a good mark. Usually you have to write something you hear (a telephone number. start reading the next question and waiting for the answer. However. If you live in Australia you should watch "Behind the news" on Channel 2. You will have the chance to read the following questions before listening each section. if you do have the basics all you need is the techniques to tackle the IELTS. (b) The best way to succeed in the IELTS is to get some help from an expert. The main problem is that you will be allowed to listen to the cassette just once. To practice your listening I suggest you to buy or borrow a library Proficiency test. If you live in England use page 888 of Teletext on television: most of the programs are subtitled. I found the listening part of Proficiency tests more difficult than IELTS. Some questions are multiple choice.). Use this chance: in this way you will be able to concentrate your attention just to the part you are interested in. if you do not understand it. a name. You need to understand just what answers you have to give.

a second paragraph to write the opposite arguments. A possible organisation of the work could be the following: devote a paragraph to the introduction (say what you are going to write about). The second is a composition about an argument of general interest. this is just an example. write a second paragraph describing the graph. your country. Don't write less than 150 words. a table or something similar. First of all you have to write at least 150 words. However. Try to understand the main points and write about them. use a third paragraph to explain the trends. The suggestions about the number of the words and the organization are valid for the second task as well. Do not waste time checking your answers at this point. a composition of 200 words will be perfect. This doesn't mean you have to count the words. It's up to you. The first is an analysis of a chart. Leave a line between them. a graph. your plans for the future. In this task you have to present the data shown in a graph (or somewhere else) in a formal way. In addition. A conclusion with your own ideas about the problem. a composition of 300 will be too long and boring for the examiner. In other words. You can decide to start with the analysis or with the composition. the reason for which you are taking the IELTS. The point is: you have to organize your work before writing. try to explain the reasons of the trend shown: for example if the graph shows that in the last decades the use of cars has increased and the use of bycicles has decreased. you should say something about the possible reasons of this phenomenon. Try to read as much as you can during the 60 second break as this will help you to listen for the specific information you need to answer the questions. a first paragraph to write the arguments of those who support a position. Use the first minutes to think about what you are going to write. One of the biggest difficulties of the IELTS listening test is that you have to read and listen at the same time. Use your time in an intelligent way: remember you have to compose two different tasks and you can't devote too much time to the first (or the second). Remember: ORGANISATION. Try to avoid mistakes in grammar and make a composition in order: the paragraphs have to be clear. You can decide your own way to write the composition. Of course. However. but you have to decide on your own strategy on the basis of your abilities. The best thing to do is the following: when you write as practice before taking the real test. The difference is that you have to write at least 250 words for this task. I suggest that you use all 60 seconds to read the next section. remember to read both titles before you start writing. your past studies.which you are about to do. the following is an example: an introduction to write something general about the argument. Now let me give you some suggestions about the tasks. . When you start writing you already have to know what you are going to write. IELTS Writing There are two writing tasks and you can use an hour to write both. It is suggested that you spend 20 minutes on the first task and 40 on the second. count the words. IELTS Speaking The speaking part is usually a conversation about you. you have to know how long a text you write is. In this way your subconscious will start thinking about the second task while you are writing the first. Since time is given at the end of the test to check all your answers. I always used more than 20 minutes for the first and about 30 for the second.

don't worry if your pronunciation is not exactly a British one. and a range of similar familiar topic areas. Therefore. The conversation usually lasts 15-20 minutes and will be recorded. This part lasts between four and five minutes. To be able to comunicate what you think is far more important than doing it with a perfect English accent. So your answer would go something like: ‘Well. . It is now made up of three parts (this is the description of the test taken from the official IELTS website): In Part 1 the candidate answers general questions about themselves. 2001. their interests. The discussion lasts between four and five minutes. In addition. Don't panic about that! The Speaking part of the test have been changed on July 1. In Part 3 the examiner and candidate engage in a discussion of more abstract issues and concepts which are thematically linked to the topic prompt in Part 2. For example.your town. for between one and two minutes. their homes/ families. REMEMBER whenever you are asked for your OPINION about ANYTHING you can always give both the ‘positive’ and the ‘negative’ aspects of the subject in question. That's not the main point. The examiner then asks one or two rounding-off questions. You should prepare something to say about them. ‘What do you think of Australia?’ Most students would have an opinion about this but they often wouldn’t know where to begin. I like Australia because the people are friendly and the pace of life is slow. HOWEVER I don’t like the hot weather and shopping hours are too short. Also you have opened the way for the examiner to ask you about the weather or shopping in your country. You will get a better score because you have made a COMPARISON about what is good about Australia and what is bad. the examiner may say. In Part 2 the candidate is given a verbal prompt on a card and is asked to talk on a particular topic. Therefore be prepared for these subjects. Your understanding of what the examiner says and the ability to comunicate without grammatical mistakes is more important. The thing you have to remember is: use easy words and expressions if you are not very confident and everything will go well. • Tip from Ros (March 2001): In the speaking section of the test you are often asked for your opinion about something. the examiner will show you a card with an argument you are supposed to discuss. their jobs/studies. if you are a student studying in Australia. The candidate has one minute to prepare before speaking at length.

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