What is IELTS
Today we have gathered to discuss the holy grail of the international study process. The golden ticket without which all the other exams lose their meaning. International English Language Testing System, famously known by its acronym IELTS assesses the language abilities of non-native English speakers who aspire to study or work in English-speaking countries.
Widely accepted by educational institutions, companies, and immigration authorities, the test measures four language skills: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. The test is available in two formats: Academic and General Training. While the former is designed for those who wish to attain an academic degree, the latter is designed for those who want to work in English-speaking countries.
The test is scored on a scale of 0-9. Each segment is given an individual band score, and the total band score is calculated by taking the average of the four segment scores.
Now that we have answered the question 'what is IELTS?', let's thoroughly examine the process of IELTS preparation. In this article, we will provide the most effective tips, the best IELTS study material, and all the useful ways and techniques to help you better prepare for the exam.
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How to Prepare for the IELTS Exam
If you have encountered this article, you are most likely looking for the most effective ways to prepare for an important exam.
Where should I start? What should I pay more attention to? Where can I find the practice tests? If these questions are giving you anxiety, don't worry. We've all been through it. Based on our shared experience and knowledge, we have drafted a roadmap for IELTS exam preparation, leading you to the highest score.
Understand the Structure of IELTS
As trivial as it sounds, understanding the structure of IELTS test is the first step to boosting your final score. Anything unknown is always scary and anxiety-inducing. Knowing and being familiar with the subject matter will help you be more confident, calm, and focused.
The IELTS listening test comes first, followed by the reading test and writing segment. You will get no breaks in between. According to the testing center's timetable, the speaking test may be conducted up to 7 days before or after the other sections.
The listening segment consists of four sections with 40 questions overall. You must respond to 10 questions after listening to four recordings of fluent English speakers. You will get 30 minutes for this segment, including 10 minutes to transfer the answers to the answer sheet.
The reading segment consists of three sections with 40 questions in total. You'll be required to read passages and respond to questions using the text's details. You will get 60 minutes for this segment.
The writing segment contains two tasks. For Task 1, you must describe a chart, graph, or diagram. For Task 2, you must write an essay responding to a prompt. You will get 60 minutes for this segment as well. While we are at it, check out our article on how to quickly write an essay and sharpen your skills.
The speaking segment is a face-to-face interview with an examiner. There are three parts: an introduction and interview, a short talk, and a discussion. You will get 10-15 minutes for the speaking part.
Let's further discuss how to prepare for IELTS. We have more tips on the best way to prepare for IELTS.
Practice With the Sample IELTS Training Exams
In the beginning stages of IELTS training, you must identify two very critical variables:
- Your strength and weaknesses
- Your answering speed
You'll be able to manage your time better if you can identify your skill set and shortcomings. Knowing your initial answering speed will help you track your progress.
Now that we've brought this up, you presumably want to know how to find those indicators. Well, there are plenty of mock tests off and online. Some of those are paid samples, but you can find various free tests on the internet. You will be able to recognize your skills and weaknesses by taking as many practice examinations as you can. Some find IELTS writing very easy and the speaking part super challenging. If you are one of those people, you must spend more time practicing speaking and less on writing.
Trust us; your initial answering speed will be slow. It takes a lot of practice to get better at this ability. Take your time and try not to put too much pressure on yourself initially. So what if you exceed the timeframe of the IELTS test format? Over some time, after practicing persistently, you will nail it and even have some extra time for revision.
We hope you are no longer confused about how to start IELTS preparation. Trust the experience of many test takers who recommend preparation IELTS online.
IELTS Preparation Strategies for Each Part
As you know, the official IELTS test consists of four different segments. Some skills you need for IELTS speaking tests will not be useful for the writing section and vice versa. You must ensure you enter the exam room prepared for each part.
The following section will discuss each segment individually and provide IELTS exam tips for every module.
IELTS Training: Writing Tips
IELTS experts suggest that the IELTS writing test is not intuitive, and IELTS takers need to sharpen their pens to meet the established standards.
Practice writing and follow the tips below:
- Before you start writing, read the instructions carefully and ensure you understand what is being asked of you. Analyze and internalize the task and identify the key points you must address in your response.
- Plan your response. Outline what you want to focus on and organize them logically.
- Use a formal tone and academic vocabulary but avoid dense sentences. Stick to the point and ensure you don't exceed the word limit.
- Use examples. The better the example, the higher the IELTS score. They will help you sound more confident and convincing.
- Manage your time well, and make sure to proofread your work.
IELTS official practice materials can help you better prepare for the test day. Remember, don't wear yourself out; practice makes perfect.
IELTS Training: Reading Tips
Academic reading text can get quite tricky. IELTS reading tests are designed to test your comprehension and analytical skills. When preparing for the academic reading part of the exam, you need to focus on various aspects simultaneously.
Here are some IELTS exam tips to help you get the most out of your IELTS learning process:
- Before digesting details, glance at the headings and first and last paragraphs. Pinpoint the main topic and adjust your focus.
- Don't be shy with the question paper. Start highlighting and underlining all the important information. This will help you find the answers quickly.
- Pay attention to instructions. Make sure you are aware of what is expected of you. Some inquiries have numerous choices, while others ask you to check multiple boxes.
