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IELTS Reading: Tips and Tricks for Success

This is the last article of our four-part series on mastering the IELTS exam. If you missed any of the previous sections, you can access them at the links in the post. Please note upfront, international healthcare professionals must pass the academic version of IELTS and not the generic version. The tests are different so make sure you take the right one.
IELTS Reading: Tips and Tricks for Success
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This is the third installment of a four-part series focused on mastering the IELTS examination. If you missed either the listening or the speaking portions, simply click the links. This week we’ll provide tips for success in the IELTS writing section. Please note...

IELTS Writing: Tips and Tricks for Success
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IELTS Speaking: Tips and Tricks for Success

Internationally trained nurses and medical technologists must have a Speaking section score of 7 on the IELTS Academic exam to meet U.S VisaScreen standards. Obtaining a VisaScreen is mandatory to ultimately get a U.S. EB-3 visa, which is why IELTS is so vital....

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This is the first of a four-part series focused on each of the sections of the IELTS examination. Each week from now, we will provide valuable advice to help you ace the IELTS! This week we'll provide tips for success in the IELTS listening section, but first a bit...

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Three Facts About IELTS That May Surprise You

IELTS is one of those high-profile tests that tend to intimidate people a bit. Perhaps it's not the difficulty of the test itself, but the impact it can have on the test taker's personal life that causes the most unrest. But here are three facts that should make...

IELTS Test Prep

5 Highly Effective Habits for IELTS Prep

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PassportUSA has worked with hundreds of successful language exam passers, so we have a good idea of what good IELTS prep looks like. The following is a short list of five highly effective habits for IELTS preparation:


1. Begin IELTS test preparation well in advance.

Cramming is often used as a means of memorizing large amounts of information in a short amount of time. It is often used by candidates who delay preparing until shortly before their scheduled IELTS Exam. Bad idea!

Putting off learning and cramming before the test is not an effective strategy to use when preparing for any exam and trying to cram for IELTS is a sure-fire way to ensure you’ll be taking it again. Don’t make this mistake. We know you’re busy and you have lives to live in the meantime but think about what you really want.

Take charge of your learning! You are a healthcare professional. You have endured the stress of passing many high-stakes exams, along with NCLEX, you’re obviously able to achieve excellence! Building and strengthening your English language skills requires commitment and diligence in learning and time-management – that doesn’t just begin the week of your exam. Begin practicing well in advance, with just a short time each day, and you’ll find yourself equipped to succeed on test day.


2. Find a friend or mentor who’s fluent in English.

This is especially true for people who simply hate the traditional method of studying. Some people learn better by doing instead of listening. That’s totally understandable. If that’s your case, you need to find someone you know – a family member, a friend, a coworker – and routinely engage them in English.

Don’t be discouraged if they’re always correcting you – that’s the point! Be open to any feedback. You know that you need to achieve a 6.5 overall and a 7 in speaking on IELTS, so begin studying well in advance.

Find someone who can speak English well. By routinely speaking with this person, you’re actively learning and improving both your English listening and speaking abilities! By chit-chatting!

If you don’t know many people who are fluent in English, that’s fine. You can practice listening by watching English movies or television shows. Use subtitles occasionally if you must. Download podcasts and watch videos online for more English-speaking material. For reading practice – you’re doing it right now! Use the internet and search topics that interest you. Read them, and write about them somewhere. This might not sound like much, but if you are constantly listening, speaking and reading English, well before your scheduled exam, you’ll find yourself needing to study less as the language becomes easier for you.


3. Know your test.

Uncertainty is a key ingredient of fear. The less you know, the more you assume. So end the myth and find out precisely what you’re up against.

Prepare to sit for two hours and 45 minutes for IELTS. You can find more information on IELTS here. You need to know precisely what you’re up against. Akin to point No. 1, and we can’t stress this enough – proper planning is largely indicative of success.

Following directions, or the inability to do so, can trip a lot of people up, especially on IELTS. You’d be surprised to learn how many people have failed this exam, not because of their English proficiency, but because of simply not following the directions!

Many IELTS takers will just assume all the directions are the same the further they get into the test. This is a critical mistake.

Is the question asking for a letter answer, or a complete word? Are you using “Not Given” in the YES/NO/NOT GIVEN segment? So many people just assume the answer is YES or NO, but do not forget about NOT GIVEN. Reading the instructions is the easiest way to prevent yourself from failing, assuming you’ve put in all the hard work up to this point.


