Real grammar goals
Although a frustrating and tedious task, achieving perfect grammar is the goal for ESL learners. In addition, IELTS test takers often receive lower IELTS scores because they have difficulties mastering the grammar rules they so extensively study. You have to be a realist about your skills and goals when it comes to grammar and the IELTS test.
Realize your strengths and weaknesses
Since you are marked on grammar points such as tenses, prepositions, punctuation, and so on, grammar is a major part of the IELTS test. You need to ask yourself how strong your grammar is, especially in your speaking and writing. Once you see what you know by reviewing the basics, you can assess whether you have a good handle on grammar or if you struggle with it. If you believe that you have problems in grammar, you need to be specific with your problem areas. Do you have problems with:
- Articles (a/an/the)
- Prepositions (in, on, from)
- Regular vs. Irregular verbs
- Tenses (Past, Present, Future)
- Countable/Uncountable Nouns
You can focus on trying to improve your weaknesses once you have honed in on those areas. On the other hand, don’t focus on certain grammar issues if you don’t have issues with them.
Evaluate yourself often
In order to see if you have improved, you need to evaluate yourself or have someone else evaluate you. You can do this through tests and quizzes or through someone who knows the grammar points well, such as a teacher or tutor. Test yourself once you have read about, studied, practiced, and used a grammar point frequently. Focus on another skill once you find that the problem is no longer an issue. Mastering one skill may help you enough to raise your band score.
Achieve attainable goals
The best point to remember when trying to improve your grammar is that you can’t fix everything all at once. Some test takers try to fix all their problems at the same time when studying for the IELTS test. This usually results in no issues being addressed or conquered.
You need to be realistic about what you can learn if you struggle with multiple grammar points. You also need to decide what grammar points will be most beneficial to learn and improve on, especially if time is not on your side. Some of the most common grammar mistakes made by IELTS test takers and English language learners that stick out to native English speakers are:
- Past vs. Present Tense
Choose one grammar point, if you struggle with something, and work to try and improve it. Only move on to another point if you have learned the rules, the exceptions to the rules, and have used the chosen grammar point correctly.
Learn in a variety of ways
There are a variety of ways to learn grammar. Try different methods as you will be able to see what works best for you. Since studying grammar can be boring, this will also help make learning grammar a little more interesting.
There are endless books that teach and review all the grammar rules. This will allow you to brush up on what you’ve already learned and also show you what you need to work on. There are also websites that teach grammar. You can find online seminars as well as take grammar tests and quizzes. Any grammar practice where you need to use your speaking and writing skills is beneficial to the IELTS test. You can do this with an English or IELTS tutor or in an English class.
To help break the barriers to a better section on the IELTS test, or possibly a higher overall band score, you need to be realistic about your grammar skills. If you tackle the long process of learning grammar in the best way, the benefits will pay out in the long run.