IELTS or International English Language Testing System is the exam taken by candidates who wish to study or work in a country where the main language of communication is English. It is accepted for university admissions in the USA, Canada, Australia, UK and New Zealand.
Over 2 million students take the exam every year and if you are preparing for the IELTS this year, we have some tips and strategies listed for you.
Before discussing the strategies and factors that affect your preparation, let’s have a quick look at the exam structure.
IELTS Exam Format
The exam is divided into 4 sections: reading, writing,listening and speaking.
|Reading||40 questions||60 minutes|
|Listening||40 questions||30 minutes (plus 10 minutes transfer time)|
|Writing||2 questions/tasks||60 minutes|
|Speaking||3 parts||11-14 minutes|
Hence, the main focus for IELTS should be language usage. If you have a strong command in the English language, you are already one step closer to a good score.
And as for the students who do not excel in the language, don’t worry, we are here to provide you with tips and suggestions that will help you improve and enhance your skills.
1. Excel in all Areas
Now that you are familiar with the test format, it is important that you excel in all four areas, i.e; Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. Let us have a look at the important factors that are required to ace the exam.
In this section, you are given 3 long passages, each about 300 words long. This is why you need to improve your reading pace. Since the time is limited, you need to read and understand the passage in one attempt so that you do not waste time in re-reading.
- The first thing you should do is set a reading goal if you are not an avid reader. Do not miss any chance to read and develop a habit of reading.
- Read books, magazines, journals and blogs that you enjoy. Do not force yourself into it. Because if you do not enjoy it, you do not understand it.
- Develop your vocabulary, check out synonyms, otherwise you will face problems while reading the passage and figuring out it’s meaning.
- You can even rewrite the passage in your own words to check how much you have memorised. This helps you check your accuracy and how well you understand the author’s idea.
- Always practice from previous year papers,books and sample papers to get an idea of the composition of the paper.
In this section, you are given 2 tasks to be completed in 60 minutes. First, you have to write a description of a given image or figure in about 150 words. And second, an essay to be written in 250 words.
To excel in the writing section, strong vocabulary, language usage, writing structure and content quality are important.
You need to manage the speed to time ratio so that you complete the whole task.
Creative writing is important. Your performance is judged by how you align your words to construct the sentences and how meaningful your sentences are.
- Try writing at least one essay everyday, look for topics from old papers or topics that are likely to be asked.
- Review your essay and check if there are any grammatical errors and spelling mistakes.
- Use strong vocabulary and different synonyms than the usual words. This makes your essay more creative, but do not go far away from the central idea of the topic. Use synonyms that are nearest to each other. Do not make complex sentences but be creative. Reading is always a good way to enhance your vocabulary.
It is divided into 3 parts and the time margin is only 11-14 minutes.
Speaking can be a little more challenging for some students since it requires fluency and confidence. But there is more to speaking than that. The sentences should be grammatically correct and relevant.
Task 1 involves personal questions about the student. It’s more like a conversation about their family, interests, studies and qualifications than a task.
In task 2, you are given a topic that you have to speak about for about 2 minutes.
In task 3, the examiner asks you questions about the topic given in task 2.
- Try to be precise in the speaking task and avoid irrelevant information.
- Make sure your sentences are grammatically correct.
- Neither be too enthusiastic nor too nervous while you speak. To improve your speaking skills, communicate with people who have strong command in the English language.
The listening section entails a 30 minutes task with an additional 10 minutes to transfer your answers. It is a series of four recordings of conversations and monologues that a student is required to listen to and answer questions based on the same. It is to test your ability to understand and presence of mind.
It is important that you adjust your focus and pay attention to the recordings.
- To improve your listening skills, listen to audiobooks, podcasts and news channels.
- Take practice tests to review your performance. Pay attention to the details and the central idea of the recordings.
- Since each recording is played once, listen patiently and do not rush.
Tips to Ace the Exam
- Develop a strong vocabulary and grammar. Take help from academic books and manuals to improve your language.
- Develop the habit of reading on a regular basis. Even in your free time, do not miss a chance to read.
- Enhance your speed by practicing more and more. Speed is a key factor to ace the reading and writing section. Set a reading and writing goal.
- Maintain a timetable and study at least 6-8 hours a day for the exam. Since each section is equally important, give relevant amounts of time and effort to each section. Time management is always important.
We hope you find the tips and suggestions useful and ace the exam!
IELTS Preparation Guide| Frequently Asked Questions
1. How can I prepare for IELTS at home?
Answer: Read on a regular basis, develop a strong vocabulary and always review your performance.
Write essays and passages to increase your speed. Take online practice tests and check previous papers.
2. Can I prepare for IELTS in 10 days?
Answer :10 days is not an ideal time to prepare for the exam. However, it is not impossible either. If you have proficiency and command in the language, it is possible.
3. How long does it take to prepare for IELTS?
Answer : It is recommended that you prepare for at least 30-45 days for the exam, depending on your learning skills and abilities.
4. Is IELTS easy to pass?
Answer: IELTS is neither too easy nor too difficult to pass. You require constant practice and skills to clear the exam. Command and proficiency in the English language are non negotiable.
5. What is a good IELTS score?
Answer: 7.0 or higher is considered a good overall IELTS score.
6. What is the syllabus for IELTS?
Answer: The IELTS exam is divided into 4 sections; Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. Reading and Listening sections comprises 40 questions each, Writing section contains 2 tasks and the Speaking section is divided into 3 parts. General grammar, vocabulary and language usage are the areas you need to excel in to ace the exam.