Since 67 sovereign states and 27 non-sovereign entities declare English as an official language, the IELTS is a pathway to much more than formal admission procedures. Though educational institutions and professionals view the test as adequate proof of English language skills, students who prepare for the IELTS as if it is more than just a test will not only receive better scores, but will be granted with years of English success.
Berni Wall, a teacher who has helped many IELTS students earn a 7 or 8 band score, states that the three golden rules for the IELTS are to 1) remember that you will be tested on your English language ability, 2) better these skills, and 3) understand that you will need to be immersed in the language (not just read practice books) in order to be successful.
Wall warns her students that even if they pass the IELTS, they may not be prepared for the next step in their English journey.
Students who work smart, and not just hard, will be able to use the IELTS exam to their advantage. Below are 3 ways students can study and prepare for the IELTS exam in a way that will also be beneficial for their future studies or careers.
- Step outside the academic box. Explore opportunities to use the language frequently. If you are in an English speaking country, practice your skills with those around you. Speak to people, listen to people, write to people, and allow them to help you through the language in a way that books and classes will not be able to do. Students who are not in an English speaking country can use tools on the internet to help them use the language in a non-academic way.
- Play a game. If you’re studying with other IELTS students, plan activities where you can have fun, but also study. Create a club, a party, or an event, but have an “English only” rule. You will improve your listening and speaking skills while also receiving the support of others who are going through the same process you are. When friends hold you accountable, you’ll be able to accomplish much more together than alone.
- One Step at a Time. What do you love to do? Every day, do one activity that you love to do. But on the days leading up to the IELTS, do it in English. If you love to watch movies, watch them in English. If you love to read magazines, read them in English. If you like to cook, read or make recipes in English. If you like to listen to music, listen to songs in English. When you expose yourself to English while doing something you enjoy, you will be more focused and your brain will better be able to download the information.
You have an incredible opportunity to take an exam that can help bridge the gap between you and your future. Don’t let this season of your life go to waste. Many times students will study for the test and forget all of the information the second they begin their college studies. If you use these tips to incorporate English into your everyday life, you can improve your IELTS scores and improve your chances of success in your future.