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Blunders to avoid when attempting the IELTS

Preparing for IELTS? We have put together a list of mistakes committed by students who attempt the IELTS for the first time.

Mahesh Ramani

To help you further with your test preparation, Hotcourses India provides free IELTS training classes in its offices in Delhi and Chennai. In-class training, as well as online classes, are available.

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Well you are all excited and a wee bit nervous as you are all set to take the IELTS. No worries, we have put together a list of blunders committed by students who attempt the IELTS for the first time. You can use this list as a ready-reckoner and avoid committing these blunders when you write the IELTS.

‘Brevity is the soul of wit’ - said a wise man. In essence, do not jump the gun and write paragraph upon paragraph when a couple of sentences would suffice. This is specifically for the essay that you will need to write. Please stick to the prescribed word-count and ensure that your writing is neat and legible and the language that you use is direct and easy to understand.

‘No country for copy-cats’- With the wealth of information available online and the various IELTS preparation books that feature sample essays; it becomes easy and convenient to memorise salient points from well-written essays. When you write the test and a familiar essay topic strikes you; resist the urge to write an essay that is similar to what you have read somewhere before. Originality always wins, so write your own essay.

‘The key-word conundrum’ - Most books advise students to use ‘connective-words’ or ‘key-words’ in their essays. What is important is that you don’t go overboard and pepper your essay with too many of these ‘words’. Remember the old adage - ‘Too many cooks spoil the broth’. You do not have to impress the examiner with your knowledge of fancy keywords. You just need to stick to the topic of the essay and convey your ideas in a coherent style.

‘Accents and pronunciation’- More often than not students fret on their accents and worry if it will hamper their scores in the ‘Speaking’ module of the test. The IELTS is designed for non-native speakers of English. So do not worry about your accent; instead focus on how you pronounce the words. Speak in a clear, reasonably loud and direct style. Do not speak in hushed whispers or in an extremely angry tone. Beating around the bush is not going to help you either. Speak in a confident manner keeping your oration in tune to the prescribed topic.

‘Well-prepared is half-won’- Be it baking a cake or preparing for a test, it is very important that you prepare well. Give yourself at least four months to prepare for the IELTS and take enough practice tests to boost your confidence. Use IELTS recommended preparatory material   when studying for the test. 

Some useful tips:

  • Cross-verify the date, time and venue of your test - reach the venue at least 15 minutes before the test.
  • If the exam centre is far away from your residence; plan your travel accordingly.
  • Attend the test with confidence; do not be overwhelmed by the test.
  • Do not spend too much time on a question that puzzles you.Keep the duration of the test in mind and work accordingly.
  • For the ‘Listening’ module, the audio will be played only once, so focus with care on the audio. Be attentive - that is the key to success.
  • It is just a test, in case you fare badly, don’t be disappointed, prepare with due diligence and take the test again.

Helping you crack the IELTS:

To help you further with your test preparation, Hotcourses India provides free IELTS training classes in its offices in Delhi and Chennai. In-class training sessions, as well as online classes, are available for students. The classes are held six days a week and conducted by experienced tutors.

We hope that you found this article useful. If you have any tips to help students prepare for the IELTS; please do share them in the ‘Comments’ section below.

Want to know more about the IELTS?

Priyanka G Priyanka G,
Study abroad expert.
We offer in-person and online IELTS training sessions at our office. Request a call from our advisors for more information on test-prep guidance. Or call 1800 103 2581 / 1800 103 9634 (toll-free) today!