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IELTS is one of the best-recognized language exams. Its results are valid worldwide and recognized by top institutions and governments. However, most test-takers consider the IELTS test as their toughest hurdle to surpass.

Are you going to take IELTS? Then, you would need decent preparation to succeed on this test. It is critical to master every part of the test beforehand, to not struggle during the actual exam. Your preparedness will help reduce your stress and anxiety, thus increasing your chance of getting the desired IELTS score.

Here we gathered tips & tricks for your IELTS preparation. These tips will help you prepare and learn essential tricks; for your mental and physical preparedness during the exam. These can help you on the road to your target score. Read on.

Published on September 17, 2023

Table of Contents

💻 1. Take an online course or find a tutor.​

Taking an online course is easy and convenient. You can study from the comfort of your home and follow your schedule. But of course, you need to exert effort and time dedicated to your online study. Online courses offer flexibility, allowing you to study at your own pace and on your schedule.

But how can you choose which online course to enroll in?

If you find online courses hard to study on your own, you can opt to get a tutor instead. Here are some things you should look for to maximize the benefits you will get from a tutor:

Whether you choose an online course or a tutor, consistent practice and dedication are key to IELTS success. Make sure your choice aligns with your learning style, goals, and budget, and remember that preparation is essential for achieving your desired IELTS band scores.

💬 2. Know what accents to expect.​

The IELTS Listening focuses on standard British English, but you may also encounter accents on any native English. There may be other accents too, such as Australian, Irish, and Canadian, to name some. Prepare for these different styles of English speech, and focus on the range of accents you hear in IELTS Listening practice sets.

📑 3. Use official IELTS materials.

Use practice materials that are true to the actual test day experience. Get practice questions and tests from the official creators of the IELTS! They are the only ones who can offer test questions taken from actual past IELTS exams. Knowing the kinds of questions to be expected on the test day will make you more comfortable and confident. It gives a feeling that nothing will confuse you on exam day.

Here are some other benefits of using an official IELTS material:

Official IELTS materials are created by the test developers, ensuring the content accurately reflects the format and difficulty level of the actual exam. This authenticity is essential for effective preparation.

Using official materials helps you become comfortable with the test structure, question types, and time constraints. Familiarity reduces test-day anxiety and improves performance.

Official materials provide accurate scoring criteria, allowing you to understand how responses are evaluated. This knowledge helps you tailor your answers to meet the scoring expectations.

Official materials undergo rigorous quality control to ensure they align with IELTS standards. This reliability is essential for meaningful practice

You may consider the Cambridge IELTS 10 contains four authentic IELTS past papers from Cambridge English Language Assessment. It provides excellent exam practice materials. You may get these IELTS preparation materials from the British Council website or Cambridge textbooks.

⌛️ 4. Time yourself!

Timed tests can be distressing; manage your time wisely, and you could get the best score possible. Spend some time preparing by practicing in making the most of your time for the exam.

When practicing, be conscious of not going beyond the dedicated amount of time allotted for each task. It will not be easy initially, but it’s vital to get a feeling of time and stick to the limits. Prepare for the test and practice on how to organize your time once it begins!

📖 5. Practice your vocabulary for IELTS Reading.

Improving your vocabulary is a crucial aspect of succeeding in the IELTS Reading section. A strong vocabulary allows you to understand and interpret complex texts more effectively. Here are some tips and criteria for practicing vocabulary specifically for the IELTS Reading test:

Tips for Practicing Vocabulary for IELTS Reading

  • Read Widely: To build a rich vocabulary, read a variety of materials, including newspapers, magazines, academic articles, and literature. Exposure to diverse content exposes you to different vocabulary words.

  • Contextual Learning: When you encounter unfamiliar words while reading, try to understand their meanings from the context in which they are used. Pay attention to how the word fits into the sentence and the overall theme of the passage.

  • Use a Vocabulary Journal: Keep a vocabulary journal or digital note where you jot down new words you come across during your reading. Write down the word, its definition, and the sentence in which you found it.

  • Flashcards: Create flashcards with the new words you’ve collected. On one side, write the word, and on the other, write its definition, synonyms, and use it in a sentence. Review these flashcards regularly.

  • Learn Word Families: Explore word families and derivatives. For example, if you learn the word “happy,” also learn related words like “happiness” and “unhappy.”

IELTS texts use a lot of high-level words that you might not encounter in day-to-day life. Learn as many new words as you can. You may find Real IELTS Reading Test Samples for your IELTS reading practice here.

✍🏻 6. Practice Your IELTS Writing and IELTS Speaking and Get feedback.

Practicing your IELTS writing and speaking skills and receiving feedback is essential for achieving success in these two components of the exam.

The IELTS Writing and IELTS Speaking are both graded by a human team of scorers. They are unlike the other sections that are graded with an answer key. So, your practice with IELTS Writing and IELTS Speaking should include the human touch. Get an actual person with good English who can help you with this. Let this person give you feedback on these particular sections as part of your practice or preparation for the IELTS exam.

Tips for Practicing IELTS Writing

  • Use Official Practice Materials: Start with official IELTS practice materials, including past exam questions. These are the most accurate representations of what you’ll encounter on the test.

