How to Prepare for IELTS Exams: Tips & Strategies
If English is not your native language and you’d like to study a degree abroad in English, you’ll have to take an International English Language Test (IELTS) test. You are a student planning to sit for the IELTS test. Naturally, you want to get the best core you possibly can. What is the most effective preparation for the IELTS test? First of all, you must be realistic. How good is your English now? A student who currently has a band score of 5 will need about 6 months full-time study to raise it to 6-7 band. Preparation for the IELTS test — improvement in your level of English — will take time and work. One of the biggest problems that students have in the test is that they run out of time. The first thing you need to practise is speed, especially in the reading and writing sections. Whenever you read something in English, give yourself a time limit. While you are reading, stop at the end of every paragraph and summarise it to yourself.The IELTS test format and rules are somewhat different from regular school exams so we’ve prepared some IELTS exam tips and advice to help you get totally prepared for the test and get your desired score. If you don’t want to lose marks by not being prepared, take a few minutes to read educations.com’s top tips for IELTS takers. Below are some suggestions for useful activities.
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Definition of the IELTS Exam
As English is known as the second language worldwide, whenever you want to immigrate to another country for study or work purposes you need to pass an English test. And IELTS is the one that helps in this case by certifying you with scores. It measures your language proficiency using a band scale of 9 (nine) so that the level of proficiency can be measured clearly. Band score 9 is considered as best. Only the experts can gain the band score 9.
IELTS, the International English Language Testing System, is a test of English language proficiency and one of the world’s most popular and respected forms of English in education and migration.
Intended for non-native speakers who are looking to study or work in an English-speaking environment, IELTS training is an internationally recognised system for testing English language ability in four categories:
Since its introduction in 1989, IELTS preparation has become one of the most trusted forms of English-language assessment and is accepted by over 8,000 universities, employers and immigration organisations worldwide. IELTS testing methods focus on the candidate’s practical ability to use English in real-life situations.
- IELTS is the world’s leading language test.
- The test evaluates ability in four language skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking.
- The Test uses a 9–band score system on a scale from 1 (non-user of English) to 9 (expert user of English).
- The Test is recognised by authorities and government departments.
- Academic has 100% recognition from universities in the UK.
- Acadu is the only theme you will ever need
Importance of the IELTS Exam
The International English Language Testing System popularly known as IELTS is prominent globally with English speakers as a second language as evidence of their expertise. IELTS is mutually managed and owned by the British Council, Cambridge English Language Assessment, and IDP Education Australia. If you wish to take admission to a college or university, apply to business firms, or enrol for a visa from government organisations in different countries. Whether it is the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, or Canada, the IELTS examination can help you attain your career, education, or life goals.
What is the importance of the IELTS exam?
Even if you are applying for work, study, or a visa, the IELTS test is similar in terms of examiners, content, format, difficulty level, and scoring. If you don’t find your test results satisfactory, there is no restriction on how often you can retake the exam. Though, it is recommended to take out some time and study more before appearing for your next attempt. In several countries, language classes and preparatory courses are offered by test centres, but you can also look for the same online. The learning resources that will help you replenish your knowledge and explain how to prepare for the test in the best way.
The Academic IELTS test is needed for college or university admission, while the General Training IELTS is aimed at career and immigration purposes. Following are IELTS importance and the benefits of writing IELTS exam:
Why is the IELTS important for education?
If studying abroad interests you, don’t forget that several universities globally and all colleges and universities in the UK acknowledge IELTS exam results. So, what is the importance of the IELTS exam?
If you are planning for a postgraduate or even an undergraduate degree program, you should definitely appear for the Academic IELTS test.
What is the IELTS exam used for? The General Training IELTS exam is acceptable for courses that do not award a degree. Find your preferred university or college and confirm which version of IELTS is the right one for you.
As a future international student, you will need to manifest that you are well proficient and can successfully conclude a degree program instructed in the English language. As a result, you will need a good IELTS score to apply for progressive degree programs such as a Ph.D. or Masters in any field of your choice.
Providing evidence of your proficiency in a language is a remarkable step in obtaining a visa so that you can start working overseas. Language skills are one of the most essential prerequisites for career success and are recognized as a valued asset. If you are applying for a work visa, you must accomplish either ‘vocational’ English or ‘competent’ English language skills, which means you will have to be ready for more than just basic conversational English.
There are varied test scores to work in different countries
- For the UK, candidates must accomplish at least 6.5 on each of the four sections of the test including Writing, Speaking, Reading, and Listening.
- In Australia, an exam score of 5 is recognized as ’vocational English’ level. A candidate with a band score of 6 is considered as a ’competent English’ speaker.
- For working in New Zealand, work permit aspirants must secure an overall score of at least 4 or higher in the IELTS Academic or general module. You can also hand over additional proof of English language abilities, for instance, details about countries you have previously lived in, family’s proficiency in English, etc.
- In Canada, candidates should confirm directly with the companies they want to apply for the IELTS score prerequisites. Managers as well as educational institutions mostly set their own language requirements.
In all the above-mentioned countries, you should consider that minimal score requirements may vary depending on your preferred occupation. For some lines of work, candidates must bring about a minimum of 6 in each of the testing modules, whereas for educators, for instance, a minimum score of 7 is mandatory.
IELTS for immigration | IELTS Importance
Government departments use the IELTS test as part of their application processes to obtain the right to permanent residence or to attain citizenship. They examine language expertise to be firmly linked to people’s ability to merge into society and the workplace. Many people wonder, is IELTS compulsory for immigration purposes? The IELTS test is trusted by immigration authorities and plays a crucial role in using language evaluation as a medium to manage migration numbers.
