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IELTS Do’s and Don’ts

Author: G- Sol
by G- Sol
Posted: Mar 14, 2020

IELTS is a reputed internationally recognised exam. It grants access to foreign countries for permanent residency and education purposes. Basically it tests English proficiency skills of the applicant and assess whether they are capable for an efficient life abroad.

For complete information about IELTS, please refer to:

If you are planning to take IELTS, you should be aware of the Do’s and Don’ts of the exam plan.

Do’s and Don’ts for IELTSListening, Reading, Writing and Speaking modules

IELTS Listening



First and foremost, listen carefully to the exam instructions. You will be in trouble if you don’t follow them.

Read the questions before listening to the recording. This will help you understand the question better and also save your time. Make sure to check your answers.

Pay attention to the key words. If you find any unfamiliar word which is not the keyword, skip it. Don’t waste your time trying to figure out what it means if it is not important.

Listen for the answers only. It is not important to understand everything in the recording.

Always check your answers during the time provided for transferring answers. Be attentive to any spelling or grammatical errors.

Manage your time as per each sections.

Don’t skip the instructions. Pay attention to the directions given in the test. If you are given time to check your answer, use that time to do so. Some candidates go out of heir heads and don’t do this. Most of them end up regretting it.

Don’t waste your time taking notes. You might risk missing the important parts in the recording which is played only once. If you must write notes, write it on the question paper.

Don’t listen and write your answer on the answer sheet at the same time. Use the time given for transferring answer.

Do not spend extra time on one question.

Don’t make spelling mistakes while writing names of places or cities mentioned in the recording.

IELTS Reading



Learn to scan and skim. Which means go through the passages and pick relevant texts for possible answers.

Carefully follow the instructions.

Attempt every question after assessing the question first.

Write answers directly on the given answer sheet. There is no extra time provided for transferring the answer in the reading test.

Manage your time appropriately and look out for time limitations. Practice your reading skills and time them.

Use correct grammar, spelling and punctuation. Having sufficient vocabulary is always a plus for understanding complex passages in IELTS reading.

Write your answers in capital letters. This is a tip for those with bad hand writing.

Don’t read the whole passage. Only locate important parts. With practice you will develop that skill.

Don’t change the words too much for fill in the blanks. In fact, use the exact words.

Don’t waste your time over one question. Move on to the next one.

Avoid paraphrasing in the reading test.

Don’t write too much or too little. Practice how to write correct amount of words per section.

IELTS Writing



Give relevant and clear answers, especially in task 2 essay.

Pay attention to the word limit, i.e. 150 words for task 1 and 250 for task 2.

Provide only one idea per given topic. Clubbing more than two ideas within one answer ends up in a confusing mess that might not lead to your desirable result. Don’t puzzle your examiner about the context of your answer.

Always write a clear overview for task 1 and conclusion for task 2.

Pay utmost attention to your grammar, spellings and punctuation.

Use examples and researched facts to support your paragraphs.

Make the conclusion of essays simple and direct.

Take care of the time constraints. Practice writing under timed conditions.

Don’t cross the word limit assigned in each task. It goes without saying, don’t write lesser than asked as well. Writing more doesn’t lead to marks deduction but it might cost you with overall exam time management.

Don’t count the words. It’s time consuming and is ridiculous. Instead go for number of lines and make an assumption.

Don’t use informal style here. You can go for semi- formal but never casual or informal writing. It is mentioned in the instructions, and you should follow it.

Don’t spend more time than allotted for each task.

Avoid wasting any time trying to save time. Don’t keep looking at the clock for remaining time. It will only distract you and you might end up making errors while panicking.

Don’t write irrelevant or off topic answers.

Don’t contract words and copy from the question. There is a penalty for doing so. Use complete words and synonyms instead of copying from the question.

Don’t give examples based on your personal experiences (unless asked to do so) or made up facts.

Avoid unnecessary idiom usage.

IELTS Speaking



Use natural tone. When you act natural and be yourself, your confidence shows.

Use any accent you are comfortable with. You won’t be assessed on the basis of your accent. Although try to speak with as much as clarity as possible.

Be fluent in your speaking. This is easier said than done. Develop fluency through consistent practice.

Keep talking until the examiner stops you.

Use wide range of vocabulary and grammar tenses for impressive speech.

Switch between formal and informal form of speech. Learn to use wherever suitable.

Learn the art of incorporating idioms and native slangs in your speech. It shows that you belong.

There are three parts in IELTS Speaking. Each level requires different levels of language skills. Gradually level up through each part.

Never be silent during your test. At any part, if you don’t know the answer to any question, don’t remain silent. Simply keep talking by saying that you know how important the subject is, but at the moment you are not aware of it. The point is to show the examiner that you have a decent verbal skill, which is what they are there for examining.

Don’t speak in an inaudible tone. No matter how good your answer is, if the examiner can’t hear you, your answer becomes no good. Try to speak a little louder than your usual tone. If you become nervous or are too shy, practice a lot. Practice is the key to get rid of every obstacle. Practice while recording yourself and monitor what needs to be improved.

Don’t give one word answers. Simply replying yes or no won’t serve the purpose of your test. The examiner is there to test your speaking skills. There won’t be any marking if you don’t display how good your verbal communication is.

Don’t give too much off- topic answers. When you are given a topic to speak about in part 2 of the speaking test, it is natural to stray away from the topic while speaking continuously. This won’t harm you until you do it minimally. Try to stick to the topic as much as you can. Giving irrelevant answers is equivalent to giving no answer at all. So, try to avoid that.

Don’t memorize possible answers. IELTS test is all about how well you can speak in an English environment. For that, you have to have a natural feel in your speech. Speaking like a parrot negates the purpose at all. Practice with proper flow and attain that natural tone.

Don’t struggle with heavy vocabulary while speaking. Vocabulary contributes only 25% to the whole test. If you have a good vocabulary knowledge, by all means use that. But if you’re not comfortable with any word usage, restrain yourself from doing that. Sounding smart is not the point, how you speak and with proper pronunciation are the vital factors for achieving good scores in your IELTS exam.

Do’s and Don’ts on the Exam DayDo’s
  • Be on time.
  • Remember to bring your ID, pen, pencil and eraser.
  • During listening test, make sure your headphones are working.
  • Remain calm and confident.
  • You are not allowed to bring food, watch and dictionary or any other
learning aid in the exam room. Respect that.

  • Don’t copy or cheat. It’s strictly prohibited.
  • Don’t take any paper from the exam room.

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Author: G- Sol

G- Sol

Member since: Mar 10, 2020
Published articles: 17

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