Learn about changes to your IELTS test arrangements due to Coronavirus (COVID-19). View details
Results in 5-7 days with computer-delivered IELTS

When the going gets tough: re-sitting the IELTS test

Published on July 25, 2017

There is a well-known English proverb that says “ When the going gets tough, the tough get going”. In other words, when a situation becomes difficult, strong people do not give up; they work harder. It can be very disappointing if you do not achieve the score you want on your IELTS test, but remember that it can also be a great opportunity to improve yourself. Learning from your mistakes can help you to develop your skills as an IELTS candidate, as well as an everyday English user. In this post, we will talk about the steps you can take to become focused again and achieve your IELTS goals. So, stay positive and continue reading!

Step 1: Take a break

It is natural to feel upset and frustrated if you don’t get the IELTS score you want. However, letting your emotions control you at times like this will probably stop you from thinking clearly or doing much of anything useful.

After hearing the bad news, take a step back from the problem. Allow yourself some time to relax and express your feelings; sharing your experience with friends and family can help you to release frustration and to better understand your situation.

Step 2: Reflect on what went wrong

Once you have let go of any negative feelings and have taken a break to relax and recover, you’ll be better able to reflect on what went wrong. Analyse your IELTS results by looking at the band score for each individual skill. Focus on the difference between the scores you obtained and the ones you want, and choose the main areas requiring attention. Next, make notes on the types of tasks you found difficult in those specific skills and use the notes to help you prepare a plan of study.

Step 3: Focus on areas requiring attention

Now that you’ve identified the main areas for improvement and have developed a plan of study, it’s time to get ready for your next attempt. There are many high-quality print materials available to help you prepare (e.g. books, self-study packs and other practice materials), as well as online sources that IELTS candidates can access for free. Many of these online IELTS preparation sites provide you with opportunities to choose particular modules (Reading, Writing, Listening or Speaking) to focus on. They also offer practice tests in the chosen module(s), model answers, as well as exam tips and strategies.

Step 4: Get help if necessary

Many IELTS candidates prepare on their own, re-take the IELTS exam and succeed. However, it is completely acceptable, and in some cases even advisable, to get help. If you think you need expert guidance, consider signing up for an IELTS preparation course. Remember that there are many factors to consider when choosing a preparation course, such as your most recent IELTS scores, your availability, and the type of training you need (IELTS Academic or IELTS General training).

If you completed a preparation course before your last attempt, you may want to talk to your teacher. They can provide you with observations to help you better understand your own English language abilities and what you need to do to improve.

Attainable goals

Generally, re-sitting the IELTS test to get the score you want is highly recommended. However, don’t be in a rush to take the test again immediately! Make sure that it is possible for you to achieve those goals. If there is a big difference between your IELTS band scores and the ones you need, consider taking an English language course before doing an IELTS preparation course or the test itself again. While your main objective today might be to get a specific score on the IELTS test, a general English course can help your English skills overall. In the end, this will help your IELTS score too.

You have many options you can choose: prepare on your own, seek expert advice or enrol in a course. Whichever option you choose, it is important that you make an informed decision. To achieve this, there are important things you need to consider such as the scores you received, the scores you require, your thoughts about your own performance and skills, and if you should get assistance on your journey to success. Stay strong and focused. Next time you will be even more prepared to achieve your IELTS goals!