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Doodle Nandi

Doodle Nandi is a content editor for Hotcourses India- an IDP company, and helps write articles that help students with their study abroad journey.


04 May 2018 2.2K Book icon 6 mins Share

Common fears about the IELTS you must get rid of

What’s your biggest fear about the IELTS exam? Do you fear that you might skip the audio by mistake or leave the reading test incomplete?

04 May 2018 2.2K Book icon 6 mins Share
Doodle Nandi

Doodle Nandi is a content editor for Hotcourses India- an IDP company, and helps write articles that help students with their study abroad journey.


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common fears about IELTS

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Awaiting the next IELTS exams? Want to score well and get into your dream university this year? But are you apprehensive about the test patterns? Or do you have any fears surrounding the IELTS exam? If your answer is yes, then it's time to get rid of all those fears that are holding you back from taking the test.

One of our senior education counsellors, Jenifer says: “Most students taking up IELTS are concerned about the writing section. I've met students who often say that they get stuck when given a topic to write about in the test. Also, there are students who pronounce words incorrectly in the speaking section, or struggle with certain vocabularies”.

Common fears about the IELTS every student must get rid of

What if I skip the audio while listening?

You are listening to the audio when suddenly you press the wrong button, and the audio gets skipped! Does that thought scare you?

The only solution to get rid of this fear is to practise more of IELTS listening modules. You can check some of the IELTS listening practice materials. The more you practise, the more you'll be able to control your fears.

What if I lose focus during the IELTS listening test?

You are focusing on the audio when suddenly you get lost in thoughts. Your heart sinks when you find that you have missed the vital part of the passage you were listening to.

The only way to deal with this situation is to leave all your worries back home, and focus on the exam. Practising test materials is the ideal way to overcome this fear – there is no better alternative to it.  

What if I fail to write during the IELTS writing test?

It might have happened to many, but don't let that happen to you. Students who do not have a habit of reading or writing might find themselves in an awkward situation when given a topic to write.

Many students might find it difficult to put words on paper, struggling to give proper structure to their thoughts. It's quite common! Please remember that it's important to focus on how to write than what you write. IELTS examiners look for candidates who can think clearly while writing.  

If you are worried of writing a bad essay, then it's advisable that you keep writing as many copies as possible until you get rid of the fear. Often students worry about grammar; they think using big words might take them far. But the general rule of thumb is – if you aren't sure of using a particular word, don't use it; let it die inside you.

The best way to get rid of the fear of writing is by reading. You don't have to be a bibliophile to read books, but a daily reading habit will help you a lot in language exams like IELTS as well as in your professional and personal life.

I'm worried of repeating words in the IELTS writing test, and my pronunciation troubles me!

IELTS is used to judge the English language skills that a non-native speaker has, and not to judge the test taker's pronunciation or accent.

Also, many students fret over using repeated words in the writing section. Although you are not required to use big vocabularies, make sure you avoid redundancy as much as possible.


'I found X book quite interesting because it gave me a lot of interesting ideas, and introduced me to many other interesting books'.

You can replace with:

'I found X book quite interesting because it gave me a lot of fresh ideas, and introduced me to many other books that are worth reading'. 

What if my IELTS reading test remains incomplete?

You know that you have to complete the reading section within 1 hour, but are you worried that you'll leave it incomplete?

IELTS is one of the exams that teach you how to manage time. So while you are working on the reading section, why don't you time yourself for each question?

One of the suggestions that you keep hearing from IELTS experts is not to spend too much time on one question. If you find difficult to answer any question, try to keep it aside and get back to it later.

What if I go blank during the cue card test?

IELTS cue card or Candidate Task Card allows you to talk for 2 minutes, until the examiner asks you to stop. And you have to speak according to the instructions given on the card. It might sound little scary for people who don't speak a lot.

There are many ways to get rid of the fear of speaking in public. One way is to practise speaking a lot with any family members or friends or with yourself before the mirror. There are plenty of IELTS cue card materials available online, for free, which you can use to gain confidence.

