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How to Prepare For IELTS

SOURCE: IELTS Liz

How to prepare for the IELTS Exam

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is a test used by countries where the English language is used as a means of communication to test one’s language proficiency. The best thing about IELTS is that it is widely accepted by many institutes and countries. Also, there are two types of IELTS, one is Academic, and the other is General Training. So it can be useful to students, working professionals and also those who want to migrate. Now talking about preparation, here are few essential points. 

  1. The first step towards any exam is to believe in yourself. If you think that you can, only then you will. 
  2. Gather all the information. Check out the official websites of IELTS https://www.ielts.org/ Here; you will find a lot of information that will help you with the test. Also, you can familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations. 
  3. Carefully understand the format. It is essential to familiarize yourself with the test format before taking the test.
  4. Get Assistance. Many test centers around the world provide courses to help you prepare. So you need to contact your local IELTS center.
  5. Practice. Practice will make your IELTS score perfect. Practice sample test questions as much as you can. There is also a lot of material available on its site.
  6. Prepare systematically- Studying randomly from anywhere will only confuse you. You can divide and study focusing on your weak points.
  7. Read- Read as much as possible. It improves your vocabulary.
  8. Improve your speaking and listening skills- You need to focus on both your speaking as well as listening skills. 
  9. Be Consistent- Consistency is the key. Don’t lose it till last.
  10. Regularly check your progress – Keep a check at your pace and register for the test wherever you feel ready.

How to Prepare for IELTS at Home

With the right mindset and proper planning, you can prepare for IELTS at home itself. Preparing at home with proper planning can prove to bear better results. You need to be consistent and work hard. And no one can stop you from getting a good IELTS score if you follow the following guidelines.

  1. Planning– The first thing is to plan your preparation. Choose a plan that suits you.
  2. Smart Work-Study smartly. Choose smart work rather than hard work.
  3. Read, Listen, and Speak– Read as much as you can. Read English newspapers, books, and articles. Listen to podcasts, TV speakers, etc. And try communicating in English.
  4. Online Material– You can get a lot of online material but chose wisely. Don’t overcrowd yourself.
  5. Mock Tests– Taking Mock Tests to help a big deal. Regularly take Mocks and analyze the mistakes.
  6. Practice and Review– Practice as much as possible and time to time, review yourself.
  7. Divide and Conquer– As per the syllabus, divide your preparation into parts. And move from part to part.
  8. Partner– Find a preparation buddy, if possible, someone who is also preparing for IELTS to have a healthy competition.
  9. Don’t Cram– Understand it like a language. Simply memorizing won’t help.
  10. Don’t tire yourself out– Enjoy your preparation. English is an amazing and fun language. Have fun while mastering it. 

How to prepare for IELTS Speaking

Since you already know that IELTS is divided into four parts, Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening and each section is equally important. Here let’s focus on the Speaking part. Speaking test is of about 10-14 minutes, and these minutes are divided into three parts, 4-5minutes to talk about yourself, 2-4 minutes to talk about the given topic, and 4-5 minutes to converse with the examiner. Now since you know the pattern, let’s focus on how you can prepare for it.

  1. Before starting any preparation, know where you stand. How fluent you are and at what band you are on.
  2. Depending on your ability to learn, make a timeline, and work on it.
  3. Practice according to a plan. Make a plan that suits you.
  4. If you think that you need a teacher, get one.
  5. Learn by reading and listening.
  6. Constantly analyze yourself.
  7. Find a friend who is good at English and converse with him about real-life situations in ENGLISH.
  8. See the pattern of last year’s question and be aware of the types of questions usually being asked.
  9. Focus on your vocabulary.
  10. Be confident.

How to prepare for IELTS Writing

The writing test in IELTS includes two tasks to be completed in 120 minutes. The examiner wants to test your response, your ability to organize ideas, your vocabulary, and your grammar. So, you need to focus on every detail of these points. Here are a few points to help with the same.

  1. Visit the official site and practice numerous questions.
  2. Understand your weak areas and work on them.
  3. Get a second part opinion, preferably an expert.
  4. Turn your weakness into a strength. Focus on every detail.
  5. Practice as much as you can.
  6. Focus on your vocab and grammar.
  7. Focus on every minute detail you can find.
  8. Work on your accuracy, time limit, and word limit.
  9. Learn idioms and phrases, and try to use them in your sentences.
  10.  Don’t go off the topic. 

How to prepare for IELTS Reading

Scoring well in the Reading section of IELTS is equally important as other sections. Reading can be a fun part of the preparation. There is so much exciting content available to read, which can help you with the preparation. Here are some tips and tricks to help you out.

