5 Things IELTS candidates should avoid

This is just common sense to anyone who is doing a high-stakes test like the IELTS. Sadly, these reminders are just as relevant now as I see IELTS candidates committing these 5 mistakes so very often. If you haven’t been doing any of the points mentioned here, well done! However, if you are guilty of any or all of these habits that I’m about to mention, then you should make a change.

Doing the IELTS test, or any test for that matter, requires some form of discipline and careful strategising. So, these are the things that candidates need to completely avoid:

1) Being late – Just don’t.

Do not keep your examiner waiting. Arrive 1 hour early, according to the instructions given to you from the IELTS test centre. If you happen to be late for the interview, the candidate who arrives on time receives priority and you will have to wait your turn. This could mean waiting after the 19th candidate has had their speaking test! If you arrive after the examiner has left, you may have to sit the test another day and perhaps even pay extra for this.

2) Preparing for the test at the last minute.

No one in the world can help you jump one or two bands higher in 48 hours or in the space of a week. Unless there is some sort of divine intervention. Or simply luck.

3) Leaving answer boxes blank.

You have a choice. Get a guaranteed zero or take a guess.

4) Focussing too much on grammar and vocabulary.

These are only 50% of your total writing and speaking score. You still have Task Achievement/Response and Coherence & Cohesion to consider in IELTS Writing as well as Fluency and Pronunciation to think about in IELTS Speaking.

5) Memorising answers.

It’s OK to memorise certain expressions to use in Speaking, e.g. as far as I’m concerned, as a matter of fact or in IELTS Writing, e.g. stabilised throughout the whole period, etc. However, it’s absolutely unacceptable to commit whole texts to memory and re-write them and claim them as your own in your essay. In any essay.


These are just some of the many things that IELTS candidates need to avoid doing if they would like to do well in the test. I hope you have found the tips useful.

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Until next time!

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