Common Mistakes to Avoid in IELTS Writing and Speaking Tests

Common Mistakes to Avoid in IELTS Writing and Speaking Tests

If you’re aiming for a high score on the IELTS then read on to find out the best ways to avoid common mistakes.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is a crucial examination for those aiming to study or work in English-speaking countries.

The test is scored against a nine-band scale. Your scores can be as high as 9, provided you follow some smart tips for your IELTS preparation.

This article will highlight the most common mistakes students make while attempting the IELTS exam. You will also learn effective IELTS writing tips, IELTS preparation hacks, guidance on how to prepare for IELTS Writing, top IELTS speaking topics and much more.

What are the most Common Mistakes in IELTS Writing and Speaking?

Mistake 1: Negligence

Some of the most common mistakes students make in the IELTS Writing and Speaking tests have to do with negligence.

While you may think you know your English, remember that the IELTS test is set to the standards of the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Foreign Languages) scale.

Consider re-learning the English language through the prescribed study material for IELTS and through support courses like the IELTS preparation course at LSBF.

Mistake 2: Not Enough Practice

While IELTS is an English test, you may need to practice your English language skills in all four categories before appearing for the exam.

Consider support courses, study material and English language classes that can help you sharpen your listening, writing, speaking, and reading skills.

Grammar mistakes in IELTS are the next most common issue faced by students worldwide. Learn English grammar from scratch and do not ignore your English grammar foundation.

Mistake 3: Not Using English Theory in Real Life

A famous saying about learning a new language goes like this: Language must be caught not taught!

How do babies learn a language so quickly? It’s because they are exposed to it day and night, and wanting to communicate, they subconsciously learn the language.

Consider exposing yourself to native English speakers. Watch English classical movies, read novels, and try to read top English newspapers. If you sign up for IELTS support courses, you can even communicate with language experts daily and have your doubts and mistakes rectified.

What is IELTS?

If you are wondering where to start your preparation for your higher studies abroad, IELTS is the first step.

It is an English language proficiency test, that aims to showcase how fluent you are in writing, speaking, listening, and reading the English language.

If you want to go abroad for your students, you will most likely study for the IELTS Academic test rather than the IELTS General Training test.

Did you know?

The IELTS English standard is set to CEFR standards which measures your English language fluency against the European standard for foreign languages.

This test is one among the many accepted English language proficiency exams worldwide.

Are there any Alternatives to IELTS?

In total, there are about 3–4 internationally accepted English language proficiency tests, out of which IELTS stands as a popular option for many students. (Source: SIUK)

  1. Duolingo (DET)
  2. TOEFL (iBT)
  3. Pearson (PTE Academic)
  4. Password English Language Test

Did you know?

Scoring a 7–8 grade point average in the nine-band IELTS exam is equal to scoring a C1 Level English Proficiency on the CEFR scale.

According to CEFR standards, foreign language ability is divided into categories, A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2.

Scoring a 9-band score on IELTS implies that your foreign language ability according to CEFR is C2.

How to Prepare for the IELTS Speaking Test

Preparing for the IELTS Speaking test is a vital step in ensuring success. One common mistake is not practising speaking English regularly. Here are some ways you can incorporate practice on a daily basis:

  • Engaging in daily conversations
  • Participating in discussion groups
  • Seeking feedback from native speakers can significantly improve your spoken English
  • Be familiar with various topics across different categories like education, environment, technology, travel, entertainment, etc.
  • Practice speaking on unfamiliar topics to improve your fluency and vocabulary.
  • Stick to simple words if you are unsure of yourself so you can avoid errors.
  • Speak clearly and confidently, maintaining appropriate eye contact and body language.

Additionally, familiarise yourself with the IELTS Speaking topics.

IELTS Speaking Topics

The IELTS Speaking test consists of three parts, each with different topics:

Part 1 (Introduction & Interview)

  1. General Topics:

    These cover your background, studies/work, hobbies, family, hometown, etc.


