There are many ways to prepare for the IELTS test, but the best way by far is a formal preparation course like those offered by ILSC. Preparation courses help you get the most out of your IELTS experience. After all, nobody takes the test to simply receive a score, but rather for the opportunities a good score provides to live, work, or study in the English-speaking world.
Why are IELTS preparation courses important when there are so many practice resources online? We decided to go straight to the source and ask ILSC’s own IELTS preparation masters why they recommend classroom-based preparation.
Mastering the IELTS test format
As mentioned in our previous post on preparing for IELTS on your own, understanding the test itself is an important part of preparation.
Helen MacIntyre teaches IELTS preparation courses at ILSC-Montreal and she makes it perfectly clear why understanding the test format and expectations are key to succeeding.
“Between all the stresses of test day—worrying about time, getting to the location, remembering your English vocabulary and grammar—the last thing you want to be worrying about is how many questions you have to answer or where to write your answers. There just isn’t enough time for that!”
Once you’re seated for your test, you’ll want to be focused on one thing: your English. In an IELTS preparation course, an ILSC teacher will guide you through the test format as well as the official directions for each section of the test so that you’ll know exactly what to expect, and how to answer correctly.
Overcoming specific struggles
No amount of practice will help you avoid a mistake you don’t know you’re making. This is every student’s worst fear, and it’s also why teachers exist. Luckily, ILSC is full of experienced teachers familiar with common struggles and problem areas students encounter in the IELTS test.
In Helen’s experience teaching IELTS preparation at ILSC, she’s come across a common difficulty you might not expect:
“One thing students struggle with is actually sounding natural; using too many idioms and buzzwords make you sound like a robot! IELTS tests your English, not your ability to memorize soundbites.”
With the close attention and guidance of an ILSC teacher, you’ll have the opportunity to correct mistakes you weren’t even aware of—a priceless benefit of classroom preparation.
Checking progress with assessments and feedback
Practicing with the IELTS test format and focusing on your specific difficulties is great, but one of the most valuable parts of an IELTS preparation course is the feedback. Helen, like all of our teachers, knows just how important this is to students:
“I always structure my IELTS course with a beginning and final assessment. To me it is really important at the beginning to check the fluency of my students’ English; then I can adjust my lessons according to their needs. If I notice that writing is a bigger problem than listening, I will ensure I dedicate more time to this; if vocabulary is excellent but the future tense is an issue, I incorporate it into the classes. The final assessment at the end lets students see their own improvement and it can really increase their confidence.”
ILSC’s small class sizes mean you get individual assessments and feedback tailored to you as a learner. Your time spent practicing is more effective when you know where to focus your efforts. That’s why ILSC’s IELTS preparation courses include detailed assessments and feedback. Your teacher will let you know where you’re strong and where you need to focus your efforts to achieve success.
Perhaps most importantly, ILSC teachers like Helen recognize that learning is easier when it’s fun!
“We work hard and there are many things to do, so I try to mix things up and make it a little more fun!”
Do you need to prepare for IELTS? ILSC offers the IELTS Mastery Program and IELTS Mastery: 6.5 and also has general IELTS preparation and evening classes to get you ready for your test. Let our great teachers guide you towards success!