Seeing as a new session of REV IELTS is beginning soon, I thought I’d take the opportunity to give a little background on what to expect from my IELTS class at Real English Victoria and the test in general.
Over the last 8 years of teaching IELTS, it’s been a privilege for me to have helped numerous students reach the scores they need to pursue their future goals. In that time, I’ve also seen a fair share of students who fail to get the score they need. Here’s some thoughts on why that happens.
First, students often assume that taking an IELTS preparation class is sufficient for them to attain their desired score. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Many schools offer full-time IELTS classes, Monday to Friday, 5 days a week. While this may work well for students who have ample time to spend in class, for many it is simply not an option due to work or family duties. The truth is, you do not need to spend 25 hours a week in IELTS class. I often find students have been taking the same full-time classes for months, yet find they make little progress in their test scores. The reason is students are often not actively working on their own to improve, but simply relying on the class to help them progress.
In my experience as both teacher and examiner, the candidates who score highest are the ones that consistently use the strategies taught in class and practice at home. In my class, I introduce students to the easiest and most efficient strategies (not tricks) for each section of the test. However, it is up to students to actually take those strategies home and work on them with the exercises provided. I also introduce students to a number of useful and free online sources. Don’t forget, your score is a direct reflection of how much effort you put into preparing for the test.
Secondly, the IELTS test is not a memorization test. Memorizing a list of academic vocabulary and expressions is not likely to help you score above a band score 5. Particularly for the writing section, students often ask, “How can I score above a band score 6?” My answer is always the same,…”Write better!!” Again, the mistake here is thinking that studying a list of academic expressions and forcing them into a poorly written essay will guarantee a high score. The truth is that if your grammar is insufficient or you don’t know how to structure a basic academic essay, you are unlikely to score well. In my class students are introduced to and encouraged to practice general academic writing (cause and effect, compare and contrast, argumentative, etc.). Think of it as a holistic approach; in short, good writers get good scores. There are no shortcuts.
Lastly, feedback is incredibly important. I do my best to give students continuous and detailed feedback for all sections of the test, but writing in particular. The more writing practice you do at home, the more feedback I can give, and the faster your writing will improve. Your writing will simply not improve without practice at home.
So, hopefully this gives a little indication of what to expect in REV IELTS class. If you’re serious about getting the score you need, stop in to chat with me or come for a trial lesson. I love teaching IELTS and I love welcoming new, motivated students!