Does Your Eastern European Bride Need to Sit the IELTS Test?

If your Eastern European bride has a spouse visa, then usually she won’t need to sit the IELTS test (IELTS: International English Language Testing System – an exam offered by Australia and the United Kingdom & it’s widely used and accepted in every English-speaking country). However, if your Eastern European wife is planning on finding a job in an English-speaking country, she will probably have to sit the IELTS test. This is especially true if your wife is looking to find a professional job in Australia, New Zealand, Canada or the United Kingdom. If this applies to your bride, here is my advice for your beautiful wife.

Working smart is as important as working hard.

I have met many Eastern European brides who wanted to succeed in the IELTS test.  The fact that they would come to do the one-on-one training with certified tutors demonstrates that: A) They were committed and determined learners; B) Working hard alone does not solve the problem for most people. The fact that you and your Eastern European bride are reading this article right now means your wife is probably one of them – a hardworking, committed and determined IELTS candidate, yet she has not got the results that she wants.  Hence, reading this article will be a very exciting journey because finally someone is handing you the strategies to help you work smart while you are working hard at the same time.  Indeed, working smart boosts your efficiency, increases your confidence, and gets you the results!

Build English vocabulary fast.

English words fall into three categories for anyone, including native speakers of English.

  1. Dark vocabulary: words you don’t know at all;
  2. Grey vocabulary: words that you can understand in listening and reading, but you can’t use in speaking and writing;
  3. Bright vocabulary: words that you can understand in listening and reading, and you can use in speaking and writing as well.

Your goal is to move dark vocabulary into grey vocabulary, and move grey vocabulary into bright vocabulary.  This process can be illustrated with the help of the following graph:

Dark vocabulary Grey vocabulary Bright vocabulary
————————>   ———————–> ————————>

How can this process be done?  Well, the first thing your Eastern European bride must do is to buy or get an IELTS vocabulary booklet or an IELTS book which specifically teaches vocabulary, and then she uses a green highlighter to highlight grey vocabulary, and use a blue highlighter to highlight dark vocabulary in the IELTS vocabulary book/booklet. 

  1. Now there are two ways to go about this task:Intensive study – Your Eastern European wife sits down with the IELTS vocabulary book/booklet and studies the new words that she hasn’t mastered yet.  Copy each new word for five to seven times (usually five times for grey vocabulary and seven times for dark vocabulary) while saying it out loud.  In this way, you are stimulating your various senses and different parts of your body are working at the same time to help you memorize this word: your eyes can see the new word; your hand is writing down this word repeatedly; your mouth is saying this word; your ears can hear this word.  That means your brain and body are internalizing this word in this process.  After copying the new word for five to seven times (which is ideal for memory retention), you also write down its phonetic symbols, part of speech (e.g., noun, verb, adjective, etc.) and meaning.  If you don’t know phonetic symbols, then you don’t need to worry about that part.
  2. Extensive study – Your Eastern European bride can use post-it notes (AKA, sticky notes or stick on notes) of two different colors: green sticky notes and blue sticky notes.  Write down grey vocabulary on green sticky notes; write down dark vocabulary on blue sticky notes.  On each sticky note, you only write down one new word with its phonetic symbols, part of speech and meaning.  Place these notes on your bedroom walls, bathroom mirror, fridge, door, desk, dinner table… (Don’t put any notes in your car!)  Feel free to mix and match green sticky notes and blue sticky notes.  When you are brushing your teeth, you can learn some new words; when you are eating something, you can learn some new words….  It is nice and easy to implement.

Please remember that your Eastern European wife must combine intensive study with extensive study.  If she only uses one approach, it won’t work.

You’d better start to build your vocabulary at the very beginning of your entire IELTS test preparation process because vocabulary is the basic building blocks of a language.

According to your own circumstances, you can design a progress schedule, i.e., how many new words your Eastern European bride must learn each day and when she must finish learning vocabulary.

If you feel that studying an IELTS vocabulary book/booklet from Page 1 to the last page is too difficult, then you can start from the middle of the book and read it towards the beginning/the end.

Study English grammar systematically.

English grammar is the foundation of the IELTS test.  Although there is no specific grammar question in the IELTS test, you still must study English grammar carefully because your grammar will directly determine the quality of your writing and speaking.

The good news is English is a relatively young language, which means its grammar is a more scientific system which can be mastered.  What you can do is to find a grammar book which resonates with you.  For example, you may find an English grammar book which is written in your first language as its instruction language (Yes, that’s OK!) in your local bookstore.  Or you may want your teacher/tutor/friends to recommend an English grammar book that they have found useful.  As long as the grammar book works for you, you must follow its guidance!  You only need to read one English grammar book thoroughly if you want to figure out the IELTS test because as long as you have understood the system of the English grammar, you already have a head start. It would be great if your Eastern European bride can study English grammar while learning the IELTS vocabulary which has been mentioned previously!

Have a measurable plan.

The prerequisite of being strategic is to know your strengths and weaknesses and then design a plan which will guide you towards the result that you want.  In this way, you will control the IELTS test; otherwise, the IELTS test will control you. 

This is a plan by design, not by default: Complete ten practice tests to get familiar with the style of the IELTS test and identify the gap between your current results and the ideal results.

At this stage, your Eastern European wife will mark her own tests according to the suggested answers which can be found at the end of each practice tests book. 

Your Eastern European bride will write down all the mistakes that she has made in each practice test in a journal (remember to include how to improve).  Use a blue pen to write down each mistake, and use a red pen to write down how to improve.

She may decide to complete one practice test each week.

“Have a blueprint by design, not by default.”

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