IELTS Secrets: Why Time Is Your Biggest Enemy And How You Can Conquer It?

Want to succeed in the IELTS test? You must learn how to use your time wisely. As you probably know the IELTS test has four sections. The listening section takes about 30 minutes during which you have to answer 40 questions. That means you get less than one minute to answer each question. Other sections are equally demanding. So how does one improve one’s chances of doing well in the test?

In the IELTS test each question counts the same towards your final score. That means you must never waste extra time on any particular question. If you can’t answer a question within the time span allotted for it, you must quickly move on to the next question. Sure, the questions are not of the same level of difficulty. That means you will be able to answer some of them in much less time. Use that extra time for answering those questions you skipped earlier.

In the reading section you will be given two passages for reading. The passages are not in the order of difficulty. If you spend too much time on the first passage, you will have to rush through the second passage.  Don’t give in to the temptation to pause and figure out the hardest questions. That is hardly worth your time because all questions carry the same weightage.

Pace Yourself

Don’t forget to wear a watch to the IELTS test. Check the time after every few questions and make sure that you are on schedule. You have a little over half a minute to answer the questions in the listening and reading sections. Monitor your progress continuously against the clock or your watch.

If you are behind schedule, you will need to speed up, but don’t panic. Guessing is fine, but don’t guess at random choices. Read the questions quickly and see if you can eliminate one or two answer choices. That is usually possible.

If you find any question particularly difficult, skip it right away. You are less likely to get it right anyway. Remember that your goal is to answer the maximum number of questions within the allotted time. If you have time at the end, go back and finish the questions that you had left behind.

Slow down a bit if you constantly find yourself ahead of time. You are more likely to catch careless mistakes by working more slowly.


Don’t waste time reading the passages in their entirety. You are not supposed to completely the understand the passage. All that you need to do is to scan the passage and get a rough idea of what it is about. You can return to the passage for each question, so there is no need to memorize it.

IELTS Preparation Tips

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I'm Manjusha. This is my blog where I give IELTS preparation tips.

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