Simone Braverman-It seems like everyone is talking about the best way to prepare for IELTS. Do we need a study plan or not, how do we master the art of interview, what is a good IELTS essay, and so on. Well, aren’t we forgetting something? What about the mental aspect? IELTS, like many other similar tests, requires psychological preparation not less (and may be even more) than good solid studying. As you read this, at least two questions must run through your mind - what kind of psychological preparation and what do we need it for.
In my opinion, anyone who is planning to take IELTS must know that there is a lot of pressure involved. For example, the fact that during the Listening Section the tape is played only once can be very intimidating, so if you’ve missed an answer - you’ve lost it forever, no second chances. Or trying to speak during the Interview for at least two minutes without looking at your watch can scare person as hell. It is also very easy to get depressed in the process of studying just from looking at list of tasks you need to know how to do quickly and accurately.
Being mentally prepared for IELTS does two things for you - it helps you study more effectively and lets you concentrate on the exam instead of your own fears. You can start this preparation by setting a realistic goal - an IELTS band score you need to get. Knowing your target score makes it easier for you to measure yourself - where you are now and what you must improve to get to the target. This way you know exactly how many answers out of 40 you may get wrong and still reach your goal.
When preparing for IELTS, the most important thing to realize is that time is the luxury that you don’t have. This is why strategies were developed to cope with this limitation, and one of them is - skip time-consuming questions. If it takes too long - give up, move on. Some people find it very hard to give up, due to pride, up-bringing or perfectionism and in the end they get hurt because of it. To make sure it doesn’t happen to you, train your mind to obey you in advance.
Another important aspect is to know your weaknesses. Very early in the process of studying you realize what you weakest points are when it comes to IELTS. The most natural thing to do is to devote more attention to those weak areas and not to get discouraged if you find some subject to be more difficult for you than another. Knowing what to expect from yourself makes it easier to control your actions and behavior. For example if you have a tendency to write long complicated sentences and you know about it - you will pay extra attention to this aspect.
And finally, a very common problem: procrastination. You already know that you absolutely have to pass IELTS, that this is the door to your dream but anyway - you can’t get yourself to start studying. The solution: commit to it! Set a deadline, start telling people you’re studying for IELTS, let everyone know. The shame of not living up to people’s expectations will push you towards you goal, which is to ace the IELTS and forget about it.
About the Author
Simone Braverman is a Software Designer. She had to take the IELTS test to open a door to a dream. Her curiosity pushed her quite a bit further into extensive research on differnt aspects of IELTS test. More information at www.ielts-blog.com