The UK-government has authorised the Secure English Language Test (SELT) as part of the visa application procedure. The exam is recognized as IELTS Life Skills or ‘IELTS for UKVI’. This represents that IELTS can be used to confirm your English language expertise in support of a UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) application. The IELTS Life Skills test requests you to display your listening and speaking skills. You will be provided with a pass or fail result at the end of the exam.
- Immigration to New Zealand requests an IELTS band score of 6.5 in either the Academic or General Training IELTS modules. This is compulsory for a visa application.
- Canada acknowledges IELTS, but you first need to accomplish the Canadian Language Benchmarks standard.
- Australia appreciates both Competent and Vocational English by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
Understanding the IELTS Exam
You must demonstrate a high level of English language proficiency if you want to work, reside, or study in an English-speaking country. With 379 million speakers globally, English is the world’s third most spoken language. The ability to speak in the native language of the nation where you want to work or study offers numerous advantages. It’s also necessary for getting a job and integrating into the community. IELTS is the most widely used test for people who want to move to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom. It is recognised by over 11,000 employers, universities, institutions, and immigration organisations around the world, including 3,400 in the United States.It is very important to understand the IELTS exam and its importance.UK, Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada, these are the most popular countries which accept IELTS test scores for application. So there is no need to explain what value it holds. As a student who wants to study abroad and gain international experience IELTS is a must have assessment not just to let you into a top institute but to know where you stand also.
Over 11,000 organisations globally accept IELTS and it is accepted in 3400+ institutions in the USA. While it is so popular it is also the best standardised test which gives your pimple of your current status in English proficiency.
It is used in immigration. IELTS is accepted to determine one’s English language expertise. The UK-government has authorised the Secure English Language Test (SELT) as part of the visa application procedure. The exam is recognized as IELTS Life Skills or ‘IELTS for UKVI,’ So basically IELTS plays a role in obtaining a citizenship and a visa also.
Types of Ielts Exam
The IELTS Academic test is taken by students and research scholars who wish to continue further studies in foreign universities. IELTS is widely recommended and accepted by almost every major university all across the world. The reason behind its wide acceptance is that the curriculum and test structure reflects features of academic language and assesses whether a candidate is prepared to begin studying or training.
IELTS General Training
The IELTS General Training Test is usually taken by students and professionals who wish to go to a majority English-speaking country for a secondary education degree, professional work, or training. It is a requirement that needs to be fulfilled to move to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. The basic skills that the IELTS Score aims to determine include survival skills in social and workplace settings.
Detailed features of IELTS exams
IELTS General Training
IELTS Academic measures English language proficiency needed for an academic, higher learning environment. The test tasks are intended
for all test takers in all subjects.
IELTS General measures English language proficiency in a practical daily context. The test tasks reflect both workplace and social situations.
Listening (30 minutes, plus 10 extra minutes to transfer the answers on the answer sheet.
Listening (30 minutes, plus 10 extra minutes to transfer the answers on the answer sheet.
Reading (60 minutes)
Reading (60 minutes)
Writing (60 minutes)
Writing (60 minutes)
Speaking (11 to 14 minutes)
Speaking (11 to 14 minutes)
Some key features of the IELTS exam include the following:
After understanding what is IELTS exam, let’s look onto some important and interesting key feature of the IELTS exam:
- The exam is fair to all and does not classify students based on culture. It invites and accepts people from all backgrounds and does not create any bias between the standard variations of the level of English language all across the world. Native speakers and dialects of Australian, North American, British, and New Zealand English are given equal importance.
- The IELTS exam is extremely widely available all across the world in over 16000 centres. In the United States alone, the exam is available in more than 50 locations.
What is IELTS Exam Eligibility?
It is a very general query that always arises in the mind of test takers that what is the IELTS exam eligibility? Anyone, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, nationality, or religion, can take the IELTS test, however, it is not suggested for individuals under the age of 16. As a result, the IELTS administrators (IDP or British Council) have not set an age limit; however, candidates under 16 are not recommended. They can, however, take the test if they wish. As a result, the IELTS conducting authorities have not established any minimum eligibility requirement. Therefore, anyone who aspires to pursue higher education or work in a foreign country can take the IELTS exam (Academic and General Training). This makes the question of the IELTS exam clearer. Candidates should, however, carefully check the educational institution’s or organisation’s eligibility requirements before applying. The IELTS exam is not scheduled for a specific number of times. Instead, it is held multiple times a year to provide candidates with the option of picking a day and taking the test whenever they are ready. Furthermore, there is no limit to the number of times you can attempt or retake the exam. Pay the exam retake cost and take the exam as many times as you wish (given that you have to pay the fees for every attempt).
Registration for IELTS
Ensure you have your passport with you when you register because you’ll need it to get your passport number. Aside from that, you must have your passport with you on the day of the test. The IELTS registration process is simple:
- To begin, go to the official registration page of the British Council.
- Sign up for a British Council account.
- Locate a testing centre near you.
- Register for the IELTS test and pay for it online.
Under the age of 18, a parent or guardian must schedule the exam on their behalf. After completion of the registration process, your test centre will email you a written confirmation with your IELTS exam date and time.
Format of IELTS Exam
What is the IELTS exam test format? The IELTS test format contains four sections. The IELTS aims to test a candidate in 4 main abilities: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking in English. The duration of the exam is 2 hours and 45 minutes.
The listening, reading and writing sections of the test must be taken on the same day without any breaks. However, the speaking test section can be taken separately up to a week before or after your actual test.
The date and time of your speaking test section depend largely on your test centre. Also, the reading and writing sections of the test are what makes the major difference between the IELTS Academic and IELTS general training tests.
