Learning how both really work will not only save you from spending too much time, energy and money but also from too much anxiety. This post describes a very straightforward and practical approach to the IELTS Test.
Do not go into the battlefield without a spear or a shield
Old-fashioned as it sounds, this principle is what many candidates overlook. It is understandable when some people want to succeed as quickly as possible. But really, there is no shortcut to learning a language – only a more effective and efficient way that will be more time and energy saving than the way you are practising at the moment. Now you are eager to learn, what exactly then is the battlefield metaphor all about?
Basic knowledge of English includes good vocabulary, good grammar, and good pronunciation. For “good”, you can further learn when you enrol in classes for each of the macro skills – namely Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Before sitting in an IELTS class, there must be a good amount of exposure to these skills already. Look at the checklist below to see how many you have tried.
[color-box]“What we hope ever to do with ease, we must learn first to do with diligence.” – Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), English poet, critic, lexicographer, creator of first English dictionary.[/color-box]
Improve your English exposure – checklist:
- Listen to podcasts, radio and TV newscasts, online documentaries, fora, lectures, debates, etc. Have you visited your favourite websites like BBC, CNN, Huffington Post, Al Jazeera English and National Geographic Channel? Have you checked out academic lectures on www.youtube.com or listened to those inspirational speeches on www.ted.com?
- Speak in English to local and foreign friends on/off line, imitate some good speakers on TV and on the Internet, record your voice as you speak, speak to yourself in front of a mirror, read your favourite novel aloud, etc.
- Write Facebook posts, blogs on www.wordpress.com or www.blogspot.com, tweet on Twitter, exchange letters, etc.
- Read newspapers, magazines, journals, literary pieces such as novels and short stories, etc.
Doing some, if not all, of the activities listed will definitely complement your formal or classroom studies. So, if you plan on taking the exam next year, why not start doing them now and learn more English the fun way?
Prepare for IELTS
Assuming you already have a considerable amount of English knowledge and exposure, the next step is to enrol in an IELTS courses online or offline, carry out some self-reviews, and practise a lot. However, before doing any of these things, know exactly what to do.
IELTS Learning Preparation Checklist
- Acquire some good materials that will introduce you to the test format, skills to learn, techniques, and tips. You can find them anywhere. In fact, these are what most candidates secure first. Sometimes, they have more than the teachers and coaches have. Kidding aside, IELTS reviews and study centres have all these things ready, not to mention that the two official organizations British Council and IDP Australia may also assist you with such concerns. If you prepare well, your practice and training will go smoothly.
- Enrol on an IELTS course (at least a two-week program), or try a self-review if you have all the necessary materials, including the official practice books from Cambridge. However, professional help will be of great value especially in developing your productive skills such as Writing and Speaking. Real time assessment and feedback will keep you on the right track. To really prepare, you need someone’s help. After all, the point of learning English is preparing yourself to communicate with others around the world.
- Be ready with your time, energy, concentration, money, and commitment to practise. This is the last and most crucial step to preparing.
As we always say at Pass IELTS Higher, it’s never enough to know; do, do, and do!
[color-box]Don Enricuso is a fervent aficionado of the English language. A teacher by heart, he holds an AB English degree and a TESOL certificate (School of TEFL, Canada). Currently, he is pursuing an MA in applied linguistics at a top university in the Philippines. He coaches candidates from all over the world in IELTS skills and English proficiency.[/color-box]