July 5, 2010

7 Reasons for Getting Low Scores at IELTS

While I was browsing around Facebook, I came across the posts of Mr. Peter at Bell Vietnam (Facebook Profile: facebook.com/bellvietnam). He was sharing the reasons for getting low scores at the IELTS exam.

With his permission, I'm reproducing these valuable tips for you guys. Read on.

Why don't people get a high score at the IELTS? Here are 7 of the common reasons. Avoid these frequent mistakes and you are one step closer to IELTS SUCCESS!

1. Not having a study plan.

Some people feel overly confident about their IELTS exam and don't bother studying. Others think it is all about luck. To succeed at IELTS is all about discipline and you have got to have a plan. It takes constant and consistent practice to reach a high band score and, even if you are busy, you should carefully plan your studies. Devote at least one hour every day to preparing.

2. Not following instructions.

How can you hope to do well if you don't do what is needed? Many IELTS candidates fail to get their desired band score not because their English is poor, but because they don't read the instructions properly. The NUMBER ONE rule in IELTS is to FOLLOW ALL INSTRUCTIONS carefully. The most common mistake made is in the Yes/No/Not given type questions. People tend to answer True/False instead. Another frequent mistake is that people give complete word answers when only a letter is needed. So, don't forget to read the instructions!

3. Poor time management.

In many exams, especially IELTS, time is never on your side. Many IELTS candidates fail to finish the four modules and how can you hope to score highly if you don't even finish the exam? Completing each task is essential if you want to get a high band score and succeed at IELTS. This means it's important to plan your time well. Quick thinking is an essential skill to develop. You have to be able to listen, read, write and speak quickly to get the marks you want.

4. Panicking.

Many people panic when they go in to their IELTS test, especially in the Speaking component. When faced with a difficult question their mind tends to go blank. How can you solve this? Good preparation is a start. When you are well prepared you will find it easier to focus and your confidence will grow. Have a selection of expressions prepared for every questions you might be asked!

5. Not reading enough.

If little goes in then little will come out. Like feeding your body, you also have to feed your mind. Take time to read in English - magazines, newspapers, journals or on the Internet. The type of materials you will encounter in IELTS reading texts can be found in magazines like Time and Newsweek or the editorial sections of newspapers. Not only will reading increase your vocabulary but it will also improve your argumentation skills you can use in speaking and writing.

6. Making the same mistakes again & again.

It's OK to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. If you keep making the same mistakes again and again then there is little point in practicing. This is especially true in writing with spelling and grammatical errors. The most common mistakes people make are with subject-verb agreement, tense consistency and prepositions. Look at the mistakes you make and constantly review them.

7. Thinking negative thoughts.

DON'T! If you think you will not get a high score in the IELTS exam then you probably won't. Worrying about the test is not productive and gets you nowhere. The IELTS exam is not difficult if you know how to approach it. So be confident and always think positively!

Many thanks for these tips, Peter. God bless. :)