Sunday, May 24, 2009


Why do people fail the IELTS? There are tell-tale signs that they will fail the IELTS. However, these mistakes can be avoided so that they will achieve their target IELTS band score.

1. Not having a study plan
Some people can get really complacent about the IELTS. It’s not just about luck. You gotta have a plan. IELTS is all about discipline.
It takes consistent practice to reach a high band score. Even if you’re too busy, you should map out your strategy. Devote at least one hour a day to study.

2. Not following directions
IELTS takers fail the IELTS not because they’re incompetent. They think all directions are the same and so they go right in to answer the questions. Not! The golden rule in IELTS is: Follow All Directions. The most common error that they make is in the Yes/No/Not Given type. They answer True/False instead. Another usual mistake is they answer the complete word when only a letter is necessary. So, don’t forget to read the instructions at all times.

3. Lack of time management
In the IELTS, time is your greatest enemy. A lot of IELTS candidates are unable to finish the four modules. Task completion is essential to getting a high band score. That is why it’s important to budget your time well. Quick thinking is a skill that you should develop. You have to listen, read, write and speak fast.

4. Panicking
This happens a lot to IELTS takers especially in the Speaking component. When they’re stumped with a difficult question, their mind goes blank (crickets chirping). What to do? Good preparation is the key. When you’re prepared, you focus more easily. Have a bag of tricks where you can pull out any expression for every question.

5. Not reading
No input, no output. Like food, you gotta feed your mind. In the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, one habit that is essential is sharpening the saw. In the same way, you have to sharpen the saw in IELTS through reading magazines, newspapers and journals. Read Time, Newsweek and Reader’s Digest because these are the kinds of material you will encounter in the reading text. Read the editorial section of newspapers like Inquirer and Star which will improve your argumentation skills that you can use in writing and speaking.

6. Committing the same blunders again and again
It’s ok to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. Constant practice is useless if you keep on repeating the same errors. This is extremely crucial in writing like spelling and grammar errors. The most common mistakes that people make are the subject-verb agreement, tense consistency and prepositions. Analyze your mistakes and review them.

7. Thinking negative thoughts
If you think you will fail the IELTS, then you will fail the exam. Worrying about the test will get you nowhere. The IELTS exam is not that difficult if you know how to approach it. So be confident and always think positively.

If you have other questions about the IELTS, feel free to make comments or email me. If you want more tips about English, please subscribe via email. 


marry said...

Blogs are so informative where we get lots of information on any topic. Nice job keep it up!!

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Khan said...

A very informative articles. For students on more information on IELTS please visit

IELTS Writing Topics said...

This is very helpful, especially for new English learners. I really appreciate your ideas of helping people by pointing out the common mistakes they usually have like this.

Good job!

IELTS Writing Topics