The most important question you’ll ever ask “How can I do better?” (Part 2)

I hope you’ve all had a good start to 2020 and are ready to kick off the year with a lot of motivation to do your IELTS test this year! This post is a follow-on from what we looked at about how IELTS candidates could do better in their IELTS test. In the last article, we discussed how you could improve at IELTS Speaking and Writing and this time, we will focus on how you perform better with IELTS Listening and Reading.


Apart from the usual “Practice! Practice! Practice”, it would be a good idea to tune your ears to a variety of accents, mainly the ones that you will most likely hear in the recording: North American, British, New Zealand / Australian. A helpful way to do this is by listening to satellite radio or podcasts where real conversations take place. You can find links to several of these audio resources from the menu bar (top right of this page) under the Listening section. Television and online videos are also useful sources of listening to conversations. You can start by listening to interviews in talk shows, documentaries or news programmes that involve issues that you could be interested in. This is not just a practical way of improving your understanding of different accents, but it also helps you to be up to date with current information that you can use to discuss various topics during the IELTS Writing and Speaking test.


If you’re not already reading extensively in English, then this would be a good time to start. However, be discriminate about what you choose to read. It is pointless for you to try and read a story when you will be doing a test on reading factual information! So, pick up a magazine or read online articles (not narrative) on subjects that are commonly tested in the IELTS. You can find links to common IELTS topics  from the menu bar (top right of this page). At the same time, keep a notebook on expressions or phrases that you find relevant to your writing and speaking test. Allocate a theme to each page, and jot down any new or relevant expressions that you think you may use in IELTS Writing Task 2 or Speaking Part 3. Here is an example page of reading notes taken in preparation for a past IELTS Writing Task 2 question:

Nowadays, many people choose to be self-employed, rather than to work for a company or organisation.

Why might this be the case?

What could be the disadvantages of being self-employed?

~ Cambridge IELTS 14

The reading notes below are taken after reading articles on the topic of self-employment:

Keep using these strategies to help you progress as you prepare for your IELTS test. If you are consistent, you should be able to see the improvement in your performance over a period of time.


I hope you have found this useful.


Until next time!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *