With our IELTS tricks and tips guide, you can get prepared in the best possible way to pass the test. Once you have registered and booked your date to take the test, you can get started on the preparation straight away.
While taking tests can sometimes be worrying, you can take some steps to prepare the best you can. If you are concerned about taking the IELTS, take the time to go through our tips below. Here, we give you some ideas on how to prepare for the test and what to expect on test day.
Table of Contents
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an internationally recognised English proficiency test. Today, Generally, you can take the test if you are going to study abroad in an English-speaking country. This includes Canada, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland and the USA.
Firstly, once you have booked on to your IELTS and you have your test date secured, you can begin getting ready.
Making an early start on your revision and test practice can make a huge difference when you get ready for your test. In addition, you are more likely to feel ready and relaxed on the IELTS test day if you start your preparations early.
Generally, you can prepare for the IELTS in six weeks. However, it's more beneficial to give yourself around eight weeks to get fully prepared. Also, these extra weeks can give you a bit of spare time in case you need to take a break from your revision.
You might also like: 12 Best IELTS Books for preparation
Understand curriculum and scoring
Next, it helps to get familiar with the exact curricular and exam scores set by the IELTS. The more you understand what types of questions are likely to come up and the test, the better you can plan your revision.
Currently, the IELTS is separated into four different sections:
Also, seeing the breakdown of scoring means you can identify your areas of strength. But, you can also see the areas where you might need a bit more revision time.
Consider Strengths and weaknesses
Once you are familiar with the test criteria, you can start looking more at the areas you need to practice a bit more.
For instance, some students might be more confident with reading and writing English rather than speaking and listening. As a result, try to revise the speaking and listening areas a bit more.
To get a feel of the questions and good examples of answers and responses, check out the practice paper section on the IELTS website. Here, you can see what will come up in each section so you can fully prepare.
Plan your study schedule
Once you know the test requirements and your individual areas to focus on, you can set a study schedule.
Generally, a schedule helps you to spread your learning over a longer period. As a result, you will not need to rush in the final few days before your exam and you can feel more relaxed on test day.
Furthermore, try to ease into your learning with an hour each day. Then, after a week or so, try to gradually increase your schedule before slowing down a week before the test.
Below, we share a possible schedule based on starting your revision eight weeks in advance. This is an approximate idea of the time you should spend preparing and is not a complete guide.
- Week 1: 1 hour per day
- Weeks 2-3: 2 hours per day
- Weeks 4-6: 2- 3 hours per day
- Weeks 6-8: 1 hour per day
Also, try to arrange some days off so you can stay relaxed and refreshed. Overworking and overthinking during your schedule are unlikely to help you feel prepared.
Use Past Papers and Online Materials
Currently, one of the most important resources to use alongside our IELTS tips and tricks is the online past papers and learning materials.
Firstly, the official IELTS has lots of learning materials to support students in getting the best result possible. Generally, these resources are of high quality and a good starting point for any student studying for the exam. These include:
- Question and answer videos from experts.
- Recorded seminars with tutors
- Free practice tests
- Articles and blogs
- Online courses
The past paper materials, which also come with an answer key, are valuable resources. It’s helpful to look through these materials as a starting point so you can see exactly what’s on the test. Also, you can see how the tests are structured.
One good learning technique is to read or listen to the questions whilst looking at the answer key. By doing this, you can see what the examiners are looking for from your answers.
In addition, you can find computer-only or downloadable papers that you can print off. When you are ready, using the downloadable, paper version of the test under timed conditions is a great way to complete your practice. By doing this, you can train yourself to work under more pressure and recreate the conditions on test day.
Using the IELTS online test materials and guides is useful for students preparing for the exam. However, a good way to vary your learning is to schedule some informal practice with friends or family.
Informal practice can include having conversations in English so you can practice and use your speaking and listening skills regularly. Also, you can watch TV shows, and films or listen to podcasts or radio shows spoken in English.
For reading and writing, you can try to understand some English magazines or read short news articles online. Some websites even specialise in providing news and articles in English for non-native speakers, which can help you to fully understand the content.
Also read: IELTS Speaking Tips to score high
Be prepared for test day
Lastly, after you have completed your preparation, it is important that you feel relaxed and ready on test day.
Here, we share some of our top IELTS tricks and tips just for test day so you can achieve your best possible score.
- Comfort: Make sure you wear comfortable and easy-fitting clothing on test day. As the test lasts for nearly three hours, being comfortable is helpful and your focus can remain purely on the exam.
- Be organised: Memorise the time and location of your test slot as soon as you book it and arrive early at the test centre. This will help to avoid any last-minute rushing and panic.
- Equipment: The night before, it is useful to pack a bag with all your essential items needed for the IELTS. Upon arrival, you will need to show your acceptable form of ID (passport, driver’s license, etc.). You can take a drink in a clear bottle to the exam hall and you can take pencils, a pen and an eraser too.
- Pay attention to instructions: You will see various instructions for each section during the IELTS test. Read everything slowly and clearly so you know exactly how to answer a question. Pay attention to work counts in the writing section in particular. Also, during the speaking section, ask the examiner to repeat a question or instruction if you are unsure.
- Check answers carefully: Once you have completed your tests, go back and check that your answers are clear and answered correctly. This is especially important for the writing section because you need to use clear and correct grammar, spelling and punctuation. A quick check can help you identify small details that can make a difference in getting a better score.