When preparing for the IELTS exam, students often find themselves stuck at a few questions and are unable to figure out how to deal with the challenge. This leads to some very common mistakes occurring in their actual test. Most of the mistakes made in IELTS have simple remedies, it’s just that the students are simply not aware of them. In this blog, there are a few such mistakes that can be very costly to the student but have easy fixes.

✅ Not talking enough for the speaking test – The speaking section is one of the more difficult sections when it comes to the IELTS. It is both difficult for someone who is not familiar with conversational English and is also a very nerve-wracking task. It requires some degree of confidence and the ability to speak in front of an examiner without messing up. A common mistake that leads to points deduction is when students tend to stop speaking after a certain time. Even if you feel stuck because the topic is unfamiliar to you or if you think you simply do not have enough information to talk about that topic, do not become silent. Use phrases like “I apologize for not having much knowledge about this topic; however, I do believe that….”. Muster up any kind of information slightly related to that topic so you are able to speak enough. The IELTS is not a knowledge test, rather an English language test. As long as you can speak something relevant for long enough, you should be fine.

✅ Studying hard without feedback or objective scoring – This is a very common error made by students, not just in IELTS but in other exams as well. However, it becomes much more important when giving the IELTS. Students will study for weeks prior to the exam, but by simply studying according to your own standards, you might not be able to accomplish what you desire. IELTS is not a knowledge test, which means there is nothing for you to memorize or concepts for you to understand. It’s all about English. The only way to know if what you are doing is right or wrong is to get some external and objective feedback. If you have people around you who have general English knowledge, they can help you out with that. Usually, people tend to practise and study their testing skills a lot, rather than trying to improve their English itself. Tips and tricks work to some extent, but to really do well in the IELTS, it is important to actually improve your language itself, which comes through constant feedback.

✅ Writing Task 1 – This task is the simpler one out of the two writing tasks, and for that reason, people tend to take it for granted. It is an easy task, but many people go astray simply because they forgot important data that is mentioned in the question. Since the question itself is based on a graph, chart or table, it is essential to highlight each aspect of the same in your answer, and missing out on that could be the reason you miss out on some important points. It is important to prioritize what you will write about, but missing out on important data will lead to point deduction. Another reason for lower points could be that you are missing out on an ‘overview’. A clear overview at the beginning of the answer helps ease the reader into your entire response, which will improve your score.

✅ Writing Task 2 – Everyone would agree that the second writing task in the IELTS is quite challenging. Students tend to lose most of their points in this task, and that is why it’s common to see high scores in other parts of the test, but the writing section tends to be lower. There are many aspects in this task that can reduce marks, so let’s start with simple formatting errors. The format of your response needs to be in an essay format. This means you need an introduction, a few body paragraphs and a conclusion. Anything other than this format is not recommended. Avoid using headings and bullet points here. Remember to use paragraphs well. Each paragraph should be for a separate idea. There should be an introduction paragraph, body paragraphs; one for every idea you have, and a conclusion paragraph. Do not have any one-sentence paragraphs, make sure to at least have 2 sentences each.

✅ Grammar and vocabulary – As it is for any language, the grammar of your sentences and the words you use to convey your response play a big role in the accuracy of your response. Even as a native speaker, you can make grammatical errors or forget the most appropriate word in a situation but the IELTS does not necessarily chastise you for every single small error you make, but if more than 50% of your sentences have grammatical errors, then getting a band higher than 6 will be impossible. Most of these errors can be easily learnt and rectified, you just need to be aware of them.

✅ Starting with the use of contradictions. In conversation English and in informal use of the language, we tend to shorten words. However, in IELTS writing you cannot do that. So instead, learn to use: cannot instead of can’t, do not instead of don’t, I will instead of I’ll, and it is instead of it’s. This can be difficult to do as it is a habit for most people, but with practice and by paying close attention, it is possible.

✅ Remember to combine sentences by using the semicolon (;) or using conjunctions (words like and/but). Do not use a comma to combine two sentences. It might look like it makes sense, but it’s generally wrong. There are sentences where a comma might be required in addition to “and”, but just the comma alone does not combine two sentences.

Now that you know these common IELTS mistakes, check out our blog about How to get Band 9 in IELTS Listening Good luck with your exam!

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Lakshya Bhagnani

Written By: Lakshya Bhagnani

Lakshya is a passionate content writer with over 3 years of experience in the language proficiency tests domain. An avid learner, he stays ahead of the industry's trends ensuring his writing remains fresh and incorporates the latest updates. Lakshya is dedicated to helping readers achieve their language proficiency goals through his insightful content.

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