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  • Hi, I'm Gina.

  • Welcome to Oxford Online English!

  • In this lesson, you'll see how to make a study plan to prepare for the IELTS exam.

  • You'll see a six-step plan which anyone can follow.

  • You'll learn how to prepare for the different parts of the IELTS exam, and you'll also

  • see useful books and resources to make your IELTS preparation easier and more effective.

  • If you need extra help with your IELTS, don't forget to check out our website: Oxford Online

  • English dot com.

  • Our teachers can help you to prepare for the IELTS exam in online classes.

  • We also have many free video and listening lessons which you can use for IELTS study.

  • Now, let's see the first part of your IELTS preparation plan.

  • Step one: take a practice IELTS test.

  • You can find practice tests on the British Council website.

  • There's a link in the video description if you're watching on YouTube.

  • If you're watching on our website, you can find the link underneath the video.

  • Do the listening and reading, check your answers, and work out your score.

  • Do the practice test under exam conditions, meaning that you work with a time limit, and

  • without a dictionary or any help.

  • For the speaking and writing, it's best to do the practice test with a teacher, so

  • that you can get accurate feedback on your level.

  • It's difficult to assess your own speaking and writing.

  • If you can't do this, then do a practice writing exam by yourself.

  • See how it feels.

  • Could you finish everything in the time limit?

  • Did you write enough words?

  • Come back to your answer a few days lateris it clear?

  • Does it cover all the necessary information?

  • To do the speaking by yourself, record yourself answering the questions in a practice speaking

  • exam.

  • Remember: you can find all these materials on the British Council website, in the link

  • which is under the video.

  • Record your answers, then listen back.

  • Could you answer the questions fluently?

  • Did you hesitate or pause a lot?

  • Could you give developed, detailed answers to all the questions?

  • Again, it's difficult to do this alone, but hopefully you'll get some idea of your

  • abilities and weaknesses.

  • You should also read the public IELTS score schemesyou can find all the links in the

  • video description.

  • Read the score scheme for your target IELTS band, and read the bands above and below.

  • Think about what it means; what do you need to do?

  • Where are you stronger or weaker?

  • Make a list of your weaknesses in order of importance.

  • This will help you with the next step.

  • Step two: set daily time goals.

  • First question: how much time can you spend studying each day?

  • Be realistic.

  • Second question: how are you going to spend that time?

  • Think about the list you made in step one.

  • Obviously, you want to spend more time on your biggest weaknesses.

  • If your biggest problem is the writing exam, then you should spend more time there.

  • If you're already above your target band score for reading, then you probably shouldn't

  • spend time on reading practice.

  • You'll see more details about how to work on different exam sections later.

  • For now, just make a general plan.

  • For example, maybe you have two hours a day for study.

  • You might decide to spend one hour on the writing exam, thirty minutes on listening,

  • and thirty minutes on speaking.

  • Finally, think about how you can stick to your target.

  • How are you going to stay motivated?

  • You could use a habit tracking app on your phone, or put a calendar on your wall and

  • tick each day you hit your target.

  • You could also give yourself a reward for hitting your target regularly.

  • Think about what will work for you!

  • Step three: useful books and resources.

  • We'll remind you once more: links for everything we mention can be found underneath the video.

  • Use official resources if possible.

  • That means resources published by Cambridge or the British Council.

  • There's a lot of free IELTS material available online; some of it is very good, and some

  • of it isn't.

  • If you can't tell the difference, you could create problems for yourself.

  • First, it's useful to have some practice IELTS exams.

  • Cambridge publish books of past exams.

  • These include answer keys, as well as model answers for some writing questions.

  • Secondly, get some vocabulary-building resources.

  • The Cambridge Vocabulary in Use books are effective and easy to use.

  • Cambridge also publish a Collocations in Use series.

  • Collocations are important for your IELTS score, so we recommend at least getting the

  • intermediate book.

  • Thirdly, get a grammar reference book.

  • The most popular is English Grammar in Use, also published by Cambridge.

  • It comes in three levels: elementary, intermediate, and advanced.

  • They could all be useful, depending on your level, but you should definitely have the

  • intermediate book.

  • For writing and speaking, get a teacher if you possibly can.

  • You might not want to spend money, but taking IELTS is expensive, especially if you have

  • to take it several times.

  • Probably, not getting the IELTS score you want will cost you something, too.

  • Investing in lessons with a professional teacher can save you time and money later.

  • Online, IELTS Liz has lots of information and tips about the IELTS exam, as well as

  • lists of recent IELTS questions and topics.

  • Also, check out IELTS-Simon, which has lots of useful advice, especially for the writing

  • exam.

  • There are other good websites and online resources, but remember to be careful!

  • There are also lots of sites with low-quality materials which can give you the wrong idea

  • about the IELTS exam.

  • In particular, be careful with sites which provide model writing answers.

  • In many cases, the website doesn't tell you what band score the model answer would

  • get.

  • Some sites include model answers which might score from band six to band eight, but they

  • don't indicate which is which.