4. Do not memorize. 

Many candidates who go on to fail this exam thought they were prepared. This is because they memorized sentences, questions, they memorized certain paragraphs and try to use them whenever possible. For example, there are many practice exams you can take for IELTS. But that’s all they are – practice. Too many make the mistake of just practicing these questions repeatedly.

Practice exams are never a bad resource, but they aren’t what make or break your real exam. Memorizing those questions and answers do little for you on test day, when you’re of course taking an entirely different test.

English is a skill. You sharpen skills with practice. Trying to memorize essays is not only a bad idea, it’s actually harder to do! English is hard enough without having to recall someone else’s thoughts word-for-word, and furthermore, many examiners can identify this!

Trying to memorize English instead of truly learning it will result in an awkward scenario like this. Follow these steps and ensure this isn’t you on test day.


5. Stay calm, test on.

This is why step No. 1 is important. Time management is an important skill needed to succeed in these tests, especially in the shorter IELTS. The speaking portion of the exams seem to be most challenging, as test-takers will literally go blank and are suddenly at a loss for words when they need them most. This will often spark panic.

Breathe. This happens to almost everyone. Know that you are not alone or unique – English is hard, and when forced to recite it under stressful conditions, the brain can simply lock.

The best thing you can do is keep calm and do not scramble for words. Take a deep breath and let it come to you. Remember, you’ve been putting in all this work to prepare for this moment of test taking. You are ready!

You have been speaking, listening, reading, and writing in English. You may have used online preparation materials, attended a face-to-face review center, or had access to a great preparation book. You have been practicing speaking in English with someone you know, getting correct feedback on what you got wrong, you learned from it, and the smartest thing you did was that you began all this well before the week of your exam.

What do you think of these steps? Have you taken IELTS already? For more information on the IELTS exam watch our IELTS 101 video.

*If you already passed NCLEX and signed our contract, we can assist you with IELTS. Please contact your most current assigned PassportUSA representative for more details.

If you are a registered nurse interested in joining PassportUSA, be sure to register below.

Register Now

5 Highly Effective Habits for IELTS Prep

Reintroducing the PassportUSA IELTS Academy

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Many registered nurses don’t know that PassportUSA will help them pass IELTS. Simply pass NCLEX, interview with us, sign our contract, and we will prepare you to pass IELTS!

What is the PassportUSA IELTS Academy?

  • The Academy is available to anyone that has signed our contract and needs to pass or renew his/her IELTS.
  • You get a personal one-on-one coach (one of our PassportUSA representatives) to help you set goals and achieve them.
  • We offer 100% online preparation with a 1-year unlimited access to the Road to IELTS program. It covers listening, reading, writing, and speaking.
  • We will reimburse up to $120 for enrollment in an in-person IELTS prep course. *Your choice of review center must be approved in advance by PassportUSA, see our IELTS Academy page for additional requirements.
  • If you strongly pass our free predictive exam, we will sponsor your IELTS test fee.
  • When your confirmed test date approaches within 30 days, you will also get the opportunity to participate in Skype speaking sessions with our IELTS Manager and receive feedback from her.

Click here to view the PassportUSA IELTS Academy Diagram.

Click here to view the official PassportUSA IELTS Academy page.

Reach out to your most current assigned PassportUSA representative if you have any questions and be sure to check out more great articles in the Employee Education Center to help you succeed in your new life in the USA!

Reintroducing the PassportUSA IELTS Academy

IELTS Reading: Tips and Tricks for Success

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This is the last article of our four-part series on mastering the IELTS exam. If you missed any of the previous sections, you can access them at the links below:

Please note upfront, international healthcare professionals must pass the academic version of IELTS and not the generic version. The tests are different so make sure you take the right one.

IELTS Reading Overview

IELTS reading is the second part of the IELTS exam and lasts 60 minutes. There are 40 questions to answer in three-four passages. In total, there are 14 different types of IELTS reading questions:

  • Matching heading
  • True/false/not given, yes/no/not given
  • Matching paragraph information
  • Summary completion
  • Sentence completion
  • Multiple choice
  • List selection
  • Choose a title
  • Categorization
  • Matching sentence endings
  • Table completion
  • Flow chart completion
  • Diagram completion
  • Short answers

It is important to note that your answers must be submitted on the answers sheetthere is no time allotted for transferring answers, like in the listening section. Nothing you write on any scrap paper will be marked. The passages will get progressively harder as you move forward, but there are surefire methods to ensure your success on IELTS reading.

