How to prepare for the IELTS

IETLS tips

What is accepted world-wide by more than 9,000 organisations as a means of measuring language proficiency — any guesses? Yes, we are talking about the world’s proven English language test — the IELTS! IELTS is jointly owned by IELTS Australia, British Council, and Cambridge English Language Assessment Test. It has over 900 test centres in over 130 countries. The registration fee for the test is INR 9,900 currently.

Just last year, we heard that 2 million students flocked from all around the globe to take this test! It makes you stop and wonder what all the big fuss is about, doesn’t it? Keep reading and we’ll tell you.

Why the IELTS?

Universities and also employers from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK, and the USA take the IELTS into consideration. If you want to be flying to any of these destinations for your higher studies anytime soon, it’s time to take the IELTS seriously. Taking the IELTS could really open doors for you all over the world!

Interested to know how to get started with your IELTS prep? Here are a few pointers for you…

Know. It. All.

As the very first step of your IELTS prep, we suggest you learn all about the test itself. Go online and visit their official website and read up.

The test is divided into four modules that will test your listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills. Each module will fetch you a certain band score as per your performance. One interesting must know fact for you — when it comes to the IELTS, there is no pass or fail! Your results will be reported on a 9-band scale and will be valid for a period of two years… How cool is that?

Now, a little bit about the modules you will be taking:

  • Listening: This 30 minute-module has four sections and will basically have you listening to an audio recording and have you answer questions from a booklet.
  • Reading: This 60 minute-module comprises 40 questions that will test you on a wide range of reading skills include reading for main ideas, skimming, reading for detail, and understanding logical argument. It is divided into two versions: the academic and general training versions.
  • Writing: This 60 minute-module has two versions: academic and general training. The academic comprises two tasks, in short — one: describing a chart or a diagram; two: writing an essay in response to a problem or argument. The general training also comprises two tasks – 1) writing a letter in response to a situation; 2) writing an essay in response to a problem or argument (this one may be a bit more personal than the first one).
  • Speaking: This module may last from anywhere between 11-14 minutes and assesses your spoken English skills. This will be nothing but a conversation with a certified IETLS examiner.
  • The Listening, Reading and Writing modules will come one after the other on your test day. Your Speaking module, however, may be on a different day — mostly either seven days before or after your actual test date.

Time to Go Shopping!

Research online and make sure you buy yourself some top study guides fresh from the market. You will not regret investing your money in these, we promise.

Paint Yourself A Clear Picture!

We recommend you to get your prep on at least three to six months ahead of time, if not earlier. We know that you want to obtain a certain IELTS Band Score that you have in mind, which is great, as long it is an achievable and realistic goal. Bear in mind that this test is an overall test of your proficiency in the language so it requires you to be more than just a book worm (you heard right!). Stay 100% dedicated to your prep and sharpen your language skills in all methods possible.

Practice Away!

As you start with the prep, how many hours per day do you plan to spare for all four subtests?

Regular practice is key, but do give yourself a breather; a day off of your hectic prep in a week won’t do you any harm. They don’t say that slow and steady wins the race for no reason! Long intervals are not a good idea though!

As you take practice tests, you will notice your areas of weakness that you may need to put some extra time into. Don’t get carried away and put too much time into your weak areas alone though. Make sure you cover and work on all areas.

How Fast Are You?

Many a times, we hear that candidates are unable to perform as well as they had hoped to, because time ran out fast in the reading test or their tape was so fast in their listening test. If you are unable to finish your test, it is not the end of the world, as you will only be measured on a scale from 0 to 9, where 0 is for those who did not attempt it. Focus on getting yourself to your best pace in the test — be fast, attentive and sharp. This way you will minimize your chances of running out of time.

All Ears!

When you are taking the listening test, keep in mind that the tape is played only once — so it pays to remember what you hear. Pay close attention!

Talk, Walk & Breathe in English!

For acing a test like the IELTS, we strongly recommend you to use English as much as you can in your everyday life. Here are a few simple things you could do that could make a difference:

  • Read up journals, articles, and newspapers and be informed of current events and issues, which may very well turn out to be a topic for the speaking or writing module!
  • Switch on your TV and tune in to CNN and BBC; British movies — that will help!
  • Get yourself used to the various English accents from around the world — the Australian, American, British, New Zealand, and even Canadian.
  • Practice thinking and also speaking in English as much as you can with your buddies and your family.
  • Write emails and letters to practice your written skills and — who knows — you may make a pen pal or two in the process!