  • This is dangerous; you might read an answer and think it's a good example, but in a

  • real IELTS exam it would get band six.

  • Only look at model writing answers if you know the band score they would get.

  • Now, you have the resources you need.

  • Let's make a detailed study plan for different exam sections and key skills.

  • Step four: reading and listening.

  • Your reading and listening practice should be divided between three things.

  • One: do practice tests.

  • Two: do general reading/listening practice.

  • For example, for reading, you could read newspapers, blogs, magazines, novels, and so on.

  • For listening, use TV shows, podcasts, films, or whatever you can find.

  • Three: learn vocabulary.

  • Don't try to do too much.

  • For each thing you read or listen to, try to learn between five and ten new words or

  • phrases.

  • These three things are in priority order, so if your time is limited, focus on practice

  • tests.

  • There are other ways to build vocabulary, so if you don't have time for vocabulary

  • building here, don't worry.

  • When preparing for IELTS, you also need to think about how much time you have before

  • your exam.

  • Reading and listening are slow skills to build.

  • To make a significant difference, you need months of regular work.

  • If you don't have much time, then make reading and listening lower priorities.

  • Do some practice tests, but spend most of your time on other things.

  • If you have an exam in a few weeks, then you can't make big improvements in that time.

  • Step five: writing

  • Once again, we really recommend you find a teacher to help you with the writing exam.

  • Otherwise, it's difficult to get feedback, which is essential to improve.

  • Either way, here's how to practise effectively.

  • There are four steps to good writing practice.

  • One: do vocabulary pre-work.

  • For example, are you writing a task 2 essay about the environment?

  • Use your vocabulary books to learn some words, phrases and collocations.

  • Then, try to use these in your answer.

  • Are you writing a task 1 academic answer describing a pie chart?

  • Learn some phrases to talk about proportions and percentages, and try to use them in your

  • answer.

  • Don't try *too* hard to fit all the vocabulary into your writing.

  • For higher IELTS scores, you need to use vocabulary naturally.

  • Accept that you won't be able to use most of the vocabulary you learn in one writing

  • task.

  • That's fine!

  • If you can use even one or two new words or collocations, that's useful.

  • With all vocabulary learning, it's better to learn chunks of language.

  • That means: try to learn phrases and sentences, rather than single words.

  • Two: write your practice answer.

  • Do it under exam conditions.

  • Three: get feedback and do supporting grammar work if needed.

  • For example, did you make mistakes with conditional sentences, or perfect tenses, or prepositions?

  • Use your grammar reference book and practise topics which you have problems with.

  • Also, think about your use of vocabulary.

  • Did you use the vocabulary you learned before you started writing?

  • Did you make mistakes with it?

  • Were there any places where you couldn't find the word or phrase that you needed?

  • Finally, rewrite your answer and try to improve it.

  • Try to avoid the grammar mistakes you made first time.

  • Try to use a wider range of vocabulary.

  • Step six: speaking

  • Like writing, speaking practice should be done with a teacher if possible.

  • If not, then the best way is to record yourself answering speaking test questions, and then

  • listen to your own answers, and try to find problems or mistakes.

  • Take a similar approach to writing practice: do vocabulary pre-work, practise, find mistakes,

  • do supporting grammar work if you need, then repeat the task and try to improve.

  • When you're speaking, it's better to focus on one thing at a time.

  • For example, on one day, you can focus on fluency.

  • Try to speak without pausing or hesitating.

  • Record yourself, listen to your speaking, and count the number of hesitations and pauses.

  • Repeat the task, and try to get a lower number of hesitations.

  • Another day, you can focus on using different verb forms in your speaking.

  • Record yourself, and count how many different verb tenses you use.

  • For example, if you use the present simple, past simple, and past continuous in your answers,

  • then that's three.

  • Repeat the same task, and try to use one or two more verb tenses in your answer.

  • Of course, there are many other things you need to think about for speaking: intonation,

  • stress, grammatical accuracy, using different sentence forms, using linking words, and so

  • on.

  • However, it's better to focus on one thing at a time.

  • With speaking and writing, practising by yourself will only be effective if your English is

  • already quite high-level.

  • If your English is at a lower level, you won't be able to find many of the mistakes and problems

  • which you have.

  • In this case, you need a teacher to help you.

  • And, that's it!

  • Follow this six-step study plan to prepare for IELTS efficiently and effectively.

  • Be flexible and adjust your plan as you go.

  • You might need to spend more time than you thought.

  • You might realise that the writing exam needs more work, and so you need to spend more of

  • your daily time working on that.

  • What about you?

  • Do you have any useful IELTS study suggestions?

  • Please share your ideas in the comments, and see what other students have to say!

  • Good luck if you have an IELTS exam coming up soon.

  • Thanks for watching!

  • See you next time!

Hi, I'm Gina.

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IELTS Study Plan - Prepare for the IELTS Exam in 6 Steps

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    Courage posted on 2019/11/15
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