When deciding to go abroad for any reason varying between getting a degree to a job, one common exam that everyone has to go through is the IELTS. Being one of the most widely accepted tests around the world, IELTS can prove to be your ticket to go overseas. Especially for a country like the UK, since IELTS is the only secure English Test to be approved by UKVI for visa application insides as well as outside the UK. Although scoring well in the IELTS exam is often deemed to be a hard nut to crack, it is not so hard after all. All you need is to prepare well for it.
Talking of preparation, we bet the hardest part for you is to decide how to start your IELTS exam preparation. You need someone to guide you through the complete process of your IELTS preparation. Well, guess what? We heard your plea & are here to help you get all ready for Cracking IELTS. Right from what IELTS is to how you can prepare for every section of it, we will tell you everything. Just keep reading this IELTS preparation guide & you will find everything that you need to know for your IELTS exam preparation.
What is IELTS?
Standing for the International English Language Testing System, this is one of the most globally accepted English Proficiency Test, which almost every other person going overseas has to appear for.
Now, why does it matter so much? Well, simply because, this test helps establish the fact that you are able to understand as well as speak fluent English, which is a necessary aspect when you are applying to go to an English Speaking country.
Now IELTS exam can be divided into two types, viz. Academic & General. They are essentially the same IELTS tests, just the purpose of taking the test & a little of the syllabus changes. Where the Academic IELTS is taken for the purposes of finishing higher studies in some good University Overseas, General IELTS is usually taken by people wishing to go abroad to finish their secondary education, to get work experience or to migrate temporarily.
As you might be knowing, IELTS is divided into 4 sections; namely, Listening, Speaking, Reading & Writing. And you need to prepare for each section of the exam separately. So, here are a few tips to help get you through.
SECTION-WISE IELTS PREPARATION GUIDE
- In the first recording, you will have to listen to a conversation between two people & answer questions likewise. Now, these recordings can be in any accent, like American, British, Australian or even Asian English. To prepare for that you need to get familiar with these accents & how do you do that? Well, you will have to watch videos, lots & lots of videos. We would suggest you watch Ted Talks or watch conversational debates on BBC or CNN.
- The second recording is a monologue on social context & the fourth one is a University speech. To prepare for both of these recordings, the key is to pay attention to the central idea conveyed in the recording. Along with that you also need to understand what other issues are highlighted in the recording & the way in which the speaker puts his idea forth.
- The third recording is usually a group discussion between around 4 people. Here too, understanding the core topic of discussion is of extreme importance to you. Besides that, also try to remember the names of the people involved in the conversation & specific references, if any.
- When watching videos to prepare yourself for the exam, try to start with videos that have subtitles, as that will help you understand them better & with that also help improve your vocabulary.
- Lastly, listen to each recording patiently & try to remember only the most important parts of it. Don’t clutter your brain with unnecessary information. This, of course, you can only do with a lot of practice.
- Now, this is the most dreaded section of the exam. But, with a few tips, you can easily surmount it. In the first task in this section, you have to answer some simple questions regarding yourself, like family, hobbies, aspirations, etc. So, the tip here is to give prompt elaborate answers, but at the same time not get very gossipy as that can put a bad impression on the examiner.
- For the second task, you have to speak on a given topic for around 2 minutes. Here, try to easily convey what you understand of the given topic. Use facts to support your answer, but only the ones you are absolutely certain about. Don’t use misleading facts or hoodwinks as that might land you in trouble. Be concise, specific & confident about everything you are saying.
- The third task requires you to answer the examiner’s questions, based on the topic you spoke about. Again, be specific & confident what you are talking about. Be certain of what you said in the last task as the examiner might ask you tricky questions to make you contradict yourself. Do not fall for it.
- Try not to sound over-enthusiastic or even nervous when answering the examiner. Answer calmly & smartly. For the questions, you don’t know the answer of, try not to babble incomplete answers with broken facts. Simply, answer as far as you know & if you don’t know, tell the examiner likewise.
- In this section, you have to read & answer the questions to 3 longs passages, each of which contains around 300 words, so the first thing that you need to learn is how to speed read. This skill you can only develop by developing a habit of reading & reading a lot before you appear for the exam. Try to understand the passages in the first read, because you don’t have much time to re-read them again.
- Try to summarise the central idea of the passages in your head. This will help you answer the questions more correctly. Keep in mind what the author wants to say in the passages & how he builds his argument on the same.
- Learn the art of skimming through the passage as that will be very helpful to you when finding answers to every question. When writing the answers, be very specific & sure about each answer. If you’re not, check again, but try to be as accurate as possible.
- Develop a habit of reading a lot before exams. That is the only way you can score more in this section. Also, work on your vocabulary. After all, you don’t want to get stuck figuring out, what a certain word of the passage means. The best way to do this is to go through old sample papers or good IELTS books.