- Remember, there is a time limit to each module. You will get 60 minutes to answer 40 questions for the reading test. Time yourself and monitor your improvement. Save time by skipping challenging questions and coming back to them later.
- Before submitting, make sure you have enough time to review your answers.
It will be hard initially, but practicing will accelerate your speed and improve your IELTS score. If you find preparing on your own hard, you can always take the IELTS preparation course.
IELTS Training: Speaking Tips
There is no English language proficiency without proof of your speaking abilities. The IELTS speaking test evaluates your oral English and capacity for self-expression.
- Start by speaking English with your English-speaking friends or people you feel comfortable with making mistakes. Discuss simple subjects. Take their feedback and improve your grammar and pronunciation. The examiner will assess your grammar and sentence structure. Make sure your sentences not only make sense but are also grammatically correct.
- The exam will test the range of your vocabulary. Learn 10-15 new words and phrases every day. Choose a topic and express your opinions using them.
- You will be questioned on a range of subjects by the examiner. Pay close attention to the questions, then directly respond. Instead of a one-word response, provide thorough justifications. We encourage you to use examples and personal experience.
- Self-confidence matters! Relax, maintain eye contact, and show enthusiasm.
IELTS general study material provides various practice topics for the speaking segment. Search for official IELTS practice materials to determine the topics you will discuss during an exam.
IELTS Training: Listening Tips
The structure of IELTS test is designed in a way that it simultaneously tests your speaking and reading, writing, and reading abilities. Just because you are done with one segment does not mean those skills won't be tested in the following module. Last but not least, it's time to give IELTS test tips for the IELTS listening test.
- The IELTS listening test features a variety of accents, British, Canadian, American, and Australian. Listen to each and become familiar with them.
- You'll observe that there are many kinds of tasks. Some questions are multiple-choice, some need short answers, and some need sentence completion. Make sure you practice answering questions of each type.
- Take notes and underline key information when practicing for the listening segment. This will help answer quicker. Don't forget to do the same in the exam hall too.
- Pay attention to context clues. It's okay if you don't understand every word. Sometimes, even the tone of voice can hint at the answer.
Practice, keep calm, control time, and be confident; a good IELTS score will be within reach.
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FAQs on IELTS Preparation
The initial stages of IELTS learning are full of confusion for everyone. You are not alone. We have gathered the most frequently asked questions by the test takers in one space, so you don't have to go through the trouble of researching.
Explore the list below and gain more clarity on vital aspects of EILTS preparation.
What is the Best IELTS Exam Preparation Book?
The internet contains IELTS practice tests, but not all are quality products. Many test takers wonder what the best IELTS exam preparation book is. There is no answer to this question, but we have gathered a list of trustworthy sources to help you prepare for the exam day.
The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS – Centered on the information provided by the people who have taken the IELTS test, this book helps you better understand the test structure, gives you valuable advice on strategies, and comes with a DVD containing speaking and listening exercises.
IELTS Trainer – Designed specifically for the IELTS academic tests, this book has six full practice tests, two fully guided. If you have decided to take a journey alone, IELTS Trainer is a great help in building your success.
Barron's IELTS Superpack – Rated as one of the best practice books by test takers, Barron's IELTS Superpack provides you with the best tips and strategies. This book is not for beginners, but its comprehensive nature will help you get a high score.
For official IELTS practice resources, always visit the IELTS website.
What is the Best IELTS Preparation App?
A lot of test takers do IELTS preparation at home. They are searching for the best IELTS preparation app to pass the test successfully. We have done some research for you. Below you will find the top 3 most recommended apps:
IELTS Prep App by British Council - Offers a wide range of IELTS practice tests with over 100 interactive exercises and mock tests. Provides personalized feedback and tips for improvement.
Magoosh IELTS Prep App - Provides access to over 200 video lessons and practice test questions with explanations. Offers a progress tracker to help test takers stay on track with their studies.
IELTS Practice and Preparation from Cambridge English - Offers a variety of practice tests and exercises for all four sections of the IELTS exam. The app also provides instant feedback on answers and offers explanations.
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What is the Recommended IELTS Preparation Time?
Many people wonder how long it takes to enter the test center. The recommended IELTS preparation time depends on the individual's English proficiency level. It is important to set realistic expectations.
We recommend taking at least 6 to 8 weeks for IELTS preparation. In this timeframe, you will be able to become familiar with the test format, enrich your vocabulary, and outline the strategy.
However, the IELTS preparation time will be longer for people with lower English language proficiency levels. In this case, it will take 2-6 months before you visit the exam hall.
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What is a Good IELTS Score?
Of course, the ultimate question is, 'what is a good IELTS score?'. Knowing what to aim at will keep you focused and determined.
For all purposes, 7.0 or higher, with 6.5 in each module, is considered a good score. 8.0 or above is an excellent score, and 9.0 can get you an 'expert' title.
For academic purposes, a good IELTS score is usually 7.0 or higher. But some universities have their specific requirements, so make sure to check that out.
For employment purposes, a good score depends on a person's job. If it does not involve as much communication in English, a score lower than 7.0 may be acceptable.
Use Our Academic Expert Help
The most valuable lesson from this article is that practice makes perfect. It's okay to be slow and make mistakes in the beginning. IELTS training takes patience. You can do anything if you have the necessary discipline and tenacity.
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