Fake Accent!

What’s important is your pronunciation, not the accent. If your pronunciation is wrong even with a stylish accent, it will still cost you marks here. Stay away from mispronouncing and that’s all you need.

Who Says?

Heard that the IELTS would be a more difficult exam in comparison with any other? Don’t believe everything you hear — there are quite a lot of myths about the test! The test does not pose any more difficulty than any other exam you would have to take for higher studies abroad. The IELTS has questions that are straightforward to assess your English language skills — so don’t get all worked up. Losing your cool isn’t going to do you any good here — trust us and focus on your prep!

Rest before D Day!

The three tests: Listening, Reading, and Writing Tests are usually held on one morning and with no break — so in other words, you really have to be at your best for quite a considerable amount of time here. This is why we strongly advise you to eat well and get some good sleep before your big day — your mind should be fresh and ready.

Results!

You will receive your test results 13 days post your test date. Your test centre will post your Test Report Form to you and some test centres may offer you text alerts and an online results service as well.

Retake?

Are you disappointed with your results? Well, you can retake the IELTS test if you are looking to do better. There are no limitations on how many times you can retake the test but you must apply within six weeks of the test date. There are no limitations as to how many times a person can retake the IELTS.

IELTS Training

To help you further with your test preparation, Vatslya provides IELTS training classes in its offices in Delhi and Chennai. In-class training sessions, as well as online classes, are available for students. The classes, which are held six days a week, are conducted by experienced tutors who are qualified English language experts.

Conclusion

Based on the programme and institution where you plan to study, you will need to secure an overall IELTS score ranging from 5.5 to 7.0. Now that you have read this article, we hope that you have a clear plan to crack the IELTS now? If you have anything to add to this, feel free to drop us a comment! In case of any other assistance with your study abroad plans; get in touch with us. We’d be happy to hear from you!

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How Can You Help Yourself in IELTS?

IELTS tips

When you plan your higher education abroad, you must have to work on your English language communication skills before applying. To achieve required score in IELTS is must if you are seeking admission in an English speaking country. You start classes for guidance and attend seminars related to IELTS to get better insight and ideas about how to get maximum score.

There are a few things you should be doing to help yourself for obtaining desired bands in the test.

1. The best time to study IELTS is 3 months before the exam. That keeps the learning fresh as the practice has improved you   language ability.

2. Involve ‘English’ in your daily life by reading English newspapers and magazines, watching English movies and having conversations in English.

3. Keep up with current affairs and other human interested stories as writing task is based on general interest. You should have ideas and sufficient vocabulary to express them when you write an essay.

4. Practice every day what you learn. Practice of all four modules can be done in routine with your friends. Discuss the new words, movies and books. Make sure you use only English.

5. Understand well when your teacher is providing exam instruction. Follow it when you prepare for the test. Stick to word limit, completing task in particular time, how to answer correctly, what to use and what to not while speaking, etc.

6. Work on techniques. Speed up with time schedules of the exam. Practice writing paragraphs in lesser time before exams. Appear for mock tests and observe where you lack. Work on the weak points to be your best in the test.

For more information regarding foreign education, IELTS coaching and student visa, visit nearest office of  Vatslya Education Consultancy.

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IELTS – Prepare for Retaking the Test

IELTS tips

Many candidates find it difficult to retake the IELTS test. They cannot figure out what went wrong in their last test when they had put their best efforts. Re-sitting in the test can be stressful for the candidates who have applied for immigration visa or student visa but there are best possible chances to achieve desired bands.

● Be Prepared mentally

Uncontrolled stress can be worse enemy in exams if you unaware of how to handle it. See the positive side of stress and it will sharpen your senses and help you in staying focused. During the test, pay attention on time management and follow the strategies you have made for the exam instead of thinking of consequences of exam results.

