Tuesday, November 07, 2006

IELTS: 10 Mistakes You Must Avoid

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The process of studying for IELTS can be overwhelming. It always is of great importance to one’s future and the stakes are usually high. Among countless rules of IELTS it is easy to loose focus and begin drifting in the wrong direction, especially when you have nobody to guide you. This is the reason why people don’t receive the score they really deserve. Here are the top 10 mistakes IELTS candidates make.
Give more answers than necessary As I have already mentioned in one of the previous articles, instructions are there for a reason. If they say “give one answer” or “answer in 3 words”, this is exactly what the examiners will be looking for, and if they find two answers or four words - points are lost forever.Write answers in the booklet, not on the Answer Sheet Of course, writing answers on the booklet margins looks more natural then having to copy them to some special Answer Sheet. Well, surprise - the only answers IELTS examiners count are those copied to the Answer Sheet. Every answer written on booklet margins only scores zero.

Lose track of time During Reading and Writing sections it is candidates’ responsibility to manage their own time. No one will tell you to stop working on the current task and to move forward to the next one. So, in worst case scenario, you could spend all the time working on just one passage, when there are 3 more to go.
Waste a lot of time on one hard question All IELTS questions are of different difficulty. It is wrong to assume that every next question will be harder than the previous one. This is why getting stuck on one hard question is a bad idea. By moving forward to some easier questions you could win points, which otherwise would be lost.

Read the whole passage first in Reading section Those passages are not meant to be read. It is enough to scan through the text, noticing what the text is about and what the purpose of each paragraph is. After getting familiar with the passage, it is the time to read questions and look for answers.
Assume they know the answer There is an old saying “Assumptions are the mother of all mess-ups”. Many people walk right into this trap, by reading the question and assuming that they already know the answer from their experience or general knowledge. What a mistake! The answer is what is written in the passage and not what comes first to your mind. If, for example, the question is “Does smoking cause cancer” and your mind says “Yes” but the passage says “No”, then “No” is the correct answer.
Copy the task in Writing section Let me list reasons why this would be a mistake. First, instructions forbid this. Second, you don’t get any points for it. Third, it wastes precious time you could use writing something meaningful.

Not checking the answers It is only human to make mistakes and there is nothing wrong in admitting it. This is a good enough reason to check and double-check your answers if there is time left.
Trying to impress the examiner What usually happens when a person starts trying to impress the examiner is usually the opposite. Be the best you can at your level, don’t try to claim a higher level you are not at. Don’t start trying to use super complex sentences or big smart words (without being sure what they mean).
Answering with “Yes” or “No” When examiner is asking you a question, it is not the answer he is after. His goal is to make you speak. As for you, every chance to speak is an opportunity to show how fluent your English is. Answering with “Yes” or “No” ruins every chance of good grade.
About the AuthorSimone Braverman is the author of “ACE The IELTS” e-Book. She once had to take the IELTS test to open a door to a dream. Her curiosity pushed her quite a bit further into extensive research on differnt aspects of IELTS test. More information at www.IELTS-blog.com

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