How to Prepare Yourself for the IELTS Exam?

How to Prepare Yourself for the IELTS Exam?

Hardwork and determination are the keys to achieving success. The entire preparation process for any exam can be overwhelming without you knowing where to begin. That is why I have put together useful tips on how to coordinate yourself in preparation for the IELTS exam.


Be Acquainted with the Grading System

Get yourself familiar with the format used to grade the IELTS exam. It is known as the band system assessed on a scale of 1-9. Understanding the scoring method will help you measure your progress easily. The entire exam comprises different sections (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) which are graded using the band system. If you are reading this and have a clue on what I am talking about, then it means you have already earned band 5 so, I shall be highlighting from bands 6-9 assessment features. Here is a brief overview of what the system looks like:

Band 6:

This classifies you as a competent English user but prone to making frequent errors. You are identified as a person who can misunderstand situations due to minimal language ability. It shows that you can discuss and write topics that you are conversant with but find it difficult to maneuver unfamiliar topics.

Band 7:

As a band 7, you demonstrate a good use of the English language and can manage complex language situations. Performing daily tasks will be possible for you without many problems but you will make mistakes occasionally.

Band 8:

Your assessment result falls under this category if you are a very good English user. Your mistakes are very few when you write or speak about very unfamiliar topics. Living and working problems will be very little for you in any English speaking country.

Band 9:

In this case you are an expert English user. Your language command is excellent and you speak fluently and accurately. You can live and work in an English speaking country without any problems.

Note that:

Each section of the exam is a separate test that will be graded according to the band system. Therefore, you are to apply the same grading style to each section. Your final result will be obtained by calculating the average of all the four scores.

Get Familiar with the Exam Format

I will recommend that you get a vivid understanding of the exam pattern before the scheduled date. Try to know what the exam will look like so that you don’t get taken unawares on that day. It will help you concentrate on the quality of your answers and responses to achieve the best score. Below is a short outline of the IELTS exam format you should expect:

The writing exam comprises two different categories-

  • Writing (Academic): This is a one hour test which contains Task 1- report on maps, graphs, processes, or charts and Task 2-
  • Writing (General Training): Just like the academic paper, the general training lasts for an hour too. It contains Task 1- Letter and Task 2- Essay

The speaking exam is a combination of 3 sections. It entails a one-on-one interview by an examiner and it lasts between 11 to 14 minutes.

The listening exam duration is 30 minutes with 4 sections to complete. It contains a total of 40 questions.

Lastly, the reading exam contains 40 questions of 3 sections to be completed in one hour.

Note that:

Familiarizing yourself with the exam conditions will give you a clearer idea on how to complete any practice questions. Browse through the internet for free practice questions that you can download. Try your hands on a couple of the questions you find to fully prepare yourself for the exam. You can also enroll in an IELTS private tuition for a preparation course where you will answer real practice questions under exam conditions.

Improve Your English Proficiency

Your fluency in the English language must be excellent if you are planning to sit for the IELTS exam. In preparation, try to work on your spoken, and written abilities. Also improve on your listening capabilities and read a lot of books written in English. This is advisable for those whose official language isn’t English. You can only move up a band score by one point in every 12 weeks of preparation. So, if you are considering taking the IELTS exam, start preparing yourself from 3 to 6 months before the scheduled date. Look for a good school where you can develop your English language proficiency to ace the exam.

Practice on Listening Attentively to Conversations

The listening module of the IELTS exam is quite demanding. You will be expected to answer 40 questions in total. This will be after listening to 4 different recorded conversations or stories. Aspects like summarization, sentence completion, and multiple choices are among the questions you should expect.

A number, an address or a name may be required for you to provide after listening to the recordings. Try to remain focused while listening to avoid losing track of the conversation so that you can recollect the information you gathered from the story. If you find yourself drifting away or losing focus, quickly adjust and get back to the test asap. That way, you will be able to provide answers to subsequent questions aside from the ones you have missed.

Learn how to Read and Write with Amazing Speed

As a test taker, you must be able to read through a comprehension passage with speed and provide short accurate answers. During practice, learn how to skim through short stories and longer ones while you take note of how much information you can gather without having to read over again. Prepare to complete diagram labels and match information after reading passages provided in that section.

You should also prepare to write as fast as possible on any topic whether familiar or not. For the essay part, you may be asked to write in support or against a particular notion. Learn how to develop your point of view regarding any subject generally.

Finally, associate with native English speakers as much as you can to improve your fluency. Also, aim for a high level of band score in each module or section by immersing yourself constantly in the English language.


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