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A female IELTS test taker preparing for the test

So you have put in the time and the effort, but you didn’t manage to attain the band score you need in the IELTS test. Yes, it is disheartening and any failure can place additional pressure and doubt on you.

However, it is important to know that you are not alone! It’s time to reframe this temporary setback to spur yourself ahead to strive harder to reach your target score. Anything worth having never comes easy right?

And many times, it is not you who has ‘failed’, it’s more about the approach you have taken to prepare yourself and how adopting a new strategy and cultivating habits will be the key to success!

Thankfully, we have compiled for you a series of actionable steps you can take to get your mojo back! These are tactical things you can do to better prepare yourself and most importantly unleash your inner confidence to head back again to the arena and get the score you want.

6 Things to do to regain back your IELTS confidence!

1. Understand that you are not alone

Firstly, let’s have a reality check. You aren’t the first student to fail an exam and won’t be the last, this is something that is very common.

There is nothing wrong with having some difficulty attaining the score you desire. What you need to do is to embrace the idea of failing forward. You have taken the test, you know what to expect and how stressful it can get, congratulations, the hard part is now out of the way!

It will be helpful if you can look at other students’ stories about their struggles and journey towards IELTS success. But most importantly, you need to pick yourself up and forgive yourself. It will give you the mental strength and headway to start again and forge ahead.

2. Take some time to regenerate & recharge

Once you are done picking yourself up, it’s time to regenerate and recharge. The absolute worst thing you should do is just jump back into the fray and book the next available date for your test!

You want to take some time to yourself to get back in the right headspace. However, that doesn’t mean just frittering the time away!

You’d want to immerse yourself more in the English language passively and actively. This means practising speaking more with family and friends using English. Listening to more English-based programs, especially news broadcasts, and spending some time reading books and newspapers as well!

This helps you ease back into the grind while also giving you ample time to recharge. Take a week or two for this.

focused IELTS test taker

3. Understand which areas of your test you struggle with

Perhaps this is the first time you have failed. Or maybe it’s your 3rd time taking the test without success. Whatever the case, there are key areas in which you are lacking proficiency. It’s time to be introspective and truthful with yourself.

Ask yourself these questions:

Which part of the test did I score the least at? (Speaking, Listening, Writing and Reading)

Which part of the test did I struggle the most at? (For example, the essay writing component)

Which part of the test did I spend the most time preparing for?

These are critical questions, you need to ask yourself in order to identify which areas need the most work. Time is limited and you’ll need to be hyper-focused to shore up your weaknesses.

Did badly in your essay writing? Then it’s time to practice more on that portion by improving your vocabulary, grammar and most importantly practising through mock tests.

4. Adjust your study habits and dedicate a fixed time to practice & learn

Sometimes it is not what you study but how you study! This is where you need to get strategic with your time to help you focus better.

Ask yourself, “Which part of the day do I feel the most energized and awake?”. For some it is the evening, for many others, it’s in the early morning. Whichever the case, you’ll want to carve out at least two-time blocks a day to practice and learn.

Let’s say reading and writing essays are your core weaknesses. You’ll want to spend at least an hour or two a day on them beefing them up.

But most importantly, you’d want to minimize any distractions in your immediate surroundings so that you can concentrate. If you live in a noisy environment, take the time to head to a library, it’ll be worth it!

A distracted female test taker preparing for the test

5. Practice sample tests under exam conditions

Sure, practising sample tests are good, but are you doing it under exam conditions? This means without any help available and more importantly, within the time limit set.

This will help you uncover key areas during your sample tests quickly and address them swiftly. For example, in your Academic Writing test which lasts for 60 minutes, you might realise that you are spending too much time on Task 1, which is describing facts or figures in one or more graphs or charts.

This will help you practice and prepare for that portion of the test so that you won’t trip up and waste time on test day.

In fact, you can give yourself tighter time limits than usual in order to ensure you are maximizing your time. If a test duration is 60 minutes long, see if you can complete it within 55 or even 50 minutes. Because if you can accomplish this time, you’ll be far more relaxed on the actual test!

6. Get some professional help

Finally, you might want to get some professional help to accelerate your learning. Many students do this and it doesn’t always need to cost money.

At IDP we provide a wide variety of prep courses, webinars and tools that you can use to help you score better.

Here are some of our IELTS test preparation and IELTS preparation materials:

  1. Our Online IELTS Masterclass Webinars

  2. A Range of Free Practice Tests

Also, the IELTS Familiarisation test is designed to give test takers an idea of what to expect on the actual IELTS test. It includes sample questions from different parts of the test, such as Listening, Reading, and Writing. You will be taking the mock test under timed conditions, and you’ll get an official feedback report on your performance. This will include an overall indicative band score as well as personalised advice from your markers on areas that need improvement.

This will be a good gauge of how far you have come and what else that might need to be worked on.

Two happy female test takers

Get prepared for your IELTS test with IDP today

Being well-prepared for your IELTS test is key in ensuring you stand the best chance to attain the band score you require to enter your dream university.

More importantly, do not let any temporary setbacks stop you from chasing your dream to study abroad.

Book a test with IDP today.