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“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hours a day” – said Zig Ziglar, explaining that our lack of focus is the primary reason for most of us being unsuccessful.

Lack of focus is a common factor in all failed preparation strategies and unfortunately it escapes our attention repeatedly. We put in a lot of energy but without a focussed approach and proper strategy we fail to get the desired result.

It is the same when preparing for IELTS. We often make mistakes that dilute our efforts. Remember IELTS has four sections and not one or two: Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. We tend to focus more on sections we are good at, and worry a lot about vocabulary. It is important but it is not everything!

Do not forget that the final score is based on the average of all four sections and not just on one or two of them. The test is ‘a means to an end,’ and not an end in itself and the danger of only concentrating on the test is that ‘you are not seeing the wood for the trees!’

Your focus should be to improve your language skills and not on the scores of the test for sooner or later they will follow your abilities. Rather than memorizing things, use English in all aspects of your life, from general conversations to joining activities where tasks are involved. Write down your mistakes and identify your weak areas and have someone correct you. No shame in that.

Finally, in addition to the booklet, study material and practice tests are available on the net.  However, your focus should be to hone your language skills and not to memorize for a competition.