6 Tips to Improve Your IELTS Academic Writing Score

by Roshan Patroo

For many students, the writing section of the IELTS test can be one of the most challenging. The good news is that careful preparation will go a long way in helping to get the band score you need. Use the six tips below to maximize your chances of success in the writing section of your upcoming IELTS test.
  1. Plan your time effectively.
Since the number of words you need to write for part two of IELTS (250 words) is longer than part one (150 words), make sure you plan your time to reflect this. This is particularly important because approximately two-thirds of your mark is given to task two. Therefore, you want to spend about two-thirds of your time (approximately 40 minutes) in this section.
  1. Read the question carefully.
Many test-takers rush into answering the writing question without reading it carefully. Do not do this! For part one, the task usually asks you to summarize, select, and make comparisons. If you see these words, underline them—they are important! When you are completing the task, go through your work and make sure you have summarized the information, selected key points and made comparisons.
For task two, cover all parts of the task.  For example, if the task asks you to give advantages and disadvantages, ensure that you have given both. Similarly, if you are asked to give your opinion, make sure you have done so and that it is clear.
  1. Include an “overview” in part one.
An overview is a summary of information that doesn’t include every single detail. For part one of the academic writing section, you are usually required to write an overview (that is, summarize the information). This is an important part of the task and can be included at the beginning or end.
  1. Keep it simple in the part two essay.
Grammar and vocabulary are important factors in assessing your writing band, but some students believe they must write extremely long sentences or use very complicated vocabulary in order to get a higher band. This is not true! The important thing is that your ideas are easy to understand.
Don’t try to use complicated words that you may spell incorrectly; replace these words with ones that you are more confident using.
Also, remember that the quality of your English is what is being assessed. Don’t spend too long thinking about whether your ideas are “smart” or “intellectual” enough. Think of ideas that are easy to explain; then concentrate on the grammatical forms and vocabulary you need to express these ideas on paper.
  1. Be realistic.
Becoming proficient at any language takes effort and time. If you score a band or two lower than you would like (for example you need a band 7, but you get a 5 or 6), it is not advisable to take the test again immediately because you will most likely score a similar band. Take the time to practice your writing skills before you take the test again.
You can even take a practice test (for a small fee), which will be marked by an official IELTS examiner. Your practice test will include a band score and detailed feedback. This exercise will help you know how ready you are to take the test and get the band score you need. This service is called IELTS Progress Check.
  1. Help is available.
In preparation for your IELTS academic writing, you need to have a plan. There are a host of free online practice materials to help you practice. If you need more help, invest in a teacher who will be able to tell you where you may be going wrong and what to improve on.
Practice for the test as much as you can. You can never be too overprepared.

For information on IELTS practice materials and courses, visit the British Council IELTS Canada prepare page. Good luck with your IELTS preparation!

Source: WES.org

Finding Canadian Education Programs and Scholarships

by Kevin Kamal

Contrary to some perceptions, Canada is not equal to the winter season! Actually, all Canadian cities experience four seasons throughout the year. With its vast, beautiful geography, rich history of indigenous people, and a national policy for multiculturalism, Canada is a gem for prospective international students.
Canada has a formalized immigration policy and annually welcomes approximately 250,000 immigrants. Canada is one of the few countries with a well-established pathway from being an international student to becoming a permanent resident and a Canadian citizen.
Canadian international student tuition fees and living expenses are one of the lowest among popular English-speaking countries. Additionally, the country has many internationally renowned universities. According to one report, a total of 26 Canadian universities ranked within the top 800 universities worldwide. Of these, three top universities in Canada are ranked within the global top 50, and a further 10 in the top 300.
These numbers must be looked at based on the total number of universities in Canada. With about 36 million in total population and 13 provinces and territories, there are about 100 universities and over 125 publicly funded colleges to choose from.
If you are considering studying in Canada, you should familiarize yourself with the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) and its Student Centre. You will find CBIE’s Search Canadian Programs and Scholarships tool very handy for gathering essential information on universities and colleges in Canada.

This online tool allows you to search Canadian universities and colleges by name, the program of study, undergraduate- and graduate-level programs, and, yes, available scholarships. Just like the country itself, the tool is bilingual and it is available in French and English.
Source: WES.org

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