  • Structure Your Essays: Practice writing essays with clear introductions, body paragraphs with supporting details, and concise conclusions. Work on developing a clear thesis statement.

  • Vocabulary and Grammar: Expand your vocabulary and work on grammar skills. Use a variety of sentence structures to make your writing more interesting.

  • Time Yourself: Set a timer to match the IELTS writing section’s time limits. Practice writing essays within these constraints.

  • Seek Feedback: Have your essays reviewed by a teacher, tutor, or language partner. They can provide insights into areas for improvement, including clarity, coherence, and language usage.

  • Edit and Revise: Don’t submit your first draft. Take time to revise and edit your essays. Pay attention to spelling, punctuation, and overall clarity.

Tips for Practicing IELTS Speaking

  • Record Yourself: Record your responses to IELTS speaking questions. This allows you to listen to your pronunciation, fluency, and clarity.

  • Speak Naturally: Aim for a natural speaking style. Avoid speaking too fast or too slowly. Enunciate words clearly.

  • Use Vocabulary Wisely: While it’s good to showcase your vocabulary range, prioritize clear communication over complex words.

  • Practice on a Variety of Topics: IELTS speaking questions can cover a wide range of topics. Practice speaking on diverse subjects to build confidence.

  • Mock Interviews: Arrange mock interviews with a tutor, teacher, or language partner. Simulating the interview experience can reduce nervousness.

  • Listen and Respond: During the actual exam, listen carefully to the examiner’s questions and respond directly. Don’t memorize scripted answers.

  • Get Feedback: Request feedback on your speaking responses. Focus on pronunciation, fluency, vocabulary usage, and coherence.

☝🏻 7. Aim for a higher score than just a passing score.

Do not aim for the passing score, excel; that is supposed to be your goal in this exam. Remember the saying by Norman Vincent Peale “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” This test means so much to you. So much is at stake, depending on your exam result. Wear a positive mental attitude. You wanted a favorable outcome for you, not otherwise.

🧮 8. Understand how IELTS scores are calculated.

Understanding how IELTS scores are calculated is essential for anyone planning to take the exam. In each part of the test – Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking; you will be given a score from 1 to 9. Your average score produces your overall band score. 

The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) uses a standardized scoring system to assess a test taker’s proficiency in English. Here’s an in-depth explanation of how IELTS scores are calculated:

IELTS assesses English proficiency across four language skills:

  • Listening: Measures your ability to understand spoken English through a variety of recordings, including conversations and monologues.

  • Reading: Evaluates your ability to comprehend written English, including a range of text types like articles, essays, and advertisements.

  • Writing: Assesses your writing skills by requiring you to complete two writing tasks: Task 1, which involves describing visual information, and Task 2, which involves writing an essay.

  • Speaking: Tests your ability to communicate verbally in English through a face-to-face interview with an examiner.

IELTS scores are reported on a nine-band scale, ranging from Band 1 (non-user) to Band 9 (expert user). Each of the four modules is scored separately, and then an overall band score is calculated as an average or rounded average of the four module scores. For example, if your scores in the four modules are Listening 7.0, Reading 8.0, Writing 6.5, and Speaking 7.5, your overall band score might be 7.0.

IELTS reports scores in half-band increments (e.g., 6.5, 7.0, 7.5) to provide a more detailed assessment of a test taker’s language abilities.

The overall band score is calculated by averaging the rounded scores of the four modules. For instance, if you score 6.5 in Listening, 7.0 in Reading, 7.0 in Writing, and 7.5 in Speaking, the overall average would be (6.5 + 7.0 + 7.0 + 7.5) / 4 = 7.0.

Each module (Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking) is assessed on its own scale. These individual scores are not averaged to calculate the overall band score. For example, if you score 7.0 in Listening, 7.5 in Reading, 6.5 in Writing, and 7.0 in Speaking, your overall band score might still be 7.0, but the scores for the individual modules will be reported separately.

There is no pass or fail in IELTS. The score you need depends on your specific goals, such as university admission, immigration, or employment. Different institutions and organizations have their own IELTS score requirements.

IELTS scores are valid for two years from the test date. After this period, they are considered expired.

Understanding how IELTS scores are calculated allows test takers to set realistic goals and prepare accordingly. Achieving the required score for your specific purpose, whether it’s for education, immigration, or employment, often requires targeted preparation and practice in the four language skills assessed by the IELTS exam.

📝 9. Practice using the full-length IELTS Tests.

While practicing all four sections of the IELTS exam can be exhausting, it’s necessary to try it at least once. Relax well, choose a preferable day and practice all four sections one after another. Your brain will get used to it, and the real test will be easier to handle. 

👀 10. Look at sample IELTS Writing essays.

Spend some time reviewing and doing IELTS sample essays.

It makes it easy to see how certain essay question types require you to provide certain responses to ensure the question is answered correctly.

(Click to know more)
A well-organized essay helps you get a desirable band in the IELTS writing test. You would usually need at least 5-10 minutes to prepare for the essay once you get the topic. 

Exams can really be stressful, but you’ve got it. Be composed, calm down knowing that you are well-prepared, and demonstrate your excellent English language knowledge. Good luck!

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