Top IELTS Tip: Be Confident!

top IELTS tip: be confident

Be confident. It sounds too simple, right? But self-confidence just might be your key to beating the IELTS. How? Read on.

Confidence in IELTS Speaking

As Trisha has mentioned, IELTS Speaking is an oral interview. And if you’ve ever held down a job, you already know just how important confidence is in interviews.

Imagine showing up to a job interview completely depressed, constantly afraid that the hiring manager would reject you. If you felt that way, you’d probably do poorly, right? You’d look down at the floor and you’d speak quietly and unclearly. Your prospective boss would have trouble understanding you, and would probably think, “Here’s someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing.”

You don’t want to be that person in a job interview. And you certainly don’t want to come off like that in an IELTS interview. In IELTS Speaking, it’s just as important to enunciate clearly, with your head up. The best way to do this is to project confidence!

Think of the IELTS interview as an interview for a job that you know you’re going to get. Really, in a sense, the IELTS is a job interview. It’s your gateway to a new career, either through immigration or through university study.

Confidence in IELTS Writing

A lack of confidence comes across the most obviously in IELTS Speaking. But in IELTS Writing, there are also ways to “sound” confident or “sound” overly shy in your essay.

To write in a confident tone on the IELTS, use vocabulary and grammar that you are comfortable with. Keep up a good variety of word choices and grammar constructions. But don’t get insecure and overdo things. If you use tonnes of big, esoteric words and complex winding sentence structure, it’ll look like you don’t believe in your own English writing ability. (It’s especially important to maintain natural IELTS vocabulary!)

This kind of insecurity makes your writing tone seem unnatural and it opens you up to many mistakes. All of this can hurt your score. But if you write using the words and syntax you know and feel confident in, you’ll be on your way to the best possible IELTS Writing Score.

Confidence in IELTS Reading and IELTS Listening

What makes a general successful in war? Grace under fire, as we like to say in English. This means that good military commanders feel calm and confident, even as they face dangers that would make a less confident person panic.

Of course, the IELTS Reading and Listening sections aren’t literally a battlefield. But as you look across a seemingly hazardous reading passage or face a bumpy ride through an audio track… Well, for a moment, it may seem like you’re waging a personal war for your IELTS score.

Don’t let fear and panic set in. Calmness and strategy wins the day in war and in testing. Be cool and collected. Approaching questions, readings, and audio strategically. Look for and listen for the most important key words. If you don’t know the meaning of a written word or you miss something that was said, stay confident and focused. Look for clues to meaning and use good tactics to find the answers. Employ multiple choice elimination techniques. Think critically when you need to write down your own short answers.  The more you believe you can pass the IELTS, the more focused and successful you’ll be.


By the way, improve your IELTS score with Magoosh!

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  • David Recine

    David is a Test Prep Expert for Magoosh TOEFL and IELTS. Additionally, he's helped students with TOEIC, PET, FCE, BULATS, Eiken, SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT. David has a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and an MA from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. His work at Magoosh has been cited in many scholarly articles, his Master's Thesis is featured on the Reading with Pictures website, and he's presented at the WITESOL (link to PDF) and NAFSA conferences. David has taught K-12 ESL in South Korea as well as undergraduate English and MBA-level business English at American universities. He has also trained English teachers in America, Italy, and Peru. Come join David and the Magoosh team on Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram, or connect with him via LinkedIn!

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