International students preparing to take the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam can follow various steps to increase the likelihood that they will maximize their potential score.
It is of course a good idea to practice reading, writing, and speaking English in preparation for the exam. One’s facility with English is a skill and like any other skill, practice is the only way to improve upon it. Many people benefit from trying to use English for everyday things, and if possible, immersing themselves in places where English is the primary language used.
But it is also true that taking the IELTS exam is similar to a skill in itself. Many test-takers have found that there scores improve with repeated practice on exercises similar to the ones that will be on the actual exam. Fortunately, the IELTS provides sample exams and sample questions. It is highly advisable that one practices using these valuable resources. A particularly valuable way to study is to try to approximate the conditions on the actual exam day as closely as possible while taking a sample exam. Repeating this procedure often helps students increase their scores, as they become very familiar with the format of the exam and become comfortable answering questions. This can provide test-takers with confidence on the actual exam day.
Be sure to be well-rested. Many studies have shown that people perform worse on exams if they are tired or drowsy.
Plan your itinerary for the day up to and including taking the exam itself. Know the directions to the testing station and the mode of transportation one will use to get there. Test-takers who are feeling stress or anxiety due to factors beyond the exam are at a disadvantage, and it is not a good idea to spend a lot of time trying to find the testing location on the day of the exam. It is best to be as relaxed as possible during the exam.