You need to ask yourself a couple of questions before jumping in to pay for IELTS. This soul-searching article will definitely up your game!
1. How am I at Grammar?
If you are having trouble in a regular ESL class, then you shouldn’t even be thinking about taking IELTS. Go back and work on your basic comprehension. Yes, it’s painful and you may feel ashamed after already studying for years, but, if every sentence you write is full of mistakes, then you have no business being in an IELTS class.
2. What does my sectional analysis show?
If your goal is to get a band 5.5 on IELTS and you’ve recently scored a 4.5, don’t run back and take another IELTS class. If you scored a 4.5 on every section of the test, it means your English level is a 4.5! You need to focus on your English, not your test-taking skills. However, if you have passed every section except one, then an IELTS class will probably help you a lot. That means your English level is quite high, but you may be struggling with just one section because you haven’t mastered the proper strategy.
3. What is the scoring system like?
You may think that it will be easy to improve your score by one point, but you couldn’t be more wrong. The difference between a 6 and a 7 is huge. The makers of the test estimate that it will take you at least 200 hours of serious studying to improve your English level by just one point for IELTS.
4. Will I be comfortable studying in an English University?
This is probably the most important question. Forget about the tests! These tests are designed to see if you can understand and use English at a high school level (at the very least), meaning you are ready to go to college or work at a job without an extra help. If you are spending big money on an IELTS class to learn some “tricks” or memorize answers so that you can just barely pass, how do you think you will do at a university in the UK?
Remember, these are English tests. That means the best way to prepare is to improve your English and to practice using your English in discussing a wide variety of subjects. After all, getting a “passing score” on the test is not the goal. The goal is to do well in your future career and life.