- Think about the purpose of the chart. What process does it show?
- Think about what types of words are missing from the flow chart. Look at the words that are already written there as these give lots of clues.
- Notice if the flow chart is written in short notes or longer and more complex sentences.
- After you have finished, make sure the completed flowchart represents the overall meaning of what you heard.
- Make sure the words you have written grammatically fit into the sentence.
Understand the FlowChart
Questions 21 – 25
We can use the words ‘try’ and ‘strengths and weaknesses’ to help us identify the answer.
Here the paraphrase of the key word ‘struggle’ is ‘do poorly’.
This question is a little easier as the phrase ‘which you encounter in the reading test’ is repeated in the audio.
We can see paraphrases of ‘Make sure’ (‘It is important’) and ‘a long time in advance’ (‘as early as possible’) to help us answer this one.
The full script can be seen below. Read it while listening again, writing down new words and phrases to help you expand your vocabulary.
Well, there are only a few months before the end of the term and that means you have to apply for university soon. I know both of you want to study in English speaking countries, how are your preparations and research about that going?
Yes, good thanks – I’ve narrowed it down to a shortlist of 3 universities in England.
And I’ve found courses in Edinburgh and Warwick that I’m interested in.
Great, as I’m your personal academic advisor, I thought today, as we have some time, we could talk about how to prepare for the IELTS test which you will have to take in order to study in the UK. It is important to do as well as you can on the test to ensure you get accepted on to the courses you want. What do you know about the test?
It’s a famous test, that’s all I know. I’ve definitely heard about it before.
I know it has a listening, reading, writing and speaking section.
Great. You know some of the basics. How do you think you can best prepare for the test?
I would say that it’s important to know the format of the test. What the sections are, how long you have to complete each section, that kind of thing.
Yes, and I guess it would be important to know about the types of questions that they commonly ask on the test.
Ok, good. Well I’d agree that the first and most important thing to do is to focus on understanding the test format. If you know how the test will be carried out and what each section is like, then you will not be surprised by anything on the test day. Imagine if you didn’t have any idea about the format. The whole thing would be really confusing. And I think your point Maggie about knowing the different question types that can crop up really comes under this heading. The best place to find out about the test format is on the IELTS website.
After that it’s really a good idea to try a past exam paper. Try the past exams found in the Cambridge IELTS series or online on websites such as ieltstutors.org. Trying a practice test such as this will help you to see what your strengths and weaknesses really are. This’ll help you to diagnose problem areas that you need to work on.
But what if we do badly on the practice test?
Well your English should be good as you have studied in an international school but If you do poorly on the practice test, then you need to really think about taking a test preparation course. This will help you prepare for the different question types. Now, we don’t run test preparation courses here at the school but there are plenty of language schools in the center of town which run these types of courses.
I think it’ll be hard to fit that into my schedule as I have to prepare for my exams. But, I’ve heard of online preparation courses which let students work in their own time without the pressure and deadlines of a normal school.
That sounds like a great alternative. Particularly for the writing and speaking modules which are very difficult to improve on if you don’t receive good feedback from an expert.
To improve your listening and reading I would suggest doing as many past exam papers as possible and learning from your mistakes. This is a great free way to improve your abilities before the test. You should always time yourself so you get used to the conditions in the exam.
Make sure you learn new words which you encounter in the reading test as this will boost your vocabulary and end up helping you improve your other skills as well. The best way to do this is that after you finish the test, you go back over the text looking for new words. Consult a dictionary to help you with the meaning. Write new words in a vocabulary book and practice them frequently. Try and use new word in speaking and writing as this will help to lock them into your memory.
How about when we get closer to the time when we need to take the test? Is there anything important we need to do then?
Well, that’s a good question. It’s important to register for your test as early as possible to make sure that you get a place on the test on the day that you want. Some tests get fully booked a long time in advance, particularly in the period when people are applying to university or trying to get on to scholarship programs.