How To Prepare For IELTS Test

To go abroad for reasons such as getting a degree to a job, one common exam that most people have to go through is the IELTS. Known as one of the most widely accepted tests in the world, IELTS can prove to be your ticket to go overseas.

For a country like the UK, IELTS is the major secure English Test approved by UKVI for visa application. Although scoring well in the IELTS exam seems to be a hard nut to crack, it is not as hard as you may think. You just need to prepare well for it.

To prepare well, you will likely need someone to guide you through the whole process. Well, guess what? We are here to help you with how to prepare for IELTS Test. We will tell you everything you need to know to prepare yourself well.

 What is IELTS?

How to prepare for IELTS test

An acronym for the International English Language Testing System, it is one of the most globally accepted English Proficiency Test, which almost every person going overseas has to undertake.

Now, why does it matter so much? This test helps to establish the fact that you understand and speak fluent English, which is a necessary aspect when you are applying to go to an English Speaking country.

IELTS can be divided into two types: Academic and General. They are essentially the same; however, the purpose of taking the test, and certain aspects of the syllabus differ. The Academic IELTS is taken to pursue higher studies in a University abroad, while General IELTS is usually taken by people who wish to go abroad for secondary education, work, or temporary migration.

In case you don’t know, IELTS is divided into 4 sections: Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing. You have to prepare for each section separately. To help you prepare well, we have done a breakdown of each section, telling you what to expect and how to handle each section.

A Breakdown of How to Prepare for IELTS

Listening:

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  • In the first recording, you’ll have to listen to a conversation between two people and answer questions. The recordings can be in any accent, such as American, British, or Australian. To prepare for this, try to get familiar with different accents of English. How do you do that? Simply watch lots of videos. Try to watch Ted Talks or conversational debates on BBC or CNN.
  • The second recording revolves around a monologue on social context, and the fourth one is a University speech. You should pay attention to the central idea conveyed in the recording. Try to understand what other issues are highlighted in the recording and how the speaker presents his/her idea.
  • The third recording is often a group discussion between around four (4) people. Understanding the main topic of discussion is very important. Also, try to remember the names of the people involved in the conversation and specific references, if any.
  • When watching videos to prepare yourself for the test, try to start with videos that have subtitles, as that will help you understand them better and with that also help improve your vocabulary.
  • Lastly, listen to each recording patiently and try to remember only the most critical parts of it. Don’t clutter your brain with any unnecessary information.
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Speaking:

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  • This is the most dreaded section of the test. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t surmount it. In the first task of this section, you have to answer some questions about yourself. The questions can be on family, hobbies, aspirations, and so on. Try to give prompt elaborate answers, but at the same time, don’t get very gossipy as that can put a wrong impression of you on the examiner.
  • For the second task, you will be asked to speak on a given topic for about 2 minutes. Try to convey what you understand of the topic. Use facts that you are sure about to support your answer. Avoid using misleading facts or hoodwinks as that might not be in your favor. Be concise, specific, and confident about anything you say.
  • The third task demands that you answer the examiner’s questions based on the topic you have spoken about. Again, be specific and confident about what you are talking about. Be sure of what you said in the last task as the examiner might ask you tricky questions to make you contradict yourself. Don’t fall for it.
  • Try not to sound or appear over-enthusiastic or nervous when answering the examiner. Answer calmly and smartly. For any questions you don’t know the answer of, try not to babble incomplete answers with broken facts. Answer as far as you know, and if you don’t know, tell the examiner likewise
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Reading:

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  • In this section, you have to read and answer the questions to three (3) passages. Each contains around 300 words. The first thing that you have to learn is how to speed-read. You can develop this skill through constant reading. Practice reading a lot before you appear for the test. Try to understand the passages on your first read, because you don’t have much time to re-read them.
  • Summarise the main idea of the passages in your head. This will help you answer the questions more accurately. Don’t forget what the author wants to say in the passages and how he/she builds his/her argument.
  • Learn how to skim through passages, as that will be very helpful to you when finding answers to every question. When writing the answers, be very specific and sure about each answer. If you’re not sure, check again.
  • Develop a habit of reading a lot. This will likely help you score more in this section. Also, work on your vocabulary. You don’t want to get stuck trying to figure out what a particular word of any passage means. Go through old sample papers or good IELTS books to become familiar with previous passages and learn some keywords.
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Writing:

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  • You have to finish two (2) tasks in this section: 150-word description of the given figure or graph and 250-word essay. You have 60 minutes for both. It is advisable you first finish the essay, since that consumes more time and then go on to task 1.
  • In your essay, try to convey the central idea in a very intelligible way. Build the argument of the topic in such a way that each paragraph flows well. Let your essay be a substantial piece of writing that explains what you are writing on.
  • For the first task, learn how to understand and interpret graphs and tables. You need to clearly understand the idea conveyed via the given diagram. Understand the values given and build your description using the comparison between these values. Try not to elongate any aspect of the description unnecessarily; keep it precise and straightforward.
  • Develop a good vocabulary and increase your writing speed. To finish both the tasks in 60 minutes may be challenging. It is best to develop a habit of writing. Also, avoid making any silly punctuation mistakes or using unnecessary abbreviations, as that can affect your score. Use formal language when writing your essay.
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Aside from the above breakdown to help you prepare yourself for every section, there are a few general pointers that you need to keep in mind. This is why we are also offering you some extra tips to help you prepare well.

Extra Tips on How To Prepare for IELTS Test

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  • 1. Take some help
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You might feel yourself to be the smartest person, but IELTS is not the place to test that. Get some form of assistance from professionals who prepare students for IELTS. If not that, you can also enroll for any of the multiple online courses available online.

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  • 2. Do multiple dry runs
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Practicing is an excellent way to score better in IELTS. The more you practice, the better you can score. So, watch good discussions and read the right books today. Also, try to go through and answer as many sample questions for IELTS as possible. This will not only help you improve your language, but will also help boost your confidence.

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  • 3. Work on your Language
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Before going for IELTS, you need to have excellent language skills, and that is a combination of good vocabulary and grammar. Also, be sure you are good with punctuation as that matters a lot in the writing section. You don’t want to lose marks to such silly mistakes.

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  • 4. Be Quick
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Don’t forget that you need to be pretty quick at reading as well as answering because the questions are too many, and time is of the essence. Whenever you practice, practice timed tests, so that you can practice finishing your tests before time. This way, you can develop a good writing speed that will be helpful in the writing section.

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  • 5. Spare no Question
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You must try to answer every question, even if you are unsure about some places. IELTS doesn’t have a negative marking system. So, even if you’re wrong at places, you’ll not lose any marks. Therefore, give your hunches a shot too, who knows some of them might help you get a better score.

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  • 6. Don’t Freak Out 
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Lastly, a rather crucial tip for you is to keep calm. Don’t stress yourself too much, because this stress and panic can cost you a part of your score. Especially for the speaking section, you have to sound confident about yourself. Showing nervousness or panicking can be dangerous for you. Have faith in yourself and your preparation, hope for the best, and give your best without worrying about the result.

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Conclusion

IELTS may seem tough, but it isn’t that tough as long as you are prepared well for it. With a properly scheduled study, you can get a good score. Plan well, do your best, and you should get a great result.

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