So, you have decided to take IELTS and have registered yourself for the exam. You may have even joined some coaching or are doing some courses online or learning through resources available on the net.
However, in spite of all these, sometimes you may feel as if there is something else that you should do to make yourself better prepared. Very often, I come across students who are good at English but still struggle to score well in the reading and listening components of the IELTS exam.
More particularly, this is the problem I have noticed among students who are not from the humanity stream but are either from the science or commerce field.
A lot of science and commerce students find it quite difficult to comprehend long passages that are asked in the IELTS reading tests and more so in the Academic module.
Similarly, the candidates fall short of ideas when they attempt writing task 2, which is writing an essay, even though they are reasonably good with the language.
The reason purely is the lack of habit of either reading long and complex passages or lack of awareness, general knowledge, and the understanding of common/ social issues, their surrounding, and the world in general.
This may hold true even for the students from Art and humanities backgrounds, as a lot of students, who I interact with, don’t have any regime or routine to fill themselves with general information and knowledge in any systematic way.
This write-up intends to help candidates come out of this particular problem by suggesting a certain routine, which they must incorporate to make their comprehension better and writing more substantial and richer.
The habit, not the ability:
Reading articles, being able to decipher and deduce meaning, has less to do with your intelligence and linguistic ability, but more with your habit of doing so. Reading is like a muscle, the more you flex it, the better it gets. Trust me, once you start reading complex and slightly difficult articles, you may initially experience difficulty in understanding the complex ideas, however, if you continue to do so, without giving up on it, you will, in a short period of time, find that your understanding has improved considerably and you are much better off in locating, interpreting and answering questions.
The routine IELTS aspirants must incorporate:
Read articles at least 45 minutes a day:
The more you read the better you get!! And, to do that you should read the newspaper regularly, not the news instead, you should open the editorial and some other articles which are written by prominent personalities.
You would find well-written complex articles on varied topics primarily, by those who have considerable command over their language and once you start doing so, you may find them boring or difficult, however, a little persistent if you are, you would get comfortable. This one routine of yours will substantially improve your reading comprehension, thereby improving your chances of getting a higher band score in the IELTS reading test, besides the other obvious advantage of having better ideas to write in the writing task 2.
Make a summary of what you have read- in pointers only:
The next thing you should do is, summarize the article that you have read. This summary of the article may not be in the form of paragraphs and full sentences but can be in pointers. Once you make a habit of making pointers highlighting the salient points, your grasp of the article would increase considerably, and similarly would be the ability to answer questions for the IELTS reading components.
Listen to TV debates:
When I ask the candidates what they do on a regular basis to improve their listening ability, most often, I get an answer that they watch movies and web series on various OTT platforms. Well! It is not something that doesn’t help; however, you need to understand that when you watch a movie or a series, your entire focus is on the storyline or the content of the movie more than on the language.
You can, however, accelerate your English learning by watching preferably, debates on TV and most importantly keeping your focus on the language, such as, how somebody is asking questions, how one replies, how to put forward your arguments, how to disagree and such other aspects. By doing this conscious activity of keeping the focus on the language and not getting carried away with the subject of the debate, you would make your language way richer in expressions, joining and connecting words, lexical resources i.e. vocabulary, and understanding the nuances of the language. An improvement, which would be evident not only through your listening test but also through writing and speaking.
Add at least one new word or expression every day:
Vocabulary, which comes as a lexical resource in the IELTS writing component, is given a lot of importance. To that extent that even while trying to use a better word in your writing test you make a mistake on the part of speech or the exact meaning, the error is generally ignored, but the endeavour of using a better word is acknowledged. Hence, make an effort to improve your vocabulary by adding at least one word or a new expression to your language. This you should do by first choosing a new word and then making sentences and using it the entire day.
This one addition over a period of time will improve your vocabulary substantially and help you gain much better scores. Bring these 4 simple routines into your day and see how rapidly your overall proficiency improves in handling IELTS Reading, Writing, and Listening components.
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