In last Sunday's lesson I suggested that you identify and work on your weaknesses. It's not always easy to identify your own weaknesses, so here are three tips to help you to expose them:
- Break each part of the test into smaller tasks. For example, you could spend time working on multiple choice questions in the reading test, idea generation for speaking part 2 (see yesterday's lesson), trend descriptions for writing task 1, or main body paragraphs for writing task 2. If you practise "small pieces" of the test, it's likely that you'll discover which "pieces" are problematic.
- Put yourself under pressure. Some people only discover their weaknesses on the day of their real IELTS tests. A good way to create this kind of pressure at home is to give yourself less time than normal. For example, you could try to write a task 2 essay in just 30 minutes, finish a reading test in 50 minutes, or do a full listening test with no breaks (i.e. fast forward the recording every time there is a break). Going too quickly will expose your weak points, and then you can go back and analyse them.
- Ask a teacher. If nothing else seems to work, you'll need to get some feedback from a teacher. Ask your teacher to identify the main weaknesses that are stopping you from getting a higher score.
Note: Be careful with point 2 above. It's fine to test yourself or "go too quickly" occasionally, as a way to expose weaknesses, but you should spend most of your time preparing slowly and carefully.