Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Effective IELTS Preparation Online? What Should You Expect?

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The IELTS exam is a difficult test but not an impossible one.
It tests the English-language skills that students actually need to succeed in
graduate programmes, and its assessments are rigorous and thorough.

That said, IELTS also expects each of the four tasks ?
listening, reading, writing and speaking ? to be done in a particular way. It
doesn?t necessarily specify what that way is. Consequently, many ILTS candidates
with high English language skills score more poorly than they might if they knew
the ?rules.?

The prime criterion of a good IELTS preparation course is
that it trains candidates in the ways IELTS wants to see things done. Also,
because IELTS often asks tricky questions, it is imperative that anyone who
wishes to achieve a high score learn the tricks, how to spot them, and how to
overcome them.

To decide whether a particular IELTS preparation course is fully adequate,
look for specific guidance in the following aspects of each of the four tasks:


  • Check to see that the different demands of each of the four sections of
    the Listening Test is explained.

  • Then make sure that there is a good explanation of the
    question types that are most often encountered in Listening. Although any of
    the question types used in the Reading Test can also be used in Listening, the
    Listening Test is more likely to focus on form-filling, summary gap-filling,
    short-answer, true-and-false and fact-and-opinion questions. You should find
    instruction not only on those question types and how they work, but also on
    the indirect ways IELTS often asks questions, the way it relies on rewordings
    of things that are spoken ? so that you have to understand the same idea
    expressed in two different ways ? and words before and after key ideas that
    change the meaning of words supplied in questions.

  • There also should be tips on how to anticipate answers before you hear


  • Make sure that there is thorough explanations of all the
    IELTS question types, how they work, how IELTS sometimes asks them, and how
    you should answer them.

  • Check that there are at least three readings of appropriate
    IELTS length and difficulty, so you can learn to time yourself to read a
    passage and answer 13 questions in 20 minutes.

  • Look to see if there are useful tips on how to read quickly
    and with the single purpose of answering questions correctly. Normal advice
    about ?speed reading? is not enough, because the issue is not how fast you
    read or even how much of the passage you understand ? just how many questions
    you answer correctly.

Writing Task 1

  • Look to see that there are complete explanations about how
    to comprehend information presented in graphic formats such as graphs, bar
    charts, pie charts and diagrams. You must know how to ?read? all six types of
    graphic data correctly, or you will make inaccurate observations that are the
    fatal flaw of Writing Task 1.

  • Make sure there is a complete, sentence-by-sentence
    explanation of the report form. No matter what data you are asked to describe,
    the report format is the same and must be understood completely and

  • Check to see that all the vocabulary you need to describe
    information precisely is provided. There should be appropriate vocabulary
    lists, indications of how to combine words, and clear explanations of the
    different kinds of vocabulary different features of graphic information

Writing Task 2

  • Make sure that the IELTS preparation materials teach you
    what kind of essay? opinion, explanation, or discussion? is required to answer
    the IELTS question properly. Writing the wrong kind of essay, no matter how
    well, could cost you as much as a whole band point.Check that the formats for
    all three essay types are presented in full, with the names and functions of
    each of the sentence types precisely described. Following the expected format
    is key to writing a good essay.

  • Look to see that the preparation materials include ample
    exercises. Most students need practice to learn how to write the different
    kinds of sentences? from hooks to thesis statements to supporting sentences ?
    that work together to make a successful essay. Make sure that the course you
    take includes plenty of exercises so you can get the practice you need.


  • The Speaking task has three distinct parts. Make sure the
    nature and function of all three is clearly explained.

  • Check to see that there is clear explanation of the ?Long
    Turn,? the central section in which you must speak by yourself without any
    help from the examiner. There should be clear directions about how to give
    your answer to that critically important question shape and form.

  • Look to see that the preparation material gives you
    concrete tips on how to turn question-answering into real communication and
    natural conversation.

  • Make sure that there are explanations of more than just
    proper verbal language. Good, appropriate body language can be almost as
    important in this task, which is the only one that puts candidates
    face-to-face with the examiner.

Svend Nelson is a university lecturer and internet entrepreneur. He is
director of UniRoute Limited, a Hong Kong based company with offices in Bangkok
and London providing IELTS online
preparation and other web-based courses for
online university preparation
. Svend lived and worked in various countries
across Latin America, Europe and Asia before settling with his wife in Thailand

online preparation and other web-based courses for . Svend lived and worked
in various countries across Latin America, Europe and Asia before settling with
his wife in Thailandonline preparation and other web-based courses for . Svend
lived and worked in various countries across Latin America, Europe and Asia
before settling with his wife in Thailand


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