07 Jul 2022 | Test Takers Approach 7-Days Before IELTS Exam
If you aspire to study abroad and belong to a non-English speaking country, then you need to provide proof of English proficiency for any kind of course overseas. Some of the most common tests which are accepted worldwide are TOEFL, PTE, and IELTS.
IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System, and the exam is jointly owned by IDP (International Development Program), Cambridge Assessment English, and British Council. The exam is open to anyone who wishes to study abroad, without any eligibility criterion. It is a standardized test that evaluates the skills of a candidate in all essential areas of English, i.e., reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
IELTS Exam: Test Takers Gear Up in the Final 7 Days of Preparation
So, you're just a week away from your IELTS exam – what's the best way to utilize this time? Here's a breakdown of the optimal approach to ensure you make the most of the final seven days:
Setting Clear Goals: Setting clear and achievable goals for your study sessions is paramount. Divide your study plan into sections focusing on different test components – Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. This targeted approach will allow you to allocate sufficient time to each section and monitor your progress effectively.
Intensive Review of Materials: During this phase, avoid learning new topics and focus on reviewing what you've already covered. Concentrate on understanding key concepts, vocabulary, and essential facts. Revisit your notes, textbooks, and practice tests to reinforce your understanding.
Mock Tests and Time Management: Engage in full-length mock tests to simulate the actual exam environment. Time management is critical, so practice answering questions within the stipulated time for each section. Analyze your performance to identify strengths and areas that need improvement.
Speaking Practice: For the Speaking section, practice speaking English daily. Engage in conversations with friends, record yourself answering common interview questions, and work on your pronunciation and fluency. This regular practice will boost your confidence on exam day.
Writing Drills: Focus on enhancing your writing skills by practicing different types of essays and reports. Pay attention to structuring your content logically, using appropriate vocabulary, and maintaining a coherent flow. Seek feedback from teachers or peers to refine your writing style.
Vocabulary Enhancement: Enrich your vocabulary by learning a set of new words every day. Create flashcards, use vocabulary apps, and incorporate these words into your speaking and writing practice. However, avoid overusing complex words; clarity is key.
Stress Management: Stress can hinder your performance, so incorporate stress-relief techniques into your routine. Practice meditation, deep breathing, or yoga to stay calm and focused. A relaxed mind retains information better.
Last-Minute Revisions: In the final two days, focus on quick revisions. Review key formulas, grammar rules, and essential facts. Avoid cramming; instead, opt for light study sessions to keep your mind refreshed.
If you have been preparing for IELTS and the exam is in just one week, you must have apprehensions and anxiety about how to spend the last seven days before IELTS. Many questions might invade your mind, such as which topics to concentrate on, how to revise properly, and so on. In this article we will give you an efficient 7-day practice program to get you excellent scores in IELTS.
IELTS Exam Overview
IELTS is one of the leading authorities in international studies and immigration. More than 4 million students take this test every year to present as proof of their common knowledge of the English language to various universities. Here are some highlights of the test:
- Registration fees - 15,500 INR
- Band score scale - 1 (lowest) to 9 (highest)
- Exam duration - 2 hours 45 minutes
- Sections - Reading, writing, listening, and speaking
- Exam modes - Computer-delivered and paper-based.
- Types of IELTS - General training and academic
- Result validity - 2 years
The exam pattern is as follows:
Listening section: It is of 30 minutes duration with 40 questions. It tests a candidate's skills in:
- having a conversation
- listening to concrete facts like places, times, prices
- Understand in detail the main points in the audio.
The type of questions asked are MCQs, summary completion, sentence completion, flow-chart completion, matching information, diagram labeling, etc.
Reading section: There are 40 questions to be answered in 60 minutes. The skills tested here are:
- Ability to understand the opinions and ideas of the author
- Ability to gauge the main idea or theme in the sections of text or paragraph
- Ability to find specific information from the test.
The types of questions in this section are matching headings, short answers, MCQs, sentence completion, flow-chart completion, summary completion, diagram labeling, etc.
Writing section: There are two questions in this section to be answered in 60 minutes. This section tests the following skills:
- Ability to properly summarize the most relevant and essential information and trends.
- Ability to present arguments on a topic or issue provided.
- Grammatical accuracy and range.
