IELTS exam - Things you should avoid studying.

IELTS exam - Things you should avoid studying.


Sometimes, studying the wrong stuff for an examination can be more harmful than not studying at all. It goes true for the IELTS exam as well. There are a couple of things which you should avoid studying or practicing as they may lead in deduction of marks.

The IELTS exam is a specialised exam with an aim to check one’s proficiency in English language and give a band/certificate based on the proficiency level. Hence, whatever mode of preparation you take should be aimed at improving your language.

The things that you need to avoid are:

Fake accent:

Studying or practicing Western accent forcefully, should be completely avoided. You should focus on improving your language rather than changing your native accent. This is one of the most common mistakes done by the students. It is very easy for the examiner to identify which is your accent and which is not. Hence, by imitating a different accent you are just giving him an opportunity to deduct your marks. IELTS does not judge on the basis of accent but the proficiency in the language.

Sample exams:

Do not practice too many sample exams. Doing this will make you familiar with the exam format but will do nothing to improve your language. Your prime focus should be on improving your English language and not memorising the exam format.

Fancy words and jargons:

Do not learn too many fancy words. This is a common mistake that many students commit when they try to use fancy and long words in their speech to sound well versed with the language. However, this should be avoided. Though it is important to have a vast vocabulary but filling your vocabulary with fancy words that don’t make you feel comfortable or make you stress while pronouncing them is definitely not needed.

Beware of Internet tricks:

The internet is full of “anticipated” questions for the IELTS exam. Do not fall for them. No one other than the examiners themselves know before the exam, which questions shall be asked in the next exam. Hence, spending too much time on the so called “anticipated” questions is nothing but a sheer wastage of time. Also, it is diverting you from your main goal which is to improve your English language.

Studying everything in equal proportion:

Though it is a fact that IELTS exams have four different sections namely, Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking and also it’s true that equal weightage is given to all these sections. But it is not an intelligent strategy to divide your study time in equal proportions. You should be able to judge your strong areas and “not so strong” areas and your preparation time should be divided accordingly.

It is absolutely fine to devote just ten percent of your preparation time to the Reading section if you think you are good in English comprehension and in interpreting graphs and figures. At the same time, you may want to devote nearly fifty percent of your preparation time to the Speaking section if you think you need to build up on your fluency, confidence and eye contact.

There should be no thumb rule in dividing your preparation time and efforts towards various sections. You should follow highly flexible and tailor made strategy based on your needs and improvement speed.

Foreign authors:

Another common mistake that students commit is forcing themselves to study foreign authors to improve their language. It hardly works. You should study the books of those authors which you understand the most. For example, studying Indian authors by Indian students is more impactful in improving their grammar and vocabulary than referring to hard core American or Australian authors.

This is because an Indian author understands the needs of the Indian students better and would approach a writing style which will be simplest for the students to understand. Hence, you should choose those books which you find comfortable to read and comprehend. Choosing a book on the basis of popularity of author or publisher will hardly be of any help.
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