Hi. Welcome back to www.engvid.com. I’m Adam.
Today, I have a bit of a special lesson for you. We’re going to
look at the IELTS test. Now, before I begin, I have to tell you that
I will be speaking a little bit faster than usual because this is for IELTS test-takers.
You need to get used to faster speed English, more natural speed English. But for everybody
else, keep watching. It’s still a good practice, still lots of vocabulary to
learn, lots of things to learn. So, more specifically, we’re going to be looking
at IELTS time management. Now, many people tell me… I’ve had many students come and
tell me the biggest problem they had taking the IELTS test was that they ran out of time.
They didn’t know how to manage their time, and that’s why they lost a lot of points.
Okay? So, today, I’m going to help you fix that a little bit. There’s lots
to talk about. Let’s get started. Two things we have to worry about: mind and
body. Okay? First, let’s talk about the body. One of the biggest mistakes people make when
they go to take the test on test day is they’re exhausted. They’re just not mentally ready
to take the test. It’s a long test, it’s a difficult test, and it’s a test in English;
not your native tongue. Obviously, right? So, what do you do? Very, very important. The
night before… The night before the test, don’t study. If you don’t know it then, you
won’t know it the next day. So, the night before the test, go to sleep early, get a full
eight hours of solid sleep, wake up early, do whatever you need to do in the morning,
go to the test center relaxed. Okay? Very, very important. You need as much brain
power as you can get on test day. Speaking of waking up in the morning on test
day, make sure that you eat properly. Don’t go to the test hungry. Your stomach does a
lot of your thinking for you when you’re not prepared. If you’re hungry, you’re thinking
about your stomach; not about the English. Okay? Eat. Eat properly. Carbohydrates, proteins.
Avoid coffee and sugar. But if you have to have a coffee in the morning to wake up, like
I do, have it at least an hour, an hour and a half, two hours before the test. Don’t go
into the test room with a cup of a coffee in your hand. Well, you can’t anyway, but
don’t go into the test center with a cup of coffee in your hand. Get it all out of the
way early. Okay. So this is still body. During the test, when you have a few extra seconds,
maybe between sections, between questions, in the listening section, etcetera, close
your eyes. Breathe. Just calm yourself down, relax. Remember, at the end of the day, if
you didn’t do well on the test today, you take it again next week or the week after
that. You can do it again. Relax. Close your eyes. If they’re burning, close them, relax.
Get a little bit of energy back, move on. Same idea, if you have a chance, stretch.
Don’t be afraid to waste-if you want to call it that-take a minute of your time to stretch.
Arms up, do whatever you have to do. Don’t get up and walk around. I don’t think they’ll
be very happy about that, but as much as you can, stretch. Legs, arms, neck, whatever you
need to do. A strong, healthy body helps you do better on a test. It actually helps you
save time, believe it or not. Okay, this is one thing. Most importantly, your mind. We need to train
your mind. It’s not all about English. Okay? The IELTS test, the TOEFL test, etcetera,
these are called standardized tests. It means they’re always going to be the same structure.
They’re always going to be about the same time, the same set up, the same types
of questions. Okay? Know them. So, how we… Do we train your body? Practice. I
cannot stress this enough. Practice, practice, practice every single day. What do you practice?
Excuse me. Practice your listening and speaking as much as you can. The easiest thing to practice
is your listening. Okay? TV, music videos, YouTube, internet. Like, English is everywhere.
Very, very easy to practice your listening. Okay? Practice your vocabulary. Learn vocabulary.
Learn vocabulary. Learn vocabulary. You need a lot of words for this test. Practice your skills. Note taking skills,
paraphrasing skills, just writing skills. Notice I wrote this here, “write legibly”.
If the reader, if the grader of your essay can’t read what you’re writing, then you didn’t
write anything and you’re losing points. If you have very bad handwriting, practice doing
it nicely. This is actually the best that I can get. But when I was in high school,
my teachers told me that I will be a doctor one day because I already know how to write
prescriptions that nobody can read. So I had to change. If you have to
change, practice and change. Okay, now, this is probably the most important
one: know the test. Okay? What does that mean? Instructions. Every section has instructions.
Okay? Know these before test day. Okay? Don’t go to the test and read the instructions. Big,
big waste of time. You should have practiced… You should have taken practice tests so many
times that you know every instruction for every section. You take the time they give
you to look at instructions, you’re already looking ahead to what is coming. You are getting
ready. Maybe you’re closing your eyes, maybe you’re stretching. You are not reading
the instructions. Okay? That’s one. Structure. Know the structure of the test.
It doesn’t change. We’re going to look at that in a second, what the structure is, but make
sure you know it. There should be absolutely no surprises on test day. You should know
everything about this test; what’s coming, what you can expect.
No surprises. Okay. You know what? We’re going to leave it
there. We’re going to come back in a second. We’re going to look at the structure, and
what you have to do for each section to save yourself time and do
better on this test. Okay, let’s start with the listening section.
The listening section has 40 questions, about 30 minutes for the entire section. Okay? Again,
always going to be the same. Always 40 questions, always 30 minutes. You got four sections in
the listening section. Your first section has two speakers. Your second section has one
speaker. Your third section, two speakers. Your last section, one speaker.
Okay? The last section is the most difficult because
it’s a lecture. It’s usually one person speaking the whole time, you’re going, answering the
questions, multiple choice, fill-in-the-blanks, etcetera. But just understand it’s always
going to be like this, so you’re always… Know exactly what’s coming, how to listen.
How you listen to two speakers is different from how you listen to one speaker. Two speakers,
you have to be aware of the shift, when you’re switching from one speaker to another. Man
and woman speaking, easy. Two men, two women speaking, not as easy; you
have to listen for the cues. Now, another thing you have to keep very much
in mind, they’re going to give you… Each section they give you a little bit of time
to look ahead before the recording begins. Okay? Look ahead. Take this time, use it wisely.
Now, what are you looking for? Are you going to read everything? Are you going to try to
read everything before the recording starts? Of course not. You don’t have time to read
everything. I think the first section, they give you about a minute to look ahead at the
first part. Don’t try to read everything. Read around the blanks. You have blanks to
fill in, for example, this is one question type is the blanks. Read what’s around. Look
for the words that you’re listening to to give you a hint or a cue that the answer is
coming. Again, that’s why vocabulary is very important, and learning and practicing your
skills. Paraphrasing skills also very important. Multiple choice questions, like for example,
section four, there’s often multiple choice. If you see multiple choice questions and you
have time to look ahead, don’t try to read every question and answer. Go to every question,
identify the main question word. What? Who? When? Where? Etcetera. All these words, find
out exactly what you are listening for. Are you listening for a time? Are you listening
for a person, a place, a thing, an idea, an action? Etcetera. Also, listen for numbers, names, milestones.
For example, if you’re listening for numbers, then you know where they are. For example, if
you have a table, you see all these numbers, you’re listening for the missing numbers.
Dates, time, etcetera, these are all numbers. Names, names of places, names of
companies, names of people, etcetera. Milestones. Okay? Milestones tell you you’re
getting to this point. So you need to be ready for this word. Here was a question, here’s a
question, look at the milestone. This tells you that you’ve past this one, you need to
be getting ready for this one. This is very, very important in terms of time management.
Why? Because if you are aware that this is a milestone, that this is where you need to
listen to between these two questions, if you get to this milestone but you didn’t get
the previous question’s answer, you missed it. Don’t worry about it. Don’t try to listen
to it, because you won’t, it’s gone. Get ready for the next question. If you’re trying to
figure out what this was, you’re going to miss the next one too. So be very careful about
these milestones. They are your markers, they are your guides along
the recording. Okay? There are a few other things, let’s see what
they are. You’re going to have like a table, or a graph, or a diagram, something visual
that you have to label, for example, or you have to fill in the blanks, for example. Always
look at the headings. Always look what is here, always look what is here. Always look
what is here, always look what is here. Okay? Again, this is with the time they give you
to look ahead, this is where you’re looking. And if you have extra time, look at the words
around the blanks, look at all the little clues. But make sure you know what the
headings are so you can match things up. If they give you a diagram, the thing that…
That extra time that you’re given, what you’re looking for is the starting point. This is
where you’re going to start. This is the first blank you have to fill, this is where the
recording is going to begin. Now, if you have let’s say a few… You have like these. This
is the first one. This is question 14, let’s say. This is question 15, this is 16, 17.
Make sure you know the direction. This way, you’re always listening: what is this? This
is next. This is next. What is this? This is next. What is this? This is next. What is
this? This is next. Etcetera. Always know where the recording is going. Now, very, very important… Okay? Let’s say
you… You come to an end of a section. Oh, let’s say you have
fill-in-the-blanks. This is one of the sections, let’s say. This
is your last question, let’s say question 13 of the section. Let’s say you’ve heard
the answer, you’ve written down the answer. Are you going to listen to this? No. Why? You
don’t need to know what’s being said here. Well, once you have this answer, you have
two options. One, close your eyes, relax. Get your energy back. Get ready for the next
section. Better choice: take this extra time that they’re speaking here to look ahead at
the next section. So instead of having one minute to look ahead, you have a minute and
a half, a minute and 45 seconds. That gives you more time to prepare for the next section.
