Not everyone will need the support of a tutor to prepare for the IELTS. Maybe you're great, and you have the tools you need to prepare yourself. You may be using our free prep materials, you may be in an IELTS study group, or a prep course and that's enough for you to achieve your desired band score. However, if you have reached a plateau in your IELTS prep, it might be time to invest in a tutor. Whether you need a few hours to practice your speaking with a native English speaker, or you have questions about all parts of the test, it's critical to do due diligence – that is to find a qualified tutor, but just as important, is to find the right tutor for you.
Do your research
A good IELTS tutor is one that is knowledgeable about the IELTS. Many IELTS test centres have a list of tutors who are either past or present examiners and therefore real experts in the IELTS test. Contact your local test centre and ask them about the resources they have for IELTS candidates. Of course, you can find many smart people willing to help you prepare for your test, but you wouldn’t pay the dentist to fix your car, so spend your money wisely on a tutor who comes with a strong recommendation.
Finding a tutor knowledgeable about the IELTS is essential – that's pretty straight-forward, but there's more to it than that. As the customer, you should take an active role by setting clear goals so that you and your tutor work toward the same result. Be willing to change these goals according to the advice of your tutor and the progress you make. The more specific your goals, the more value you will get from the time and money you spend on a tutor.
Finding the right tutor approach
One of the most challenging aspects of improving your language facility will be taking honest feedback from a tutor. Many emotions accompany learning a language: excitement, embarrassment, pride, frustration and your tutor will be there to celebrate the successes and guide you through the hiccups. However, every tutor will take a slightly different approach with their students and how they communicate feedback.
The most important thing to remember is that tutors are there to help you succeed, even though they may have a different approach to feedback than you may be used to. Some tutors are very gentle in their delivery, while others are more direct. It's crucial for you as the customer and candidate to take feedback constructively. That means, look at feedback as an opportunity to get closer to your goal. It's normal to feel embarrassed when your work is critiqued, but it doesn't mean you're not capable or smart.
Don’t take it personally
Try to remember that listening to the tutor’s feedback is receiving the service you are paying for. Ask questions so that you're clear about your tutor's comments and ask specifically how you can take steps to integrate the feedback into your IELTS preparation. The tutor is meant to show you areas of improvement, so the feedback you receive is merely the identification of these areas. It’s up to you to embrace those comments and ask questions of your tutor until you are satisfied that you can use the feedback to improve your English and reach your goal on the IELTS exam.