If there is one word almost every young person in Urban Nigeria has used or heard from a friend a minimum of 5 times in the last 60 days, it will be ‘Canada’. Whether for a University study, work, or just for snow-seeing (giggles), Canada has recently become a popular international choice among many youths in Nigeria.

If you are reading this, you may perhaps be thinking of going to Canada too or maybe the UK or some other English European countries (of course, not for snow-seeing) and if your reason to move to any of these countries is for study or work, you will likely be required to take a test of language proficiency — even more required if you intend to get Canadian or British citizenship.

One popular language proficiency test, accepted in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and many other European countries is the IELTS. The language proficiency exam tests candidates in the 4 language skills — writing, reading, listening, and speaking — to ascertain their level of competence.

Unlike school exams, there is no pass or fail. In each section of the language test (IELTS), candidates can score between minimum obtainable 0 and maximum band score of 9. Then, the band scores are tallied and averaged to arrive at the overall band score for each test-taker.

Of course, the higher your overall score, the better language user you are considered to be and often the better chances you have to be accepted into your desired study or work program.

But while many hope to achieve a high overall band score, only a few get to live the dream. This is often because IELTS is a standardised international test so distinguished from the common academic English language exams. IELTS tests not only brilliance but smartness and time management too.

But be rest assured. If you've got questions about how can you trump this proficiency exam in just one sitting, here is all you need to know. Hang on!

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Take English Lessons through Various Learning Options

While it is true that the IELTS test is different from the typical general academic English language exam, the subject of study is the same — the English language. If you do well in your academic English language courses, you should be free from worries. Just a few tips and hacks, here and there, are required and you should do great in your IELTS exam.

One thing you should note, however: cultivate the habit of learning from unusual sources, i.e books and movies. There are abounding literature texts that can help IELTS students improve their language skills.

By reading books by known English authors, you get a free opportunity to learn more words and finer expressions that could come in handy in your IELTS writing tasks. It is the same when you choose to deliberately learn from English movies, whatever genre they are.

You acquaint yourself with how native English speakers speak, the pace and articulation, and learn expressions (formal and informal) that you may not learn from your English language teacher.

A young man reading outdoors
Books are precious treasures. Not only do they house great ideas and beautiful thoughts, they help readers become better language users too. Source: Unsplash

Even better if you can afford to find a great learning centre that offers IELTS tutorials around you. I know what you must be thinking. Yes, you have been using the English language for many years and have taken many English language lessons already. Well, that should have sufficed, but even a native speaker can perform poorly in the IELTS test.

There are tricks and strategies that have been associated with sterling IELTS test-takers, beyond mere brilliance. If you are lucky to find a decent IELTS tutorial centre, you can also learn the efficient ways to prep for the exam and achieve a high band score.

If, however, you prefer a personalised flexible learning option that can greatly boost your competence and confidence for the exam, hiring from Superprof’s sea of expert IELTS tutors private is your best shot at success.

Students get more than remedial help from private tutors, they also get a study buddy, an assessor, and a motivator who pushes them on in their IELTS journey and perhaps their overall study application as international students.

Strategies and Hacks to Deepen your Knowledge of English Vocabulary with or without an English Tutor

The prime place of words in any language cannot be overstated. Without words, a language is empty. What does this mean? If you’re intending to a language proficiency test like IELTS, there is a minimum volume of vocabulary that you are required to own.

Having a wide vocabulary is not something nice to have when it comes to language proficiency, it is something you need to have. You will need to know sufficient English words and their usages to comfortably trump IELTS writing and speaking tasks most particularly.

Your IELTS tutor most probably already knows this. Amid your IELTS classes, your tutor may earmark some periods for vocabulary development exercises. He may assign to you a collection of words to learn over a period of time and he may give you daily vocabulary drills.

Asides from these, there are several self-learning practices that you can also try out to grow your vocabulary beyond the general basic requirement. Truly, you lose nothing. Having an extensive vocabulary makes it easy for you to use the English language whenever and wherever. It is like having enough cash at hand or in the bank.