Another senior education counsellor, Padmapriya says: “Students who are planning to get into the hospitality industry are usually expected to have a good score in the speaking section, and students who are more into sciences or humanities are expected to score well in the writing section”.

Another major blunder that students make during the speaking test is 'say nothing'. If you are unsure about any answer, it's better to say 'I'm sorry I don't have enough knowledge on this topic, but…' Saying nothing before the examiner might look clumsy, resulting in a negative response from the examiner.

Is it ok to make hand gestures while speaking?

This is a frequently asked question since some students feel that examiners might find it offensive if students use hand gestures while speaking.

The usage of hand gestures while talking is quite common with some people, and examiners do not really bother about such trivial things. 

Another important question that students ask is if they can use contractions like wanna, gonna, etc. during the speaking test. There is a fine line between being too informal and being formal. It's better to avoid using such words during the test that you normally tend to use with your friends.

Is it ok if I pause awhile when talking to the examiner?

IELTS doesn't test your behaviour pattern. If you feel comfortable to pause and think while speaking, then you should stick to that. Examiners will see the words you choose while speaking, though it requires you to think and answer.

The examiner doesn't expect you to be an excellent orator. You should speak clearly using proper English words.

What if I fail to please the examiner?

Examiners are teachers, and they are at the test centre to do their job. As a student, your job is to be professional and focus on your test. You shouldn't be bothered about pleasing the examiner with your words or actions.

Some students might feel that if they disagree with the examiner's opinion during the speaking test, they might lose points. But that's not true! Examiners are concerned of how well you make your point clear, and not about your opinion.

What if I fail in my first attempt?

IELTS is not time bound. Technically speaking there is no limit to the number of IELTS tests that you can take. So if you fail in your first attempt, you can simply go ahead with another attempt. IDP Education is a proud co-owner of IELTS, and they conduct exams throughout the year across their different test centres all over India. There are 48 test dates annually for the IELTS Academic test.

Check out all IELTS test dates in India

If I attempt IELTS more than 2 times in a year, will the university accept the recent score or average of all scores?

There are two ways of looking at this scenario:

  • First attempt: score 5.5
  • Second attempt: score 6.5
  • Third attempt: score 7.0

In this case, the last score should be mentioned while filling in your applications since that's the highest one, though rest of the scores achieved in your previous attempts match the admissions criteria of the university you have applied at. 

But if you score less in your third attempt, then you should mention the best score achieved, eg., 

  • First attempt: 6.5
  • Second attempt: 6.0
  • Third attempt: 5.5

In this case, the score obtained in your first attempt should be mentioned in your applications because that's the highest out of the rest. 

An important point to remember here is the IELTS scores that you achieve (irrespective of the number of atempts) are valid only for 2 years. 

What if I fail to reach the test centre in time?

Unless someone prevents you from doing that, including yourself. Though the night before the test could be stressful for many students, try to keep all your anxieties away. Make sure you get a good sleep the night before, keeping all your gadgets away, and try not to think too much about the test next day.

Many people hate exams; they don't like being assessed. But given a chance when taking exams is the only way to do the next best thing in your career, what would you do?

In addition to the above questions, you might have the following questions in your mind:

  1. Can I get band 7 in IELTS?
  2. I need admission at X University, for which I need band 8 overall. How should I achieve that score?
  3. What if I get 5.5 in one section and 6.5 in other sections. Will I still get admissions abroad?
  4. I keep getting 6.5 in IELTS, which is quite frustrating for me. Should I give up?

There is no short cut to get a good score in IELTS. If you feel nervous about taking the test, the best thing to do is to speak to someone who knows everything about the test, and remember it's equally important to be free from fears.

Still have questions? Our IELTS experts and counsellors can give you good advice on how to get rid of all your doubts in pertinence to IELTS or any other language tests for your studies abroad.

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IDP Expert
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