IELTS (the International English Language Testing System) assesses candidates’ language ability to communicate for work, study or life in an English-speaking country. This test is required around the world by universities, employers and immigration departments.
IELTS exam preparation: General background
To get more information about the IELTS test and IELTS band scores, visit the official IELTS website.
How to improve IELTS exam preparation?
There are different techniques which can be used when preparing for the IELTS test. We are going to focus on 7 important techniques:
1. Find out about the structure of the test.
This is important because you need to know what to expect. Ask yourself questions like:
- What are the sections of the test? You have to carefully at the content of each part of the IELTS test.
- What is their order?
- How much time is allowed for each section?
- How many questions are there? What types of questions?
- How many words do I have to write?
- How long do I have to speak? Should I give short or long answers?
2. Practice for IELTS Exam!
There are various preparation activities which can be used.
- BuyIELTS self-study books and materials and look at the previous IELTS practice test papers. It will help you familiarize with the test format, and different types of tasks.
- Practise with the British Council’s IELTS online preparation resources
- Take practice tests under timed conditions
- Download the new IELTS Prep App and prepare for the test
- Register for Road to IELTS, the online IELTS exam preparation course designed by the British Council, available free when you book your test with the British Council.
- Listen to different recordings which can be found online (e.g. BBC Learning English – 6 Minute English)
- Watch videos on Youtube, which show candidates doing the Speaking task (Part 1, 2 and 3)
3. Improve your vocabulary!
- Read in English as much as possible, use a dictionary to find the meaning of the unknown words
- Have a word list for each topic
- Learn synonyms and antonyms
- Learn as many collocations (words which go together) as you can (e.g. pass an exam, fail an exam)
- Engage in conversations
4. Improve your listening!
Underline the keywords or the information before and after the gap.
Read the scripts! Scripts are the written texts of the audio you listen to. When practicing listening, read the script either before or after you complete the task. You can take notes without scripts then compare them with the script, focusing on spelling and accuracy.
5. Improve your Writing!
Task 1: Write a good introduction, describe the trends/compare the most relevant information/ describe each stage in a process, and write a concluding statement.
Task 2: Make sure you have an introduction, supporting arguments with examples, and a conclusion. Write in paragraphs and avoid using contractions (e.g. don’t, can’t). Use formal linking words such as: moreover, in addition, furthermore, however, on the one hand, on the other hand.
You will lose marks for inappropriate or lack of punctuation, so try to improve this aspect as well.
Pay attention to the word limit! You have to write at least 150 words for the first task and 250 words for the second task.
6. Improve your Reading!
- Look at the title, headings and pictures
- Use strategies such as Skimming and Scanning first then read for details
- Underline the keywords both in the text and questions
- Read the instructions carefully and make sure you understand the questions
- Use different strategies when dealing with unknown words (e.g. read the words before and after the unknown word, try to think what part of speech it is)
- Check your answers, focusing on spelling
7. Improve your Speaking!
- Give short answers for the first task and extended answers for the third task
- For the second task, try to speak for 2 minutes
- Give personal examples or opinions
- Pay attention to word stress, sentence stress and intonation
- Stay calm!
Our IELTS course covers all four skills Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Take the IELTS course with us and you will build your self-confidence, and improve tremendously in a short period of time!