1. Take A Break
Whilst for some the first thing they may want to do is “get back on the horse”. Unless you are pushed for time, consider taking a break to get re-energised/refreshed, so that you can then return with more vigour to your IELTS preparation strategy.
2. Refocus And Plan Your Next Exam
Think about when you are taking your next exam. Unless you are planning on a regrade, if you assume that your grade was somewhat accurate, you will now have an idea of where you stand. “Pick yourself up” and start again in your attempt to “scale the mountain”.
3. Identify What Went Wrong
To paraphrase an expression, if you do not learn from your mistakes, then you may make them again. Key in preparing for the exam could be finding out what went wrong last time. A skilled teacher for example, will advise about handwriting that is not sufficiently legible and that by itself may be a/the key reason for repeating the writing section. Do proper analysis to learn what you can and then try not to repeat these errors again.
4. Make A Strategy
Just as it could be useful to have a strategy when taking the IELTS exam for the first time, when repeating the exam for an IELTS retake, try to have an approach so that you can plan your time accordingly.
5. Practice Regularly
You may have heard of the expression in English “use it or lose it”. Just like riding a bicycle where the longer you do not use one, the more time it may take to get skilled again at riding fast, the same goes for learning a language. Keep practising regularly to “keep your eye in”.
6. Consider Hiring A Teacher
If you failed before by self-study, then that might point towards the requirement of needing a tutor. For instance, if you failed in the speaking and writing sections, then a skilled tutor can guide you towards the strategies and tips you need, whilst helping to reduce the errors you have been making.
7. Keep Checking Your Level
Do regular practice exams, to see your level. In case your level should still be higher after a sufficient period of study for a section/sections, then think about checking if your strategies are sufficiently organised, etc..
8. Upgrade Where Possible
For the IELTS speaking and writing, think about “upgrading” your grammar and vocabulary. If you are using a more generic word like “people”, consider improving it to one like “individuals”. If your sentences are overly short, work on making them longer and more complex.
Bear in mind that you are only trying to get a certain percentage (not 100%). Therefore, try to be philosophical in your approach: for instance, if you need a 7, then it may not be important at all if you get an 8. Hence in the listening and reading exams, you are only trying to get a certain amount of the questions right out of 40 marks, not all 40. You would thus be able to get some questions incorrect and still pass.
10. Be Prepared For The Exam Day
Aim for sufficient preparation for the IELTS exam day for your IELTS retake. Have you done enough homework and are you going into the exam with a positive mindset? Remember that some people have passed the exam after failing multiple times before, so work constructively and with useful strategies.
What’s next for your IELTS preparation? If you are looking for a highly experienced UK native IELTS tutor, check out IELTS tutor Philip at The Profs, who has helped many IELTS students to pass during numerous years. But before that, check out the rest of his series on How to Prepare for the IELTS.