● Have Patience

When your score is significantly lower than your expectations, it is better to keep a gap of six months before you retake your IELTS test. Language proficiency is not something you can improve much in short period of time. Concentrate on every modules of the test and organize your time to prepare accordingly.

● Make the Best of Your Last Test

Taking an IELTS test is itself an advantage. You get to learn how to manage the time and also get to know where and what you lack. Give your best in enhancing those parts of the language proficiency. Ask your teachers when you are confused or have questions. This preparation gives you clear idea of your next IELTS test and it increases the chances of success.

Stay determined for the next test and you can nail it for sure. For more information regarding IELTS and its coaching, visit Vatslya Education Consultancy in Surat, Gujarat.

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IELTS Vs. TOEFL

ielts-vs-toefl

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is the world’s most popular English language test. More than 2.5 million IELTS tests are taken every year. More than 9000 organizations in 140 countries accept IELTS, including government, academic and employment institutions. Planning for an overseas education and migrating to any other country like Canada, USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Dubai, Ireland or Denmark, apart from successful completion of your visa process, you should also clear your IELTS exams.

These exams are easy to crack if you receive proper guidance through a recognized coaching institute. IELTS operates on nine band score where a nine indicates that the student has the level of English proficiency equivalent to a highly educated native speaker and it also tests all four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) in an academic context.

Here are some essential rules for cracking IELTS and getting your dream score:

1) Keep your goal measurable, realistic and approachable.

2) Follow a regular study plan- you need to study for specific hours on regular basis or else opt for IELTS coaching. Many student visa consultants offer education services to their students. In order to improve your reading, you can practice by reading a variety of English Texts.

3) Increase your personal speed- You need to increase your reading, writing and answering skills so that you will be able to answer the questions in a specific duration of time.

4) You need to work hard on your English grammar.

By working on these small things you can achieve a better score in IELTS.

TOEFL (Test of English as Foreign Language) is also considered as one of the most ideal test for testing your proficiency in English language. TOEFL popularly taken by students wanting to pursue their higher education in USA, is also the most preferred. More than 130 countries and more than 7500 universities and institutes depend on TOEFL for providing admissions. Even the top universities in UK, Australia and US prefer TOEFL scores as one of the eligibility criterion. This test is conducted for 30 to 40 times a year which proves to be more advantageous. It is convenient and easily accessible. Preparing for IELTS and TOEFL needs time, effort and dedication. The road to IELTS and TOEFL can be traveled easily if proper material is studied. It is not just about your test of knowledge of English, but also about your skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening.

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IELTS Life Skills Test

IELTS

The IELTS Life Skills Test is a new part of the exam that was introduced on 6th April 2015.

If you are planning to study abroad (Academic IELTS Test) or to work abroad (General Training IELTS Test) then this will not be relevant to you.

This new test is designed specifically for those:

  • Applying to UK Visas and Immigration for a ‘family of a settled person’ visa
  • Applying to UK Visas and Immigration for indefinite leave to remain or citizenship

The IELTS Life Skills Test ties in with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which is an international standard for describing language ability.

You can learn more about the CEFR here – Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

There are two types of the test, depending on why you are taking it:

  • CEFR Level A1 – family of a settled person’ visa (Test time: 16-18 minutes)
  • CEFR Level B1 – indefinite leave to remain or citizenship (Test time: 22 minutes)

IELTS Life Skills Test Assessment

The test does not have a Reading or Writing element.

It is only a test of Speaking and Listening because the test has been designed to meet certain immigration requirements for which applicants only need to show adequate speaking and listening skills.

Unlike the Academic and General Training tests, you take the test with another test taker and one certified IELTS Examiner and your performance of speaking and listening will be assessed during this.

You will be assessed on four criteria:

  • obtaining information
  • conveying information
  • speaking to communicate
  • engaging in discussion

The level of English of the person who you are tested with may not be the same as you, but their performance in the test does not impact in any way on your score.

Results are usually available within 7 days and you will get a pass or fail.

The tests are available around the world, but they must be test centres specified by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).

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IELTS Online

ielts-online

IELTS, The International English Testing System, is designed to assess the language ability of candidates who need to study or work where English is used as the language of communication. IELTS assesses all of your English skills — reading, writing, listening and speaking, and is designed to reflect how you will use English at study, at work, and at play, in your new life abroad.

