IELTS – Tips for the Writing test

 

IELTS – Tips for the Writing test With thanks to Dr Vivek.

Actually sit and write out tasks 1 and 2 while practising (US=tice). It is very tempting to think of what you would write and not do the actual writing. You will appreciate the importance of using a structured format and avoiding being repetitive only if you practice writing. Start by reading the How to prepare for IELTS – Writing test manual at the Hong Kong City University site to familiarize yourself with the test and to get useful hints.
Task 2 carries more marks. Spend more time on it. Twenty minutes on
task 1 and 40 minutes on task 2 would be a good balance.
Since task 2 is more important, it may be a good idea to do task 2 first and
task 1 later. However, make sure you write for each task in the allotted
area since the answer sheet has separate areas designated for each task.

For both writing tasks, it is a good idea to jot down your ideas on the question sheet so that you know the outline of what you will be writing. It may take 2 or 3 minutes but the time spent is worth it.

Writing task 1 requires you to describe a graph / table / diagram in AT LEAST 150 words. I had practised on a lot of graphs but the task we had was to describe the data in a table! So practise describing all kinds of graphs / tables. See how much of your writing is 150 words. If you write less that 150 words, you lose marks. If you write more, you are likely to
make more mistakes. Try and stick to around 150 words.

For task 1, first spend some time looking at the graph / table and understanding the information given. Don’t start writing immediately. Make sure you know what each axis of the graph represents and in what units. The following structure is suggested for writing:
A sentence describing what the graph / table shows. Another sentence describing the broad / important trends shown.
Description of the data. It may not be possible to describe all the data as there may be too much data presented. Describe the relevant and most important parts. If there is more than one graph / chart, describe any comparisons or trends that can be made out.
A concluding sentence which sums up the data / trends.
Practise using a variety of phrases to avoid being repetitive. The best practice for task 2, which asks you to present an argument, is to read newspaper editorials and magazine articles on current topics. Thiswill help you develop your ideas. A suggested structure for writing is:

1. Introduce the topic and state your stand, whether you agree or
disagree.
2. Give arguments in support of your viewpoint supported by relevant
examples.
3. State the contrary viewpoint and give reasons why you don’t agree
with it.
4. Conclude with a short concluding paragraph.
5. If there is time left at the end, revise your answers and correct any
spelling or grammatical mistakes.

 

 

Tips for the Reading test

 

Tips for the Reading test

Answer all questions. There is no negative marking for incorrect answers. The reading test is considered by many to be the most difficult part of IELTS. And with some justification. You have to read 3 long sections, each with multiple paragraphs, and answer 40 questions (13 to 14 per section). Unlike the listening test, no extra time is given at the end to
transfer your answers to the answer sheet. Time can be a major constraint
since you only have an hour to finish the test.

Start by reading the How to prepare for IELTS – Reading test manual at the Hong Kong City University site to familiarize yourself with the test, the types of questions that are asked and strategies for answering them. The key to doing well in this part is practice. Read newspapers, magazines and books. Try and improve your reading skills and speed. Do the
practice tests in Cambridge IELTS 3.
The most important thing to understand is that the test does NOT assess your comprehension of the paragraphs. It does NOT test how well you have understood the passage. It tests specific skills called Scanning and Skimming.

Scanning is what one does, for example, when looking for a phone number in a directory. You know the specific information you are looking for and you go down the page quickly to find it. This technique is used when answering questions such as multiple-choice and matching. You scan the passage to quickly find the information mentioned in the question. Once you find it, you get the answer from the passage and write it against the question.

Skimming refers to reading a paragraph quickly to get an idea of what it is about, without trying to understand its details. This technique is part of the initial reading (see below). It can be modified (reading a little slower) to answer “Provide headings for the paragraphs” , “In which paragraph does this information appear in the text?” and “Author’s views” type of
questions.
The sections get progressively more difficult. Aim to spend about 15 to17 minutes on Section 1, 20 minutes on Section 2 and 23 to 25 minutes on Section 3. If possible, keep some spare time to check your answers. I would suggest ( and this is how I did it ) that you first read all the questions quickly to get an idea of what type of information is required and whether scanning or skimming (or a combination of the two) is called for. As you read the questions, use a pencil to underline important information such as dates, places and names.

Once you are through with reading all the questions, skim over the text and underline / mark important parts. If you see any information relating to the questions, mark it straight away. You may even be able to answer some questions as you read.
Answer the questions one by one with the help of the underlined parts of the text. Having read the text once, you will find it easy to find specific information by scanning.