One such practice is to get used to reading literary texts. It is by reading great writers that you learn beautiful language usages. You become more confident about your language competence in just a little time.

Also, you can level up your vocabulary by playing word games more. Traditional word games like Scrabble and Crossword Puzzles help you know many words without stressing. You can find many variants of these games on your smartphone too — life is quite easy now.

A newspaper page showing crossword puzzles
Learning is not always an entirely serious endeavour. You can introduce some fun into your vocabulary building expansion course by playing word games. Source: Pixabay

Importantly, you will need to be friendlier with the dictionary and use digital assistants more often to ensure that your vocabulary and overall writing ability soar.

Where to receive English Lessons Online for IELTS Success

Life is much easier with the internet, isn’t it? Now, you can acquire skills and grow your knowledge free of charge or at little cost and from anywhere in the world. There are many online options that candidates can explore to boost their studies and prep for the IELTS exam.

You can start with free websites and blogs that centre on IELTS study packs. These websites often offer sample test questions, explanations, study tips and strategies that can help students to achieve their dream scores in the language proficiency test.

One such website that you will find helpful is the British Council. Owned by one of the owners by the IELTS, the British Council Nigeria’s website allows students to register for the test and access several free study resources free of charge.

Asides from websites and blogs, you can also improve your level of prep by watching YouTube videos and podcast series on dedicated IELTS channels. Other than your internet data, this study option is considerably free of costs too.

Whether you need a general IELTS prep on each section of the exam or a specific concentration on any of the test sections, you can find enough videos on YouTube to level your prep up.

Similarly, there are several platforms on the internet that offer IELTS preparatory courses for intending test-takers. However, many of these courses are not offered for free. Popular platforms like Udemy, EdX, and Coursera parade video courses on IELTS writing, reading and vocabulary building, IELT speaking, and listening usually created by past IELTS examiners or expert international tutors.

Additionally, the prevalence of smartphones has led to the development of different IELTS preparatory mobile apps that contain test questions and tips that test candidates often need in their prep stage.

Writing your way to a High Band Score in the IELTS Writing Task

For many IELTS candidates, the writing section of the test is the most difficult. Based on IELTS results statistics, many test-takers usually score the lowest in the IELTS writing section.

We can call it the popular obstacle between many students and their international dreams. It is not so surprising, though. Writing is, for many people, a difficult art often requiring deliberate training. However, a few tips can increase your chances of success.

Foremost, to achieve a high score, it is essential to understand the IELTS writing criteria. This helps you to know the minimum requirements to get high scores. The writing tasks for the IELTS Academic and the General IELTS Training tests differ.

While IELTS Academic tests candidates’ ability to report datasets, the IELTS General Training exam asks candidates to write a letter. Not understanding the basic requirements of the test is a great disservice to yourself.

A study table with sheets of paper
Writing is an art that requires regular practice. You should get your writing in shape before your IELTS test date. Source: Pixabay

Another basic requirement to have a high score band in IELTS writing is to follow proper essay structure. Without a structure, writing can be incoherent. If you’re an intending test-taker, you should practise good paragraphing and learn to maximise words and time.

Good grammar and style are also basic requirements for success. IELTS is a test of language proficiency; hence, you must have great control of grammar.

Whether you are writing the IELTS to get into an international university for study or for immigration, getting great results across the four pillars of the test is quite essential. But that doesn't just come on a platter of gold.

Great results are a product of studying right and training hard. It is only beneficial if you combine the different study options, and most importantly hire an expert tutor, to get your dream scores. The ball now rests in your court. We can only advise that you play it well. Best wishes!

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Muhammad

A Nigerian freelance SEO Writer-cum-Editor and 2019 Writing Fellow of ALWF who blends creativity with rich content to produce sterling copy — persuasive, informative, or expository. He loves nature and trains in Karate, and he loves to help others grow — individuals and brands.