Think about cooking your favourite dish. You need to find all the ingredients first. Then you put them all together in the correct way in order to create something that tastes and smells beautiful. IELTS speaking is exactly the same if you are preparing for your exam.
So when thinking about your IELTS speaking test, break down the big job of “success” into different parts.
This post will explain ways to make you more efficient with your IELTS tutor. mytesthero has over 15 years experience working with IELTS students, so you are taking expert advice.
How to Work Efficiently With Your IELTS Tutor
The dangerous part of working with a tutor is that you may think you are making more progress than you really are. For example, you may be improving by making fewer grammar mistakes, due to practice, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that your IELTS speaking score is going up. If your tutor is not pushing you to improve your answers according to the test criteria, then you could be wasting time.
You can get tired after an hour of speaking with a tutor. Everyone does. In normal life, except for really good friends or in long business meetings, not many people actually sit and talk to each other for an hour! Somedays it may be possible, and some days not.
It is really important that you schedule your classes at times when you are going to have enough energy to take in the information and get your brain to do something useful with it. There is no point in going to a class if you are asleep, or want to be!
Yes, we can’t always choose the perfect schedule, but we can improve it. How? Classes with breaks. Shorter classes ( 4 hours with a 20-minute break is NOT a good idea).
We’ll get to more advice on this later…
Be Really Clear About Your Problems And Goals
Experienced tutors know what they are doing. They’ve taught many people like you before and have probably seen others prepare for an IELTS exam. If not, it is still their job to help you achieve your study goal whatever it might be, and tailor the teaching program to your needs. Your teachers want to help you to be the best you can, so give them the help they need by spending some time identifying where you feel unconfident.
The moment you decide to take an IELTS exam, tell your tutor about it. Informing about your goal early will give them time to research the exam’s requirements and structure.
If your tutor has known you for a while, they will probably immediately be able to tell what you need to focus on improving. Aware of your ambitions early, they will be able to address the pain points, and help you reach your goal in time.Tell your tutor about your specific problems. Help them to help you Click To Tweet
Plan Your Classes
If you know the date of your IELTS exam, work with your tutor to create a specific preparation schedule. It will require some planning effort but will save you time and worry long term. A good teacher will understand your need for some structure. however, be prepared for a little flexibility. Not all students are the same! And some need more time to develop certain skills than others.
Things To Consider:
- How much time do you have for classes before the exam?
- How long should each class be?
- How many classes will you devote to preparing for each part of the IELTS exam?
- What resources will you use and where to get them from?
- What you can do on your own, and what can be done in class?
Regardless of your confidence levels, you will be stressed as the exam date approaches. You are taking the IELTS exam for a good reason. Having a clearly structured approach will give you confidence that you’re on schedule and, during the exam itself, it that you have done everything you could to prepare.
Everyone who has ever taken any exam has some level of doubt or fear. This is completely normal!
Take An IELTS Mock Exam
We all hate tests and exams — they find our faults and often make us feel negative about ourselves. But identifying your mistakes is the first and essential step in correcting them.
In order to know how much you have to learn to prepare for IELTS, and devise a proper study plan, you will need to establish your level right now. Most tutors have a basic idea of your level, but finding out from an IELTS examiner is better, as an IELTS examiner can clearly explain your problems.
Ask your tutor to arrange an IELTS mock exam with you. A mock exam is exactly the same as the real exam, except just for practice. In this way you gain experience of the exam itself (which will help you to be less nervous in the real one)
A mock exam helps you familiarise yourself with the way the exam really is, and gives you and your tutor a general picture of what exactly you need to work on.
Your tutor will probably have to search for external resources, and sample exams. There are several sites that offer these, for example:
Ask For Feedback
You might think your English level is high, and you don’t need to waste time for any preparation. You’re wrong.
Even a native speaker would have to prepare in order to achieve a top mark! The IELTS speaking test is not just a test of your ability to use grammar and vocabulary.
The skill of “knowing how to speak English” is different from the skill of “passing an IELTS exam”.
Very often even top learners lose points on exams by making simple mistakes. It’s best to pick those mistakes early and correct them to avoid being marked down.
Whether it is during the mock exam or in simply during the class, ask your tutor to provide criticism of your performance. This doesn’t mean asking them to be rude about you. You need constructive criticism -identifying mistakes and suggesting ways to correct them.
Knowing you did something wrong is the fist step on the way.to getting it right!
Also: ask for explanations. If you don’t understand your tutor’s comments, if their advice isn’t clear, ask them to clarify.It’s more efficient to correct past mistakes than work on new material. Click To Tweet
Work Together In A Positive Way
Working with a tutor can take some time and effort on both sides, so be patient. Students often take one of two approaches:
- They treat their tutor as their enemy. This is a reaction of students who aren’t used to having their mistakes pointed out — they become defensive, and try to avoid any situation that will provoke criticism.
- They treat their tutor as their servant. Students might think that because they hired a teacher, they will magically transfer all the English knowledge into their heads. You can’t buy an IELTS 8.0 in speaking. You have to work for it.
Both of these approaches lead to slower improvement. They make life more difficult tutor and make cooperation hard. Remember that you are working as a team to achieve success.
Think of your tutor as a sidekick in a superhero film where you are the leading character. You are Batman and they are Robin. You share the same goal. The tutor will happily support you. you can’t avoid it— it is you who has to do the hard work of learning.
Tell, Plan, Suggest, Ask, Work — by following these tips you’ll make your classes run smoothly and efficiently.
Ready For Feedback on Your IELTS speaking?