Today we are going to share some high powered top tips from previous candidates for passing your IELTS as part of your PLAB journey. Let’s get started..
Tip 1: Honesty
Honesty is the best policy. Before beginning your preparation, you must perform a self-analysis and be clear about your English proficiency level. Grade yourself according to the following:
- Beginner: 4 months
- Intermediate: 3 months
- Good: 2 months
- Expert: 1 month
I graded my skills as between beginner and intermediate, meaning that I needed around 3 months to prepare for my IELTS. The more experienced you are, the less time you will need to prepare. So, begin by being honest and grading your skills according to this scale; this will give you a realistic timeline.
Tip 2: Study Plan
The IELTS examination consists of four sections and there is a lot to cover within each of them. You should aim to cover everything that is described in the examination format; this will give you the maximum chance of succeeding.
My advice to you is to NOT reserve a whole block of days to just cover one section. You will prepare much more effectively if you reserve an hour or more per day for each section.
This is what my daily schedule looked like.
|9am to 11am||Reading|
|1pm to 3pm||Writing|
|4pm to 6pm||Speaking|
|7pm to 9pm||Listening|
Each section of the IELTS is linked to the other; becoming good at one section will help your performance in the other ones.
Tip 3: Speed is of the Essence
Speed is very important in the IELTS, particularly in the writing section. It can be easy to lose track of time when composing a good essay. While preparing you must practice for speed; aim to be consciously fast at writing and reading and be sure to time yourself.
To speed up on reading, train yourself to be a skimmer and scanner. You can use techniques such as ‘chunking’, which helps you quickly read many words at once to absorb the idea in the passage.
Tip 4: Practice Listening Attentively and Speaking Regularly
In the Listening section, much of your performance depends on how well you recall what you heard in the recordings. This means that you must listen with close attention during the section and absorb the information.
A good way to practice is to listen to BBC News or any other channel where formal English is spoken. Listen closely and then turn it off. How much of what was said can you recall? Can you remember what the main stories were?
Start making English your daily language. Speak in English to your family members, connect with relatives abroad, and ask them for a weekly chat and get yourself a speaking partner.
Tip 5: Give Priority to Essay Writing
The Writing section is an area many of us struggle with. The best thing to achieve a great score here is to firstly develop a structure for your essay. A popular structure used by many candidates is:
You can read more about this structure in our post on how to write a good essay in the IELTS for PLAB candidates. Secondly, before you put pen to paper, I would recommend you make a rough plan of what you are going to write and how it will be of sufficient length.
After you have written your essays, see if you can get an experienced individual to read through them and grade you. This may include somebody with a teaching background in the English language, your colleagues, or a native English speaker.
To really round off your preparation for this section, go online and access many of the free sample essays that are available out there. Read them in detail and compare your own to them.
With the above advice, you are sure to give yourself a firm foundation for success.
Best of luck!