Thursday, March 17, 2016

How Do I Manage My Time in Answering IELTS Test Questions?

One of the problems IELTS examinees face when taking the IELTS test is time management. Candidates often fail to answer completely the test because they run out of time. When I took my IELTS exam, I actually had a problem with the reading test since I realized that I spent a lot of time reading the entire passage and even choosing the answers. In the end, I still had six more questions left unanswered. Before I took the examination again, I wrote down things that I did which totally wasted my time, and come up with some tips on how you can manage your time for the IELTS.


  • In the listening test, it is important to look ahead. This means that read the questions and identify what is being asked. When you identify these, it is much easier to find the answers once the audio is played. Further, it is best to have good note-taking skills. Always take note on numbers and names that are usually a part of the questions. 

  • For the reading part, I believe that it is best to get the gist of the passage. Reading the whole passage will consume a lot of time. You have to learn how to practice skimming and scanning. With these two strategies, it is not difficult to understand the paragraph even without reading the entire text. Also, underline the thesis statement on each paragraph along with the keywords in the question and within the paragraph. 

  • Brainstorming for ideas in the writing can take some time. What I recommend is to create an outline of what you are going to write. Create a plan that will guide you and keep you from going off the topic. An outline is the best tool in making ideas quickly for the IELTS test

  • In the second part of the speaking, consider the arrangement of the questions in the cue card. This can already be a guide while you are given a minute to prepare. When speaking, stick on the questions. Do not explain too much for you might go off topic or even waste time blabbing about things that should not be talked about. 

Now, here are some general tips during the test day to avoid wasting time while answering the questions.

  • Eat something before the examination. When you come to the exam feeling hungry, your brain will focus more on the problem of your tummy rather than the questions. Your attention is divided and this will leave you little time to think. 

  • Take some time to breathe between tests. Relax and give your mind some time to rest. Calm yourself down. The more you panic, the more exhausted your mind becomes. 

  • Practice! There are a lot of practice tests online where you can test yourself if you can finish the exam on a limited time.

  • The most important thing of all is to know the test. Make sure that you clearly understand the instructions prior to answering questions. Candidates should know the structure of the exam, so that they will not take so much time thinking on what skill to use during the test. 

Time management is important for the IELTS. A well-balanced time helps the candidate maximize the limited time given to be able to finish the exam on time or even before the time is up.

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