Making IELTS a daily practise
"Do the thing that breeds the thought" - Robert Browning
When you begin your IELTS preparation, it may feel necessary to close yourself off in a small room with a single light, and only bread and water to avoid distraction. Surely, there will be times during your preparation when you will require this kind of singular focus, but this post is designed to get you thinking about the IELTS test in a different way.
A great place to start your preparation is right here on the IELTS Essentials website. In particular, reading our IELTS Essentials blog posts will give a more human face to the IELTS test as most of our post authors have interacted with hundreds of tests and potentially thousands of candidates.
Change your routine
During the course of the day there are many chances for you to practise your English, and in particular, your English. With some planning and self discipline, you can turn daily interactions with people and the world around you into an opportunity for practise and learning.
If you are preparing for the IELTS in an English-speaking country, your opportunities for interacting in English may be more frequent. However, if you live in a neighborhood populated by non-English speakers, making English a part of your daily life at work and in your personal life may take some redesigning of where you shop and spend time.
Remove the mystery
Step 1: Choose your test date and be honest with yourself. If you need a 7 on the IELTS test and you have only been speaking English for a few years you may need a longer preparation time.
Step 2: Make a plan. Set aside some time each day to look at IELTS material and familiarize yourself with the speaking, writing task 1 and task 2 descriptors available online. In particular, focus on the band score that you are attempting to achieve.
Step 3: Set goals for daily interactions. Identify your specific goals and write them down. Perhaps you have excellent vocabulary, but find people often ask you to repeat yourself. Therefore, a specific language goal may be to slow down your speech and aim to be understood the first time you say something.
The process of setting goals should assist you in identifying your problem areas. It may be valuable to find a IELTS course or tutor to help you understand the band scores and your specific areas of improvement. Make sure that the goals you set are SMART goals: Specific; Measurable; Achievable; Realistic; and Timely.
There are very good resources available on the internet to help you through the process of developing SMART goals for language learning. You may want to download a worksheet and complete it – remember to refer to your goals regularly and don’t be afraid to add to them to make your goals as clear and specific as possible.
Think about how you can make small changes on a daily basis, such as reading an article out of a science magazine or history journal. In addition, watching a British TV show or listening to an Australian podcast in order to familiarize yourself with the accents you will hear on the IELTS test.
Start by setting one clear goal for each of the four parts of the test. The more specific your goals are, the less overwhelmed you will be by the process of preparation and the IELTS test. Remember: an opportunity missed is an opportunity wasted.