The IELTS test is developed by some of the world’s leading experts in language assessment. It has an excellent international reputation, and is accepted by over 9,000 organizations worldwide, including schools, universities, employers, immigration authorities and professional bodies. IELTS is jointly owned by British Council, IELTS Australia and Cambridge Language assessment.

The IELTS TEST requires preparation prior to the test. One needs to make sure that the IELTS test format is thoroughly understood so that one knows what to expect on the test day. Once you are familiar with the IELTS test format, you will need to undertake a number of focused preparation activities. This is what a coaching on IELTS is all about so that one can achieve desirable results.

online portal for international education understand this very need of preparing oneself for the IELTS test and thus strives to help in preparation of the IELTS test. The portal has introduced one of a kind ONLINE IELTS TRAINING first time in India. It has two convenient ways to prepare for the IELTS test online: IELTS MASTER and IELTS EXPRESS.

IELTS EXPRESS is designed for people who want to quickly prepare for the IELTS test , it takes 45 days to complete whereas IELTS MASTER is a detailed and comprehensive course offering extensive preparation and practice for the IELTS test and is open for 90 days with a detailed study plan.

Both the courses have been created by experienced English language course developers and IELTS test tutors and are highly successful in helping you succeed in the IELTS test.

IELTS online is basically an online preparation for all 4 IELTS test modules- Reading, Writing, Speaking and Learning. It is a 24×7 real time training with useful IELTS test tips, online activities, detailed feedback, and sample answers for IELTS test questions. One can discover the secrets of scoring high in IELTS and improve your bands with 24X7 learning as you can access whenever and wherever you want to, you just need to make sure your computer / mobile / tab etc has access to internet and the latest version of your internet browser is downloaded.

Studying for the IELTS test involves more than just reading and writing. Our IELTS preparation courses involve activities in listening and speaking that are practical, allowing you to listen to audio samples and record your own speaking that can be submitted for assessment by qualified IELTS Tutors. IELTS Online provides you a clear path to success with an easy to use interface and a simple step by step course structure. Throughout your study you can track your progress with the Activities Summary and Study Planner; IELTS Online guides you through the entire process, right up to the day of the exam.

In today’s time IELTS online is the best and the most cost effective. Being an advance technology it saves one’s time, money and energy as you can get access. 5000+ students globally have used IELTS Online to prepare for the IELTS test.

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Understand the Speaking test of IELTS

IELTS tips

The Speaking test is as close to a real-life situation as an exam can get.

You will talk to a certified examiner in the IELTS Speaking test. The test is interactive and as close to a real-life situation as a test can get. A variety of accents may be used, and the test will be recorded.

The content of the IELTS Speaking test is the same for both the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests.

Purpose of the test

The IELTS Speaking test is designed to assess a wide range of skills.

The examiner will want to see how well you can

  • communicate opinions and information on everyday topics and common experiences; to do this you will need to answer a range of questions
  • speak at length on a given topic using appropriate language
  • organise your ideas coherently
  • express and justify your opinions
  • analyse, discuss and speculate about issues

Make sure that you relax and talk fluently. You will need to speak naturally.

Timing

The IELTS Speaking test takes 11-14 minutes.

Three sections

The Speaking test is made up of three sections:

Section Duration Information
Part 1 Introduction and interview 4-5 minutes The examiner will introduce him or herself and ask you to introduce yourself and confirm your identity. The examiner will ask you general questions on familiar topics, e.g. home, family, work, studies and interests. This section should help you relax and talk naturally.
Part 2 Individual long turn 3-4 minutes The examiner will give you a task card which asks you to talk about a particular topic, including points to include in your talk. You will be given one minute to prepare and make notes. You will then be asked to talk for 1-2 minutes on the topic. You will not be interrupted during this time, so it is important to keep talking. The examiner will then ask you one or two questions on the same topic.
Part 3 Two-way discussion 4-5 minutes The examiner will ask you further questions which are connected to the topic of Part 2. These questions are designed to give you an opportunity to discuss more abstract issues and ideas.

Marking

You will be assessed on your performance throughout the test by certificated IELTS examiners.

