Are you preparing to take the IELTS exam and don’t know where to start?
This is how many students feel – overwhelmed by all the information that you need to learn.
In this article we will show you how to prepare for the IELTS exam by giving you five tips:
Tip 1: Choose the Exam that’s Right for You
There are two types of exams, the General Training and Academic. There are some differences between them so you must ensure that you prepare for the right exam!
If you are intending to apply to study abroad in an English speaking university or school, then take the IELTS Academic exam. If you are intending to work abroad or to emigrate to an English speaking country then General Training is the exam to take.
The two exams are similar but the reading modules and part of the writing module are different.
Tip 2: Understand the Format of the Exam
It is useful to get to know the general format of the exam and how the exam is scored.
The exam is based on band scores and you usually need a band 7 or 7.5 to study at an English university but you must check with the university that you are applying for.
Then look at some past exam papers. Do at least one practice test for each of the modules so that you understand what is needed for each part of the test.
The first time that you do this, don’t be concerned about the timing. Instead just try the reading and listening tests so that you get an understanding of what is involved.
Read through some of the speaking tests to check out the format and the type of questions.
Look at some sample writing questions and try writing a Part 2 essay. If you are taking the IELTS General Exam then try writing a Part 1 Letter or, if you are taking the IELTS Academic Exam try a sample graph test.
Tip 3: Formulate Strategies
After going through steps 1 and 2, you will now have an overview of each part of the exam.
Now it’s time to delve deeper and to look at the different question types that occur and at model answers. This will enable you to formulate strategies for answering the question types for all four parts of the exam.
Tip 4: Study other Materials
IELTS is a test of your English fluency so develop your English skills by reading English books and magazines, watching films and YouTube videos and practising speaking English.
A good way to learn English vocabulary and accent is to go to the BBC Six Minutes website and listen to some of the videos there. Each one lasts for about six minutes and there are a variety of interesting topics.
However, just listening to a video is passive. You will develop faster if you use techniques such as “shadowing” which a speaking coach can explain to you.
Step 5: Practise Taking a Timed Exam
Now that you understand the format of the exam and the strategies required for a high score, take a practice test and time yourself.
By doing this you will train yourself to finish on time. Running out of time is one of the major problems that students face in the reading and writing modules of the IELTS exam.
So get some reading and writing practice tests and do a lot of practice, keeping strictly to the times, which are one hour for the reading, and one hour for the writing tests.
Students have particular problems finishing the writing in the allotted time so make sure you spend plenty of time practising Task 1 and 2 using a variety of question types.
Also, practise some listening and speaking tests in order to get used to the format of these tests and how to answer them.
Above all get some lessons from a native English speaker who can help you and give you feedback. Good feedback is essential for improvement. Many students take the exam several times and fail each time despite doing lots of practice tests. It is through good feedback that you will improve and achieve a high band score. Check out our online lessons over Skype from a native English speaker who will be able to give you good feedback, help you to develop faster and show you how to prepare for the IELTS exam.