Friday, January 23, 2015

free advice

A lot of people approach me for free advice, tips or tricks for IELTS.   This is so common that I decided to write about it in this post. 

My first piece of advice is:  know your level.   There are tons of placement tests on the internet so you can see where you are on the CEFR scale.  If you  get A1 or A2 on these tests and you need a 6.5 or 7 on IELTS then you know you have quite a bit of work ahead of you.  You will first need to improve your overall English level before you can really prepare for IELTS.

Which brings me to my second piece of free advice:  don't wait until the last minute to prepare for IELTS.   How much time you need depends on many factors but it is best not to wait until a week or two before the exam.

Piece of advice #3:  Find a teacher who specializes in IELTS preparation.   This is true even if your English is at a high level.   The reason for this is that IELTS is a language test but there are some "speed bumps" that only an experienced IELTS tutor can help you overcome. When you self-prepare, you have no feedback on your performance and even if you do get a tutor to help you, unless the tutor knows the ins and outs of the exam,  you may not be prepared accurately or appropriately.

Speaking of being prepared accurately & appropriately, I recently wrote about the internet as a learning tool.  It is, and a wonderful one at that.  However, I have to caution you that all websites are not created equal.  While there are many websites on IELTS preparation, some of them with model essays and speaking,  the advice you may be getting may not be completely accurate.

So, in a nutshell, think of your IELTS preparation as an investment for your future.   Dedicate the time, resources and patience it deserves. 

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