The days and the weeks prior to taking the IELTS exam can be stressful. There is the fear that, no matter how good you are in English, you would still score low on the assessment. Added to that is the fact that not getting a good enough score band is akin to wasting the hundreds of dollars that you paid to take the IELTS exam. If you prepare well and have mastered the English language, there should be no problem in getting a high band score.
Do a Practice Test
The best way to prepare for an IELTS exam is to experience what it’s like on test day. There are many free materials online that you can practice on. The only limitation for online practice preparation is that it does not really prepare you for the speaking part of the test. If you prefer a more immersive experience, you can pay for an IELTS preparation course. Alternatively, you can also buy books on IELTS self-study.
Read English Materials
Don’t just read Twilight, read newspapers and editorials. After reading about world news, articulate to yourself what you’ve just read. Remember that IELTS measures your ability to communicate and understand English in all its complexity. Your ability to grasp the pros and cons of intricate ideas will influence your band score. The more sophisticated the reading material, the better your preparation will be.
Listen to a Variety of English Accents
The most common downfall in the Listening part of the IELTS test is the failure in understanding other accents. South Asians are more used to hearing British accents, while Filipinos are used to hearing American slang. Watch movies that feature a totally alien accent from what you’re used to, like the Scots accent used in Trainspotting, for example. The most important thing is not to get thrown off when you hear a different accent during the test.
Speak in English Daily
The best practice is to speak in English daily. The speaking part of the exam does not feel like you are being tested. It feels more like a job interview and has a getting-to-know-you feel to it. Although there are Ms. Universe-type questions that you also need to prepare for, and this is where your editorial-reading practice will pay off. Expect to be challenged on your views, as how you defend it is what will measure your capacity to express yourself.
Prepare for the Exam Day Itself
Finally, dress comfortably on exam day. Familiarize yourself with the location, how to get there, and how long it will take to get there. The most important part? Relax, you’ve got it!