IELTS is a language proficiency exam to test your English on different skill sets such as reading, writing, speaking and listening. And since it is a language test, you can not go easy on the spellings, as the spellings are of prime importance. The score is calculated on the number of correct answers which means the answers that are accurate and correctly spelled. Although if a word is misspelled the answer is marked wrong, yet there is no negative marking for the same but you definitely lose points.
Each module of the IELTS exam is marked on the accuracy of your spellings, grammar, besides the other factors.
Spellings play a crucial role especially in IELTS Listening and Writing module. Whereas your answers written in the reading module are also checked for their spelling accuracy.
1. Role of Spellings in Listening module: While attempting the Listening module, there is a set of questions that are based on the audio played during the exam and whatever you hear over the audio has to be answered in exactly the same way as you hear including the capitalization of the words. If the answers are spelled incorrectly the answer is marked wrong. If you are in doubt about the spelling of the word, write the most probable and commonly used spelling for that word and if there would be any variation in the spelling, it is usually spelled out in the audio. Even the words that need a hyphen should be spelled correctly, as they are compound words where two words are treated as one word eg. daughter-in-law, runner-up, etc. If the hyphen is missed and not used where required, in that case too the answer will be marked wrong and you lose one mark. So, brushing up your knowledge of compound nouns will help you a great deal in getting your responses correct and just so you know the compound nouns are further of three types:
One word compound nouns: They are those compound nouns that are written as one consolidated word, for example, laptop, phonebook, bookmark, butterfly, etc.
Two or more than two words compound nouns: They are those compound nouns which means one thing but are written as two/ more different words, for example, ice cream, drawing room, etc.
Hyphenated compound nouns:They are those compound nouns where two different words are separated with a hyphen like full-time, runner-up, etc.
2. Role of Spellings in Writing module: When writing your tasks in the writing module the accuracy of your spellings fetches you a high score and it projects your level of accuracy in the language. The writing task is assessed on two main things, one is the grammar and spellings, and the other is the word count which should be at least 250 in task 2 and 150 in task 1. If there are errors in the spellings or grammar you lose marks. Moreover, when you are writing your language exam, it is imperative to write the language in a correct order including the flow of thoughts and the accuracy of the words. Usually, spelling mistakes are made in words that are spoken exactly in the same way but while writing the spelling their meaning differs eg. excess and access, practice and practice and there are many such words that possibly go wrong. The best way to handle such words is to check their meaning and their usage and then use them appropriately. Always review your written work for any possible spelling mistakes and in case you have, jot down those words and rewrite them so that you do not make the same mistake again. If you want to score high bands in IELTS, correct spellings are of utmost importance. Learn the confusing words or words with difficult spellings, for example, if I want to write: Before writing my tasks, I conceive my ideas in my mind, then pen it down on the sheet. In this statement, the sentence looks correct but the spelling of “conceive” is wrong. Largely, these kinds of words are misspelled where you do not realize the mistake and you tend to lose marks. Always ensure that you review your work closely.
Few more general words that are spelled incorrectly are
- The word fulfil is written wrongly as fullfil or fulfill,
- The word Separate is written wrongly as seperate,
- The word Together is written incorrectly as Togather,
- The word Definitely is misspelled as Definately”
- The word Government is sometimes wrongly written as Goverment.
So, you really have to be careful about your spellings, if you are aiming for higher bands in IELTS.
3. Role of Spellings in Reading module: In the reading section, you tend to make fewer spelling mistakes as you have to find out the answers from the given text or passage and usually you have to copy the answer from that passage. But in some cases, a synonym of a given word is to be written as the answer and that can possibly be misspelled. Remember that even in the reading section your answer is marked as incorrect if you misspell it, the same way as in the Listening section and you lose one mark for an incorrect response.
Also, it is very clearly stated in the exam instructions that how many words are to be used in the answer. This means for some questions you may have to write the answers in just one word, or in some, you may have to write your answers in two words or not more than three words, etc. So, the number of words mentioned in the instructions also plays a crucial role in scoring. However, there is no negative marking in the IELTS exam, but incorrect spelling makes an incorrect response due to which you get no marks, hence the number of correct responses decreases and you score fewer marks.
So, it is a good practice to write down and learn all your IELTS related words/ difficult words and even the basic words where the spellings may go wrong. Revise them on a daily basis and use them in your practice of writing tasks. This way you will ace the exam with good bands.