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IELTS Exam Confidence

IELTS Exam Confidence



If you are taking the IELTS exam and feel a lack of confidence, here are some tips (you may also have some good ones yourself), to try to improve things.

1. Pressure May Not Help

Realise that feeling a lot of pressure is unlikely to help particularly and might likely make things worse - take time to relax before the exam. Also, try to get enough sleep and perhaps you could take a day off work. Also, try to get to get to the test center in plenty of time. You might need to research exactly where it is. Think about alternative transport options that you could use in case your car etc. is not working normally.

2. Knowledge

Try to understand the IELTS exam as well as possible. Some people may be nervous, because they do not understand the exam and thus are wondering how they can possibly pass. Some people have failed the exam some times before. They are thus not sure what were the reasons for that and thus lack confidence for the future. Make sure you understand the grading criteria - remember that the more you understand the exam and the grading criteria, the more confidence you can get as to what is the reason you may have failed before and what you need to do to pass. Deal with facts, rather than "ideas" you might have heard on the net - if in doubt, check with the official IELTS website/an IELTS teacher etc..


3. Practice And Improvements

Practice and make an analysis of your improvements and weak areas. Have a clear methodology of what you need to do to practise the different areas of the exam. For some people, the IELTS is easy and they might perhaps pass the first time and with little difficulty. However, for others, it might be hard work. Focus on your errors - try to see the ones that you are making - what can you do to improve them? Be systematic and analytical in your approach.


4. Speaking Confidence

If you lack confidence for the speaking section, keep practising and recording yourself, until you get more automatic. From my experience, getting better at some things like speaking can  take a lot of practice. For sure, it is important to know techniques and methods etc. however, like tennis for example, even if you read a 1000 books, that might not help you to really improve - therefore, focus on first of all of course a good method, but after that keep on practising. One method to speak more fluently can be by recording yourself and then speaking repatedly until you have more fluency. Try to listen to any errors that you may be making.

5. Mistakes Are Normal

For the IELTS, do not worry if you make mistakes - that can be part of the improvement process. Some people are concerned that if they practise and repeat some mistakes, that they might not be improving. Do not worry about that - just focus on a good method and practising. That can likely help you to improve. If you make a mistake, just note it down and have a plan how to keep practising it. Just like driving a car, to start with there can be numerous difficulties, however if you keep practising then after time, it can be more automatic. The mind can learn things automatically - it is not your responsibility necessarily every time you use English to make minimal mistakes - worrying too much about that can cause issues perhaps - just work on a good method and in future you can perhaps improve automatically, albeit not immediately.

6. Time

Give yourself plenty of time to prepare if possible -preparing for the IELTS might take a lot of time. For sure, the writing and speaking might be somewhat subjective for the grading, depending on the examiner and even they might sometimes make a mistake, however realise that the best way to pass the IELTS exam, unless you are very good already is to practise regularly and often until you have reached your goal. If possible do not set the date of the exam, until you are quite confident to pass, if your schedule allows this. Some people try to take the exam quite quickly and some over a longer period. For those who take it after 1/2 a year etc., they might be much more likely to pass it, although sometimes people who take it after 1-2 weeks practice etc. can also do well equally.

7. Frequency

Try to practise regularly and often, rather than a large amount in one day seldom, etc. - the latter might perhaps be less effective, although you can still learn things that way – see what balance is best for you. For instance, you could

maybe try to do 15 reading exams a month, each 2 days apart. That might be much better than 15 during the first week of a month. That may be the same with many things in life when you are training the mind.

8. Easier Locations

There is some talk about if certain countries/test centers etc. are easier - that may be quite difficult to really know, because of multiple potential examiners - focus on improving your English as much as possible. I have heard that some test centers might not be that organised (no first-hand experience). That might be a reason to go somewhere else. However, if the test center is organised, then you can try to attend there, unless you have perhaps heard that there is a regualr amount of bad grading going on there.

9. Difficulty

If you are still not doing well before the exam, or if you find it difficult keep trying - it can also be difficult for other students and if eveyone gets a lower grade, perhaps the grading might be a bit easier, I have heard (not certain of that). In the exam, even if you think you are not doing well, keep trying - the worst that can happen is that you will fail, however if you keep trying, perhaps you might even pass - sometimes my students have done badly for practice before the exam and went on to get good grades: keep trying even if you think you might fail.

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