Read the instructions VERY carefully

Published by Sunsea IELTS Training on

Read the instructions VERY carefully So many easy marks are lost by good IELTS candidates because they fail to read the instructions properly. This is especially true in the reading and listening tests because they give very specific instructions. If you don’t follow these instructions exactly, you will get the question wrong.

For example, the instructions might state ‘write two words and/or a number’. This could mean:

One word
One word and a number
Two words
Two words and a number

Even if a number is written as a word it counts as a number e.g. Thirty-two is counted as 32. ‘Thirty two cars’ is one word and a number. If you don’t do this, as stated in the instructions, you will lose a mark.

If the answer asks for two words only and the answer is red and yellow, you should write ‘red, yellow’, not ‘red and yellow’. Red, yellow is two words. Red and yellow are three and therefore incorrect.

Finally, one word only means just one word. We should, therefore, be very careful with articles like ‘a’ and ‘an’. For example, the text might say ‘an earthquake’, but if it asks for one word simply write ‘earthquake’. ‘An earthquake’ is two words and is therefore wrong

Don’t panic

Some of the questions will be easy and some will be extremely difficult. The key is not to panic when trying to answer a difficult one. Nearly all of the IELTS teachers I know have to check the answers to some questions because they are so difficult.

The wrong thing to do is spend a large amount of time on a question and fail to spend enough time on the rest of the questions. If the answer does not present itself, move on to the next. You can always come back to the difficult questions later and answering the other questions will often help you.

Time and nerves need to be controlled in order to do well in the reading test all the IELTS reading tips in the world won’t help you if you can’t control your nerves. You are probably not going to get all of the questions correct and accepting this will help you to control your time and emotions on test day.


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