Why you shouldn’t use regular English in the IELTS exam
Why is this a problem?
People often think of the IELTS test as a test of general English or as a test of how clever they are. However, at least for the academic version, it’s a test of if you’re ready to study in English at a university. That means that when you’re writing in the IELTS exam, it’s not just a test of your ability to communicate, the examiners want you to demonstrate your academic skills. If you just go into the test and write as if you were trying to communicate with someone, you can end up in trouble because you don’t end up demonstrating the skills the examiners are looking for.
Why do people make this mistake?
The IELTS test can be a scary one. For many students, this is the culmination of several years of English study. Often, the IELTS can be the difference between going to university and not going to university. In these circumstances, it makes sense that test-takers feel nervous. When you feel nervous, it is natural to stick to what you know and keep things simple. However, in the IELTS test, keeping things simple won’t get you the grade you need. If you’re keeping things simple, you’re not showing off the grammar, vocabulary and structure that you need to be.
Another reason for this mistake is that students don’t study specifically for the IELTS test. Having a good level of general English is important for the test, but just having a good level of English alone isn’t enough to get a high score. A lot of very competent English language users might not get the high grades you might expect them to in the writing exam because their writing wouldn’t be laid out in the way the IELTS test expects.
How can I fix this problem?
If you think that this is causing you problems, the biggest change you can make is to study specifically for the IELTS exam. You can make a big difference to your score by studying:
- How the IELTS test is graded.
- What types of question you might be asked.
- How to form good paragraphs.
- How to use discourse markers to build links between different parts of your essay and inform the reader what
- you are doing with your writing.
- Different grammatical structures you can use to expand your range.
We hope this guide to common IELTS mistakes helps you. If you want to study specifically for the IELTS, we’ll have a lot of resources on the way. If you have any questions, leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you.