Preparing for the IELTS Exam

Top Mistakes to be avoided while preparing for the IELTS Exam

Students who have prepared well may also commit mistakes in the IELTS exam. But since losing marks because of these mistakes might result in losing a chance to study abroad, candidates have to focus on avoiding them. 

Every section in the exam has been designed to test a candidate’s ability to listen, speak, write and read. It is a parameter to gauge their potential to communicate with native English people. Taking the help of IELTS coaching can be very useful in avoiding common mistakes.

Some simple mistakes which are often committed by students preparing for IELTS exam and the simple ways of avoiding them have been discussed below:

i. Not going through the questions properly.

This is essential before listening to the recording. The candidate must understand the type of answer expected for a certain question. It is a good practice to underline the keywords in instructions so that it will be easier to focus while listening to a recording. Once the audio clip is played, candidates should check the answers and utilise the duration for preparing for the next part of the test.

ii. Lack of proper focus.

Candidates might read the questions in a hurry, which results in missing important information and leads to not understanding it properly. So it is essential to spend some time going through all the details and listening to the instructions carefully. The word count instructions should be noted down to avoid adding extra words.

Even minute mistakes during the IELTS test can result in losing a band that can prevent candidates from getting into their dream colleges, or applying for a certain course. So while completing a task in the exam, one can mark it, if it needs to be revised. So that after completing all questions, the candidate can go through it and make the necessary changes. This reviewing process will consume some time but help you score better as some common mistakes are prone to get ignored and might be spotted during this process.

Writing an exam at university

iii. Spelling mistakes and poor vocabulary.

This is common in the listening test. Incorrect spelling results in a deduction of the score, so the candidates have to make sure that even the simple words are correctly spelled by reviewing them thoroughly at the end. An alternative word can be used in case the candidate is not sure of the spelling.

Inculcating reading habits and jotting down the new words can help in vocabulary enhancement, making it easy to speak to others and understand while listening to them. The test is almost unpredictable, and hence an extensive vocabulary will help candidates to easily handle a wide range of topics.

iii. Managing the time.

Most of the candidates often fail to manage time, and hence they are unable to attend all the questions within the limited time span. To avoid this, it is essential not to spend too much time on one question. Enough practice can help gauge the time needed for each kind of question, so prepare an efficient strategy to attend to maximum questions.

Setting aside time for preparing shorthand notes is an important strategy that helps you figure out a mistake and correct them before transferring the answer to the final sheet. Candidates should start practicing this from the beginning to easily implement it during the main exam.

iv. Leaving questions blank.

It is advisable to write something for an answer instead of simply leaving it blank, as this will enhance the chances of scoring something.

v. Lesser use of transition words.

This is another common mistake. Transition words play a major role in building seamless sentences and making the conversation flow. It helps the listener build a link to the previously spoken lines and avoid creating gaps in between.  

vii. Getting overburdened.

Reeling under examination pressure, candidates try to study all the time. They neither take regular breaks while studying nor take proper rest, which has a negative effect on their efficiency. This can be avoided by preparing for the exam strategically, allocating enough time to studies as well as to social life, so that there is no feeling of being overloaded during the exam preparation journey. Here, IELTS coaching helps in easing the process by helping to prepare and follow the best plan to succeed in the test.

viii. Not understanding your learning style and available options.

The learning style of every candidate varies, and so does the pace. A self-learning is a good option as long as you have someone to provide feedback on your learning tactics and performance.

Candidates should also be aware that there are two types of tests, one academic, and the other is the general one.  

ix. Lack of attending mock tests.

Candidates sometimes become overconfident about their preparedness for exams and skip the practice tests and mock tests. This must be avoided, as mock tests help in identifying the lacuna. Thus, aspirants can alter their strategies and efficiently utilise the time to focus on their weaknesses and prepare accordingly.

x. Not opting for IELTS coaching.

Candidates who do not have a good partner to provide guidance and timely feedback should seriously consider enrolling in a coaching institute. Top coaching centers specialise in making the students ready for the exam by guiding them to follow the right strategies and making them practice thoroughly. 

It is advisable to opt for institutions that assist candidates in English development as well as IELTS strategies. The former involves the enhancement of fluency, coherence, and vocabulary, besides the improvement of grammatical knowledge and pronunciation. The latter involves developing strategies to manage time, analyse the questions, improve scanning skills, and keyword and issue identification.


Besides getting enrolled for IELTS coaching, aspirants have to expose themselves to every source which can enhance their English skills. This can be in the form of reading the topics of interest in English and listening to native English speakers, and going through different online blogs and magazines. Such small activities help in gradually strengthening the vocabulary and succeeding in the exam easily.

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