IELTS reading test tips

I’m Silvia, from Spain, and I’m taking the IELTS exam. I’ve attended the IELTS Preparation course at Venture English and I feel I’m ready to do it. Fingers crossed!!

2014-08-30 20.19.43

First of all, I’ve chosen this particular Academic Exam because I’ve decided to apply for a Postgraduate Program.

Did you know that the IELTS exam consists of 4 parts: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking?

Let’s start talking about the Reading part:

  • Duration: 60 minutes.
  • What kind of texts?: Anything from books, journals, magazines and newspapers.
  • What kind of questions?: multiple choice, identifying information, identifying writer’s views/claims, matching information, matching headings, matching features, matching sentence endings, sentence completion, summary completion, note completion, table completion, flow-chart completion, diagram label completion, short-answer questions.

So then, here are a couple of my tips for doing the IELTS reading exam:

What do I do? I read, read and read(!) all kinds of texts, and in a variety of subjects. I also learn how to manage my time in the exam through training tests. The internet is full of free examples of Academic Reading, so just try one and check your level.

IELTS writing: task 1 tips

In our second post dedicated to the IELTS Exam, Venture English is going to talk about the IELTS writing test. This is a very tricky part, so we have divided the explanation into two different posts (visit again soon for part two!).

DSC_0008

Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.
– Chinese Proverb

In the IELTS writing exam, you have one hour to complete two tasks:

TASK ONE refers to the description of graphic information, which can be given in 5 ways:  a line graph, bar graph, pie chart, table or diagram illustrating a process. Your text should consist of 150 words.

TASK TWO is an essay based on a topic given on the question paper. You should write at least 250 words.

Let’s go more deeply into Task One. First of all, look at examples of graphic information:

Captura de pantalla 2014-09-03 a la(s) 20.06.15

And now some tips to take into account:

  • Don’t give your opinion or reasons about the information of the graphs. It is a report and must be descriptive and objective.
  • The structure could be: description of the subject of the data; indicating the main trend; talk about the most significant features; comparison between aspects of the data.
  • Every type of graph needs its accurate vocabulary: examples.
  • You have only 20 minutes for this task, so get training in explaining data.
  • Practise your handwriting; your score can down if your examiner can’t read your writing.

IELTS writing: task 2 tips

This is the second post of Venture English dedicated to the IELTS writing test. Now we will talk about Task Two. Remember, it is an essay about a given topic with a length of 250 words. It should take you about 40 minutes, if you have spent the recommended 20 minutes on Task One.

DSC_0013

“Never say more than is necessary” – Richard Brinsley Sheridan

An essay has three main parts: the introduction, the body and the conclusion.

Introduction: This is the presentation of the topic, and it usually includes your intentions and some background information. You must not  include your personal opinion.

Body: It gives your arguments and points of view about the subject, and its advantages and disadvantages, supported by information and data.

Conclusion: It summarizes the main point of the body and it is the part where you can introduce your thoughts about the topic.

And here are the Venture English tips:

  • Read carefully what they are asking for in the task.
  • Use appropriate language.
  • Use the correct grammar.
  • Use correct signposting to help the reader to understand the organization of your essay: listing (firstly, secondly…), giving opposite arguments (on the other hand), developing more information (in addition to, moreover), etc…
  • Use appropriate hedging: language that shows your degree of (un)certainty about something.

Read some of these examples to help you to improve your writing.

How to pass the IELTS listening test

Continuing with our posts about the IELTS exam, the moment has come for the Listening part.

DSC_0021

“Trees are the Earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven” – Rabindranath Tagore

The IELTS Listening test takes 30 minutes. It consists of 4 different parts with a variety of topics and accents, monologues or dialogues, and every recording is only heard once.

Section 1 
A conversation between two people set in an everyday social context.

Section 2 
A monologue set in an everyday social context.

Section 3 A conversation between up to four people set in an educational or training context.

Section 4
 A monologue on an academic subject.

And here are the Venture English tips for your best performance in the exam:

  • Listen to films, lectures or documentaries without subtitles to train your ear to catch information. We found TedTalks very useful for that, because they have a great variety of topics and accents.
  • In the exam, read every question carefully and try to guess the possible answer: a number, an address, a name, adjective or verb, etc.
  • Write at the same time you are listening. Shorthand is the trick: write a few letters that you can complete in the end.
  • Train your spelling: names and numbers, in particular for the first part of the exam.
  • Don’t leave any blank answer.

This is a good resourcesto practise your listening skills:

What happens in the IELTS speaking test?

And here it is, our last post about the IELTS test: the speaking test! Are you ready?

 

godfather_meeting

“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment” – Benjamin Franklin

The speaking test lasts about 11 to 14 minutes. It is very similar to an interview and it is recorded, so don’t be nervous when you realize it. This test consists of three parts:

  • Part 1: Introduction of the examiner and yourself with general questions. The length is 4 or 5 minutes.
  • Part 2: The examiner gives you a written card about a topic. You have 1 minute to think about it and 2 minutes to talk about it. The examiner will ask you a couple of questions about the topic.
  • Part 3: A discussion with the examiner about the topic. It will take 4 or 5 minutes.

Listen to this full example of the speaking part:

Our tips for this exam:

  • Attend organized language exchanges where you ‘trade’ your language for English: this will train you for Part 1.
  • Speak in English with your friends about different topics. Check some of the links below to practise your speaking: this will train you for Part 2 and 3.
  • Record yourself then listen to it and review what you need to improve.
  • And overall, be calm and relaxed. Get to the test center with enough time – it’s better to focus on the test rather than the delay!  And have a good breakfast before the test – it’s better to focus on the test rather than hunger!

Venture English has collected some useful resources for you to practise your speaking:

We have reached the end of our series of posts related to the IELTS test. We hope you have found them helpful, useful and entertaining. If so, share our posts with your friends!