The two tasks involve writing essays in 150 and 250 words by summarizing information available in the form of graphs, diagrams, tables, etc. The second task has an argument presented to the test-taker, and s/he has to respond to the given point of view in an academic and neutral style of writing.
Speaking section: This section has three parts to be completed in 15 minutes. The first part is personal information where the candidate has to talk about their family, studies, work, etc. In the second part, a card is presented and the candidate needs to speak on the topic for two minutes which can be followed by a couple of questions from the examiner. The third part involves a detailed discussion between the examiner and test-taker on the topic presented in part 2. This section tests the following skills:
- Ability to communicate information and opinions clearly.
- Ability to speak coherently for a longer duration on any topic.
How to Prepare in the Week Leading Up To IELTS Exam
To begin with, all test takers must keep realistic expectations, develop a study abroad plan, and follow it through in the last seven days of the exam. Being realistic here means you are probably not going to gain any new skills or learn new strategies in the last week. Hopefully, you have already prepared for a month or more, learned strategies, and applied them to practice tests. The week leading to the exam is more about mental preparation than practice. We have broken down your seven-day approach to the IELTS exam as follows:
Day 1 & 2: Devote these two days for writing tasks. As per a recent survey around 90% of students do better in the speaking section than in writing. Understand the ideal strategy for the two writing tasks and practice them as much as you can. Make sure you are sticking to the clock when practicing i.e., spend only 20 minutes for task 1 and 40 minutes for task 2. You could read an English newspaper and summarize opinions and information in the news in your own words. Practice writing on IELTS answer sheets.
Day 3: This day is for becoming a fluent speaker. There is no rule here but to practice extensively. Some of the ways to practice are watching an English movie and then talking about it with your friends explaining the movie plot and your opinions on it. You could also talk out loud to yourself in front of the mirror to gauge your speaking capabilities minutely.
Day 4: Today, you will transform into a keen reader and not just an ordinary reader. The trick here is to not read every word since you are reading to answer and not as a pastime. While reading books, look out for italics, underlining, tables, graphs, title, and heading. You must remember that all the answers are present in the text itself.
Day 5: Practice the listening section and the mantra here is to stay focused and calm. Listen to podcasts, songs, and TED talks in English and pay attention to pauses, words, intonation, and repetition used in these pieces. You must also get used to various accents spoken in different English-speaking countries by listening to podcasts from different countries.
Day 6: Today, you should devote time to those sections of the exam which you find most difficult. Today you should also review test strategies for all the sections of the IELTS exam.
Day 7: Today is the last day before your exam, so revise all that you have done till now. Today is also the day to relax and remind yourself that you have worked hard to the best of your capabilities and you will do great in the exam. One way to unwind yet keep practicing is to exercise and listen to podcasts. Do not forget to eat a healthy dinner and have a sound sleep on your last day before the exam.
There is no magic wand to get a high score in IELTS. The key is not to panic before the last seven days of your exam. Rather, utilize this time to stay focused without getting panicky. Grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary are the three pillars of the IELTS exam, and if you master them, there is nothing stopping you from getting stupendous results. Understand your strengths and weaknesses, analyze the mistakes that you have made, and work positively on them to rock your IELTS exam.
How can I manage my time effectively during the IELTS exam?
Time management is crucial. Practice solving questions within the allocated time during your mock tests. This helps you get accustomed to the pace and prevents last-minute rushes.
Should I memorize answers for the Speaking section?
Memorizing answers is not recommended. Instead, practice speaking on a variety of topics to enhance your fluency and spontaneity. The examiners value authentic responses.
Can I improve my writing skills in a week?
While significant improvement takes time, focused practice can enhance your writing skills within a week. Work on structuring your essays and using appropriate vocabulary.
How do I overcome exam-related stress?
Incorporate stress-relief techniques like meditation, deep breathing, and yoga into your routine. Prioritize self-care to keep stress at bay and maintain a clear mind.
Is it too late to learn new vocabulary?
Learning new words is beneficial, but avoid overwhelming yourself. Focus on a manageable number of words each day and integrate them into your practice.
Should I study the day before the exam?
Studying the day before the exam is fine, but keep it light. Review key concepts and relax your mind to ensure you're well-rested for the big day.