There are some little tricks that can help you find answers. For example, highlighting keywords to remember what each question or option is about. And crossing out incorrect options. Even if you couldn’t find the correct answer, select one of the options you haven’t crossed out.
Get one of the recent books, from number 15 and up. Each contains 4 tests and this should be enough for you. Doing lots of mock tests won’t help you improve your score.
Your score here depends on how fast you can read in English and how many words you know. Indeed, IELTS Reading requires the widest vocabulary out of all IELTS sections. Let’s talk about some techniques that can save you time and help you answer more questions.
Questions come in order, which means that you don’t have to read the whole passage first. You can read the first question, find the answer, read the next question, find the answer and so on. In this case, you can skim the text until you feel that the answer is somewhere there. Only then should you slow down, read the question again, find what the answer is and move on.
Here are the main question types that come in order and questions that don't come in order:
This is the section on which I would spend most of my time. Indeed, most people get their lowest score in IELTS Writing. And that’s because the assessment criteria here are very specific and it’s hard to fulfil them if you don’t know what they are even if your English skills are great.
Indeed, you need to develop your ideas. You take an idea, you explain why this is, give an example, explain consequences, then move on to the next idea. So that each sentence flows smoothly from the previous.
There’re some requirements that are very specific to IELTS Writing. For example, Task 1 Academic you must give an overview – a sentence or two where you explain the main thing you’ve learned. It’s not the same as a conclusion, and actually, you don’t need a conclusion in Task 1. Learn the requirements and how to fulfil them.
To be more precise, learn what to write in each part of your answers in Tasks 1 and 2. Learn about different types of tasks and how to answer each of them. And practice writing essays every day. You only have 60 minutes to finish both; most likely your essays won’t be perfect, to put it mildly, but you must finish both.
Click here to read an article on how to write a Band 9 Task 2 essay.
If you have a bit of time before your exam to learn some words, I’d start with this, Linking words for Task 1 and Task 2. Examiners check if you use a variety of linking words. Task 1 may also require specific vocabulary. If you take IELTS Academic, learn vocabulary to describe data. For Task 1 General Training, learn common phrases for different types of letters (invitations, complaints, thank you notes, etc.).
Indeed, IELTS Writing and IELTS Speaking require the most specific preparation. If you’d like to get everything I’m talking about in one place, check out my IELTS preparation packs that can help you prepare in less time and achieve a higher score.
The timing of each section in IELTS Speaking is strictly controlled and managed by the examiner. For example, Part 1 must last between 4 and 5 minutes, including the identity verification and about 11 questions on three topics.
If your answers are too short, you don’t show your English skills. If your answers are too long, the examiner has no choice but to interrupt you and move on to the next question.
Being interrupted is not a pleasant feeling, but it actually doesn’t affect your score as long as you can pull yourself together and answer the next question. And yes, examiners can’t change questions in Part 1 so if a certain question sounds weird after what you’ve just said, don’t blame the examiner.
For a high score in Part 2, you should try to talk for two minutes until your time is up to prove you can speak at length and to show more vocabulary and grammar.
In Part 3, questions are longer and more abstract. So try to give longer answers and avoid talking about your experience and particular situations. Talk about people more generally. This part lasts between 4 and 5 minutes and includes around 5 main questions.
Practice answering typical IELTS questions with a timer. You need to learn how long your answers should be. This will help you a lot during your test.
The best tip for IELTS Speaking is to be talkative. There’s no need to give smart answers. And you shouldn’t try to talk formally either. Speak the way you would normally talk to a slightly older person; be respectful and polite, but be chatty.
In IELTS Speaking examiners assess your ability to communicate in English. So give a direct answer to the question. There’s no time to tell stories, apart from Part 2.
Memorised answers are so obvious, and harmful to your score so speak naturally. If you don’t know something, explain why not. And don’t try to use some super-fancy words or grammatical structures you might struggle to use. It’s better to speak more fluently than hesitate looking for that complex word.
What’s the best way to improve your speaking skills? Well, to speak English. You can speak to yourself. Before your exam, speak English for 15 minutes every day and you’ll improve your fluency and pronunciation.
Your IELTS score depends on two things, your English skills and the so-called IELTS skills. Learning IELTS strategies and techniques can help you boost your score quickly, or to be more precise, it can help you get the best score your English skills allow you to get right now.
To improve your score further, you should work on specific areas of your English skills. Split your IELTS preparation into small tasks and complete them one by one.
My free IELTS Study Plan can help you take the quickest path, and you can download it right now: