The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an exam that assesses an individual's ability to use the English language in academic and professional contexts. While the exam does not have a dedicated section or subtest that is solely focused on spelling or vocabulary, these aspects of language still need to be evaluated during the exam. Correct spelling is crucial in the IELTS exam's Reading, Listening, and Writing sections.
In the Reading and Listening sections, the test taker will be required to read or listen to texts and answer questions based on the content of those texts. The answers will be marked as false if incorrect spelling is used when answering these questions. Similarly, in the Writing section, the test taker must write an essay or other written response. If incorrect spelling is used in this section, it may be easier for the examiner to understand the test taker's message and follow their argument. Therefore, it is essential to use proper spelling in all parts of the IELTS exam to demonstrate language skills effectively.
To help test takers avoid common spelling mistakes, this article has compiled a list of some of the most frequently made errors that often affect IELTS candidates. By reviewing this list and practising proper spelling, test takers can improve their chances of success on the exam.
Single and double consonants
It is common for test takers on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam to make spelling mistakes when single or double consonants occur together within a word.
These mistakes often happen when a single consonant is followed by a double consonant, such as in words like "across," "process," "recommend," and "necessary." Similarly, mistakes may be made when a double consonant is followed by a single consonant, as in words like "apparent," "exaggerate," "occasion," "parallel," and "immediate." Test takers may also struggle with spelling words that contain two pairs of double consonants, such as "address," "assess," "accommodation," "possess," "success," and "occurrence."
By being aware of these common spelling pitfalls, test takers can work to improve their spelling and increase their chances of success on the IELTS exam.
Adding suffixes to words
Spelling errors on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam are frequent when adding certain ends to words. These errors frequently happen when a word's last consonant is duplicated when the ending is added.
This can be not easy since adding an ending might modify how a word is spelt. For instance, when the -ed and -ing ends are added, the words "drop" become "dropped" and "dropping," respectively. The -er and -est end transform the word "large" into "bigger" and "biggest," respectively. The terms "run," which becomes "running" and "runner" with the -ing and -er ends, and "begin," which becomes "starting" and "beginner" with the -ing and -er endings, may also be difficult for test-takers. Adding the -ed finish to the word "regret," which results in "regretted" and "regretting," may be difficult for test-takers. Test-takers can attempt to improve their spelling and raise their scores by being aware of these typical spelling errors.
Words changing form
When a word changes form, it can sometimes also change the spelling. For example, when an adjective changes to a noun, the term's spelling may also vary. For instance, the adjective "absent" becomes the noun "absence," and the adjective "different" becomes the noun "difference."
Similarly, the word's spelling may change when a noun changes to an adjective. For example, the noun "benefit" becomes the adjective "beneficial," and the noun "influence" becomes the adjective "influential."
Verbs can also change to nouns, which can result in a change in spelling. For example, the verb "maintain" becomes the noun "maintenance," and the verb "pronounce" becomes the noun "pronunciation."
Also, nouns can change to verbs, which can also result in a change in spelling. For example, the noun "excess" becomes the verb "exceed," and the noun "success" becomes the verb "succeed."
Silent letters in consonant clusters
Words with silent letters in consonant clusters can be challenging to spell because they don't follow the usual pattern of English spelling. For example:
- The letter "n" is often silent in words that begin with "nm," such as "environment" and "government."
- The letter "m" is often silent in words that begin with "mn," such as "autumn" and "column."
- The letter "c" is often silent in words that begin with "sc," such as "conscious," "discipline," and "science."
- The letter "x" is often silent in words that begin with "xc," such as "excited" and "exception."
- The letter "k" is often silent in words that begin with "kn," such as "know," "knee," and "knob."
- The letter "h" is often silent in ordinal numbers that begin with "th," such as "eighth" and "twelfth."
When the silent letters are a part of a consonant cluster, it might be challenging to recall which letters are silent in which syllables. These words can be challenging to spell in detail because of this.
Frequently confused words
Candidates can need clarification on two terms that sound identical but have distinct meanings and spellings, leading to specific spelling errors. For example:
- lose ≠ loose
- affect ≠ effect
- complement ≠ compliment
- its ≠ it's
- passed ≠ past
- principal ≠ principle
- than ≠ then
- their ≠ there ≠ they're
- costume ≠ custom
Difficult words to spell
Some words in English are challenging to spell because they need to follow the usual spelling rules or patterns of English. These words can be challenging for IELTS candidates to spell correctly. Some examples of words that IELTS candidates often misspell include:
These words can be challenging to spell because they have unusual letter combinations, silent letters, or distinctive vowel sounds. It can be helpful to practice spelling these words to improve your spelling skills.
British vs American spelling
IELTS accepts both British and American spellings. But candidates must stick with one or the other and maintain consistency.
The candidate should understand the importance of spelling correctly in the IELTS exam. They know that spelling mistakes can lower their band score, so they are willing to put in the extra effort to learn the English standards and practice their spelling regularly. They are committed to improving their spelling skills and constantly assess their abilities to do their best on exams.
To help with this, the candidate has created their "difficult-to-spell" list and regularly reviews new terms they have learned. They also make sure to use these words in their writing and speaking practice to help them become more comfortable with them. Overall, the candidate is determined to succeed on the IELTS and will do whatever it takes to improve their spelling skills.