In my experience, IELTS students seem to focus less on grammar than other areas.
This is probably because it’s not very fun and it takes a long time to improve.
But here are six reasons to motivate you to open those grammar books!
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1. Too Many Basic Mistakes are Very Bad for your IELTS Score.
If you know that you make a lot of mistakes in your speaking or writing but you don’t do anything about it, that isn’t a very smart strategy.
It’s really easy for an examiner to notice basic grammar mistakes so there’s no chance of avoiding losing marks for them.
Also, if you make a lot of basic grammar errors, it will be really easy to spot as it will make it difficult for the examiner to follow your ideas.
So this will mean you end up with a grammar score of 5 or worse.
You should identify your common mistakes and then study and practise these areas.
If you don’t know your common mistakes then looking carefully at your writing and listen to yourself (on your phone), or get a friend or teacher to help.
2. Bad Grammar Will also Affect Other Aspects of your Writing and Speaking.
As well as your grammar score being affected by bad grammar, it will also bring down other parts of your IELTS score.
In writing, a lot of mistakes will make it difficult for your ideas to link together well, so this will impact on your coherence and cohesion score.
In speaking if you’re not confident about your grammar, it’s likely you will hesitate and self-correct a lot. This will decrease your fluency and pronunciation scores.
3. A Good Range of Grammar is Essential to Get a Band 6 or Above.
As well as avoiding basic mistakes, you need to demonstrate a good range of grammar.
If you use the same basic structures again and again, you will only get a 5 for your grammar, even if you don’t make any mistakes at all.
So for band 6 or higher you need to study your grammar so you can be comfortable using a range of tenses e.g. to talk about the past, present, and future, as well as being able to use a range of different complex structures e.g. conditionals and relative clauses.
4. The Better you Know your Mistakes, the More Able you are to Self-Correct.
I always ask my high-scoring students for their personal tips, and a lot of them talk about being able to notice and correct their own mistakes in their writing at the end of their exam.
In order to achieve a high band score (7+), most of your sentences must be error-free.
In the exam you will be rushing and feeling nervous, so you’ll probably make more mistakes than usual.
Therefore if you’re aiming for a high score, it’s important that your awareness of grammar is good so you can spot any errors as you’re writing.
Ideally, you should also finish with a few minutes to spare, so you can review your writing and fix any mistakes.
However, if you lack the ability to spot and correct your mistakes, you won’t be able to do any of this.
5. Knowing your Grammar will Make Reading and Listening Easier.
Not only does mastering grammar help your speaking and writing scores, it will also improve your reading and listening ability too, so it really is a no-brainer!
The better you know your grammar, especially more complex grammar, the easier it will to follow the ideas in difficult reading or listening passages.
Therefore you’ll have more brain time to focus on the exact meaning of what is being said.
6. It Feels Good to Master Something Difficult.
Taking on a difficult challenge requires focus, dedication and organisation.
So mastering something difficult will increase your mental toughness and build your self-confidence.
As a famous teacher and author once said the greatest satisfaction comes from mastering something that is truly difficult.
As well as improving your IELTS scores in some pretty fundamental ways, studying and mastering English grammar has the power to develop you as a person.
So, what are you waiting for?
Now it’s your turn! Put your answers in the comments.
What ways do you use to improve your grammar?
What are your common mistakes?
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