What if I run out of time?
What if I don’t have anything to say?
What if I say the wrong thing?
How many of us have had these fears on a writing test? According to the IELTS Blog, the best solution is divide and conquer. ‘Divide’ up the time you have available into specific tasks, (for example, 5 minutes to brainstorm before you start writing) and ‘conquer’ by sticking to this timeline! These and other tips are available in abundance on different online platforms such as blogs, websites, and YouTube videos, as unofficial resources for IELTS test preparation. We’ve chosen a few that we believe are useful and listed them below:
Created and contributed to by non-native speakers, the IELTS Blog includes free practice tests, as well as tips and articles about succeeding on the test. If you’ve ever wondered: Do I use British or American spelling? Or: How do I get ideas for the essay section? These are just a few of the topics the blog addresses, conveniently divided into speaking, listening, reading, writing, and essay sections.
Here’s another helpful blog: IELTS Academic. This blog was created by an IELTS preparation instructor as an aid for students taking the IELTS test. Read the posts to find practical tips. In one article about ways to respond to an examiner during the speaking test, the blogger writes that: If you need more time to think, you could say “Well, let me see…” or “Hmmm, I’d have to say…” When finishing an answer, you might start with the words, “So, to cut a long story short…” or “To sum up…” And above all (from the IELTS Academic FaceBook): “Remember that the examiner is your FRIEND. The examiner wants you to do well…Overcome fear of the examiner as the first step in getting a great IELTS Speaking score!”
If you’re not yet on information overload, free videos that are between ten to twenty minutes long can be found on the Academic English Help YouTube Channel , giving strategies for approaching different parts of the IELTS. For example, in this video, a lecturer takes you through the steps of answering writing tasks with a line graph and table. Several of the the videos do include a ‘plug’ (an advertisement) for Academic English Help’s online IELTS course (which isn’t free).
Last, If you’re ready to just dive in, check out Exam English, a website offering free IELTS practice tests. In the Speaking practice test section, you can even record yourself speaking, listen to it, and compare your recording with a sample answer.
Just don’t forget: you’re not alone–far from it. You can get always get help from your friendly IEI instructors and fellow students, who want you to divide and conquer!