The IELTS exam is among the popular international English proficiency exams taken by non-native English speakers in different countries around the world. This exam tests students on their English language proficiency and how well they'd be able to navigate through a University OR living in an English speaking country; in the event of immigration, using the 4 skills; reading, writing, listening and speaking.
Even with properly preparing for the exam, some IELTS test takers find it difficult to get a grip on all the parts of the exam due to one reason or another.
One of the most common issues with test takers and the IELTS exam is the vocabulary. As a matter of fact this seems to be a very common issue with test takers of pretty much all standardized exams. The exact same difficulty happens to test takers of the TOEFL exam (mentioned in our previous article) as well as the TOEIC exam and even the GRE. There are many vocabulary words on the exam, specifically in the reading and listening sections that students don't understand. This is generally due to the fact that they are unfamiliar with the type of vocabulary words used. To help with this issue, during the test takers preparation phase, they should get as much vocabulary as possible. That can be done by reading all types of texts online such as newspaper articles or getting a hold of sample IELTS reading exams to practice your reading and listening skills as well as becoming more familiar with academic and general vocabulary.
The second most common issue that we've heard of is the listening section of the IELTS exam. The ENTIRE section gives test takers the blues! The listening section asks many different types of questions and test takers are expected to answer them correctly, of course. It doesn't help that the listening section is the least section of the exam, so needless to say test takers are already tired and then the makers of the IELTS exam complicate things and give you the listening section 🤭. The best advice we offer is to practice your listening skills! Not passively practice but really sit and listen to any and everything. Listen to English speaking TV shows, listen to podcasts, listen to radio. LISTEN. LISTEN. LISTEN. While you're listening, take notes. This will help you to keep track of what you heard.
Another challenge test takers have as it relates to the IELTS exam, is time! Many students feel that they do not have enough time to complete different parts of the exam, but more specifically, the writing section of the exam. To help with this challenge, test takers can take advantage of timing themselves during their preparation phase. You can time yourself on how long it takes you to write 150 words and 250 words. Remembering that writing less than the word count will definitely get points taken off. However, a few more words than the word count won't hurt your score.
As bonus advice about the writing section of the IELTS exam, be sure to not use vocabulary that is too complicated. Some students tend to want to use vocabulary that is but to them but run the risk of misusing the word or even misspelling the word. Stick to vocabulary that you are already familiar with as to not ruining your chances to a higher score.