Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"
Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"

Should you memorize IELTS answers?

No, you shouldn’t!

However, you should prepare to answer any question.

What is the difference between preparing and memorizing?

Today we’ll answer a listener question about this.

Listen in so you understand the difference and know which will help you when studying for IELTS!

Today’s question

Many students have asked us whether they should memorize when studying for IELTS.

Sometimes students think they should memorize entire IELTS essays.

Sometimes they think it’s wise to memorize speaking answers.

In both cases, our recommendation is that you should NOT memorize for IELTS.

Today’s question highlights the reasoning behind this counsel.

Is there a difference between preparing answers or ideas and memorizing answers?

Alireza

Consider the definitions

First, think about what it means to prepare.

  • preparing: learning skills that you will need to use later

This takes more time than memorizing.

However, it is time well spent!

All the time you spend preparing will help you on test day.

On the other hand, think about what it means to memorize.

  • memorizing: learning a word for word answer

Let’s dive into 3 reasons you should not memorize entire answers when preparing for IELTS!

#1: Not building skills

When memorizing answers, you aren’t building the skills you learn when you prepare.

you might not have a full understanding of the vocabulary used.

This is especially true if you did not write the answers.

In sample answers, high level vocabulary and idioms might be included.

If you memorize without preparing and learning, you won’t be able to use that vocabulary elsewhere on IELTS Speaking and Writing.

You also might not understand it well when you see or hear it on Reading or Listening exams.

Additionally, you might not have learned how to use the grammar in the answer.

Memorizing also doesn’t help you improve your intonation and pronunciation.

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#2: Improved pronunciation and fluency scores

If you answer an IELTS Speaking question, you need to make it personal.

When you do, it’s much easier to share personal details.

This improves your fluency score which depends partially on your ability to expand on ideas and provide details.

It also makes it easier to achieve high pronunciation scores.

This is because it’s easier to have natural, native intonation when sharing personal details.

If you’re saying something you feel emotion about, that emotion comes out more easily in your voice.

This naturally creates more varied intonation.

If you are sharing memorized answers that have no personal meaning, it’s easy to slip into a monotone.

This would be disastrous for your pronunciation score.

#3: Word and syllable stress

IELTS pronunciation scores are also affected by word and syllable stress.

When you’re just memorizing sounds and don’t know the meaning of every word, the word and syllable stress won’t always be correct.

You may give a perfect answer but the Examiner can’t understand you.

expression: the wrong emphASis on the wrong sylLABle

We say this expression as a joke about the importance of stressing the correct syllable.

If not, it’s impossible to understand what you’re saying!

An example: differ vs. defer

In one of our live group classes, we taught the high-level phrase, “I beg to differ.”

  • I beg to differ: I disagree

One of the students was confused because they thought that ‘differ’ should be pronounced like the word ‘defer’

They had heard the word ‘defer’ and didn’t realize ‘differ’ is a different word.

If you pronounce differ incorrectly and say, “I beg to defer,” the Examiner will be confused!

Your scores will go down due to the error instead of going up for using idiomatic language!

Takeaway

Take our advice and do not memorize IELTS answers.

Don’t memorize entire essays and do not memorize entire speaking answers.

Instead, memorize template sentences and phrases.

Add your own ideas to these to create high-scoring essays and answers.

When it comes to IELTS, it’s all about spending time wisely.

You need a study guide and strategies so you waste no time!

Get our online course, 3 Keys IELTS, for our study guide and strategies!

What questions do you have about today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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