Consisting of four parts that test your listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills, these tests are intended to quantify one’s hold on the language since it shall be the primary medium of communication when studying abroad.
Ideally, preparation for these tests should start at least a few months before the date of the examination. But often, in the midst of collecting certificates, letters of recommendation, filling application forms, etching that perfect Statement of Purpose, one often forgets the monumental role that these test scores play. Thus, one is headed to prepare for these tests usually in a matter of three weeks and that could be really difficult. What everyone advises is to study hard for it as soon as you book one. Well, we all know how well that gets executed.
So here are some quick tips for you to prepare for IELTS/TOEFL without solely studying from practice papers, although their significance is irrefutable too.
1. Read non-fiction
The passages in the reading part of the tests are usually non-fiction with a lot of facts and the like, so inculcating a habit of reading the non-fiction articles in newspapers could reap you benefits.
2. Watch TED Talks
Do what you do right now, switch on the WiFi and start playing videos. The only difference is in the videos you play. The listening modules in the tests are narrated by people with different accents, so this is just as helpful as the next option we’re recommending.
3. Listen to Audio Books
This is a great way to use your commuting time, to rest your eyes and yet be able to read. Put your earphones on and do something productive.
4. Use cue-cards/flashcards
Make some cards with words on them, and carry them around. Reading some words, again and again, will fix them in your memory. This is the foolproof method of acquiring a rich vocabulary.
5. Form an opinion about everything
This is much more fun than it sounds. Be aware of what’s happening around you and form an opinion about it. This helps to straighten out your thoughts and de-clutter your mind.
6. Back to the basics
In the speaking test, fluency is rewarded more than an embellished vocabulary. So while you can use gigantic words, make sure you hold them in the right place, with the right pace.
7. Word Power made easy
Norman Lewis has brought this book to solve all problems. If you’re genuinely interested in learning about this language, this is what you should read and devour.
8. Watch Movies
If watching TED talks is difficult at first, start with watching movies with the subtitles off.
9. Write like a columnist
Try to pen down your thoughts every day. And when you set out to write something, write as if it is going to be read by a million people. That will make you aware of what you write. If you enjoy this, you may consider starting a blog.
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