Tips and Tricks for IELTS Reading

First and foremost, you should try to understand the main idea of the passages, and there are ways to do this. Pay attention to headings and special formatting (capitalized letters, bolded, italicized or underlined, which denote importance). Then skim the passage and try to piece together the message. Reading quickly, or skimming, is necessary because you will not have time to read slow and carefully. Moreover, you must be aware of your time – remember, you have only 60 minutes. So allot no more than two-three minutes to skim these passages, and identify key words to make the passages easier to understand.

If you still do not understand the passage after skimming it – do not panic. You’re not expected to be an expert on the subject and every answer to every question is located within the passages you skim. Remember, the words you use in your answer are the words from the passage.

  • Some questions will have word limits. You’d be surprised how many people forget to simply check the word limit.
  • Some questions will ask you to complete a sentence (completion type questions), and request that you complete a sentence by writing NO MORE THAN ONE word.
    Sample question: Ian goes to work in the ____________. If the answer is morning, just write morning. You should not write “in the morning” because that is 3 words.
  • Always check your spelling and grammar, which you’ve been doing already if you’ve been studying for IELTS writing section.
    Question types such as summary and sentence completion will demand proper grammar.
  • Keywords – Learn to rely on keywords, which you’ll spot easily. The keywords of passages are often dates, times, names or locations. Underline them when skimming so you can quickly return to them if you need the information to answer a question.
  • Practice vocabulary – Increasing your English vocabulary is a surefire way to ace IELTS. There are a lot of ways to memorize vocabulary, so you’ll need to stick to a method that works best for you. A common practice to learning vocabulary is keeping a list of the English words you don’t know and adding to it every time you encounter a new one. Then, at least once a day, study that list.
    Important note about vocabulary – knowing when and which form of a word to use is as important as knowing what the word means. On your vocabulary list, include common phrases (common ways a word is used) for every word, and jot down a sentence using the word. For example: Phenomenon

In the early 1980s, US doctors began to notice a strange phenomenon.

  • Remember to use singular and plural properly – another easy way to ensure a higher score!
  • Leave no question blank – there is no consequence or penalty for wrong answers.

Free IELTS Reading Resources

The best way you can ensure IELTS reading success is by practicing. While this may sound obvious and boring, the reality is that there is no substitute for routine practice. And the best way to practice for IELTS reading is by taking practice IELTS reading tests.

The practice exams at TakeIELTS.BritishCouncil.org are outstanding resources to help you prepare for any section of the IELTS exam . Click here for the free IELTS reading test.

English Lessons with Emma is a remarkable Youtube channel that offers proven methods to pass IELTS. Click here for Emma’s “IELTS Reading: Top 10 Tips”

And of course, PassportUSA still has one of the better IELTS prep programs in existence. Ask your recruiter how your International Processing Associate can enroll you in one of the most fantastic online learning programs we offer. These programs include:

Road to IELTS: a comprehensive 100% online preparation course designed by British Council IELTS experts

  • Covers Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking
  • Practise with over 300 interactive activities
  • 17 tutorial videos by British Council Experts
  • Mock papers for Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing
  • Instant feedback in exercises

Active Reading: Active Reading helps you improve your reading skills. You will read a variety of interesting texts and learn many new skills such as skimming, scanning, and reading for specific information under timed circumstances. Active Reading has six levels, from Elementary to Advanced, and caters to all needs. Learn to read quicker and more efficiently!

Tense Buster: The most popular program, helps learners develop their confidence in 33 key grammar areas from the simple present at Elementary level to phrasal verbs at Advanced. Although grammar is not tested as a subject on the IELTS test, candidates are expected to be able to demonstrate a strong knowledge and proficiency when speaking and writing. This requires a strong proficiency in grammar use.

**Scoring an overall score of 6.5 on the IELTS Academic exam is not easy, but with proper planning, you can mitigate the stress and feel confident.

Additionally, test takers seeking a US visa should feel fortunate as the overall score required in the UK is raised to 7.0.

*If you already passed NCLEX and signed our contract, we can assist you with IELTS. Please contact your most current assigned PassportUSA representative for more details.

If you are interested in joining us, simply click the link below to register.

Register Now

IELTS Reading: Tips and Tricks for Success
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Visa Bulletin

The Visa Bulletin for February 2019 is out, and the EB-3 priority date for nurses in the Philippines has moved forward 40 days to 8/1/2017. Here are some other notable items from the bulletin: EB-2 dates for the Philippines and all countries but India and...

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