Things to Consider Before an IELTS Retake
Do you have other options aside from an IELTS retake?
When your IELTS score is bad, you may have other options. You may be able to get your target school to be flexible on their score requirement. Or you may be able to find a different program that will accept you with the score you have. You also might personally find that it’s easier to get a qualifying score on an alternate test such as the TOEFL.
When do you need to send your IELTS scores?
Find out when you need to submit your IELTS scores. You will need to take an IELTS exam at least 13 days before this deadline. Sometimes, schools will take scores after this deadline, but it is rare. Once you’ve found what the score deadline is, you can see if there are IELTS exams offered before then.
Are there exams offered before this deadline?
Find out when the next exam is at the nearest testing center. If the closest exam center doesn’t have an opening for an exam before your deadline, check other exam centers that you can get to.
If no testing centers have an opening, don’t give up! Seats become available when people fail to complete their applications. This happens all the time. Check the exam registration website every single day. If a seat opens up for a particular date, then you’ll be able to register for that exam. Register for your IELTS retake immediately! There may only be a single seat available, and if someone else registers before you, then you’ll lose your opportunity.
Preparing for Your IELTS Retake
Retaking the IELTS? Reschedule freely.
This is the easiest part. As I’ve said, you may schedule an IELTS retake whenever you like. Unlike most other standardized tests, the IELTS places no limits on how many times you may sit the exam per year, or how frequently you may schedule a testing session.
So you can reschedule as quickly as you want, or as slowly as you want. Think about how long you need, and how soon — or how much later — you should take the test again. Then do whatever you must in order to have a better test day the next time around.
Retaking the IELTS? Consider what went wrong the first time.
Did you study enough?
If not, then make a good, well-organized study plan for your retake.
Did you study with the right materials?
Official IELTS practice materials from IELTS.org, IELTS Essentials, and the British Council, are a must. You should also get your hands on some official IELTS books from Cambridge University Press if you can. And any third-party IELTS resources should be reputable and very similar to the real thing.
Did you have a low IELTS score because you struggle with some aspects of English?
If you did particularly poorly in one section or another, focus on your weaknesses. Maybe you need to work more on your speaking, reading comprehension, accent reduction, written grammar, or other specific skills. Our diagnostic quizzes for Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing can help you evaluate which areas need more attention.
Did you have trouble with certain skills or strategies?
As you carefully assess your skills, you may realize that test skills hurt your score. Sometimes IELTS test-takers get low marks because they use poor strategies for multiple-choice questions. Make sure your skills at organizing essays and spoken responses are also sufficient for an improved score on your IELTS retake.
Were you feeling well on test day?
In some cases, a person may have gotten a low IELTS score simply because they were ill or were not well-rested when they last took the exam. In that case, self-care and improved luck may be all you need for a successful retake!
How to Stay Motivated for Your IELTS Retake
I know that this sounds a little new age, but extensive research shows that regularly telling yourself a positive statement can actually help make that statement come true. Create a positive IELTS statement that you say to yourself every morning before you get out of bed, and every evening before you drift off to sleep.
Find Someone to Hold You Accountable
Find someone that you can rely on to regularly ask you about how you are doing with your IELTS studying. Make a commitment to work on the IELTS for a set amount of time each day, and tell your friend about that commitment. Ask them to regularly check-in to see how you are doing. Trust me, telling your friend, family member, or colleague that you didn’t do your studying today because you were tired or too busy is much harder than just letting yourself down.
Get Some Praise
It is easy to become discouraged with studying and your IELTS scores. So here, I want you to find someone else to evaluate your work. This someone needs to be able to give you regular positive encouragement on your progress, big and small. A professional ESL teacher is best; however, any native English speaker that you can regularly meet with to check your progress will be great for this.
Be sure to remind yourself regularly how far you have come. To start, set achievable, short-term goals. Maybe for IELTS Writing, you have the following goals: “By the end of week 1, I will know how to write a concise introduction. By the end of week 4, I will be able to write Task 2 within 50 minutes.” Next, evaluate yourself each week to see how you are improving. This will help refresh your confidence and remind you that your hard work is having a benefit.
Picture Your Goal
Why are you taking the IELTS exam? Are you trying to get your dream job? Do you want to have a better life to provide for your family? Find your reason, then put up a picture or note that reminds you of that reason. Put it up somewhere you will see it regularly throughout your day: on your phone, above the desk, you study at, on your bathroom mirror. Regularly reminding yourself of the end result will help keep you motivated for your IELTS retake.
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All the Best!