Okay? Remember: this is all about time management, and about keeping yourself calm,
and fresh, and ready to go. Now, another thing, if you’re looking for
this answer and suddenly you realize that you heard something here and this answer you
didn’t get, it’s gone. Let it go. Move on. Don’t try to answer this question from the
recording because you can’t. If you missed it, you can try to guess or just let it go,
move on, get ready for the next one. Okay? Very, very important to do this. Now, and I can’t stress this last point enough,
spelling counts on the IELTS. A lot of students, they try to… They worry about the spelling here.
They’re trying to write the word perfectly. Remember, at the end of the section, they’re
going to give you time to write the answers on the answer sheet. That is when you should
worry about spelling. Here, just get the answer down. If anything, use your note taking skills
to write it quick and short, but enough that you understand it, and worry about writing
it perfectly later on the answer sheet. Use abbreviations, shorten the words. Use
your little codes, “B4”, for example. You don’t need to write the full word. You need
to write enough that you understand what the answer is, worry about spelling later. Don’t
worry about it here, because as you’re thinking about this, you’re missing the next question.
Okay? So it’s all about keeping up with the recording and staying ahead of the recording.
Okay, that’s it for the listening section. Let’s look at the
reading section. Okay, so now let’s look at the reading section,
which again, same structure every time, get to know it. You have 40 questions, you have
60 minutes. Basically the breakdown is 13 questions, 13 questions, 14 questions, or
any combination thereof. Could be 13, 14, 13. Doesn’t matter. But more or less, that’s
the way it is. Now, most people think that you should do 20 minutes for each
reading section. Don’t do that. Break it down like this: first reading, 15
minutes; second reading, 20 minutes; third reading, 25 minutes. Now you’re asking me:
why? Okay. Two reasons. One, and the most obvious one, reading number two is harder
than reading number one, so you need more time. Reading number three is harder than
reading number two. The readings get harder as you go along. Okay? You want more
time as you go along, that’s one. Two, you’ve just finished a 30-minute listening
section. By the time you get here, you’ve just done 40 minutes or so, 35 minutes of
reading. Your brain is tired. It’s English. You’re frustrated, you’re angry, you’re…
Maybe you’re hungry because you didn’t eat in the morning like I told you to. Here, you
need more time. Why? You’re tired, it’s harder. Simple as that. Now, how are you going to use this time? The
thing that I want you to practice eventually… I will show you on another video how to do
it, but spend five to seven minutes getting the gist of the reading. The gist? The overall
idea. Get a sense of what the article is about. Find the thesis statement for each paragraph,
and find the key words. Now, why are we doing this? By doing this, you will be able to write a
heading, a one sentence, a very short sentence saying: what is this paragraph about? You
write that down next to the paragraph. You do that for every paragraph. If you can do this quickly… And believe
me, it takes a lot of practice. If you can do this quickly, then everything else is very
easy. Once you have the heading, you can answer the heading type questions. The summaries you
can answer because you know where to begin the summary, and then you just
follow along and complete it. The most important, though, is everybody’s
favourite question: true, false, not given; yes, no, not given. Everybody thinks “not
given”, that’s the hardest question. It doesn’t have to be. Okay? The not given question wastes
a lot, a lot of time. Why? Because people try to read the entire article to find an
answer that is not there. If it is not given, you will not find it. So why spend so much
time looking for something that is not there? What you should do, if you can do this properly,
then whatever the question is, you should understand where it ought to be. This is the
question, the answer should be in paragraph three because that’s the structure of this
article. That’s what… This paragraph is talking about this information in the question.
So you go to paragraph three, you don’t find the answer. You look a little bit a paragraph two,
not there. You look a little bit at paragraph four, also not there. Guess what?
It’s not given. Circle it, move on. Speaking of moving on, again, if you’re looking
at a question and you just don’t know the answer, you just can’t find it anywhere, don’t
spend too much time on it. Remember, you have about a minute and a half per question for the
whole reading section. If you’re spending five minutes on one question, that’s two questions
that you can’t answer later because you won’t even have time to read the question. You
don’t know, you guess, you move on. Okay? Again, another thing you want to do, build
your vocabulary. This is the hardest part of the reading section is the vocabulary.
