Life’s full of tests. When we think about what to do or where to go everyday, we are deciding. When we think whether to help another person who stumbled on the street even though we are running late for work, we are deciding. When we think what job to settle in, we are deciding. And when we are deciding, we are like giving an answer to a question, a test.
Everyday, we encounter numerous tests in various forms. Most of them aren’t graded or recorded but they are all the same in a sense. In fact, we are so exposed to tests in life that we shouldn’t be too scared of them. Still, we never seem to cease to fear the very word. Why?
People who know what they want brave the odds to get to their preferred destination. It’s a matter of perseverance. As the saying goes, the only way to reach your dream is to never give up.
Why should the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scare you then? Though you should be prepared for it in various ways, your best weapon in IELTS is simply yourself . Know that the IELTS is essential to reach your goal but despite that fact, in the exam, you have nothing to memorize. You should simply use understanding. Listen and understand, read and understand, speak and write with understanding of the questions given to you.
Our senses are basic to us. We use them everyday. Perhaps, nothing more frequently than our sense of hearing. In IELTS, you are to listen to conversations being played in an audio device loud enough for all in an enclosed room to hear. But before it is played, you are given time to look at the questions ahead. Stay calm and listen with understanding. The conversations will not be repeated.
When listening, do not simply look for immediate facts or expect them to be given in order because often, they are jumbled. But no matter how they are said and presented, rest assured that the answers will always be there.
Again, the basic idea is to read with understanding. People do the reading tests in various ways. It is for you to decide which works best for you.
- Other people read the whole article or story before going to the questions with the reason that once you fully understand what the article is trying to say, it would be easy to pinpoint the facts you need.
- Others read the questions first and look for the facts one by one.
- Still others read the questions first before reading the story while taking down notes and then go back to answering the questions.
Actually, in the reading tests, the articles are themed and well-structured. Each paragraph has a well-defined topic. You can read the paragraph one by one and write side notes on what each of them is trying to say. In this way, you will not be overwhelmed by the length of the article or the immensity of words in the page. Don’t let the words break you. Be the one to break them down.
Tell me about it. This is the part that most people find a little more challenging than the rest. Yes, challenging not difficult. Two questions or scenarios are set for you. For the General Training, it includes writing a letter and giving your opinion on a given topic. For the Academic Training, it includes interpreting visual information and again giving an opinion on a given topic. For writing, rules are important. You are graded according to your grammar, vocabulary, organization and your adherence to the rules. Stay calm, writing is just like speaking. You are also communicating, only in written form.
Many test takers’ actual scare is on the speaking test. Why? Because it’s an interview or because somebody is listening to you speak. And many don’t like that at all. Actually, your test taker is listening but he is not grading you instantly. He is recording the whole Q and A for grading later. So, the best thing to do is to relax. Put yourself in the best mindset. Imagine yourself simply talking to a friend. In this part, there is no right answer. It is simply a way for them to evaluate that you can speak and understand the English language. Just like with a friend, you can so “no” or “I don’t know”. They are after all still English words and expressions.
After all this, my friend, the best advice I can give is simple to stay calm while you take the IELTS exam. Of course, as in any endeavor, do not forget to pray.
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