  • Describe your daily routine.
  • What do you like to do in your free time?
  • Tell me about your family.
  • What is your dream job?
  1. Current Events:

    You may be asked to disclose your opinions and awareness of local/global events, environmental issues, technological advancements, etc.

Part 2 (Individual Long Turn)

  1. Description:

    You'll get a cue card prompting you to describe a person, place, object, event, or experience.


  • Describe someone you admire.
  • Talk about a place you'd like to visit.
  • Describe a memorable journey you took.
  1. Opinion:

    Some cards might ask you to share your opinion on a specific topic.


  • What are the benefits of learning a new language?
  • Do you think technology is making our lives better?

Part 3 (Discussion)

  1. The examiner builds on your answers from Part 2, asking more in-depth questions and engaging in a discussion. You can expect questions related to the social, cultural, or global implications of the topic of your choice.
  2. Abstract Topics: The discussion might even shift to more abstract or hypothetical themes related to the initial topic. Be prepared to express your opinions and engage in a broader exchange of ideas that indulge in philosophy and life perspective.

How to Prepare for IELTS Writing Test

Like speaking, effective preparation for the IELTS Writing test involves regular practice. Many candidates overlook the importance of time management during the exam. Make sure to time yourself well when you attempt the test.

The IELTS Writing Task 1 may ask you to write a report on a global/local event, while the IELTS Writing Task 2 may ask you to write an essay on a topic that is close to your heart.

The questions differ from year to year, however, the common format of the tasks remains the same. It’s helpful to practice writing reports and essays regularly.

  • Read Widely: Expose yourself to diverse writing styles in academic journals, newspapers, and magazines.
  • Use Resources: Explore online resources like official IELTS websites, test-prep platforms, and YouTube channels for guidance and practice materials.
  • Grammar: Review and practice essential grammar rules, focusing on areas like tenses, sentence structures, and verb conjugations. This way you can avoid the common grammar mistakes while attempting IELTS.
  • Sample Essays: Analyse high-scoring model essays to understand structure, language usage, and effective strategies.

How can I Avoid Mistakes in the IELTS Exam?

  • Regular mock tests can help you identify areas of weakness and focus on improvement.
  • Seek feedback from teachers or language experts to understand your specific challenges.
  • Consistency is key. Practising regularly and dedicating enough time to preparation is crucial.
  • Proofread your writing carefully to avoid grammatical errors or typos.

In conclusion, success in the IELTS exam is not just about language proficiency but a test of your skill and self-expression. The importance of speaking English and being able to express yourself well are some main factors to consider when attempting the IELTS exam.

By preparing adequately, understanding the common pitfalls, and implementing strategies to overcome them, you can increase your chances of achieving a high score.

Conversely, you may also choose an English language programme from LSBF. Once you complete this course, you may be exempted from producing IELTS scores to gain admission into courses at LSBF. This is one of the many plus points of studying at the London School of Business and Finance in Singapore.

LSBF SG also offers you world-class training in IELTS and other competitive programmes like ACCA, CPA, and much more. LSBF SG has won many awards for its comprehensive curriculum, teaching quality, and innovation. Consider joining LSBF for your higher studies this year.

Click here to learn more!

This article was written by Rebecca Paulraj and edited by Candice McDowell



What are the don'ts in IELTS Writing?

  • Don't ignore the word count requirements: Stick to the specified number of words for each task to avoid penalties.
  • Don't overlook proofreading: Review your writing for grammatical errors and coherence.

What should you not do in IELTS Reading?

  • Try not to spend too much time on a single question. Manage your time effectively to answer all questions.
  • Try to not use complicated words as you may get the pronunciation or spelling wrong, resulting in a penalty.
  • Do not use a lot of filler words such as um, so, okay, yeah etc. in your speech.
  • Read exactly what is given to you to read. If you add anything new to the text, it could result in a penalty.

What is the most common topic in IELTS Reading?

The most common topics in IELTS Reading vary, but they often include subjects related to education, health, technology, and the environment. Familiarise yourself with these themes to enhance your reading preparation.



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