Tuesday, January 2, 2018

5 IELTS Myths You Need to Leave in 2017

The beginning of the new year is a perfect time for setting your goals. So, you still have not passed your IELTS, huh? That's OK. There is no failure, only feedback. You can start anew and set goals for you to get a higher IELTS score. But, first you need to leave behind those IELTS myths that kept you from achieving your goal:

1. 1st Myth: The More Words the Better

Yes, you need to write 150 or 250 words in your essay. But writing a 350 word essay? It's not the quantity of words that count but rather the quality of your words. Brevity works better as long as you address the task question. You might have written so many sentences and paragraphs which led to your essay being circular. Vocabulary is not the only criteria in IELTS. There's also Task Achievement, Coherence and Cohesion and Grammar.

I also had students who write too academic words that only make their arguments unclear. You don't have to write like an expert. The IELTS essay is not a research paper that you need to impress with technical words. Read newspapers and magazines so that you get a sense of what is understandable to your readers.

2. 2nd Myth: Bad Grammar is the Root Cause of IELTS Failure

Some people think that all those who failed their IELTS speaking and writing exam have bad grammar. That's why many of them just focus on practicing their grammar. They try to perfect their subject-verb agreement, tenses, and prepositions. Then, after getting their exam results, they get the surprise of their life. I had students who failed their IELTS exams twice and then came to me. They are great speakers but they're focusing on the wrong thing.

They are so focused on speaking with the right tense or subject-verb agreement, but one thing I always notice about the way they speak. Their thoughts are disorganized and illogical. Their answers are brief and incoherent at times. It's not what you speak but how you speak that is important. Yes, being grammar-conscious is good but also make sure that what you say makes sense and always give concrete examples and logical reasons.

3. 3rd Myth: You Will Pass Depending on Your IELTS Examiner

This is one of the stupidest things that you should leave in 2017. No matter who the examiner is, your score will still remain the same. Examiners have been trained to assess you according to IELTS writing and speaking descriptors. They go through calibrations so that they will assess candidates fairly. So, it doesn't matter whether your examiner is a native speaker or a local one. Do not be affected by the facial expressions of your examiner.

4. 4th Myth: Practice Makes Perfect

I had students who bought the best IELTS practice materials. They regularly answer IELTS reading and listening tests and yet their scores remained low. Why is that? The reason: wrong strategies. They apply the same strategies for different question types. Practice is not enough. One should learn the reading skills of skimming, scanning and identifying topic sentences. For listening skills, one should learn how to listen for details and listen for comprehension.

5. 5th Myth: You Can Self-Study Your Way to IELTS Success

For reading and listening tests, you can do this. But for speaking and writing, you need someone to assess your essays and your speech. There are some things that you might not be aware of that an IELTS teacher or tutor can point out. I had a student who failed his speaking test twice before coming to me. He had some pronunciation and grammar errors. He also had the tendency to give long answers. He just had two sessions with me and I gave him tips on how he can answer questions better through the right vocabulary. Fortunately, he achieved 7.0.

So there you go, please forget all these myths and set new IELTS goals for 2018. I hope that you find this article helpful and I really wish that you will get the score that you deserve this year. So, please let me know if you have additional myths to share or if you have experiences, I would love to hear them.