I am training IELTS students for many years now. During these years students have told me few things about the IELTS exam that I term ‘myths’ because they are mostly not true and they can become a huge distraction to students who are preparing for the exam. Don’t listen to these myths. Cracking the IELTS exam is a combination of both hard work and smart work. A well structured and a planned preparation can help a candidate crack the IELTS exam in the first attempt itself.
Some of the most common myths and facts to overcome them are mentioned below for your benefit:
MYTH- Most crucial part to score well in the IELTS exam is quality and not the time
FACT- This is not true. Time is an important factor for scoring in the IELTS test. Quality is vital too but if a student is not able to complete the 4 sections in the given time, scoring well will be difficult.
MYTH- Fixed number of candidates will get a high band at each centre
FACT- Every IELTS candidate has the same chance and if you perform well enough to achieve a high band then you will get a high band. The way to make sure that you get the band you want is to prepare well, make sure that your English is at the right level and not waste time worrying about these things.
MYTH- In writing section, one can score more marks by surpassing the word limits
FACT- Beware and do not try this trick. Surpassing word limits can even bring a zero score to a student. Writing less than the given word limit can bring less score. But surpassing it will be foolishness on the part of the student. It is wastage of time and in this exam where time management is crucial, a student should not attempt exceeding the word limit too much. In letter restrict yourself to 170-175 words. In essay don’t go beyond 275-280 words.
MYTH- I have to keep practising the IELTS practice test to get a good band score
FACT- This can be a very boring and limiting way of preparing for the test. While it is important to prepare for the IELTS and understand what is expected in each part of the test, you need to remember that this is a test of English and the better your English, the better your chances of doing well. Don’t limit yourself to IELTS tests use the great wealth of English language material on the internet to help you too. Practice English not IELTS.
MYTH- IELTS is the most difficult English exam
FACT- IELTS is actually a very straightforward exam. It tests your ability to use English in certain tasks at a certain level and that is all. There are many tests of English for many different purposes and if you are well prepared and have the right English level then IELTS is no more difficult than any other exam.
MYTH- If the examiner doesn’t like my opinion I won’t get a high band
FACT- The examiner’s job in the writing and speaking is to see if you are able to present ideas and arguments in good English and to test that those ideas are plausible and backed up so that they are convincing. At no time will the examiner judge your ideas (as long as they are sensible and fit in with the question). You are in control of your speaking and writing not the examiner. You should use this position to demonstrate your excellent use of English. If you are waiting for the examiner then you will not perform as well. Take the lead and convince the examiner of your opinions. Focus on your own opinion not the examiner and you will think freely.
MYTH- I cannot improve my basics of English Language.
FACT- Having correct grammar is a must along with strong vocabulary as speaking test involves recording your voice and the same is then scrutinised for voice modulation, pitch and paralanguage. Revising parts of speech, tenses, punctuation etc will be of great help. It is possible to master a language at any stage and English is no exception.
MYTH- I need to flaunt my Western accent.
FACT- Speak in your natural ascent. Do not imitate Western accent. It leads to huge deduction in marks. The vital point to score in speaking test is to communicate confidently and clearly. Students are expected to keep their accent normal and natural. This helps the examiners in understanding and evaluating the level of English language proficiency of the candidate.
MYTH- I shall never know what the exam is like before actually appearing for it.
FACT- Some IELTS exam paper samples are available online. Referring to them will help you to understand the non – conventional exam structure.