The Detailed Description of Each Section is Given Below
What is the IELTS exam listening section? The duration of the listening test is 30 minutes. During this section, a candidate must carefully listen to four recordings of conversations among native-English speakers. There will be a total of 40 questions in this section, each carrying one mark. The tasks will be of the following types:
- Multiple choice
- Plan, map and diagram labelling
- Form, note, table, flow-chart,
- summary completion
- Sentence completion
- Short answer questions
What is the reading section? The duration of the reading test is 60 minutes. The IELTS test format for the reading section will be 40 questions again, each carrying one mark. The various reading skills tested in this section include reading for gist, main ideas and details.
It also tests a candidate’s ability to skim through a piece of writing, understand the logic behind an argument, and correctly determine the tone of the piece and the opinions and purpose of the writer behind writing it.
The reading sections of the academic and general training tests are significantly different. The details of the tasks can be found below:
The task types of the academic test, with three reading passages, include – multiple-choice; identifying information; identifying the writer’s views or claims; matching information, headings, features and sentence endings; sentence; summary; note; table; flow-chart and diagram label completion; and short answer questions.
Most of the writing pieces in this section are chosen from books, magazines, journals and newspapers. The texts do not pertain to any particular field of interest and are extremely general to accommodate every student.
The General Training test consists of three sections. While the types of tasks remain the same, the contents of the three pieces vary significantly.
The first section is based on ‘social survival’ and includes a notice, advertisement, or timetable. The second section is based on ‘workplace survival’ and includes job descriptions, contracts, training materials, and staff development techniques. Finally, the third section is based on ‘general reading’ and includes writings from newspapers, magazines, fictional and non-fictional books.
What is the IELTS exam writing section? The duration of the writing section is also 60 minutes. The details of the IELTS test format for academic tests and general training tests are given as follows:
The academic test consists of 2 tasks, and there is no choice between them. In the first task, candidates are required to describe a visual representation in the form of a graph, table, chart or diagram, in their own words.
Candidates are expected to write 150 words in 20 minutes here. For the second task, they must respond to an argument or problem. Therefore, test takers are expected to write 250 words in 40 minutes for the second task approximately.
The general training test also consists of 2 tasks that need to be completed in 60 minutes.
The first task requires the examinees to write a letter requesting information or explanation. The second task requires the examinees to write an essay in response to an argument or problem.
In this section, students are marked on their task achievement, coherence, lexical resource and grammar usage.
What is the IELTS exam speaking section? The speaking test section of the IELTS is fairly easy and can be completed in less than 15 minutes. This section of the speaking test is actually in the form of an oral interview with an examiner. The three tasks in the speaking test section are described below in detail:
- For the first task, the examiner asks the test taker available details about themselves like their home, family, work, studies, hobbies, etc. This task takes about 4-5 minutes.
- For the first task, the examiner asks the test taker available details about themselves like their home, family, work, studies, hobbies, etc. This task takes about 4-5 minutes.
- The third task is nothing but an extension of the second task where the examiner asks more questions and discusses abstract ideas with the test taker. This task lasts for approximately another 5 minutes.
Students are marked based on their fluency, coherence of thoughts, pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar.
Section-Wise Exam Pattern
Lets understand the IELTS exam pattern? The IELTS Exam Pattern for each of the four sections are:
IELTS Listening Section Exam Pattern
- The IELTS listening section has a total of forty questions. The total time given to complete this section is 30 minutes. Each section contains ten questions.
The questions in the IELTS Listening exam will be in the form of:
- Sentence Completion
- Matching the Correct Answer
- Multiple Choice Questions
- Short-answer Questions
- Labelling of Map, Plan or Diagram
- Completion of Summary, Table, Flowchart etc.
- IELTS Speaking Section Exam Pattern
The IELTS Speaking section is of 11-14 minutes in total. The exam pattern is as follows:
Type of Questions
The student will have to speak on general topics.
The student will draw a cue card and speak on the topic written on it.
The examiner will discuss the topic drawn from the cue card with the candidate.
IELTS Reading Section Exam Pattern
- The exam pattern of the reading section for IELTS contains 40 questions divided into three sections. Sixty minutes is the time duration given to complete the exam.
The types of questions in this exam are:
- Short-answer Questions
- Multiple Choice Questions
- Matching the Correct Headings, Information, Sentence Endings and Features
- Identifying the Information and Writers Views
- Completion of Sentences, Diagrams, Summary, Flow Charts and TablesIELTS Writing Section Exam Pattern
For the IELTS Writing section, there will be two tasks given. The duration of this section is 60 minutes. The exam pattern is as follows:
Number of Words
Scoring System of IELTS Exam
As mentioned earlier, the IELTS grades test takers on a 9-band scale. What is the validity of the IELTS exam you ask? The IELTS score is valid for two years.
The final IELTS band grade is a cumulative average of your scores in all four sections of your test. Regardless of the difference in nature, both types of tests are graded on the same 9-band scale. If the average of the four components ends with 0.25, the band score is rounded off to the next half band (.5), and if it ends with 0.75, the band score is rounded off to the nearest whole band(.0).
For each section, the IELTS score is reported in whole and half bands. All the above mentioned criteria are weighted equally, and the final component band is an average of all the weights.
How are the IELTS Band Scores Calculated?
One may wonder, what is the IELTS exam band score calculated and what’s the process? The overall IELTS Band calculator will give you a test result calculated to the nearest 0.5 or nearest whole band score. If your final score is not precisely 6.5, your score is pushed to the nearest whole score or half score, depending on which is nearest.
Let’s take some examples of how the IELTS overall band score calculator works and how the scores are given.
- If your overall score is 7.1, your score will go down to 7. This is the nearest whole
band score. It shows that 7.1 is closer to 7 and not 7.5.
