How should I prepare for the IELTS test?

preparation for ielts test

Preparing for the IELTS test is very simple and straight forward. You need not worry too much about it. If you have an aim to become a permanent resident or if you wish to study abroad in an English speaking country, then the IELTS test is a perfect choice for you. 

There are more than 3 million individuals who took the IELTS test in the previous year, and the numbers are expected to increase. There are many queries about how to prepare for the IELTS test.  The answer for this question is as follows. Let me give you a step by step approach for this.

1. Understand the purpose of taking the test. This is the first step.  You need to understand the reason behind writing the test.  Of course, candidates take the IELTS test for various reasons – for immigration,  education,  to test their proficiency in being able to use the English language effectively, to become a permanent resident, etc. Hence, you need to have a specific purpose for taking the test. 

2. Understanding the format of the IELTS test is essential Once you have known what the IELTS test is written for, you need to familiarize yourself with a very important thing – the format of the test.  You should get a clear picture about the different parts of the test. 

3. Modules of the IELTS test Based on the reason for writing the test,  there are two variants in the IELTS test,  which are called the IELTS modules.

A. The IELTS academic module

B. The IELTS general training module 

The IELTS academic test is taken by students who wish to study in a country where English is the main medium of communication and when the courses are taught in English. On the other hand,  the IELTS general training test is taken by those candidates who wish to go to an English speaking country to work or become a permanent resident there. 

4. Question types on the test, There are four parts in the IELTS test,  both for academic as well as the general training test. They are

1. Listening.

2. Reading.  

3. Writing.

4. Speaking

In each of these tests,  there are various types of questions which are very important to be understood. In the listening test,  there are the following question types. It is the same for academic and general training test takers. You will hear an audio and you need to answer questions on what you hear. You will get ten minutes to transfer the answers on to the answer sheet.

A.  Note completion/Flow-chart completion.

B.  Form completion.

C.  Labeling the parts of a map.

D.  Table completion.

E.  Match the information.

F. Multiple choice questions 

The reading test differs from the academic to the general training test takers.  However,  the question types are the same and the time given to complete the test is 60 minutes. The different types of questions in the IELTS reading test are,

A. Note completion / sentence completion

B. Diagram label completion 

C. Table completion 

D. Summary completion 

E. Matching the list of headings 

F. Multiple choice questions 

G. True/false/not given

H. Yes/no/not given

In the writing test,  there are two tasks which are specific for the academic and the general training test takers.  The time to complete this test is one hour.  The academic test takers have to write a report and an essay,  and the general training test takers have to write a letter and an essay. 

The speaking test is common for all the candidates regardless of whether they are taking the IELTS academic or the IELTS general training test.  The total time given for this test is 11-14 minutes.  You have to answer questions related to various topics which are known to you. 

5. Find some reliable sources for your test preparation Although there are numerous websites and books available for the IELTS test preparation,  you need to choose the best ones which give you the complete picture of the test. Also,  if you can get feedback on your writing and the speaking tests, it would be an added benefit. Websites like , are the best examples of websites that have been developed to suit the requirements of the candidates. 

6. You need to learn how to interpret your scores, The IELTS test scores are given in the form of band scores.  A band indicates a range.  The band scores in the IELTS test range from 0 to 9.0. A non – user who can’t use the English language at all or those who do not attempt the test wpuld get a band score of 0. In contrast to this,  a person who is an expert user qualifies for a band score of 9.0. 

7. Understand the pattern of evaluation for the writing and the speaking tests Unlike the listening test and the reading test which are completely objective type,  the IELTS writing and speaking tests are more concept and theory based,  and these two tests are evaluated by certified expert evaluators. This is done on the basis of the band descriptors. 

One of the main steps in your IELTS test preparation should be to understand what these band descriptors are and then you can improve your performance accordingly. The band descriptors for writing are task response,  lexical resource,  coherence and cohesion,  grammatical range and accuracy and task achievement.  

For the speaking test,  the band descriptors are lexical resource,  grammatical range and accuracy,  fluency and coherence,  and pronunciation. 

8. Practice using the right method As discussed already, there are many types of questions. So, you need to devise and apply various strategies that are applicable for each of the question types. For this, you should understand what your strong areas and weak areas of the test are.  You should put in efforts to improve your scores in the weaker sections. This is the strategic approach that is to be followed. 

Hence, if you can plan properly and can improve your consistency and work with dedication, your IELTS test preparation will yield the best scores.


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