How is your preparation going?

A lot of students struggle to organise themselves and allow sufficient preparation time.

Sure, you might be able to pass the test by cramming like crazy over a few days (like Yvonne did last year, remember?).

However, the best way is to pass the test is listen to this podcast or read the blog post. You’ll learn the essential IELTS study skills you need to pass the exam!

Getting ready for IELTS is key to your success on the exam. By using the tips below, you’ll be able to define and set precise goals. They offer a logical, flexible approach – but it’s up to you to decide what’s best for you. If you do, you’ll become more self-disciplined and motivated to move on with the process.

1. Use your time to your advantage. Identify when you’re most productive.

Some people work most effectively in the morning, while others prefer to solve problems in the evening. Your aim is to find out what works best for you, in accordance with your own peculiarities. It’s also important to define where you can really focus on the work you need to do – preferably a place with no distractions (for example, a library or a coworking space). Turn off your phone and give yourself a chance to study properly! Bring all the necessary materials with you, and check that everything you need is close at hand. Again, it all depends on you. If you’ve already tried something and failed, don’t stop. Look for something new!

2. Keep an eye on your diet.

It may seem amazing, but what you eat has a real impact on your productivity. For example, if you eat a lot of sweets and hamburgers or drink alcohol, it may be difficult for you to focus and get to work. Remember to drink a lot of water. Forget about alcohol, even in small doses – at least while you’re preparing for the exam. Consume only healthy food and water to keep your mind clear and your brain operating at full capacity.

3. Establish a routine – and stick with it.

At the same time, adjust to the situation and try to make it beneficial for you. If you suddenly have to go out and can’t postpone the trip, find a logical break point in your work. Write a note to yourself so you can quickly remember where you need to start again.

4. Since your preparation time may be limited, make sure to organize it.

Pay attention to your weak points first. Identify where you need to improve and provide yourself with extensive training. The thing of paramount importance here is a schedule, as detailed as possible. Write down dates and times, and specify exactly what you’re going to work on.

5. Prioritize the tasks according to your weak spots. Follow the rule: the most complicated stuff first.

Once you’ve finished the most difficult tasks, the rest will seem a lot easier. Usually, the task that’s hardest for you is one of your weak spots. (For example, it may be grammar or writing paragraphs.)

6. Keep track of your results and improvement.

Ask someone to proofread your essay, for example. It’s better if a teacher who is familiar with IELTS and has a good command of English. This way you won’t waste your time. If your results show that you’ve gained ground in one area, get to work on your next weak point. And focus on theory. Even though it may be boring sometimes, theory is the foundation of a solid knowledge base.
I recommend reviewing the grammar rules, then doing online grammar tests or cloze texts.

7. Start with small steps, and stay realistic.

Of course, you want to do and study as much as possible. This approach doesn’t always play into your hands. There may be a lot to review or learn. Therefore, if you try to do it all, you may end being at a loss and in panic.
Always finish a task before you move on to the next one. Start with your weak points. If you have time left, you’ll be able to do all the rest. Don’t assign yourself more tasks than you can manage to do within the time you’ve allotted for them.

8. Break up your study time.

Take a 5-minute break after each 25 minutes of work. Repeat this for 6 rounds. This way you won’t feel completely exhausted and will be able to keep working longer. This method is explained in more detail here: www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomodoro_Technique