- If your overall score is 7.85, your final result will be 8. This is because 7.85 is closer to and not 7.5
- If your score is an average of 8.25, your score will be increased to 8.5. The score of
8.25 is precisely between band 8 and 8.5. So, in this case, IELTS pushes your score up to the nearest score, which is 8.5.
- If your score is an average of 6.75, your score will be increased to 7. The score of 6.75 is precisely between band 6.5 and 7, so the overall score is pushed up to the seven scores.
Therefore, your score is rounded up or down to the nearest 0.5 or whole number score.
The nine bands are graded as follows
9: Expert user – The person taking the test has complete mastery of the language. Their English is suitable, correct, and fluent, and they demonstrate complete comprehension.
8: Very good user – With only a few unsystematic mistakes and incorrect usage, the person taking the test has a thorough mastery of the language. In unfamiliar environments, they may misunderstand some things. They handle complex and detailed argumentation well.
7: Good user – The test taker has a functional mastery of the language, yet there are occasional mistakes, incorrect usage, and misunderstandings. They can usually deal with complicated language and comprehend detailed logic.
6: Competent user – Despite occasional mistakes, incorrect usage, and misconceptions, the test taker has a good command of the language. In familiar contexts, they can use and understand pretty complex language.
5: Modest user – The test taker has a rudimentary understanding of the language and can deal with overall meaning in most instances, although they are likely to make numerous errors. In their field, they should be able to handle basic communication.
4: Limited user – The test taker’s basic competency is limited to scenarios that they are familiar with. They usually display difficulties with comprehension and expression. They are unable to communicate in a complicated manner.
3: Extremely limited user – In relatively familiar settings, the test taker expresses and understands the only generic meaning. As a result, a lot of communication breakdowns occur.
2: Intermittent user – The person taking the test has difficulty understanding spoken and written English.
1: Non-user – Except for a few isolated words, the test taker cannot use the language.
0: Did not attempt the test – The test taker failed to respond to any of the questions. They do not have an adequate level of English language proficiency.
Calculation of Reading and Listening band score
Tips to Prepare for the IELTS Exam
Before IELTS test – some helpful IELTS tips & strategies
1. Identify your strengths and Weaknesses
Work on your weaknesses to make sure it does not negatively affect your total score. For example, if you’re slower at reading in English, focus on the reading test more than writing, listening and speaking tests.
2. Have a study plan
Make a plan before you start studying for the IELTS test and have a tailored study plan based on your areas of strengths and weaknesses.
3. Study the material
Attend an IELTS preparation course, if possible. The preparation courses provide you with the IELTS material, as well as the tips and tricks that you need to know. If you don’t have access to IELTS preparation courses, you can hire a qualified private teacher instead. An English teacher will also help you make a study plan.
4. Practice until you feel confident
Practice boosts your self-confidence. For the speaking test, find a friend to practise speaking English with. While reading English magazines, practice skimming the texts for the reading test. Watch movies in the English language every night and surround yourself with English language news and songs to improve your listening skills.
5. Practice under time pressure
Test yourself in a 2 hours and 45 minutes time-frame just like on exam day. This will help you get to know what it feels like to take the reading, writing and listening tests consecutively. The more you practise under time pressure, the better you can manage your time.
6. Check out the official IELTS website
The official IELTS website is the best source of information for IELTS candidates. You can read about the rules and regulations of the test, the test format, and find useful IELTS exam tips and materials such as books, tests and videos on the website.
7. Check the location of the exam
In order to be on time on exam day, make sure that you know exactly where the IELTS test centre is and find out how to access the location.
Test day – some helpful IELTS tips
1. Get a good night’s sleep
Make sure that you get enough rest the night before the IELTS test. Tiredness will directly affect your ability to concentrate.
2. Pay attention to spelling & punctuation
Spelling and punctuation are very important throughout the entire IELTS test and you’ll lose points if your answers are spelled incorrectly or you use punctuation incorrectly.
3. Pay attention to the word limits
Keep in mind that you will lose marks if you exceed the word limits. So pay attention to where the answers should be “not more than three words”, as well as the writing tasks, which should be 250 and 150 words.
Tips for the IELTS writing test
- Don’t use spoken English in your writing.
- Write Task 2 first, as it contributes more to your total score.
- Make sure your handwriting is legible, tidy, and neat.
Tips for the IELTS speaking test
- Listen to the questions carefully before you answer.
- Don’t answer the question if you’re unsure about what to answer. You can ask the examiner to repeat or clarify the question for you.
- Be confident and relaxed, and do your best.
Tips for the IELTS reading test:
- Don’t spend too much time on the questions you can’t find an answer for. Move to the next question and get back to that question if you have any time left at the end.
- Read all the questions and underline the keywords before reading each text.
Tips for the IELTS listening test:
- Skim the questions before listening to the recordings.
- Make sure that you can write the dates in the correct format.
- If you have any problem hearing the recordings, raise your hand and ask for help.
- Practice on both British and American pronunciations, as some numbers and words are pronounced differently.
By forcing yourself to read with time limits you will find your reading speed increases, and reading under exam conditions will get easier. In the same way, practise writing quickly. Every day, sit down and write as much as you can for 5-10 minutes on any subject. Don’t worry about accuracy when doing this — the idea here is to increase your speed, not your accuracy. Using your classes Speed without accuracy, however, is not enough. Not only must you use your present language skills more quickly, you must gain new skills, and improve old ones. This can be done through classwork and personal study. Most students reading this book will be studying English with a teacher. Here are some of the skills your teacher will be working on with you, all important in the IELTS test: Speaking: pronunciation, information, fluency, common phrases, interaction (dynamics with another speaker), asking questions; Listening: voice tone, listening for keywords, listening for general information, vocabulary, summarising; Reading: skimming (general understanding), scanning (looking for specific information), vocabulary, summarising; Writing: adjusting style according to purpose; writing paragraphs, introductions and conclusions; using conjunctions and reference; structuring information within a text. Make the most of every class by reviewing your lessons, preferably the same day. Make a note of any new vocabulary learnt (spelling, pronunciation, meaning, part of speech).
