IELTS Pitfalls and Tips

Before you go on to the IELTS Study Material and the Questions,

here are a few common Pitfalls to avoid and Basic Strategies

that will help you get a higher IELTS score.

  • All Questions are NOT equal

Though all questions have equal marks, you can easily spend

double the time or more on a tough question.

It is best to answer the easy questions first and come back to the

tough ones later.

  • Guess and Move On

Do NOT become emotionally involved with any question. Even if

you think the questions is outrageously difficult or outright

incorrect. Just try to eliminate at least one answer (in case of multiple choice questions), guess and

move on.

  • Know that time can be your biggest enemy

Certain questions by their very nature take more time to answer.

The first step to better time management is to recognize these


While doing your practice tests, try to become more aware of how

much time you have taken to answer a question. You will soon

begin to develop an Internal Clock that will help you meet the

pacing requirements of the IELTS and reduce test anxiety.

  • Compare & Discard

This is immensely useful for multiple choice questions.

While there may be a ‘Perfect’ answer to a question, it

may not appear as one of the options.

What you need to do is compare the different answer choices and

choose the best one available. In fact you can usually zero down

on two choices and discard the ones that are distinctly different

from these two.

  • Analyze your Strengths & Weaknesses and create a study

plan unique to these.

The important thing here is to stick to your study plan.


Take three to five minutes to think before you write. Pick a

direction and stick to it, Write for 20 to 25 minutes-and say

something meaningful & coherent Use your last few minutes to

proofread your work. Also, be sure to write neatly. If the essay

scorers can’t read your essay, they can’t score it,

Graders have just a few minutes to score each essay. Make their

job easy. Indent your paragraphs deeply and follow established

essay-writing procedures. Set up your theme in an introductory

paragraph. Include a couple of paragraphs with examples that

back up your position. Finally, wrap up with a conclusion. Also,

“use plenty of college-appropriate ‘wow’

words-even when short, easy words will do.”

  • Managing Test Anxiety

More than anything else, the IELTS is an test of your nerves. There

are hundreds of brilliant students who score MUCH lower in the

actual IELTS than they do in their practice tests. It is important to manage

your test anxiety. You can try using techniques like ‘Thought

Stopping’, ‘Self-Talk’ and ‘Visualization.