IELTS Preparation Guide

Should you need to study or work in a country where English is probably the main language of communication, there are certain tests that you must take. These assessment tests are often done to evaluate the language ability of someone. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is greater than 8,000 organizations accept the world’s proven test in over 135 countries. More than 700 universities and institutions in the US accept IELTS, including seven of ‘Ivy League’ universities, CGFNS and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

So to put simply, IELTS is an internationally recognized test of competence in the English language. There will be an assessment of the Listening, reading, writing, and speaking abilities of candidates. The test comes in two modules: General Training Module and the Academic Module. The General Training Module is for people who want to migrate for work, while for those who want to pursue an academic course in English require the Academic Module. Both Modules cover all the four parts viz., listening, writing, reading and speaking skills.

Familiarise yourself with the test format: The first step towards IELTS preparation is to become familiar with the test format. Once you are aware of the test format, you know what to expect in each section making it easier for you to attempt your questions.

IELTS tests you on the four skills of the English language i.e. Speaking, Reading, Writing, and Listening. The four sections are explained in detail below:

  • Listening – The listening test will be for 30 minutes and is segregated into 4 sections
  • Reading – The reading test comprises 40 questions, all divided into 3 sections. The time duration for this section is 60 minutes.
  • Writing – The writing test will have 2 tasks and will be for 60 minutes.
  • Speaking – The speaking test consists of 3 parts of 11-14 minutes.

Practice IELTS: Nothing can get you a get score if you do not practice. Use the IELTS practice material to get a better idea of the kind of questions that you might experience during your test. The more you practice, the better you become.

Define your IELTS goal and priorities: Once you start practicing, you will know your strengths and weaknesses. Ensure to practice more on your weaknesses so that you are well prepared by the time you take the test.

Get used to the IELTS testing environment: Familiarise yourself through mock tests so you are well prepared on your actual test day.

Who administers IELTS?

The British Council, IDP Education Australia and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL), jointly conducts the IELTS test.

Who needs the IELTS test?

Students applying for study in the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the US need IELTS assessment. Medical professionals planning to go for further studies or work in the UK, Australia or the USA requires the IELTS test. Also, it is required by the people who are planning to migrate to Canada, Australia or New Zealand.

How to pass?

There is no such thing as a pass or fail in IELTS. The test result is a band score which is on a scale from 1 (the lowest) to 9 (the highest).

  • 9 Expert User
  • 8 Very Good User
  • 7 Good User
  • 6 Competent User
  • 5 Modest User
  • 4 Limited User
  • 3 Extremely Limited User
  • 2 Intermittent User
  • 1 Non User
  • 0 Did Not Attempt the Test

Who can appear for the IELTS test?

There is no minimum qualification for taking the IELTS test. Anyone literate in English can appear for the exam.
Individual institutions set the score level requirements/faculties according to their specific language needs of the course, study or work program. Please check the below link to check for organizations which accept the IELTS test and the band score they require:

IELTS score is valid for two years. At the time of admission to an educational institute, the latest IELTS score is considered.

Test Format :
As mentioned earlier, there are four sub-tests in the IELTS test: Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. One must sit all the four sub-tests. For General and Academic, the Listening and Speaking tests are the same but there will be different Reading and Writing tests.

The total test time is two hours and 45 minutes. There will be an assessment of Listening, Reading and Writing tests in one sitting. However, the Speaking test can be on the same day or seven days before or after the other tests.

IELTS listening test is for 30 minutes and consists of four parts, played on cassette tape, in order of increasing difficulty. Each part will be a monologue or dialogue. The audio clips are played once only, and the questions for each section must be answered while listening.

The IELTS Reading test is for 60 minutes. Both for the Academic Reading test and the General Training Reading test there are three sections and in order of increasing difficulty.

The IELTS Writing test also is for 60 minutes. For both Academic writing and General writing, candidates must perform two writing tasks, which require different styles of writing. There is are no options for question topics.

A specially trained examiner conducts the IELTS speaking test by one-to-one interviews. The examiner will interview the candidate for about 11-14 minutes and ask them to speak for one or two minutes on a particular topic, and a two-way discussion thematically linked to the individual long turn.

Preparing for IELTS exam

You should make a personal effort to improve your proficiency in the English language. One should always prepare for all the four parts of the test and know the amount of time allocated for the assessment. In order to know the areas being examined, there are several manuals and CDs available online that can come in handy for a candidate.

Do read English newspapers and magazines on a regular basis, watch English movies or News channels or debate programs on the TV. Speaking with those who can handle the language fluently will help boost your confidence level as you prepare for the actual exam. Seeking advice from people who have already taken and passed the test can be beneficial. They can share information concerning IELTS trends and topics.

It is also important to do some “mock tests” and to attend some seminars or programs to prepare adequately for the IELTS tests. In addition, one should always be well informed on issues concerning the test, the areas being tested and changes in the syllabus.

IELTS coaching

Candidates should always take IELTS preparation seriously to achieve a good band score from your IELTS exam. To ensure the required score, you need to start off by finding a suitable reputed place for your studies. The coaching center should have experienced trainers and be equipped with relevant facilities required for proper exam preparation. If you frequently make grammatical mistakes while writing or speaking then you need to join for spoken English also to refine your fundamental grammar of English. You should also participate in group discussions and debates with your batch mates.

You can go through some tips for attending IELTS exam