I've written about this before, but I think it's a message that I need to keep repeating:
Too many candidates approach the IELTS exam with a grammar mindset. They go into the test with their heads full of 'grammatical structures' that they think will impress the examiner. Unfortunately this approach is more likely to hinder you than help you.
I'm trying to persuade people to have a vocabulary mindset. This means that you go into the test knowing that you have prepared ideas for common IELTS topics, and with the aim of expressing your ideas coherently and in as much detail as you can.
Here's a quick question to see which mindset you have:
Which of the two activities below do you spend more time doing?
- practising complex sentences, passives and conditionals; learning lists of linking words and phrases; worrying that you make too many mistakes
- collecting ideas for IELTS topics and past exam questions; reading and listening to English (not just IELTS related); trying to copy the way native speakers write and speak