Emmy Wang, Online English teacher, and trainer at Acadsoc.
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Preparing for an IELTS test can be challenging, stressful, and nerve-wracking. A great deal of preparation is needed so students can become fully-equipped on the day of the exam. Getting to know how the test works and constantly practising test exercises on those four skills – speaking, listening, reading, and writing – can give your student an edge and more confidence in taking the test.
Or you if your students want to improve daily communication skills, I would recommend ‘To improve ELL’s communication skills, what are your suggestions as an online English teacher?’
How to correctly evaluate the IELTS Speaking score of your student:
And besides that, we have 10 more tips for you and your students.
Even one’s English is already good, it does not mean he/she can just access the score as wish. Hence, there will be a necessity for a teacher’s engagement. Some teachers may worry about their qualification as an IELTS teacher or helper because they never tried IELTS before and feel unconfident to code with students. However, Acadsoc knows the limitation of online education and how far we should go in exam preparation for students.
Firstly, Acadsoc has set Exam Preparation Training for teachers to quickly comprehend the purpose, scoring criteria and structure of IELTS and TOEFL, as fundamental knowledge. Secondly, we carefully prepare the class materials, which based on our big data research on the most frequently made mistakes among students. Therefore, please be confident and engaged in your IELTS tutoring class, English in IELTS is still the English you know in daily life, that’s why it was set to examine participants’ English level. If you are still confused or lost, feel free to ask your trainer and direct supervisor!
Language is a skill, so in order to improve one’s skills, he/she needs to be able to practice them. If someone is going to practice the same test types, again and again, chances are, when there is a sudden change in questions and formats, you will have no idea what to do. Based on Acadsoc’s research, even if someone’s English level should be able to hit 6.5 in IELTS score band regardless of any other factors, there is a more than 60% possibility that he/she may only access 6.0 or even lower if learning by rote.
Even if your student says he/she is in a hurry because the test date is approaching, no one can’t hurry to learn. So please tell your student:
You know you are not well armed yet, so don’t expect to win the first battle! If you still have other opportunities for IELTS later, just take your first try as an exercise. Be careful to feel, to adjust to the atmosphere of IELTS, to better know the rules of everything when you are taking it.
If one’s expectation is to pass the test in one shot without good preparation or your student is overconfident on himself/herself, the feeling of desperate once failed would easily destroy his/her faith in English and make them question if the effort, money and time spent for English are worthy. As a teacher, please do not let that happen!
Learning from mistakes is part of the whole deal, and that’s necessary. Most Chinese students will quickly forget what they have learned from IELTS preparation and IELTS test and be lost in the happiness and congratulations of the pass. However, most of them will find out they will have to attend the writing course/lab in the universities once again to pass their final exam.
Though IELTS is just a language test, it indicates partially the skills and forms that you should follow in your higher education, e.g. academic writing, reasoning, critical thinking. With the continuous increasing price of IELTS test in China, the only way to make it worth your payment is to keep it in your mind as long as possible.
Not every student can smoothly finish the questions in a given time of IELTS, especially for the students with lower English level or worse English foundation.
And in traditional Chinese education, it is quite shameful if one fails to answer all the questions in a test paper before timeout. However, such ‘obsession’ will be deadly for IELTS. As a teacher, you should not only teach a student how to achieve something, but how to let go something. Imagine this scene:
If there are only 10 minutes left before the end of the test, Tom still has 1 more article reading to finish and there are several questions below the article: 1*’Matching the correct subsequence of author’s opinions’, 2* Multiple Choices, 2* ‘Ture/False/Not given’, your suggestion to the student will be:
A. Finish the matching first
B. Finish the multiple choices first
C. Finish the ‘Ture/False/Not given’ first
D. Give up this reading and check what you have finished before
Please ask yourself which one would be the best option for Tom.
‘Once you’ve figured out the areas that you need to improve on, you’ll be able to manage your time more wisely.’ You may say so to your student.
Please note, ‘Wisely’ here does not mean to cover up your weakness as much as you can. As we know, all people have the impulsion to prove oneself with a progress after learning and preparation. Well, that’s great and the sense of achievement, the satisfaction after overcoming some difficulties or challenges is actually the power that pushes us forward.
However, all these achievements should base on one precondition in IELTS: please firstly guarantee the victory in those territories that you suppose you are good at. It is definitely unwise to just give up something that you are good at before picking up something which is your weakness.
Please always keep in mind: IELTS is designed to evaluate one’s real English level, not the level of your IQ, skills or tricks. The skills our teachers taught are just the shortcut to let the examiner of IELTS verify one’s real English level in the most positive way, not to let anyone play tricks or cheat, trying to mislead the examiner.
All English teachers should be able to state several resources to such knowledge: BBC, CNN, ABC, etc.
However, regarding reading news in English, it does not matter how many pieces you have read, but how deep and clear you have comprehended the news.
As mentioned above, there are only 25 minutes in a class at Acadsoc, which is a very common limitation to all online English classes. Hence, please take full advantage of your class time and not to let the student do what he/she should have done after class, like practising. Unless the student does meet some difficulty that he/she cannot overcome after many efforts made, then it will be your time to give a hand.
For more information about IELTS, please visit IELTS official site.
Or, to find more IELTS preparation resources (in Chinese)