Strategies to Success in IELTS Exam
IELTS strategies to succeed in exams – If you are searching for better strategies for preparing for IELTS exams then there is no substitute for hard work and lots of study as far as the IELTS Test is concerned, so don’t think there are any shortcuts because simply there aren’t!
Practice IELTS test series
Our first IELTS advice is to read as much as possible. By this we don’t usually mean to do endless IELTS practice tests, we mean to do as much general reading as possible. Newspapers and magazines are a great resource in reading short articles on topics that are common in IELTS or even on topics that you find interesting. This is a very simple and effective idea because what candidates really need is confidence. If you will practise by reading original English texts then you will start feeling more and more confident and essentially you will not believe that reading is just too hard.
Our second but equally valuable advice is something that most students simply ignore as less important. Time management. You will need a well defined strategy on how to manage your time in the exam to make sure that you finish on time. This is because of the fact that the texts are so long and it will be impossible without time management to finish on time. You will need to do a bit of an experiment here and find out for yourself which is the best style according to your needs. How long will you spend on each text? Do you leave time at the end to go back and look at unanswered questions? How long will you spend on each question? Try different approaches and just see what works best for you.
Train yourself, don’t test yourself. Usually candidates are trying very hard to succeed on their IELTS exam and this leads them to a very common mistake. They are practising exam questions too much. You have to learn the time management and you obviously need to learn the question types but this does not mean that you need to practise reading in exam conditions. As we advised above, try to read something new every day. The more you read the easier it will be. Study the sentence structure and punctuation of what you read, but most of all, try to grasp the ideas in what you read.
Review your test preparation
Our fifth and last advice is to fill out the answer sheet every time correctly. We know this sounds too simple to do but if we stick on the numbers we will realise a far bitter truth that the one we were expecting as 23% of all candidates are filling out their answers wrongly on the answer sheet losing more points on this way. So, practice filling out the answer sheet before you get to the exam. Too many avoidable mistakes are made this way.
Additional Resources to Prepare for the IELTS Exam
Identify the right IELTS test
Choose the IELTS academic test if you’ll study at the undergraduate or postgraduate level or work in a field like medicine, teaching, law, or nursing.
However, if you wish to relocate or pursue studies below the degree level, take IELTS general training.
To migrate to the UK, you might be required to take the IELTS life skill test to prove your English speaking and listening skills.
Familiarise yourself with the test format
Review the contents, question types, and task categories included in the four sections of the IELTS exam: speaking, reading, listening, and writing.
Study the test format to get an idea of the different task types or task focus, number of questions, marks, answering patterns, and band score conversion for every section.
As you prepare for the IELTS exam, remember that knowing the format of the test is crucial to success because there are different task types to expect from each section.
Take IELTS practice tests
The goal of practice tests is to assess your strengths and weaknesses in all four skills.
An IELTS progress check is an online practice test that is marked and provides feedback on areas for improvement, in addition to a score estimate.
Once you’re done with it, work steadily to enhance your strengths and address your weaknesses.
Create a planner
Ideally, you should start preparing for your IELTS exam at least 3-6 months in advance. The majority of students spend a significant portion of their preparation time taking several practice tests.
But that isn’t the most effective way to prepare for the IELTS exam! This is based on a misconception that taking more tests improves IELTS grades.
The secret to successful IELTS preparation is using time carefully for assessing, improving, and monitoring your skills.
An ideal planner helps you set simple goals along with actionable study plans.
Many test takers lose points because of a lack of focus, especially when taking the speaking and listening tests of the IELTS exam.
So, in order to develop and maintain a strong level of focus, get into these habits:
- Follow the planner and update it weekly.
- Choose a neat, well-lit area for studying.
- Take short breaks every 30 minutes to stay alert and prevent fatigue.
- Choose a specific time and study regularly during that period for productive studying.
- Use time boxing to avoid distractions.
Learn about the IELTS scores needed to enter undergraduate or postgraduate programs according to disciplines.
Watch free tutoring videos to ace your IELTS preparations.
Find test centres close to you and learn about registration and test dates.
Recap of the Tips and Strategies to Prepare for the IELTS Exam
Take a practice test
Guide your preparation, by taking a practice test to begin with and identify your weaknesses. This is a critical part in your initial preparation that will help establish where your strengths and weaknesses are. Not only is it necessary to improve on your weaknesses, but it is equally essential to build up on your strengths to create a solid foundation for the examination.
However, if you struggle to refrain from these mistakes or are unable to clearly identify them, you definitely need an expert by your side. Most test-takers consider taking an IELTS preparation course, one of the easiest ways to approach the test, as it focuses solely on getting you exam-ready for IELTS.
Understand the test format
Before you begin practising, it’s extremely important that you know what to expect of the test format. Familiarise yourself with it by reviewing the content of the test, as well as the question and task types for each section.
Remember the key to success in any examination and not just IELTS is a sound familiarity with the test pattern and format.
Be aware of the exam time constraints
The clearer understanding you develop regarding the test structure, the higher your chances are to completing it successfully within the allocated time frame.
Conduct your preparation under timed conditions, so you become accustomed to the pace of the test.
Remember the IELTS test has a time limit and you will only have the time given for each module. If you are unable to complete the modules within the allocated time or if you cannot concentrate accordingly due to the timing pressure.
All preparation done in classes of a preparation course, are conducted under the same timed conditions as the exam, so you’re ready for the pace of the IELTS test.
Develop your English capabilities and IELTS strategies
One of the biggest mistakes students make is to focus only on IELTS. They do lots of IELTS practice tests but they forget to improve their English.