And learn your paraphrasing skills. Learn how to write this sentence a different way,
but keep the same meaning. Very, very important because the questions… The answers, I should
say. The answers and what’s written in the article will mean the same thing, but completely
different words, completely different syntax or grammar. Very, very important skill. I
will make a lesson for this as well in the future. Look out for that. And then
you move on to the writing section. Okay, last section, writing. I’m not really going
to speak to you about the speaking section because there’s not much in terms of time
management. You walk in, you speak, you leave. Okay? There’s no tricks here. It’s a live
one-on-one interview with a person. He or she will set the pace, you follow, that’s it.
The only thing I will say about the speaking section, sometimes you will have the test
right… The speaking test 30 minutes after your paper test, sometimes you’ll have it two
or three hours later. If it’s later, just go somewhere, stay calm, stay focused.
That’s all I can tell you about that. But writing section, now, here you have two
tasks. Task one, spend the 20 minutes. Task two, 40 minutes. One hour. Leave the breakdown
as they recommend it. Task one, they want you to write 150 words. Aim for about 200.
Task two, they want you to write about 200-… Minimum 250 words, there is no way you can
get seven, for example, a band score of 7 with 250 words. Aim for 350. Okay? You don’t have
to. I recommend it if you want that high score. Now, what will you do with your time? Your 20
minutes, your task one, very, very straightforward essay. There’s absolutely no opinion to be
given in here. Very straightforward. Paragraph one, what am I looking at? What is the diagram?
Is it a table? Is it a graph? Etcetera. Paragraph two, what are the highlights? What are you
going to..? What are your main points you’re going to talk about? You’re going to talk
about highs, you’re going to talk about lows. You’re going to talk about big fluctuations,
you’re going to talk about stability. Okay? And paragraph three, minor points. Or if you’re
comparing two graphs, second paragraph, graph one; second… Third
paragraph, graph two. Check out my colleague, Emma, at www.engvid.com,
she has a good lesson on task one of the IELTS. It’ll be very useful for you. Task two, 40 minutes. Now, here’s a little
breakdown here. I’ll focus more on the task two. Spend five to seven minutes planning.
Do not skip this tep… This step, sorry. If you do not plan, you will waste lots of
time while you’re writing your body. As soon as you plan your essay, you’re already done. All
you have to focus on now is English; sentences, vocabulary, transitions, etcetera. Spend 30
minutes writing it. Leave yourself three to five minutes to check over typos, etcetera.
Remember, it’s handwritten, you want it to be legible. If I can’t read it, I can’t score
you, you’re getting a lower grade. Okay? So use that time to check. If you have to fix
anything, do that. Don’t try to rewrite whole paragraphs. You don’t have time. Now, sadly, a lot of my students tell me that
the writing is not the hard part, that the English is not the hard part. What do they
have a problem with in task two? Ideas. They don’t know what to say. They don’t think about
some of these questions. They’ve never considered these things, so they don’t know what to say.
Even in the planning stage, they’re just like sitting there blank. Here’s an idea. Again, be ready before test
day. When you go into the test, you have an idea bank in your head. These are very common
topics that you will see on the IELTS test or the TOEFL test as well: technology, education,
travel, environment. Okay? Make up questions for these. Find universal examples. For example,
technology, internet. You can use the internet to answer almost any question about technology.
Okay? Apple. Apple is a specific real-world example, you can use it. Microsoft, you can
use it to talk about many, many things. Okay? Education, university, high school, travelling
overseas, learning at home. All these things. Have your ideas ready before the test. Don’t
try to think of them during the test. Big waste of time. Travel, environment. Okay?
Lots of ideas. Get yourself examples. Worry about examples. Don’t worry about reasons,
don’t worry about what the question will be. Just think of technological examples that
you can use for many types of questions. Of course, practice. Get yourself a list of questions
you can practice, but have your examples already in your head. Okay? Okay, I’ll give you an example of an example
that you can use. President Obama could be used for any of these. Why? Because he’s a
person, he’s the President of the United States. That’s a big, powerful country. America is the
leader in technology, for example. Education, American… America has one of the… Some
of the best schools. Obama is the President of America. You can use him for almost anything.
Travel, environment, Obama’s from Hawaii. There you go. He’s trying to
save the environment, like… Anyway, get your ideas ready before you go
into the test. So, when you go there, you plan because you already have the ideas, you
write, you check. Okay? Very straightforward stuff. I will actually have, again, lessons
on more of these items for you in the future. But if you have any questions, please go to
www.engvid.com. There’s also going to be a little quiz there to review this stuff. You can
ask me questions. Please also don’t forget to subscribe to my channel on YouTube. And
please check out my new website to help you with TOEFL and IELTS, www.writetotop.com.
Thanks. See you next time.