Top tips for IELTS exam success


At Bright Young Things we offer a range of education support including sitting exams at the Exam House. This includes professional qualifications and English proficiency tests. If you are looking to take the IELTS, please get in touch with one of our Education Consultants to find out how we can support you. Here are some of our top tips:

Whether you have an IELTS test booked already or are considering taking the test soon, preparation can be a daunting progress, particularly if you have a certain target in mind for your chosen university or institution. Don’t worry – we’re got seven top IELTS tips lined up for you that will ensure you make the grade!

Set yourself clear learning targets
Start your preparation by thinking about your strengths and weaknesses in English – maybe you know your writing could use a little work, or you’re most concerned about your speaking level . Then set yourself goals to overcome these, like writing a practice essay a week or spending 10 minutes a day listening to an English podcast.

Practice tests are your best friend
Nothing will prepare you for IELTS like actually taking a test, even if it’s a mock version, so spend some time gathering past papers and actually doing the exams to test yourself. Many centres will also offer a full practice test under exam conditions, which mean you’ll know exactly what to expect come the big day.

Identify your weak areas
If you need a 6.5 on each section for your university, focus your efforts on any of your categories that fell short in the practice tests above. If you have an English tutor, ask them to concentrate lessons on your weak areas.

Add a few secret weapons to your speaking repertoire
Want to really impress the examiner during your speaking test? Make sure to use a couple of conditional sentences, as these will show the examiner that you’re well-versed in grammar and are likely to put you up a band. Also learn a few high-level adjectives to use when speaking for the same effect – for example use ‘exceptional’ instead of ‘very good’ and ‘mediocre’ instead of ‘okay’.

Always get someone to check your writing section
Once you’ve written an essay, get a native speaker to check it and make a note of your persistent errors to avoid next time. Once you’ve done this four or five times, your writing will be of a much higher level. Also make sure to work on your linking and introductory phrases like ‘as an example’, ‘consequently’ and ‘in addition’ to add flow to your essays.

Find a way to put more English into your life
It can be tough finding time to study, so try our top tip for sharpening your listening skills – find something you already do in your native language, but do it in English instead. If you usually watch an hour of TV a day, do this with an English programme – the same goes for radio programs or podcasts.

Read an article a day
One of the main challenges during the IELTS reading test is reading the material quickly enough. To improve your speed, set yourself the task of reading a short newspaper or magazine article every day, and you’ll soon notice your reading speed improving.