Most Indonesian IELTS learners are unaware of their current English level, which is often Intermediate or below, and do not consider or forget that IELTS is an English proficiency test. As such, your English is expected to be top notch.
Keep in mind that learning IELTS is a process. On average it takes 12 weeks to move up a score band by one point.
Start preparing for your test at least 3 – 6 months prior. We highly recommend finding an institution which will help you with English development and IELTS strategies.
Multitask when listening in English
It’s no secret that the IELTS test is demanding and the listening module is no different. You will have to provide answers to 40 questions throughout 4 recordings. The recordings will be played only once. Typical questions include sentence completion, summary completion, form completion and multiple choice.
It is not surprising to get lost during a conversation, but you need to recover fast or you will miss all the questions of that task afterwards. This would be a disaster. As such, it is essential to understand how to follow a conversation, even if you miss something and how you can recover to continue answering the next questions.
You are also expected to understand what type of information to supply depending on the question type. Is it a number, a name, an address?
Develop a wide range of reading skills
The sole purpose of the reading module is to test a wide range of reading skills. Reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical argument, and recognising writers’ opinions, attitudes and purpose.
Test takers have to provide short answers, match information, complete sentences, match headings or complete diagram labels.
Ensure your practice includes a wide variety of questions so that you become accustomed to each type.
Timing is of the essence in the reading module and you simply will not have the time to go through the texts several times. There are strategies to help you to avoid this situation. For example, how to skim the text and what kind of information you need to focus on.
Use appropriate and assertive English terms when writing
The writing module is perhaps the one that most people struggle with. Both tasks in the academic training must be written in a formal style.
Task 1 requires that you describe and explain data, which you may be an expert at, this requires significant practice in English.
Task 2 presents a number of challenges. Often, the topic given can be hard to develop if you are not familiar with it. In addition, the essay must have a proper structure.
You need to be prepared to answer both tasks and understand the requirements of each.
You should use appropriate language to complete Task 1 questions and ensure your practice includes the different types of charts (line graphs, bar charts, pie charts, tables, multiple data sources, processes, diagrams) to ensure you are prepared for the test.
For Task 2 question preparation, familiarise yourself with the structure of an essay, how to develop it, how to write the introduction and the conclusion. You must be able to connect your ideas using appropriate English. Additionally, practice writing about topics that are common on the IELTS so you become familiar with them.
A preparation course will expose to you the different types of essays that commonly come up on IELTS such as: Agree or Disagree, Discuss two Opposing Opinions, Advantages and Disadvantages, Problems and Solutions, Causes and Solutions, Causes and Effects.
Speak with fluency or coherence in direct communication
This test is less than 15 minutes long and is split into three parts. The first 5 minutes are reserved for introduction and general topics between the test taker and the examiner. The second part assesses the test taker’s ability to speak about a random topic given on a task card. The last part merely adds complexity to the second. At this stage, the examiner will also pay attention to pronunciation, lexical resources and fluency.
Practising each part under exam conditions is essential to your test preparation and will get used to the pressure you will have during the test. You need to be able to write down notes that will help you to talk for two minutes during the second part of the test.
Immerse yourself in English
Expose yourself to as much language as you can alongside your test preparation. Reading things that interest you in English, online magazines or blogs can be a great place to start.
Write some English every day, by writing a diary, keeping a blog or communicating with an online community such as people on a Facebook group that share an interest with you
Listen to native speakers talking to one another and if possible join in. Try the ‘shadowing’ technique. This involves repeating what someone has just said in English. This will help with pronunciation, intonation and stress.
Importance of Staying Motivated and Disciplined
Preparing for the IELTS can be daunting. It takes time, commitment and a strong will to stay motivated. If you’re feeling down or struggling with staying motivated when preparing for the IELTS, here are 5 tips that can help you.
Break it Down & Set Goals
We often lose motivation when we feel the task is too big or too hard. We get overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, and then feel deflated.
It’s important that when facing a task as big as preparing for the IELTS test, that you break it down into manageable bits. You can break your preparation into weeks and set a goal for each week. For example, one week just focuses on writing tasks. You can break this down even smaller into daily goals. For example, if you are taking the IELTS general, you can spend one or two days on each type of letter (formal semi-formal or informal). If you are taking IELTS academic, you can spend a day on each type of graph or chart.
Then, the next week, focus just on writing tasks and do the same for and listening. When you have completed a goal and are able to tick a task off of your list, you will feel a sense of achievement and see your progress. This approach will go a long way toward helping you stay motivated when preparing for the IELTS.
Although you are probably on a time limit, it’s important that you take breaks. You don’t want to burn out. Plus, you will begin to lose motivation if all you do is study. So, set a daily goal and when you finish it, take a break. Go for a walk, watch a movie, spend time with your friends or family, or just chill. You’ve earned it!
Staying active will also play a huge role in helping you stay motivated when preparing for the IELTS. Try to include some exercise in your breaks. Moving the body helps the brain stay active. It will reduce stress by activating your happy hormones and also help you to feel refreshed for the next day of study.
Find the Right Resources
Another thing that may cause some anxiety for test-takers is the number of resources out there related to IELTS test preparation. The key is to find the right materials to support your study. Having the right resources will help you stay motivated because you know that you are being guided correctly and are on the right track. Support is necessary during this time, so a good teacher or tutor to give you the right kind of feedback will help keep your motivation levels high. help keep your motivation levels high.
Learn from your mistakes
Believe it or not, failure can actually be a good thing. It’s an opportunity for us to learn from our mistakes. If you find yourself not getting the scores you expect, then ask an expert for advice or feedback. Don’t let failure be your excuse for not staying motivated when preparing for IELTS.
