When you are someone not into reading, a reading test can surely become a total nightmare. Reading, for most people, is tedious and boring. When I took the IELTS reading test, I had this apprehension that I would not be able to answer correctly and get a good score. I actually took the IELTS twice because of my reading score. The first time I took the exam, my score was not enough for my visa application, so I had to review again. Apart from this review, I also rechecked the things that I could have done which affected my score in the IELTS reading test.
I had friends who took the IELTS as well and asked them what they could have overlooked when takin the exam. Here are some things that I believe most IELTS candidates commit and some tips on how to avoid them.
- Reading the whole passage. Yes, it is a reading test, but it does not mean that we need to read long passages. There are skills such as skimming and scanning that make it easier to understand the passage. What you have to do is take note of keywords in the questions and scan the passage for these keywords. It helps answer questions faster and finding answers quickly.
- Poor vocabulary words. I admit that my vocabulary is not that good. That is the reason why I failed to understand some of the reading items. Also, most of the vocabulary used are in the Australian or British English, so I had a hard time with the test. What I did is to look for common words in the Australian and British English that really helped me on my second take.
- Poor time management. This was really my problem because I spent too much time reading on the passages. The exam is time limited, so better budget your time wisely on the examination.
- Spending too much time on a question. There were items that I wasted about 5 minutes thinking of what the right answer is. I realized that I should have taken a wild guess rather than waste my time. It is more important to answer a lot of questions.
- Not answering the task of the question. Most mistakes are made due to the lack of focus on the exact question. Look at the words in the questions and understand how they are used in the sentence.
- Know the different type of question. Making yourself familiar with the question makes it easier to choose what skill in answering the questions. When I took the exam, I failed to do this part so it made it difficult for me to understand the tasks.
- Instructions are overlooked. There is a huge importance to read instructions. For example, when you are asked to write at least three words, only three words are needed. Writing more than that will surely make this item wrong.
- Ignoring key words. Each question has a key words you can use as guides in finding answers in the passage. I used this on my second take and realized it was much easier to choose answers.
- Panicking. Seriously, do not panic during the exam. Some panic because of the time limit. Once you panic, you will eventually lose focus and affect your performance.
- Lack of practice. When you take the IELTS, be sure to have a lot of practice. It is difficult to take the exam without familiarity with the questions. There are lots of practice tests online or you can even enroll in an IELTS review center, which I did and happy with my results.