There is clear evidence that getting familiar with the IELTS exam and learning the ins and outs of it is the quickest and most effective way of improving your band score.
We have analyzed over 10,000 of IELTS candidates who have taken our mock tests in the past three years to understand how important test familiarization is in performance improvement.
The findings of this study were quite astonishing: after taking only one full-length mock test which takes less than four hours, and analyzing the test report for about two hours, candidate’s scores improved by, on average, 62%
Obviously, in six hours there can be no substantial change in their level of English so their improvement must have come from learning how to take the IELTS exam, and this readiness can be achieved in a relatively short time.
But what exactly happens in these 6 hours that is so effective in their success? These are our findings:
1- They understood different task types
If you do nothing else, you really must understand how the test works. This means becoming familiar with question types and task types in each of the four skill tests. It will take the stress out of the experience, save you time in the test and give you the best possible chance of achieving the band score you need.
There are over 10 different question types in the IELTS listening and over 14 different question types in the IELTS reading. Every question type needs to be studied, and its tricks learnt.
Every question type has a learning curve, and you need to learn how to master them before attending the IELTS exam.
We found that IELTS mock tests allowed our users to expose themselves to all these various question types and learn each one’s unique tricks.
2- They learnt what is secretly important for examiners
The IELTS examiner is the woman or man standing between you and the IELTS score you need to secure a place at your first-choice job or win that big-money scholarship. IELTS examiners have to pass rigorous training. They are teachers, who hold language degrees and teaching certificates, and have taught English and IELTS for many years. They periodically go through re-certification training, to make sure that all the examiners around the globe are always sticking to the same guidelines and assigning objective grades on the Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing tests.
If you know what is important to IELTS examiners, it improves your chances of success because even though there are strict criteria that IELTS examiners use to give you a score, there are a lot of grey areas in these guidelines that allow the examiner to decide which score you should be given.
We found that in the feedback that was given by IELTS examiners to our users after each mock test, they learned what was secretly important to IELTS examiners so they could work on them to ensure a higher band score. This feedback included tips, tricks and techniques that candidates used to shift the examiner in their favour.
3- They mastered time management
Many elements are being tested on the IELTS, including your stamina and your ability to manage time. One of the main issues that you might face in your IELTS exam is running out of time. This can happen in Reading, Writing and Speaking tests and can lead to much lower band score than you deserve.
Time management issues almost always come from not being prepared. If you feel that you are running out of time in any section of the test, it will only cause anxiety, and you will end up under tremendous pressure. Fear creeps in, and you stress about timing and worry about failing. This is not a proper mindset to have in IELTS.
All being said, if you can’t manage your time on the IELTS exam, you’ll not get the band score that you deserve no matter how skilful and smart you are.
We found that our users learned how to manage their time on the exam by practicing time management techniques in our timed IELTS mock tests that exactly simulate the IELTS conditions.
4- They overcame stress
For some IELTS candidates, it doesn’t matter at what level they are or what their native language is or how many hours of preparation they did. They fail for one reason and one reason only, and that is too much stress.
Now, it’s vital because it’s that hidden factor that not a lot of teachers talk about, but it’s really crucial.
One of the primary sources of this fear is not knowing what to expect on the test. Fear of running out of time, fear of difficult questions, or maybe a difficult examiner.
If you are prepared, and you know what is going to happen, and you know what score you’re going to get because you’ve already tested yourself in mock tests, the fear magically disappears, and you’ll get the band score that you deserve on your IELTS exam.
We found that stress is not about the exam, but about what candidates think of the exam, so by getting a clear picture about the exam, our users had no reason to be stressed out.
If you have already taken the IELTS exam but failed to get your desired band score, or you are planning to take the exam for the first time, my advice to you is to get started with takeIELTS.net, which has helped thousands of candidates succeed in the IELTS exam. It could make all the difference to your band score.