Yuyu’s Tips On Taking The IELTS Exam

Hi everyone, my name is Yuyu and I’m from Japan 🇯🇵! A little bit about me, I’m a senior here at UCO studying Marketing. I love fashion and exploring cute cafes around OKC. I also like playing instruments, eating, and trying new things!

So like you guys, when I applied to the university in the US, I had to submit something to prove my English skills. IELTS and TOEFL are the most popular English exams. Each university has its English requirement for incoming international students. At the University of Central Oklahoma, the condition is broadband 5.5 in IELTS, 61 in TOFLE IBT, or 500 in TOEFL PBT. So, how do you get these scores before admission? Don’t worry. I will tell all of you a secret to get these scores!

1. What is IELTS?
2. IELTS 4 sections explained
3. Tips for studying for IELTS
4. The day before the exam
5. On the day of the test

1. What is IELTS?
IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System and is taken by people looking to work, live, or study in an English-speaking country. According to the IELTS official website, it is globally recognized by more than 11,000 companies and institutions. The questions are primarily based on English used in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the USA. This test covers listening, speaking, reading, and writing sections. British Council owns IELTS, IDP: IELTS Australia, and Cambridge Assessment English.

2. IELTS 4 Sections Explained
• Writing
IELTS gives you 60 minutes to work on the writing section. There are tasks 1 and 2. Task 1 requires you to write a summary of a minimum of 150 words about a graph, table chart, or process illustration. You will first give an overview, then pick the main features of the data provided, describe and compare them, or describe a process based on the illustration shown. You are also required to give a short conclusion. Task 2 asks you to write an essay with at least 250 words. Common questions are Opinion essay, Advantage and Disadvantage essay, and solution essay. You will need to include your knowledge or experience in the paper.
• Speaking
In the IELTS speaking section, you will be talking to an examiner in person. There are 3 parts to the listening section. Before getting into the 1st part, an examiner will ask you to introduce yourself, including your name, and show your passport to the examiner. The first 4 to 5 minutes will be a conversation with an examiner. This will be a usual everyday conversation topic—for example, your lifestyle, family, your major, and your hobbies. Part 2 asks you to give a speech about a randomly assigned topic. You will have one minute to make a note. An examiner will also give you a task card that includes three speaking points regarding your topic. In part 3, n examiner will ask you more profound questions regarding the subject you were given in part 2.
• Listening
The listening part gives you 40 questions. It will take 30 minutes to listen to everything and 10 minutes to write down your answer to the answer sheet. Section 1 requires you to listen to the conversation between two individuals. Section 2 requires you to listen to a monologue about everyday life. Section 3 includes a conversation between several people (up to 4 people) about the educational topic. Section 4 requires you to listen to a monologue about the academic subject. Speakers will have their accents and unique voice.
• Reading
The reading section gives you 60 minutes to answer 40 questions.

3. Tips for studying for IELTS
STEP 1: Study frequently used words
To build a strong base, it is highly recommended to study English words frequently used in IELTS.
STEP 2: Try practice exam once
By trying the practice exam, you will be able to know your current strength and weakness.
STEP 3: Strengthen your week points
Once you know your weak point, learn how to write or answer.
STEP 4: Finally, study practice exam over and over

• Writing
Examiner will see if you can read a graph or an illustration accurately, if you can summarize the data, and if you write more than 150 words. To study for writing, try to copy the answer sentences repeatedly and remember the words and phrases that are often used in this IELTS writing section. It is highly recommended to time yourself when you finally try to answer independently.
• Speaking
Examiners test your fluency and coherence, lexical resource, and grammatical range and accuracy. From my own experience, it is crucial to remember the filler phrases. For example, “Could you repeat the question?” Examiners are happy to rephrase it for you. However, do not ask more than twice the same question. Also, I learned some tips to say something like, “That is a tough question…” or “I have never thought about it before.” Saying these will give you some extra time to think about your answer.
• Listening
My advice for the listening section is just practicing over and over. You will get used to the speed and the accents of several speakers from different countries.
• Reading
Practice over and over. Practice finding an essential part of a summary from the paragraph given as fast as possible. It will save you time for the exam.
• General advice
Look for synonyms and opposite words for every new word you remember. The key to success in IELTS is the synonyms.

4. The day before the exam
Sleep 8 hours. If you want to study more, do it in the morning instead of staying up late. It may depend on a person. However, from my experience, staying up late before the exam only makes you tired and not productive. There is also research that shows that people are most effective in the morning. So, sleep early, get some rest, and do the final study in the morning.

• Plan to spend all day at your testing location.
• IELTS has 4 categories to test. And it usually takes almost all day, sometimes two days.
• Bring some water, but in a plastic bottle, with no labels.
• IELTS allows you to bring only water in a plastic bottle without any cover or label. This is to make sure that the drink is not containing any drugs or anything that is prohibited.
• Eat well before the exam.
• Because you will be spending almost all day at the venue, I recommend having a big breakfast or brunch before the exam. But not anything special, eat the usual thing. You do not want stomachache during the exam, so eat something normal.
• Take time to relax, and calm down
• Do not try to study more. Just stay calm, drink some water, and relax.

Do you feel comfortable taking the IELTS exam now? Learning a new language is hard for everyone. But only those who studied hard will be able to speak the language or pass the exam. You are always welcome to ask one of our future broncho ambassadors for more tips!