In the IELTS exam, you are given instructions before every type of question. Some of the students directly hit the question and start solving without even reading the instructions. While it is good to save time by not consuming too much time in reading instructions, skipping it completely would cost you with lowered band score. Therefore, one should quickly scan the instructions and it would rather be better if we underline the important part of the instruction e.g. NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS, ONE WORD ONLY etc. Let us know the importance of reading instructions in the IELTS exam in each of the modules.
Reading Instructions in IELTS Listening
In IELTS listening exam, you are given instruction as ONE WORD ONLY, NOT MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER, NOT MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER, Choose an option or Choose two options etc. According to the instruction, you need to write your answer. This confuses the students a lot. By NOT MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER, you are required to write an answer which can be one word, two words, one word and a number or two words and a number. If one word suffices the answer, you need not to write two words and this is how you choose to write your answer.
Some students take the instruction lightly and choose the words the way they want. Remember that if your answers are not meeting the instruction, you will not get mark for such answers. For instance, writing “waves” would be wrong if “radio waves” as the meaningful answer is required. Similarly, you should check your answers grammatically as well. If “a woman” needs to be the meaningful answer corresponding to any woman, writing simply as “woman” would be wrong.
Reading Instructions in IELTS Reading
All the above instructions are applicable for IELTS reading questions as well. In this module, you need to consider such instructions in short answers and summary completion questions. So, be careful what type of question it is and what instruction is written. Just encircle that instruction or underline it to be careful while finding answer.
Apart from these questions, you also need be careful about reading questions in TRUE FALSE NOT GIVEN and YES NO NOT GIVEN questions. Usually, students make silly mistakes by writing TRUE FALSE even in those questions with instructions as YES NO. And sometimes, the instruction is in the form of code e.g. T, F, NG instead of True False Not Given. So, be sure of what the instruction is and write your answer accordingly.
Reading Instructions in IELTS Writing
Reading the instructions is not only essential in listening and reading but in writing module as well. You are given minimum number of words to write, for example, you should write at least 160 words in IELTS writing task 1 and at least 250 words in IELTS writing task 2. If you do not write the minimum number of words, you would be penalized, leading to lower band score. Hence, it is really important to check out the instructions while solving IELTS writing tasks.