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Secrets of IELTS Essay Writing

Some people tell you there are no secrets to IELTS! Maybe it’s true in the sense you have to put in some work, but there are sucker ways of working and easy ways of working. It is like driving a car; you can learn to drive with your hands or you can put on boxing gloves and give it a go. This article won’t teach you any magic tricks, but it will expose some obvious “secrets” that hard working people seem to miss.


Learn how to write essays


This sounds like the dumbest piece of advice ever, but consider the fact that you do not know how to write an essay. For example, do you know how to create a full plan? A start plan or skeleton plan? Do you know how to pre-research? Do you know how to research and write? Do you know how to apply what you research to your work? Do you know how to cite and reference? Do you know how to edit or how to arrange your essay so that it makes the most sense? Writing an essay by definition is easy, but doing it well (and quickly) is something you need to learn.


Practice tests should be used to expose what you “Don’t” know


This is such a big tip that you should really sit down to read it. There are so many students that do mock tests, do well on some parts, and then revise the things they know. It is warm and comfortable to revise the parts you did well on, and it is uncomfortable to revise the things you did incorrectly, but the fact is you are supposed to use mock tests to expose your weaknesses so that you may work on them.

Practice and study the things you don’t know


This means working through the awkward facts and textbooks that you are struggling with. It can be intimidating, especially if you are genuinely struggling with something, but ignoring your weaknesses will only amplify them.

Practice working on mock tests and ignoring the timer


Ignoring the timer will help you overcome test anxiety. In the movie “Fight Club,” Brad Pitt’s character asked the members to go out and start a fight and intentionally lose it. This is because he knew that you can remove the fear of something by purposely facing it. Do your mock tests and worry not about the clock. Do not bother looking up at it, but do set the alarm so that you know when the test is over. When you do your test you will notice that you passed, even if you didn’t finish it. After this point you will see that doing the test is not as scary as you think and that even if you run out of time you will still pass.

Start a good nighttime routine two weeks before the test


This cannot be stressed enough because it feels so much like a bit of crappy advice, but if you want to do well on a test then you need to be on the ball and alert. It is not enough to get some sleep the day before because your body is more complex than that. You need to have been in a good routine for at least two weeks for your body to adjust. And guess what, if you do not normally wake up until ten and your exam is at nine, then guess how you will feel during your test.

Do not pay ANYBODY for help besides your actual teachers (if you have them)


There are people on the Internet that claim they can help you and get you through your test. Do not give them any money. It is a scam that is aimed at a group that online predators think are vulnerable. If you are paying a legitimate teacher or institution that you are attending then that is fine, but be very wary of paying people from the Internet.

Read each question three times and stop worrying about the clock


You read the question three times because part of you should memorize it. You should also reread the question as you work too as it will help you memorize the question and answer it better. Stop worrying about the clock and the time limit too because the worry is often worse than just getting on with it.

Writing without thinking is the same as failing


You may be able to get away with it in your Sociology or Humanities exams, but it will not fly in this exam. The more mistakes you make then the lower your grade becomes, which means you cannot afford to just write without thinking.


Give examples with explanations as they are sometimes easier


Explanations are fine, but they are more difficult than examples. Do both and give examples with your explanations.

The more you write then the more mistakes you may make


You need to be careful about how much you write. If there is a word count limit and minimum then you need to abide by it, and if it is a little more open then consider that you may make more mistakes in a 500 word essay than in a 400 word essay. Plus, less writing means less to check at the end when you are finished writing. Do not purposely write very little, but do remember that a lot of writing may not do you many favors in the end.

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