  1. Learn useful techniques to develop your reading skills.
  2. Read a large number of English books, novels, and newspapers to improve your reading.
  3. Learn about the skill of reading to understand.
  4. Search for the previous year question pattern.
  5. Also, learn the skill of reading to locate your answers.
  6. Try to learn how to pronounce complex words correctly.
  7. Go for online IELTS reading practice tests.
  8. Another way to prepare for the test is to go for Cambridge books 1 to 13.
  9. Improve your speed through skimming and scanning.
  10.  Always lookout for new words to improve your vocabulary. 

How to prepare for IELTS Listening

To improve your listening skills, you need concentration. And it is essential to have excellent listening skills to score well in IELTS. You can improve your listening skills using the following tips and tricks.

  1. Along with reading, start listening (English news, podcast, etc.)
  2. Try to concentrate while listening.
  3. Learn synonyms and antonyms to help you understand better.
  4. Think in English.
  5. Give attention to every minute detail.
  6. Watch English news channels and English movies.
  7. Take online mock IELTS listening tests
  8. Try figuring out your weakness and work on it.
  9. Improve your vocabulary.
  10. Practice as much as you can.

How much time does it take to prepare for IELTS

The time majorly depends on the person taking the test. His learning ability and speed, how much he is already prepared and what score is he aiming for, all these things matter. But experts suggest that in general, a student must spend at least 6-8 weeks to prepare for the IELTS exam.

How to prepare for IELTS in 10 Days

It’s not an impossible task to get a good score band in IELTS by preparing for ten days. Why? Well first, it has been done before, and for a second, you can do it. Have that mindset and gear up. Here are a few guidelines to help you out.

  1. Know your weakness– It’s just ten days, and you need to utilize every minute of these ten days. Before starting to analyze yourself. Know your weakness as well as your strength. Focus accordingly.
  2. Collect every help beforehand– Before you start to collect every material, book website, online material beforehand.
  3. Stick to a plan– Plan a strategy that works for you and stick to it.
  4. Time– You have ten days. Use every minute wisely. Divide the ten days according to your plan. Stay away from any kind of distraction. And most importantly, stay motivated.
  5. Reading– Improve your speed. Learn every term usually asked in the exam.
  6. Writing– Understand what is being asked and then only answer. Plan a format and then work on it.
  7. Listening– Practice listening to the clips as much as you can. Here you need speed, so work on that.
  8. Speaking- Mirror technique (Practicing in front of a mirror) is always helpful in improving your speaking skills.
  9. Evaluation– Keep evaluating yourself and know your weaker sections. Work on them.
  10. Professional help– If you think that you need professional help. Don’t hesitate.

How to prepare for IELTS General

If you want to work or migrate to an English speaking nation like the UK and Canada, you need to take this test. Also, if you wish to study below degree level in these countries, you need to take this test. IELTS General is different than IELTS Academic, and you should know the difference. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for it.

  1. Understand the difference between IELTS General and IELTS Academic. IELTS General will be more focused on your English language proficiency in a daily life context, workplace, and social situations. 
  2. Understand the format of the exam.
  3. Set the target you wish to achieve in the test and work accordingly.
  4. Find the training resources, both online and offline.
  5. You can contact the nearest British Council for study material.
  6. Constantly analyze your performance.
  7. Know your weak points and work extra on them.
  8. Understand what the exam demands and how much extra efforts you need to put into it.
  9. Read daily. Be it newspapers, novels, or magazines, read as much as you can.
  10.  Work on your speaking, listening, and writing skills as well, and if you won’t get professional help. 

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How to prepare for IELTS Academic

IELTS Academic is for the students who want to get their degree (Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Ph.D.) from an English speaking nation. In this, your ability to organize ideas is tested. So you need to prepare accordingly. Mentioned below are some points to help you with the preparation.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the four sections i.e., Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening.
  2. Practice with diagrams and illustrations and learn to skim.
  3. Try not to waste too much time on similar questions and set a timeline.
  4. Practice as much as you can.
  5. Get professional help.
  6. Keep a watch on your progress and observe your weaknesses.
  7. Learn from the mistakes and try to improve on them.
  8. Try to speak and think in English only.
  9. Take a lot of Mock Tests.
  10. Stay motivated

IELTS Preparation Tips

There are two IELTS test, one for those who wish to study abroad in an English Speaking Nation and the other for those who wish to work or even settle there. Deciding on what you want, you can choose the test you want to take. Here are some tips and tricks to help with both the tests.

