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“I’m all set to attempt the IELTS exam and get a high band score- nothing can stop me now!”

That is how one might feel after having done a lot of reading, writing, speaking and listening practice for the IELTS exam. You did the hard work, the exam date and center are fixed, you’re confident that you know exactly what to do on the day of the exam. That’s fantastic! However….are you wary of the blunders you just might commit on D-Day?—blunders that you might not even realize you’re making!

So do make sure that you pay attention to the niceties of the examination when you’re giving the exam. A few of theimportant details that we tend to overlook are:

Reading and Listening

Follow the instructions to a T!If the rubric allows you “no more than three words” then a fourth word- no matter how logical you think it sounds- will lead to a penalty.

Remember not to use informals in Reading and Listening as well.

Don’t give the examiner two answers to choose from! -If one answer is required, give only one!

Do not omit what is necessary. For instance, if the answer is “1.55 am” and you do not write “am”, you will be marked wrong.

Do not write “Yes” instead of “True” and vice versa.

Make sure your handwriting is legible, whether it’s the writing section, the reading section or the listening section.


A lot of students tend to think that writing a really long essay will ensure a high score- NOT TRUE! First of all, we need to stick to the word limit. For instance, if the rubric says “write in at least 250 words”, that does not mean that I can go on and on writing. Between 250 and 280 words should do it. Plus, a longer essay can tend to start digressing from the topic and lose focus. While writing too less (for instance less than 250 words) leads to a penalty, the biggest danger of writing too much is that there are more chances of structural and/or grammatical errors.

Don’t memorize essays on general topics in the hope that you’ll get away with it. The examiners are trained to spot an essay that was memorized and written- they will know whether or not it is really your work!

Another common error while writing in IELTS is the use of informals such as symbols (&, i.e.) and short forms of words (info, ad) - you must write complete words and complete sentences.


DO NOT PUT ON A FAKE ACCENT. Speak the way you normally do- with correct pronunciation, of course. What they expect from you is to use correct, neutral pronunciation, correct grammar, a balanced pace, good intonation and confidence while speaking.

Your speech should sound conversational, not like an interrogation session! They want to see how effectively you can interact.

…imbibed the above suggestions? Practiced Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking to the best of your ability?—Now you’re all set for the IELTS examination! All the best!


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