I recently came across this great video by Brendan Burchard about how to learn…faster! Catchy title, but was there anything to back it up? Lucky for you, there was.
We get a lot of messages from stressed-out students saying they need to improve quickly. But often these students don’t know much about IELTS, and have no study plan. If this sounds familiar, then you need to get serious.
This article will show you how to master your IELTS preparation.
#1 Make Clear Life Goals
In order to improve fast, you’re gonna need to work hard every day, putting in the hours day in, day out.
But the problem is that without sufficient motivation, most students are not able to work hard for long periods day in, day out.
And to be sure, you’re going to need some very good reasons why you should be doing a listening test on a Saturday afternoon rather than hanging out with your friends.
What you need is a clear vision for who you want to be and what you want to do with your life and how achieving your target IELTS score will contribute to that.
According to Brendan, once you have that purpose, you will start to learn much faster.
#2 Follow Good Advice
Imagine two students. One is studying alone, the other is being tutored by a friend who already got a good score on the IELTS exam. Who is going to progress faster?
It’s a no-brainer right? The slowest students are those who start from scratch, with nothing. The fastest students are those who try to copy the best and learn from them.
Another example is students who try to prepare for the writing exam without studying model essays or looking closely at the official band descriptors. They are almost certainly going to lose marks.
Let’s talk more about band descriptors. These are documents produced by Cambridge (who make all the IELTS exams), that tells you exactly what the examiner wants.
So you will improve your scores much faster if your writing and speaking practice follows the band descriptors. And this is why all of the advice that we give you at How to do IELTS is based on these documents.
So whichever source of information you use – a course book, a teacher, a website, make sure they refer to the band descriptors. If you’re not sure about whether they’re giving you good advice, please message us and we’ll let you know.
Also be careful not to use sample essays from too many different sources. There is more than one right way, and you may get confused which will slow down the learning process.
#3 Everyday, you’re studying
So once you know what you need to do, the next step on your journey to becoming a master student is consistent practice.
Day in, day out, you need to put in the hours (remember those Saturday afternoon listening tests?). For example, if you want to improve your speaking score quickly, only practicing with your friend one hour a week isn’t going to work, is it?
Instead you need regular, focussed, repeated practice e.g. talking to yourself at home for an hour every day. Talking to yourself? Yes, that’s right! You should record yourself, listen back and think about how to do it better (choose one area at a time – fluency, grammar, vocab, pron), then try the same question again, and repeat, and repeat…
If you’re thinking “I don’t have time to study for hours every day.”, then you need to go back to point 1 and think about how important IELTS is to achieving your life goals.
You need to be honest with yourself about how much time you can/need to put in to achieve your target score in the timescale you want.
If you can only study a few times a week, of course that’s fine, but you need to recognise that your progress is going to be much slower than students who are studying every day.
But it’s more than that. Practising in the right way is a habit. The more you do it, the better you will get, the easier it will feel, and the more effective your studying will become.
#4 Get Feedback
If you want to learn fast, you also need feedback, so you need to find a suitable tutor. This could be a friend, classmate, teacher, or your friendly online IELTS expert….
But the better your tutor, the better feedback they can give you, so the faster you can improve. And again, if they don’t base their advice on band descriptors, ask them why.
And don’t worry if you are someone who isn’t very good at taking criticism. Just sleep on it and think about it the next day. If the feedback is from someone whose opinion you trust, then it’s important you look carefully at all their feedback and all your mistakes, so you can continue to improve as fast as possible.
#5 Set a Realistic Deadline.
A lot of students seem to book their IELTS test earlier than they need , and before they’ve even started studying for the test.
You should set a clear deadline based on what score you need and when. Then estimate how many hours of study you need to do every day to achieve this.
Talk to your classmates and teacher about your study plan and decide how realistic your deadline is, and whether you need to adjust it.
Now it’s Your Turn! Comment below!
Are you studying IELTS like a master?
Which of the five steps do you need to work on?
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