The answers usually appear in the text in the same order as the questions. That is, the answer to question 4 will be earlier in the text than the answer to question 5. This need not always be true. It may apply to each question type rather than to all the questions taken together. The answer to MCQ 2 will appear before that to MCQ 3 and the answer to Matching question 2 will usually appear earlier than that to Matching question 3. However, the answer to MCQ 3 may appear before the answer to Matching question 2. This will not apply to questions like “In which paragraph does this information appear?” and “Yes / No / Not given”. For these question types, the information may be scattered randomly anywhere in the paragraphs.
As soon as you find an answer, write it against the question on the question paper. It is not always a good idea to try answering questions in the order in which they are asked.
Read the instructions for each question very carefully. If the question specifies that you must not use more than three words in your answer, stick to three words. The toughest questions are the True / False / Not given and Yes / No / Not given ones. Practise doing these questions till you are confident. Make sure you do not answer True / False for a Yes / No question and vice versa. Such an answer will be considered wrong and fetch no marks.
Do not get stuck on any one question. If you can’t get the answer, move on. You can always come back later.

 

 

 

Tips for Speaking

 

Tips for Speaking

The Speaking part of the test have been changed on July 1, 2001. It is now made up of three parts :-
In Part 1 the candidate answers general questions about themselves, their homes/ families, their jobs/studies, their interests, and a range of similar familiar topic areas. This part lasts between four and five minutes. In Part 2 the candidate is given a verbal prompt on a card and is asked to talk on a particular topic. The candidate has one minute to prepare before
speaking at length, for between one and two minutes. The examiner then asks one or two rounding-off questions.
In Part 3 the examiner and candidate engage in a discussion of more abstract issues and concepts which are thematically linked to the topic prompt in Part 2. The discussion lasts between four and five minutes. The speaking part is usually a conversation about you, your plans for the future, your past studies, the reason for which you are taking the IELTS,
your country, your town. Therefore be prepared for these subjects. You should prepare something to say about them. In addition, the examiner will show you a card with an argument you are supposed to discuss about. The thing you have to remember is: use easy words and expressions if you are not very confident and everything will go well. To be able to communicate what you think is far more important than doing it with a perfect English
accent. Therefore, don’t wary if your pronunciation is not exactly a British one. That’s not the main point. Your understanding of what the examiner says and the ability to communicate without grammar mistakes is more important. The conversation lasts usually 15-20 minutes and will be recorded. Don’t panic about that!!

 

Tips for Listening IELTS Exam

Tips for Listening Exam
Tips for listening part

The IELTS listening part is RELATIVELY easy but this does not mean that you take it lightly and do not prepare for it.

Some tips:
1.The questions are in SETS and you hear tape recording for one set at a time.
2. Glance through the SET of questions for which you will be hearing the tape.
3.Read the questions & find out what SPECIFIC information is required (name, place, date, number etc)
4. Circle key words (Clue/trigger words)
5. When the tape plays listen intently when you think your
specific information will come.
E.g.:
Q 1-5
1. Kevin is arriving London at __________
2. Dave will be waiting for Kevin at __________
3. Kevin will be wearing a ___________
4. Dave will be accompanied by ______________
5. Kevin is coming for______________
It is obvious from above that the key word for 1 is at & you will be writing TIME.

In 2 you will write a PLACE. In 3 CLOTHES, in 4 PERSON ACCOMPANYING DAVE & in 5 PURPOSE of visit. So you have already guessed what to listen for!
Listen to English program on RADIO at least half an hour a day. Two things are important; RADIO not TV, because TV is visual & scenes & visuals easily distract us. The next
important thing is LISTEN & not just hear!

 

Tips for Writing IELTS

IELTS writing

IELTS writing

Tips for Writing

The writing part

The writing part has two tasks: minor & major. The minor task should be done in 20-25 minutes. Usually three things asked in the minor task;
1. Object (eg a cycle is shown & various parts are labeled)
2. Process (eg the various ways in which solar energy is used)
3. Data; (graphs of all types eg line graph, bar graph, pie charts, tables etc)

For data one have to write;
1. Introduction (what it is about do not copy the question what. Use your imagination & write in your own words what the data is about)
2. Then in the next Para write three things, this is very important.The three things are General trend, Comparisons, differences.
3. In the last Para write conclusion. Use pencil to write & take with you a new good quality eraser & sharpener. Write at least twenty words more than required. This way examiner gets an idea that you are confident & can write.

 

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