Education

IELTS General Training – Strategies and Tips

IELTS General Training - Strategies and Tips
Written by Pradeep Kumar

We are aware that the IELTS exam comes in two different forms: IELTS General Training and IELTS Academic. The basic format of both is almost at par except the difficulty level, which is higher in the IELTS Academic exam.

Purpose of the IELTS General Training exam:

IELTS General Training exam is taken by the people who are looking to move abroad for the purpose of work or immigration.

Know the format of the exam:

In order to ace the IELTS General Training exam, we need to first know about the test.

The IELTS General training exam is bifurcated into four different tests to assess you on each language skill i.e Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening.

1. Reading test: This component of the exam consists of three sections where section 1 consists of two to three short texts or many short texts which are procured from various sources like magazines, books, newspaper, advertisement, etc. Section 2 consists of two texts and section 3 have one long text. There are a total of 40 questions that are to be completed within 60 minutes. The texts are based on daily life scenarios which you may come across on a daily basis. There are different types of questions based on the texts which you have to answer in 60 minutes.

2. Writing test: This component of the exam consists of two writing tasks based on generic topics. In the first task, you will be given a situation in which you will be asked to write a letter explaining the situation or requesting the information. The letter can be Semi-Formal/ Formal/ Informal depending on the situation presented in the question. You get 20 minutes to complete the task 1 and the minimum word limit is 150 words. The second task will have an essay question on the basis of which you have to write your response stating your point of view/ argument. The time allotted for task 2 is 40 minutes and the minimum word limit is 250 words.

3. Listening test: The listening test comprises of four sections, in the first section you will hear a dialogue between two people based on daily life social context. In the second round, you will hear a monologue based on everyday context eg. local facilities, etc. In the third round, you will hear a conversation between more than two people (up to four people) which could be a student and a tutor conversation discussing the assignment, etc. And in the fourth section, you will hear a monologue.

4. Speaking test: The speaking component of the exam is conducted in three rounds where the first round is a face to face interview of the candidate with the IELTS certified examiner, during which the examiner asks you to introduce yourself and you are required to answer some general questions about yourself. The second round will be an extempore round where you are given a cue card having a topic on which you have to speak for a few minutes. The third round is a general discussion around where the examiner asks you some questions pertaining to the round 2 topics.

Strategies and Tips to Nail the IELTS General Training exam:

The most important thing to understand is that IELTS is a test of your language skills to see whether you are able to understand and communicate well so that you are able to gel with the native people when you move to a foreign land for work or for immigration. For that, you don’t have to have an accent, but the clarity of speech and fluency is essential to put across your thoughts to the other person in conversation. So, let us just see what tips are needed to not only ace the IELTS General Training exam but to have a workable English that can accommodate you easily in the foreign land.

1. Talk in English as much as you can, as ultimately the application of the language will make you more fluent and will help you have a command over the language. When you talk in English, it is but natural you will gradually start thinking in English, eventually, it will streamline your thoughts and speech, hence you will have immense control over your spoken skills.

2. Read English books, articles, newspapers, journals, that will help you enhance your reading speed and the understanding of the content. As the IELTS exam is a time-based exam, reading quickly will help you in completing your test in a stipulated time frame. Besides fast reading, practice to skim and scan the passage, skimming is a reading skill where you do not go through the entire text word by word, rather you go over the text holistically and try to gather the main idea of the whole text. Whereas, scanning is a reading skill where you have to find out the keyword from the text. It comes with practice.

3. Maintain a diary for writing down new words with their meanings and preferably make sentences of every new word you jot down as it will help to know how to use the word. This exercise will enhance your vocabulary or word power.

4. Practice writing tests on a daily basis as writing is very demanding and looks taxing to many test-takers. But it can be mastered by understanding what is expected in the writing tasks and also going through a lot of writing samples. Go through all the grammar rules and put them to use while practicing the writing tasks. Besides that, write at least 2 essays daily to hone your writing skills, focus on the writing style, grammar and always review to check if all the parts of the question have been answered.

5. Take practice tests on a regular basis under the same conditions as the real exam. It will enable you to perform under the time constraint. The more you practice the better performance you will have. Also, you will be able to identify your weak areas, once you have identified the areas you are lacking in, work on those areas.

Listen to English audios while you are doing any activity like traveling, exercising, driving, etc. Try to listen to different audios such as talk shows, podcasts, audio, radio, English songs, etc. That will help you focus and develop your listening skills as you get to hear varied accents. And it will help you in identifying different kinds of accents.

Practice allthe types of questions so you can get a grip on how to crack them during the exam.

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Pradeep Kumar

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