Knowing where, how and why you went wrong is a chance to improve your skills. For example, if your writing score is low, find out why. Is it related to grammar, vocabulary, structure or flow? If it’s grammar, what kind of grammar mistakes are you making? This gives you a chance to focus on your weaknesses and turn them into strengths.
Eat and Sleep well
This one sounds obvious, but when we don’t get enough sleep or aren’t eating a healthy diet, our motivation suffers because we are tired and our brains are not working to their best ability.
Plenty of rest and proper nutrition will help you stay motivated when preparing for the IELTS. Some people like to stay up late into the night studying. Many people even find it easier to study at night. Just make sure that you are snacking well to keep your energy levels up and that you get around 8 hours of sleep.
Encouragement to Take the IELTS Exam and Achieve Success
Most people are aware that passing their IELTS (International English Language Testing System) exam, is a great way to establish your proficiency in the English language for academic or employment purposes. However, what many people don’t realise is that their IELTS test scores are also used for immigration purposes by government agencies, for registration purposes.
You should know the score you’ll need to achieve in order to fulfil your employment or academic requirements. Most people take the time to use test preparation tools which are available through us, here at IDP Canada, to help study for upcoming exams.
However, people tend to overlook some of the added benefits that will encourage you to take the IELTS exams and get success by spending more time preparing for the IELTS exam to attempt to achieve an even higher score than they actually need.
Some of the more common benefits that encourages you for IELTS exams include:
- Your knowledge of the English language is better. When prepping for your exam, you become more familiar with the level of English required for academic and employment purposes.
- Your English language skills are assessed objectively. Maybe your co-workers, friends or family have told you that you speak and write English rather well. This type of feedback tends to be more subjective, so you truly don’t have a good idea of your actual abilities. Preparing for the exam and taking it, provides you with an objective assessment of your English language skills.
- All of your English language skills have improved. Many people tend to fare better in certain areas of the English language over other areas. However, the IELTS exam tests all four: Reading, Speaking, Writing, and Listening. In order to pass the exam, you have to practise in all four areas, and through your preparations, become improved.
- The IELTS exam helps you set clear goals and motivates you to study harder. When you lack clear objectives and goals, it’s easy to not study as hard, or wait until the very last minute. With the IELTS exam, the goals are clearly defined so it helps motivate you to study daily, which also improves your English skills.
- Passing the IELTS exam results in a certification recognized worldwide. Numerous government agencies, universities, employers, and other institutions accept IELTS exam results and recognize the importance of the certification you receive for passing.
To help you prepare for your IELTS exam, IDP Canada offers several different tools and study aids. Some of these do require paying a registration fee, like the IELTS writing assist and IELTS reading assist while others are provided for free. Our blog articles are also a great resource you can use, they contain a wealth of information.
We invite you to explore our website further and encourage you to use our “Find an IELTS location” feature to locate the nearest IELTS Test Centre.
Call to Action for Readers to Start Preparing for the IELTS
You are a student planning to sit for the IELTS test. Naturally, you want to get the best core you possibly can. What is the most effective preparation for the IELTS test?
First of all, you must be realistic. How good is your English now? A student who currently has a band score of 5 will need about 6 months full-time study to raise it to 6,5. Preparation for the IELTS test — improvement in your level of English — will take time and work. Below are some suggestions for useful activities.
One of the biggest problems that students have in the test is that they run out of time. The first thing you need to practise is speed, especially in the reading and writing sections. Whenever you read something in English, give yourself a time limit. While you are reading, stop at the end of every paragraph and summarise it to yourself. By forcing yourself to read with time limits you will find your reading speed increases, and reading under exam conditions will get easier.
In the same way, practise writing quickly. Every day, sit down and write as much as you can for 5-10 minutes on any subject. Don’t worry about accuracy when doing this — the idea here is to increase your speed, not your accuracy.
Use your classes
Speed without accuracy, however, is not enough. Not only must you use your present language skills more quickly, you must gain new skills, and improve old ones. This can be done through classwork and personal study.
Most students reading this book will be studying English with a teacher. Here are some of the skills your teacher will be working on with you, all important in the IELTS test:
Speaking: pronunciation, information, fluency, common phrases, interaction (dynamics with another speaker), asking questions;
Listening: voice tone, listening for keywords, listening for general information, vocabulary, summarising;
Reading: skimming (general understanding), scanning (looking for specific information), vocabulary, summarising;
Writing: adjusting style according to purpose; writing paragraphs, introductions and conclusions; using conjunctions and reference; structuring information within a text.
Make the most of every class by reviewing your lessons, preferably the same day. Make a note of any new vocabulary learnt (spelling, pronunciation, meaning, part of speech). Look at the activities the teacher gave you — what were they for? If you have problems, do the activities again at home. If you still have problems, see your teacher. By looking at your
classwork again, you remember it better; by thinking about it, and how it will benefit 3 you will acquire the skill(s) it teaches you more quickly.
you will also find it useful to do other studies apart from the class review: extra work that you find difficult.
Also, you simply need to hear, read, write, and speak as much English as possible. Here I some suggestions:
do an adult education course;
join a social club or a community service organization;
use every opportunity where appropriate to talk to native speakers;
read at the supermarket, in the street, in offices and shops;
use a detailed TV guide to gain more information about a programme;
dial-a-robot — work through the recorded messages in the phone book;
telephone for transport information: specific buses, trains, flights;
telephone for travel information: costs of journeys, accommodation.
Many of these things you could do only in an English-speaking country. If you are studying in a non-English-speaking country you should try to find English interest groups with whom to practise. You should also regularly read books/journals on topics related to your future study. This will increase your knowledge of the vocabulary and style of academic writing.
