Opening up your IELTS results to a lower score than you hoped can be disappointing, but there are several ways that you can help to improve your situation.
1. Check if your university/program will still accept you.
If you are only .5 of a score below your target (for example, a 6.0 rather than 6.5), your university or program might still accept you, on the condition that you take extra English classes. Whilst some might still say no, you should always ask before you retake the test, just in case.
2. Join an intensive IELTS course before you retake the test.
Many people who are disappointed with their IELTS score book a new test immediately. However, if you do not study, your score will not improve. Ideally, an intensive IELTS course with a qualified teacher will help you to better understand the test and improve your performance. If you are below a 5.5, you should ideally join a lower IELTS class to help you to work at your level.
3. Join an English language course.
If your score is low, then your English language skills are more of a problem than your IELTS skills. Whilst you can do a lower IELTS class, if you have more time or need a high score, you can join a General English class for a few months to help you to focus on grammar and general skills.
4. Don't lose hope!
IELTS, like any exam, is difficult and you should not feel bad for not getting the score you want. You can do it, and this is just a sign that you need more time to get to that level.
5. Think about doing a different exam.
Many universities and other places ask for IELTS, but also accept other exams. Cambridge exams, like First and Advanced, Trinity exams like GESE or ISE and TOEIC or TOEFL can be used for many different applications and you might prefer to do these exams instead. Talk to your teacher about the exams and try past papers of these other tests to see if you feel better with one of those.
Do you have any tips for IELTS students or is this you? Go to our IELTS page to see how we can help!