There are two categories of people who write the IELTS test: Those who consider it an easy test and those who dread it either because they have had to write it multiple times or they have heard stories of those who have.
Not many persons, if any, publicly share their stories of failing the IELTS test. As an IELTS tutor, I have been acquainted with different persons’ stories. Although I began paid coaching sessions with a hundred per cent success rate, as I took on more persons under my coaching wings (some part-time and the others full-time) that percentage began to drop. Thankfully, not significantly as, presently, seven in ten students I coach pass at the first sitting.
On some occasions, the candidate’s score was unsurprising because, by my assessment, they did not put in the required work during preparation. At other times, their failure took me by surprise and seemed unexplainable. I have also recorded surprise successes; this month and last, two students sent me an SOS a week to their test and had emergency lessons with me under the same. Both passed with scores of 8.0/9.0.
Here are five top reasons I have identified for failing the IELTS test:
Most persons are overcome with fear when they first consider writing the IELTS test. It is understandable as some persons write the test repeatedly before getting their desired band score. However, clinging unto this emotion can do a candidate more harm than good. I, for example, aced my test in a single sitting and have both coached and read about several others who did too.
Our proficiency levels are different no doubt, but that’s where preparation comes into play. While one person may study in less than a week and get an impressive result, another may have to study for weeks or months to perfect their skill. Nevertheless, the demand on our time differs, and while adequate preparation is your best defence against failure, being confident and staying positive is your second best option.
Also, it is crucial that a person does an honest self-appraisal once they’ve decided to take the test. This gives you an excellent idea of where you are and how much work you may need to put in. A good way to do that is to speak with an experienced IELTS coach.
2. Underestimating the IELTS test:
Most persons do not know the depth of work that goes into preparing for IELTS until they commence studying. Oftentimes, they procrastinate until their exam is around the corner and either start panicking or asking if their test date can be moved. Sadly, IELTS is quite strict about moving test dates.
So, I advise candidates to acquaint themselves with the test first and attain a certain level of proficiency before booking their test. Some persons opine that booking helps one sit up, but be careful about doing that if you have a busy schedule or are a chronic procrastinator. It can be counterproductive.
3. Using the wrong study aids:
When most persons approach me for a guide on improving their test score, one of the first questions I ask them is the study materials they are using. As ubiquitous as these materials are, it’s easy to dwell in lack amid plenty. In this post, I shared high-yield materials and web resources that have been tested and trusted by many.
Many persons watch random YouTube videos with different tutors giving contradicting advice. Access to trustworthy study aids and sticking with them puts one on the way to hitting their target band score.
4. Poor Time Management:
Spelling and grammar errors can be minimised when cross-checking is done, but this can only be achieved when writing or reading is completed in time. Learning to write a good essay or complete the reading passages in the stipulated time takes practice. Also, deciding what information is important while writing an essay or reading a passage is crucial to managing your time. If you struggle with these during preparation, chances are it will be no different in the test. Please, seek help early if you need one.
5. Unforeseen circumstances:
Lastly, these can range from the loss of a loved one to health challenges and problems at the test venue or on the test day. For the first two, they are acceptable reasons to request a postponement of the test. The last two, however, or other valid but unacceptable reasons, will require you to find a way to maintain your composure while putting your desire to succeed at the fore of your mind.
I will sum up by saying this: If you have failed the IELTS test before or are struggling with it, don’t beat yourself up too much or be tempted to feel like a failure. Take some time out and try to identify where you might have missed it during your preparation or the test. Work on your area(s) of weakness, but don’t neglect your perceived areas of strength. As much as you can, aim to have a balanced preparation. I look forward to celebrating your success with you and do share this if you find it helpful.
Tell me, could you identify with any of these or can you point out other reasons people fail the test? Looking forward to reading from you.
PS: If you will like to speak further with me in private, you can leave me a message here.