All of these things will help you to prepare for the IELTS test, and you will find many good books on study skills that will give more information on effective study techniques
Two further comments should be made.
- While it is important that you study hard, you also need rest, exercise and relaxation. Without these things, you will grow tired, you may lose interest in your study, and your health may suffer. You will prepare best for the exam by living a balanced lifestyle.
- Many people get very nervous when taking an exam, especially an important one. To do the very best you can in the IELTS exam, you could sit the test once just to find out what it is like, as a practice. You will learn the procedure (what section comes first, and so on) without having to worry about doing your very best. When you want to sit the test ‘for real’, you will be more relaxed because you will know what to expect, and will be able to concentrate on performing to the best of your ability.
Every English exam is supposed to show how good a student’s level of English is. This is done in different ways in different tests, and with different measures of success. The IELTS test is a good test because the language skills needed in the exam are similar to those needed at college/university. You can thus be sure that as you prepare for IELTS you will be preparing well for your future study.
There are no magic formulas for doing well in the IELTS test. However, these simple Suggestions will help you do as well as possible.
Be calm even if you feel depressed or discouraged. As one part of the exam finishes, forget it and go on to the next one.
Do Not Memorise Answers Firstly, an examiner can tell if you’ve memorised an answer, and you will lose marks. Secondly, there is no guarantee whatsoever that the question you were expecting will appear in the exam. In that case, you will probably do worse than if you had never memorise anything, because you will have neglected your normal English practice. Again, you will lose marks.
Read the Questions For the reading, writing and listening sections, you must read the questions carefully. You cannot get marks if you do not answer the questions correctly.
Use your time. Find out how much time you have for each section and divide it sensibly among the questions. If you finish early, check your answers. Use every second of the time you have. Don’t waste time by working too long on one question or by finishing early and j sitting doing nothing.
IELTS Preparation is the only way to crack the IELTS test and score great bands. Even if you are good at the English language and have attempted the test earlier, you still require sufficient preparation. Why? Because it will help you get familiarised with the test, understand your area of improvement, and help you score better. These IELTS Preparation tips will provide guidance while working on your test and prove to be useful during your IELTS Preparation at Home.
IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 plays an essential role because you can save time from task 1 for solving your task 2. Task 2 – Essay writing is more complex, and it may take more time. This is why it is highly recommended to every IELTS aspirant to solve task 1 before time.
To practise with more sample questions on IELTS Academic Writing Task 1, You also get a variety of questions on other IELTS Writing tasks for IELTS preparation.
It is imperative to know the meaning of a sentence and words before you appear for the IELTS Reading exam. You can take the help of a dictionary or the internet to know the meaning of some challenging words. IELTS Preparation is all about making mistakes and correcting them.
Make sure you continue with your preparation and follow these tips to help you succeed:
- Make a habit of skimming and scanning to form an idea through the text quickly.
- During IELTS Preparation, Read the Instruction of every task carefully.
- Practise Mark the keywords during the Reading Test.
- Ensure you Follow the Instructions mentioned in the Test
- Read newspapers every day and listen to the news to improve your reading skills.
Get ready to get results There are so many great ways to prepare for IELTS, which can help you to achieve your best on test day. By taking advantage of our step-by-step guide and planning well, you can boost your confidence and your score.
01 First steps: Register for the test: To find a test centre near you or to book your test, visit IELTSessentials.com Set your ‘score goal’: Confirm the IELTS score required by your chosen university, institution, employer or organisation. Knowing your ‘score goal’ gives you a clear target to work towards. You can look up the criteria for each score here: IELTSessentials.com/results/about-ieltsscores so you understand what you need to prepare for.
02 Boost your English skills: The best way to succeed in any English language test is to improve your English. Here are two great ways to build your skills. An English language course: This is one of the best ways to improve your English. The feedback you receive from your teacher will help you improve the specific skills involved in Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking English. An IELTS preparation course: This can help you familiarise yourself with the types of tasks included in an IELTS test. Ask your local IELTS test centre for more information about a preparation course near you. Book your IELTS test and get FREE access to an online preparation course for 30 days!
03 Use your English every day
Practice makes perfect, so use your English as much as you can well in advance of the test. Listen: Listen to English language radio, television and film. You should try to listen to a variety of English accents including American, Australian, British, Canadian and New Zealand. Read: Read English publications such as newspapers and magazines regularly. Write: Write letters, emails or notes in English whenever possible. Speak: Speak English with your friends and family.
04 Practise with sample questions
Free support tools Free test sample: The free IELTS test sample gives you a chance to see sample test questions and practise your responses: IELTSessentials.com/prepare Free computer-delivered IELTS practice materials: Know what to expect on the day with videos, FAQs and sample questions to help guide you through the computer delivered Listening, Reading and Writing tests: IELTSessentials.com/oncomputer Additional support options IELTS Progress Check: Take a full practise test, which gives you an indicative band score plus personalised feedback from an official IELTS marker — so you can identify your weaknesses and improve for the real test. You can practise anytime, anywhere: IELTSprogresscheck.com Official IELTS Practice Material books: Available in Volume 1 and Volume 2, the Official IELTS Practice Material books give you a chance to try sample questions. They include example responses and examiner comments to help guide you, plus there are CDs and DVDs to assist with the Listening and Speaking tests. These are available online or from your local test centre.
05 The day before the test
Recap on the rules: Re-read information provided by your test centre to ensure you understand the test format and rules. Plan your journey: Ensure you know how to get to the test venue so that you arrive on time. Also get plenty of rest the night before your test to help you feel more relaxed on the day.
06 Test day
Allow time: Allow plenty of time to travel to the test venue to ensure you arrive on time. Bring your passport/national identity card: Please make sure you bring the same identification that you provided on your IELTS Application Form, as we need to match these for you to be able to sit the test.