So you’re taking the IELTS test and you need to achieve a high score to get accepted to the university of your choice, for your work or visa. Or maybe, you need to retake the IELTS test because you didn’t quite get the score you’re after.
Watch this video or proceed reading this article to learn the steps you need to follow in your IELTS preparation to ensure that you are on your way to achieving your IELTS goals.
1. Don’t apply for the test before preparing
Start preparing early and be consistent. Don’t expect to master the IELTS techniques overnight. It is better to take the necessary time to prepare enough and apply for the test when you know you will achieve the band score you need. Read articles or anything that interests you, listen to podcasts, write an IELTS style essay, speak to yourself in English using IELTS topics, and of course, test yourself with practice test. Use this checklist to ensure you’re ready to take the test before applying for it.
2. Be sure to master English grammar
Although there is no separate grammar test in IELTS, it is assessed indirectly in the Speaking and Writing modules. It is one of the 4 marking criteria that the examiner will use to grade your performance. Use the many websites online or a grammar book to practise as often as possible. This will ensure a higher band score for Speaking and Writing. If you are not sure about what to expect in the IELTS test, watch this video.
3. Take every opportunity to practise speaking
Think in English. As you’re driving or before drifting off the sleep, talk to yourself about your hobbies, interests, everyday life, family, job, dreams and professional aspirations. These are very common topics in Part 1 of the speaking test. Read this article, for more tips on how to improve your English speaking skills
4. Use English at every opportunity
You can find online speaking partners to chat to or speaking groups you can join. Sometimes it’s easier talking to complete strangers online as you’re not so embarrassed if you make a mistake. Or you could even have a lesson with a professional to guide you and give you feedback for improvement. Learn more about the online lessons offered by IELTS Elephant here.
5. Strengthen your speed reading skills
Find an article you are interested in and give yourself one minute to skim over it for the main gist. In the IELTS Reading test, you will have just 60 minutes to answer 40 questions. There are around 2,500 words which means there is not much time for reading the whole text carefully. By practicing your speed reading skills on a daily basis, you will be able to tackle the real IELTS Reading test more successfully.
6. Listen to English daily
Watch movies and your favourite series in English without subtitles. Listen to the news e.g. BBC World news, CNN or any documentaries on a variety of subjects. TED talks have topics from many different areas so you will be sure to find something to interest you. You may have trouble understanding everything at first but you will improve significantly over a short time by doing this consistently.
7. Improve your vocabulary
You don’t need to make a note of every unknown word you come across but at least the most common ones. The Academic Word List has a list of the most common topics at IELTS level. You should know the meaning of these before the test as well as how to spell them as they are words you are likely to hear in Listening, come across in Reading passages and use in speaking and writing. Also, knowing the basic vocabulary for the most common Speaking and Writing tests will help you in these parts of the test.
I have a book with the IELTS most common Speaking and Writing topics. This will help you for the essay question in Writing Task 2 as well as the part 2 and 3 of the IELTS Speaking test where you have to discuss a given topic at length. The book contains ideas, vocabulary, and model questions to practice all of these.
8. Take an IELTS course from a professional IELTS instructor
They will give you guidelines for how to answer all types of questions in IELTS Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. They know what is required for each question type and you can then take practice tests to practise the techniques you have learned.
For example, in my course, you’ll find 6 hours of easy-to-follow lectures as well as live videos which take you through the best techniques and tips that I’ve been using for the last 20 years to teach IELTS. The course also comes with lots of practice material to help consolidate all the theory.
9. Take several practice tests
Towards the end of your IELTS preparation, start practising with full-length tests under realistic conditions for several weeks before the test date. Mark your reading and listening practice tests according to the mark conversion table. This will give you a good idea of what score to expect in the real IELTS tests.
Be sure you can complete the 40 questions in the Reading test and transfer your answers to the answer sheet within the 60 minutes. Practise completing Writing Task 1 in 15 minutes and Writing Task 2 in 35 minutes. Be sure to leave 5 minutes for each task to check your work for errors in grammar, vocabulary and that you have answered the question appropriately. Get help from a professional if it seems that you can’t score the mark you need. On IELTS Elephant, you can take online IELTS lessons or get feedback on your IELTS Writing skills from an IELTS examiner. You will also receive a predicted band score based on the Official band descriptors.
Of course, anything worth doing takes a lot of effort, this is true for the IELTS test as well. But once you’re accepted at the university you dreamed of or got that job you were after, you’ll agree that it was worth all the hard work that you put in.
Finally, make sure you have mastered all the strategies taught in this complete IELTS preparation course before you attempt to take the IELTS test. The course provides the best tips and techniques for all modules of the IELTS test as well as lots of extra practice material. ENROL NOW!