  1. Know the difference between the two tests and prepare accordingly.
  2. Collect all the resources online as well as offline.
  3. For study material, consult your nearest British Council (www.britishcouncil.org)
  4. Find your weaker sections and start working upon them.
  5. Stay updated about current issues used for speaking and writing by reading newspapers and magazines.
  6. Listen to the BBC and CNN or watch British shows or music.
  7. Have a realistic goal that matches your skills and dedication.
  8. Practice regularly and focus on your weaker areas.
  9. Increase your speed. In IELTS, time is your enemy.
  10.  Develop a memory for English as it is useful in reading tests. 

IELTS Exam Pattern

ReadingWritingSpeakingListening
This section comprises of three long reading passages and questions based on them. The text can be of any type for example on facts, diagrams, graphs, etc. It conducts over 60 minutes in the whole time provided for the IELTS. The number of questions is 40.This section is conducted for over 60 minutes and it consists of writing essays on some topics or situations. The text can range from a variety of descriptive, facts to diagrams and graphs. It actually tests the student ability to create content. The number of questions is 3It lasts over 11 to 14 minutes in the whole time provided for the exam. This section comprises of the face-to-face interview to the interviewer. The questions totally depend on the interviewer but the answers should impress him/her in order to get a good score in this. The number of questions is 3.There are a total of 4 questions and it comprises of the four recorded monologues and the conversation. The test lasts over for 30 minutes. This section tests the student for the ability of concentration on the words spoken.

IELTS Exam Date

The IELTS test is conducted several times a month. You can choose your preferred location, type of examination, and you will receive several dates of examinations along with the Examination Centre and the fees. You can choose your date on the IELTS India Website.

IELTS Preparation Books

There is a lot of study material available online as well as offline. So much that it can easily confuse you, and in the end, you would be buried under their pressure. So the key is that you need to choose. Select the material according to your requirements. Here is the list of few books you can choose from.

  1. The Official Cambridge Guide To IELTS
  2. Target Band 7: IELTS Academy
  3. Barron’s IELTS Superpack
  4. Roads to IELTS
  5. Ace the IELTS: IELTS General- How to Maximize Your Score
  6. ELTS Success Formula Academic with CD
  7. Target Band 7: IELTS Academic
  8. Cambridge English: IELTS 11 Academic with Answers

Choose your options wisely and believe in yourself. With consistency and hard work, you can score well in your IELTS. All the Best.


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FAQ

1. What are the questions asked in IELTS?

Ans. There are several types of questions that are asked in the IELTS test. Some include Matching Paragraph Information Questions, Summary Completion Question, Sentence Completion Questions, and Multiple Choice Questions.

2. What are the common topics in ielts speaking?

Ans. There are 3 parts to the speaking test.

  • Part 1 – The test taker is asked to introduce himself and have to answer general questions such as his home, family, hobbies, etc.
  • Part 2 – The test taker has to talk about a given topic which includes some point which he needs to cover in his conversation/ explanation.
  • Part 3 – It is related to the second part in which the discussion takes place in greater depth.

3. Is IELTS exam difficult?

Ans. IELTS exam is difficult without preparation. The test focuses only on English so if the student focuses only on that, the test will not seem so difficult.

4. How can I pass ielts speaking?

Ans. You need to focus on adding interesting facts in the reply, be quick and prompt in answering, think before speaking as it ensures clarity in the information, and talk confidently to avoid confusion. Prepare yourself intensively and be confident with yourself

5. How many times can you write ielts?

Ans. There is no limit to taking the IELTS Test. But it is recommended to give a few months break between exams according to your preparation.

6. How long is IELTS valid?

Ans. The IELTS test is valid for 2 years

7. Is there any dress code for IELTS speaking?

Ans. There is no dress code for the test but it is preferable to wear Formal Clothes while taking the test.

8. Do I need to study for IELTS?

Ans. Yes, you must study for IELTS. Many students have a misconception that if they are well versed in English, they do not need to study for IELTS. But there are several cases where students fail due to lack of preparation.

9. Does accent matter in IELTS?

Ans. In the IELTS Speaking test, your own accent does not matter as the examiner judges your clarity and quality of English. But it is important to understand different accents specially for the Listening test.

10. Is 1 month enough for IELTS?

Ans. If your preparation is good and fast-paced, you can prepare for IELTS in a month or even a few days.

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About the Author

Piyush values education and has studied from the top institutes of IIT Roorkee, IIM Bangalore, KTH Sweden and Tsinghua University in China. Post completing his MBA, he has worked with the world’s # 1 consulting firm, The Boston Consulting Group and focused on building sales and marketing verticals for top MNCs and Indian business houses.

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