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  • Hi. Welcome to www.engvid.com. I'm Adam.

  • Today we're going to look at an IELTS study plan, and as usual, when I look at IELTS,

  • or TOEFL, or any of the tests, I'm going to speak a little bit faster so those of you

  • taking the test can get a little bit more listening practice.

  • And everybody else, this is very good practice for you as well to listen to slightly faster English.

  • So we're going to look at IELTS.

  • And for those of you who are just starting to prepare, starting to think about taking

  • this test, maybe you want to go to university, maybe it's for immigration purposes, whatever,

  • you're just starting out, you've just signed up for the test, now you need to start preparing for it.

  • So here's a five-point study plan.

  • And number one is the most important part because...

  • And I'll tell you in a minute why.

  • Know the test.

  • Now, what does this mean?

  • It means that you have to know exactly what you're about to face.

  • I've met many test takers who've taken the test maybe several times, and the first two

  • or three times they got a really low score because they still didn't really know what

  • was coming. Right?

  • They didn't understand how the test is structured, what the timing is like, all of these things.

  • So, know the test, means: Know the structure.

  • There are four sections; listening, reading, writing, speaking.

  • Make sure you know how each of them works, how much time is going to be used for each one.

  • In the listening section you have four sections, in the reading section you have three passages

  • to read, in the writing sections you have...

  • Section you have two tasks that you have to complete.

  • In the speaking section you're going to be speaking with a native English speaker face

  • to face, one on one for about 12 to 15 minutes.

  • Make sure you know exactly what they're going to be asking you, what you're going to be

  • expected to answer back. Okay?

  • So know the structure of the test.

  • Know the timing.

  • You have 40 minutes, roughly, for the listening section, including a 10-minute time allotment

  • for copying your answers from the question sheet to an answer sheet.

  • This is very, very important.

  • Know what to do that.

  • If you're finished writing your answers on your answer sheet before the 10 minutes are up,

  • you can't go to the reading section.

  • You have to sit and wait, close your eyes, relax, etc.

  • Make sure you know the question types that you're going to face in the listening, and

  • the reading, and the writing of course, and the speaking.

  • Knowing the question types will make sure that you aren't surprised by anything.

  • Okay?

  • You do not want to have surprises on test day.

  • Know the question types, prepare for them, begin to think about how to answer them.

  • Okay?

  • Make sure you know all the directions.

  • Every section of the test will have its own set of directions.

  • Do not spend time reading these or listening to these during the test.

  • You should know all of the directions long beforehand, you should memorize them.

  • That way, you don't spend time reading them, you go straight to the task at hand.

  • Okay?

  • So know the test very well.

  • Now, the best way to actually know the test is to practice taking the test.

  • Practice the test.

  • Now, I don't mean do, like, 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there, 15 minutes here.

  • I want you to sit down at least once a week from the time you registered or started thinking

  • about it until the actual test day.

  • There are lots of places where you can get full practice tests.

  • The Cambridge books are excellent for that.

  • They are past papers and they're real tests.

  • Make sure that you do a full test at least once a week from beginning to the end.

  • Give yourself three full hours undistracted.

  • Now, what does this mean?

  • When you go to the official test centre you cannot take your phone in with you.

  • You do not have internet, you do not have music, you do not have anything.

  • You have you in a room with a bunch of other people.

  • The listening is for everybody, it's on the speakers.

  • And the reading, and the writing, everything is by yourself, quiet in a quiet room.

  • Get used to this situation. Okay?

  • I want you to take the full test start to finish undistracted.

  • Lock yourself in a room every Saturday morning, for example, tell all your friends and your

  • family not to disturb you.

  • Leave your phone outside the room, don't even take it inside with you, and do it exactly

  • as you would on test day.

  • Get used to that way of doing things.

  • Now, if you do the full practice test a few times before the real test then you will also

  • understand what it's like to sit for three hours or at least two hours and 40 minutes

  • and focus on the test.

  • Now, the speaking section may be a few minutes after the paper test, it may be a few hours

  • later, it may be the next day.

  • Get used to that idea, but learn to focus for a long stretch of time on English.

  • Speaking.

  • Now, speaking is a little bit difficult because you're not going to have somebody to interview.

  • But get one of your friends or even get online, you can get some people even just to say the questions.

  • Get somebody to feed you the questions and just practice answering them.

  • Record yourself.

  • Record the answers, and then listen and try to give yourself feedback.

  • But I'm going to talk about feedback in a minute.

  • Okay, next you're going to have to strategize.

  • What does this mean? It means create a strategy for yourself in what scores you need

  • and what your overall objectives are.

  • So, start by knowing the scores you need overall and individually.

  • So let me give you an example.

  • You have person A and person B. Let's say person C, too.

  • Each of you needs different things.

  • One of you needs an overall 6.5, that's it.

  • Doesn't matter what you get in each individual section.

  • Overall, you need a 6.5.

  • Person B needs an overall of 7, with a minimum of 7 in each category, in each section.

  • And person A needs a 7.5 overall or a 7 overall, but a minimum 7.5 in writing and reading.

  • Okay?

  • These are just examples.

  • There's all sorts of combinations.

  • Now, first of all: How do you know what score you need?

  • Well, if you're applying to university...

  • Excuse me.

  • If you're applying to university, go to the website of the department or the faculty you're

  • applying to, they will tell you exactly what scores you need.

  • If you're applying for...

  • If you're applying for immigration, go to the government website of the country you're

  • applying to, they will tell you what scores you need, and if you need overall scores or

  • if you need individual section scores.

  • Now, once you know the overall score or the particular things you need, then you can create

  • a strategy.

  • So let's say you need an overall 7 band, 7.0 band and it doesn't matter what you get in

  • each section.

