A big problem for many students looking to take the IELTS exam is that some schools will put them in a General English class, with an extra IELTS class. We at Leeds Language Academy do not agree with this. This will improve that student's English language ability overall, but they will not see a big improvement in their IELTS scores. Here is why.
1. Students need exam strategies.
A big problem for students who take IELTS is that the time in the test is very short and students need to know how to answer the questions quickly. General English cannot focus on these specific exam skills enough. For example, you do not usually write an essay or read graphs in General English, but these are very important for IELTS.
To improve your IELTS scores, you need to understand that types of questions in the test and what the questions are testing you on. Then you can learn how to do those skills better.
2. IELTS topics are different to General English topics.
General English talks about shopping, films and memories. IELTS, especially in the Academic IELTS, will ask you about global warming, science, finance and psychology. An intensive IELTS course will help you to understand these ideas so you can answer questions about these topics.
3. General English can be too relaxed.
Most students who take General English are looking to improve their language to use with friends and family, and usually are planning to study for a long time. On the other hand, IELTS students usually have deadlines to take their tests and need to do as much practice as they can. Having an IELTS only class means that you are focused on the exam, and not worrying about not doing enough work for it.
4. You need a teacher who understands IELTS.
Like any exam, IELTS should be taught by teachers who understand the test as they can help you to improve. A General English teacher is not an IELTS teacher and will not be able to support you to improve your score.
An IELTS teacher must have experience of teaching on IELTS courses, and must understand the way IELTS works and what you can do to move up the levels.
At Leeds Language Academy, IELTS students do IELTS, IELTS and more IELTS. That's why over 90% of students who took our IELTS course last year got the score they wanted on their first try. Go to our IELTS page for more information.