Teaching IELTS: Tips and tricks | TEFL Jobs London

Teaching IELTS: Tips and tricks

by Manjusha Nambiar

Many EFL teachers are reluctant to provide IELTS training. They believe that they do not have the necessary skills. This is not true. You do not require any special skills to teach IELTS. You just need to be familiar with the format of the exam.

It is true that IELTS is different from standard English tests in many ways, but there is nothing particularly daunting. A very important aspect of the test is its insistence on structure. Here are a few tips and tricks that would make the job of an IELTS instructor even easier.

1. Start with a practice test

Give your students a taste of the real exam by asking them to take a mock IELTS test at the beginning of the training session itself. This will make them familiar with the format of the test. They will also understand why time management is important.

Give honest feedback and don’t make false promises. IELTS is not a simple test. In fact, it is nearly impossible to score well without proper training. By grading students at the beginning a teacher can get a general idea of their level of English. If a student is at the basic level, don’t promise him/her a band score of 6.5. Remember that IELTS training is no substitute for proper English language training. To score well, a student must be already proficient in the language. If their English is really bad, there is hardly anything that an IELTS instructor can do.

 2. Focus on their weak points

The IELTS has four parts: reading, speaking, listening and writing. An IELTS instructor has to teach all aspects of the language. However, the focus should be on areas where the student is weak. Provide them extra activities so that they can improve their skills.

3. Teach them to adhere to structure

This is a very important feature of IELTS. The exam expects students to adhere to structure. While writing the essay, students must make sure that it is structurally correct. For example, an essay must have a thesis statement, topic sentences, supporting ideas and well-constructed paragraphs. If a student can stick to this structure, he/she will not have much difficulty in getting a good band score.

4. Time management is everything!

Time management is very important in a test like IELTS. Many students can write excellent essays if they get enough time. This is not possible in the IELTS test. A student will get only around 40 minutes to write a 250 words essay. And hence during the training stage itself, students must be taught the importance of completing the tasks within the set time limits.

Proofreading is important. Silly grammar and spelling mistakes can easily lower a student’s overall score. Hence ask your students to proofread.

5. Work on their speaking skills

Encourage your students to speak in English. This is very important because many IELTS test takers, especially those from Asia and Latin America, don’t have good speaking skills in English. They can write well, but they are not fluent in English. A teacher can solve part of this problem by giving the students ample opportunities to converse in English.

6. Skim ‘n’ scan

Time management is very important in the reading section. If students reads the given passage word-for-word, they will never finish the reading task in time. So skimming and scanning are essential. Teach them how to skim the text for important information.

Manjusha Nambiar is an IELTS instructor and content developer. She gives free IELTS practice tips and sample IELTS essays at her blog www.ielts-practice.org


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One Response to “Teaching IELTS: Tips and tricks”

  1. Julia Robert
    May 19, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

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