  • This gives you a lot of opportunities because if you are a very weak writer, for example,

  • then you can aim for a 6 in the writing section, you can then aim for an 8 in the reading section,

  • and your overall will be 7, assuming you got 7 or higher in speaking and listening.

  • If you need...

  • If you don't need individual scores, then you can play with the different categories

  • and you can focus your energy...

  • You can focus your energy on your strong sections, on your strong skills, and just do enough

  • in your weak skills and then get your average.

  • But if you need specific scores, then those are the sections you're going to start working

  • the hardest on.

  • Now, person A needs as 7.5 in writing.

  • For most people who take this test, and you can even find research on the IELTS website

  • that will confirm this, most people that take the IELTS test score the lowest in the writing section.

  • This is the hardest of the four skills.

  • If you need a high writing score, then start working on your writing first.

  • Before you practice listening, before you practice reading, before you practice speaking,

  • start working on your writing because that is going to take you the longest time to improve

  • your score on, to get the skills you need, and to get the structures you need, etc.,

  • the vocabulary.

  • If you need, for example, the highest score in listening, which is not really common,

  • but it happens, if you need the highest score in listening start listening all the time

  • to English; TV shows, radio shows.

  • But especially start listening to actually IELTS content, IELTS listening practice exercises

  • and practice tests.

  • Okay?

  • Okay.

  • Basically know where the scores are you need, so I mentioned that.

  • Focus on the sections that are weakest first, and make sure you make up with the strongest

  • for those.

  • Have a plan for reading.

  • Now, the reading section...

  • Again, you're going to be given three passages to read with a total of 40 questions about

  • those passages.

  • Have a plan.

  • Most people can't go to the test and read the entire passage, and then answer the questions.

  • There are different strategies.

  • If you look on engVid in the search box, you'll find videos on different ways to approach

  • the reading section and a lot of other videos on how to deal with all of these sections.

  • But very, very important that you have a plan for reading; very, very important that you

  • practice your writing skills.

  • Those are the two hardest sections on the test.

  • As far as the speaking section, it's not so much about whether you can speak well or not.

  • It's: How comfortable are you with a live interviewer?

  • If you're not very comfortable, make sure you have some practice with a native speaker,

  • ask somebody to help you maybe do the test, or just go speak to native speakers.

  • Get that fear out of your system long before the test.

  • I've met many test takers who spoke very, very good English, they go to the test their

  • official test day and they get like a 6 or a 6.5, and they need like a 7 or 7.5.

  • And I say: -"What happened? You're such a good speaker."

  • -"I panicked.

  • I got scared.

  • The... The interviewer didn't smile."

  • Okay, they're not all going to smile.

  • Some of them are actually going to be quite mean to you.

  • They're not going to be friendly at all.

  • Get over it.

  • If you know how to speak, speak.

  • If you don't know how to speak, practice.

  • Practice with anybody you can long before test day.

  • Create an idea bank.

  • Now, this is very important for writing and speaking.

  • An idea bank is basically a list of vocabulary, and questions, and ideas, and examples for

  • different topics.

  • For example, in the writing section there's going to be a...

  • There's a very good chance you'll get a question about, like, your essay question about education,

  • or technology, or health, etc.

  • There's a few of these topics.

  • Have all your ideas planned before test day.

  • Write yourself a bunch of words related to education.

  • Think up of different questions, or get online or get books, create yourself a list of possible

  • questions about education, and study all of these and practice writing a few essays before

  • test day.

  • You can also use the idea bank for the speaking.

  • You'll have all kinds of different topics they're going to ask you about.

  • Don't try to think in the moment.

  • You might panic, you might lose focus - your test is done.

  • Have a lot of ideas ready in your head.

  • When they ask you about it, you're ready to go.

  • So many times I've had test takers come to me...

  • And I know that they're good writers, they're good enough writers, but:

  • "Oh, the question, I just had no idea. I never think about this stuff."

  • Well, think about it before the test day.

  • Okay?

  • We're going to look at a couple more things that you need to think about.

  • All right, so now you know what's coming, you knew...

  • You've done a few practice tests, you know exactly what you're going to be looking at,

  • you have your strategy, you know what scores you need, you know how to approach.

  • Again, sorry, I forgot to mention about the strategizing.

  • Keep in mind that nobody, nobody needs 9 on the IELTS.

  • Very few people need an 8 even.

  • 8.5, 8, nobody needs this.

  • 7.5 is the standard, it'll get you into most programs.

  • What does...? What does this information tell you?

  • That on the reading section, on the listening section you can miss a few questions and still

  • get the score you need.

  • So the main thing is: Don't panic.

  • Now, another way to make sure you don't panic and that you do well is to practice and feedback.

  • Now, I mentioned before practice the test.

  • Now I'm talking about practice each individual section.

  • You need a minimum score in writing, practice the writing; you need a minimum score in reading,

  • practice the reading.

  • Of course, practice all of the sections because you need all of them for the test, but focus

  • on your weakness.

  • And if you think you only need an overall score then focus on your strength, and it'll

  • raise your weak score up and you'll get a good overall average.

  • Read every day.

  • Listen every day.

  • Write every day.

  • Speak every day.

  • Now, I cannot stress this enough: You cannot practice or prepare for this test a few days before.

  • If you know you're going to take the test three months from now, two months from now,

  • a month from now, start practicing every single day.

  • Read anything in English.

  • Listen to anything, native speaking English.

  • Speak every opportunity you get.

  • If you don't have anyone to speak to, speak to yourself.

  • Record yourself.

  • Listen to things online, get a transcript, and just try to copy what the speaker said

  • and record yourself, listen and compare.

  • Okay?

  • Writing every single