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IELTS Test Preparation Tips

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Should I Prepare only Those ielts Writing Task 2 Topics Which Repeat Often?

ielts writing tipsThe one liner answer is you might do that, but you should not do that, rather you should be prepared for uncommon topics as well. The candidates who appear in the IELTS Tests desire for getting some common topics so that it become easy for them to answer. Who doesn’t want to know ‘Common Questions’ that might come in the exam? IELTS questions generally change from one test to another, but some common topics are found to repeat in the IELTS Writing Tests often, the common topics are as follows:

Government Spending
Traditional Culture
Public Transport
Criminal Justice
Youth Crime
International Aid

Students want familiar topics to come in the Writing test because the ‘IELTS Writing Test’ for both the Academic and the General Training module is undoubtedly the toughest of all the four tests. So, for a student getting a known topic in the test he is familiar to, is like winning a lottery. Though common topic/subject does not necessarily mean the questions are similar too, still a known topic with an overall idea is always desirable to any candidate. It is more so for the candidates of non-native countries or for the candidates from ‘Developing’ or ‘Underdeveloped’ countries, as most of the questions are related problems and issues of the ‘Well Developed’ English speaking countries.

Now a paradox needs to be erased from the minds of candidates. If a student prepares following the last 5 years questions and takes it for granted that there can’t be any more topic(s) which might come in the test, then he is in ‘Fool’s Paradise’. There are at least 60+ different topics for the Task2, so, without being complacent a candidate should prepare himself for as many topics available. The Internet is a gold mine for collecting tons of sample essays and also previous years questions, candidates should download and prepare for writing on completely unknown topics, thus getting equipped with lot more knowledge. It is almost impossible for anybody for cramming 60+ or even more topics, so getting prepared for writing on any unseen topics is wise from any angle.

So, what about the most common topics like Government Spending, Technology, Environmental Pollution etc.?

Those who are acquainted with the Task2 questions must have noticed that the types are like below:

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task. Write about the following topic in at least 250 words:

“The city areas in the USA are found to be more polluted than the village areas, what are main reasons for that in your opinion.” Question: Justify your opinion with reasons, would you be able to show any feasible solution for controlling the pollution?

Now it is clear from the question that you have to make a comparative discussion of the ‘Environment of the Cities’ and ‘Environment of the Villages’. Does it require vast knowledge to do this? Obviously not, right?

Let us consider another topic: You should spend about 40 minutes on this task. Write about the following topic in at least 250 words:

“The public transportation system of India and the road conditions are not good at all. Roads are full of potholes and some important bridges require thorough repairing to avoid major accidents. The road conditions in the villages are even worse, they are full of mud and soft soil making conveyance very difficult, wheels of vehicles often get stuck in mud thus cause a huge traffic jam.”

Question: India being a developing country, don’t you think the above problems should get rectified? Write in your own words what measures should be taken and why?

Now study both the questions, one is on ‘Controlling Pollution in the USA’ and the other is on ‘Public Transportation of India’. Let’s consider you are not a citizen of the USA nor one of the India?

But, read the questions properly, do you need ‘Vast Knowledge’ on the ‘Environment in the USA’ or ‘The Public Transportation System’ of India at all? So no point getting unnerved. A candidate from any country might write better than one from the USA  or from the India. It is not about the knowledge of the countries, as The IELTS is not a test of general knowledge; it is all about the knowledge of the English language and expertise about forming a discursive essay with justified points and writing. A candidate should write in flawless grammar and spelling with a wide range of vocabulary, on the basis of which he would be getting marks.

Then why we are discussing ‘Common Topics’?

The reason is that, if you get a known topic, it would comfort you to write on, making your language hopefully better. Actually in the IELTS Academic Writing Test, Task2 you would be given brief details of an argument, an opinion or a problematic situation and you are to depict with rich and flawless English. So if you watch the previous year’s questions, you would understand that preparing yourself for getting ‘Common Question’ is less important than preparing yourself for any questions that might come.

Now if we come to discuss, the IELTS, General Training Writing Test, Task2, at first it should be mentioned, that the question patterns in the Task2 of the IELTS, GT Writing module are a little different.

Here is an example: it’s a strong belief amongst people that women play a much better role in upbringing their children. What’s your opinion?

Q.: Justify your opinion with proper reasons and try to provide personal experience, if you have any.

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task. Write about the following topic in at least 250 words:

So here you are given a topic on a contemporary social issue, on which you have to make an argumentative discussion and do establish your point of view with ‘Justifying Reasons’.

Might be the same question was asked 2 times within a time span of 2 years. But, does that mean it would come again in the coming test? The obvious answer is ‘Who Knows?’. So, a candidate should not rely on this type of ‘Foolish Predictions’, that only common questions will be asked in the test, rather he should be preparing thoroughly, keeping the guessing job aside.

As there is no surety that you would get a common question in the test, the wise thing to do is to get yourself thoroughly and then hope for the best but expect the worse (If a completely unknown/unseen question comes in the test). The IELTS is a highly reputed and trusted testing system, for the proficiency of a candidate on all forms of the English language. It is the ‘Ultimate Testing System’ and accepted across the world. Therefore, work harder and work smarter, so that whether a question is common or not doesn’t make any impact on you.

What is the way to work smarter?

The Internet is a huge resource for almost everything, naturally, a student should take help of the Internet while preparing for the IELTS Test, you would get tons of sample test materials apart from old questions papers. Moreover, If you prepare under a genuinely good teacher or under some reputed coaching center, you can expect to get sufficient sample papers. You should individually (not depending on the teacher or the coaching center) practice following those, sample papers. You should also develop on some other areas like:

  • Add new words to your ‘Vocabulary for common/sample topics’.
  • Learn how to use the words in your vocabulary, so that he can use them while you are writing.
  • Different persons enrich their vocabulary in different ways. One of the best ways is recorded the new words you
  • Recording with the synonyms is even better if applicable.
  • Review your vocabulary on a regular basis to make it easy to remember.
  • Practice reading and writing different topics from good sources, and learn the contextual usage of words in your Practicing this way would enable you to understand the meaning of unknown words by understanding the usage of those words.
  • Read more topics to get familiarize with the ideas and learn new words.
  • Practice the most common topics as given above in a list.

As I have seen the most common Task 2 topics of the last few years, I have observed that Traditional Culture, Technology, Health, Education and the Environmental issues are some important topics which are likely to repeat more often than other topics in future. Reading these topics would enrich your vocabulary to a good extent. The most important thing is how actively you read them. When you come across any unknown word you should note it down, know the meaning, know the collocation and the synonyms as well. Continue doing these with ‘Sample Topics’ downloaded from the Internet as well, so that you never have to worry about what topic you are asked to write on in the test.

Originally posted 2017-05-10 16:48:17.

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