- You have to finish two tasks in this section; a 150 words description of the given figure or graph & 250 words essay, both in 60 minutes, The smarter move is to first finish the essay, since that consumes more time & then go on to task 1.
- When writing the essay, make sure you convey the central idea of the essay precisely & in a very intelligible manner. Moreover, build the argument of the topic smoothly, so that every paragraph looks linked to the previous one. You don’t want your essay to look like a random compilation of facts, but rather one strong piece of writing that explains the given topic.
- For the first task, learn how to understand graphs & tables thoroughly. You need to clearly understand the idea conveyed through the given diagram. Moreover, understand the values given & build your description using the comparison between these values. Try not to elongate any part of the description too much; keep it precise & simple. An uncluttered & neat description is what you want to put forth for the examiner.
- Develop a good vocabulary & increase your writing speed. To finish both the tasks in 60 minutes is a challenge & to fulfil that you need to have a habit of writing. Also, avoid making any silly punctuation mistakes or using abbreviations, as that can affect your score. Use a formal language for the essay.
With these IELTS preparation guide , you can easily prepare for each section of the IELTS examination. But, is that all? Well, only preparing yourself for every section is not enough, there are a few more general pointers that you need to keep in mind & we have noted them down for you. Have a read!!
TIPS TO PREPARE FOR IELTS EXAM:
1. Be prepared
The first & most obvious suggestion to you is to be prepared. Start studying as much prior to the exam as possible. This way you will get enough time to plan out your studies, before actually getting to it. The more you practice, the more confident you will be on the day of the exam. Use only the best study material for your IELTS preparation; a good counsellor can help you here.
2. Take some help
You might feel yourself to be the smartest Homo Sapien, but IELTS is not the place to test that. It is always suggested you take some form of help with professionals who have been preparing students for IELTS for years. If not that, you can also enrol for any of the multiple online courses available online. This way you can get a professional outlook & hence score better in your exam.
3. Do multiple dry runs
Practice is your holy grail to scoring better in IELTS. The more you practice, the better you can score. So, get on to watching good discussions & reading the right books today. Also, try to solve as many sample question papers for IELTS as possible. This way you will not just help you improve your language but at the same time, it will also help boost your confidence.
4. Work on your Language
To appear for IELTS you need to have good enough language skills & by this, we don’t just mean the vocabulary, but rather a combination of good vocabulary & flawless grammar. Also, be sure you are good with punctuations as that matters a lot in the writing section. You definitely don’t want to lose marks to such silly mistakes.
5. Be Quick
Well, you must have guessed this by now. For the IELTS exam, you need to be pretty quick at reading as well as answering, because the questions are too many & time is of the essence. So, whenever you practice, practice timed tests, so that you can practice finishing your tests before time. Also, this way you can develop a good writing speed that will be helpful in the writing section, where you have to write a long essay & in a legible font, not like your doctor’s prescription.
6. Spare no Question
A really important pointer to remember is this one. You must try to answer each & every question, even if you are unsure at some places. Why? you ask. Well, though you might not be knowing, IELTS does not have a negative marking system. So, even if you are wrong at places, you will not lose any marks. So, give your hunches a shot too, who knows some of them, just might help you win a better score.
7. Don’t Freak Out
Lastly, a rather very important tip for you is to keep calm. We know it is ultimately examination, so you are bound to be worried. But, don’t stress yourself too much, because this stress & panic can cost you a part of your score. Especially for the speaking section, you need to sound confident about yourself, showing nervousness or panicking can be really dangerous at that point for you. Have faith in yourself & your preparation, hope for the best & give your best without worrying about the result.
IELTS may seem like one tough cookie, but it isn’t that tough, once you prepare well yourself for it. And you don’t need to sweat blood for it either. With a properly scheduled study, there is nothing you can’t do. Follow the above IELTS preparation guide & spare no effort; we promise the result will be astonishingly amazing for you. We wish you the best for your IELTS preparation.
IELTS Study Plan:
Now, after taking a look at IELTS preparation guide, let us now look at an IELTS study plan.
The amount of time that you will require to prepare for IELTS depends on how well versed you are with English. If you are confident about your English-language skills, you shouldn’t need a lot of time to prepare for IELTS.
H0wever, if you aren’t confident enough, you need to brush up on your skills first. Read a lot of newspapers, magazines and watch English news channels like BBC.
- Dedicate 1-2 hours to your IELTS preparation daily depending upon how much preparation you need.
- Divide your time and give enough time to each section.
- For example, if you spend 2 hours studying then dedicate 30 minutes to each section.
- After you gain enough confidence, take practice tests to evaluate yourself.
- Depending upon how much you score in your practice tests, spend more time preparing for the sections where you lack.
- Follow your IELTS study plan religiously and you are bound to get a good score.
Here are some great IELTS resources to help you out: