Admissions Blog

Fitri's Tips for the IELTS Exam

Posted Jan 10 2023

The IELTS test is one of the toughest English-proficiency tests and one of the requirements to enter Columbia School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). The tests are conducted in this particular order: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. Each part has its own unique features. Here are some quick tips on how to handle IELTS test smoothly:

  • Listening SectionOne useful tip for the listening section, it is always about education topics. Be sure to learn about variations of education vocabularies such as natural science, history, mathematics, etc. So, you should try to listen to any TV programs, radio, documentaries that have an education topic. One more thing, be sure to understand what kind of answer you are expecting in the question. For example, what kind of parts of speech is the answer, like “is this a noun or a verb or an adjective?”
  • Reading SectionThe IELTS reading section is basically a vocabulary test from different kinds of topics. Fortunately, you don’t need to be an expert in each topic. The best way to master the reading section is to enhance your reading skill. You can practice reading coherently any academic journals, textbooks, reports, and newspapers. Spare around 1-2 hours per day reading. While you are reading, make sure you get to know some vocabularies that you are not familiar with. For instance, if you find an unfamiliar word, take a note in a book and find its meaning. In that way, you begin to learn new vocabularies.
  • Writing SectionSince the IELTS writing section is divided into two parts; writing an essay relating to an argument or problem, and summarizing an information diagram. For both parts of the task, it is absolutely important to ensure that you are familiar with the structure of an essay: introduction, body paragraph 1, body paragraph 2, and conclusion. If the topic is about water shortage for instance, you can start with writing your ideas and developing them into paragraphs and making an actual essay. In that way you have a general idea on how to write your essay effectively.
  • Speaking SectionThe most important tip for the IELTS speaking section is to practice, practice and practice! But most people have problems on where to start practice. So, the question is; where to start practice? The answer is, look for IELTS Speaking Section topics and questions online. There, you will find a bunch of topics and questions related to the speaking test. These topics can be about your work, study, hobbies, family, art, etc. Take one topic, and start writing questions related to that topic and try to answer it yourself verbally. After practicing a couple of questions, you can ask your colleague or friend to help ask questions to you. In that way, you can be acquainted with different topics and subjects in the speaking section and answer it with no frills. 

Remember! There is no shortcut in mastering the IELTS test other than practice, practice and practice. Practice eventually makes it perfect. Good luck!