You will be marked on the four criteria of the IELTS Speaking Test Band Descriptors:

  • fluency and coherence
  • lexical resource
  • grammatical range and accuracy
  • pronunciation

Scores are reported in whole and half bands.

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Understand the Reading test of IELTS

IELTS tips

You will need to read quickly and efficiently, and manage your time

You will be asked to read three different passages and respond to related questions in your IELTS Reading test.

The content of the Reading test is different for IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests. Details of each version are given below.

Purpose of the test

The IELTS Reading test is designed to assess a wide range of reading skills, including how well you

  • read for the general sense of a passage
  • read for the main ideas
  • read for detail
  • understand inferences and implied meaning
  • recognise a writer’s opinions, attitudes and purpose
  • follow the development of an argument

This is the case for whichever version of the IELTS test you are taking.

Timing

The IELTS Reading test takes 60 minutes.

You are not allowed any extra time to transfer your answers, so write them directly on to your answer sheet.

You will need to manage your time during the test because you will not be told when to start or finish each section.

Three sections

You will be given three different passages to read, each with accompanying questions. You can expect to read 2,150 – 2,750 words in total during your test.

IELTS Academic Reading test

There are three sections to the IELTS Academic Reading test, and each contains one long text.

These are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers. They have been written for a non-specialist audience and are on academic topics of general interest.

They range from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical.

Each text might be accompanied by diagrams, graphs or illustrations, and you will be expected to show that you understand these too.

A simple glossary is provided if the material contains technical terms.

IELTS General Training Reading test

There are three sections to the IELTS General Training Reading test.

The texts used in each section are taken from notices, advertisements, company handbooks, official documents, books, magazines and newspapers.

Section 1 contains two or three short factual texts, one of which may be made up of 6 – 8 short texts related by topic, e.g. hotel advertisements. The topics are relevant to everyday life in an English-speaking country.

Section 2 contains two short factual texts focusing on work-related issues, e.g. applying for a job, company policies, pay and conditions, workplace facilities, staff development and training.

Section 3 contains one longer, more complex text on a topic of general interest.

Questions

There are 40 questions.

A variety of question types is used. You may be asked to

  • fill gaps in a passage of written text or in a table
  • match headings to written text to diagrams or charts
  • complete sentences
  • give short answers to open questions
  • answer multiple choice questions

Sometimes you will need to give one word as your answer, sometimes a short phrase, and sometimes simply a letter, number or symbol.

Make sure you read the instructions carefully.

Marking

Each correct answer receives one mark.

Scores out of 40 are converted to the IELTS 9-band scale. Scores are reported in whole and half bands.

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Understand the Writing test of IELTS

IELTS tips

Write clearly, organise your ideas and use a varied vocabulary.

Purpose of the test

The IELTS Writing test is designed to assess a wide range of writing skills, including how well you

  • write a response appropriately
  • organise ideas
  • use a range of vocabulary and grammar accurately

This is the case for whichever version of the IELTS test you are taking.

Timing

The IELTS Writing test takes 60 minutes. Spend 20 minutes on Task 1, and 40 minutes on Task 2.

You will need to manage your own time, so make sure you move on to Task 2 after 20 minutes.

Two tasks

There are two tasks in the IELTS Writing test. You will be asked to write at least 150 words for Task 1 and at least 250 words for Task 2.

IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training Writing tests

The content of the Writing test is different for IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests.

IELTS Academic Writing test

Write in a formal style in the IELTS Academic Writing test.

In Task 1 you will be presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram. You will be asked to describe, summarise or explain the information in your own words. This might involve describing and explaining data, describing the stages of a process or how something works, or describing an object or event.

In Task 2 you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. You should find the issues interesting and easy to understand.

IELTS General Training Writing test

The topics used in the IELTS General Training Writing test are of general interest.

In Task 1 you will be presented with a situation and asked to write a letter requesting information or explaining the situation. You can write the letter in a personal, semi-formal or formal style.

In Task 2 you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. You can use a fairly personal style.

Marking

Your Writing test will be marked by a certificated IELTS examiner.

Task 2 is worth twice as much as Task 1 in the IELTS Writing test.

Scores are reported in whole and half bands.

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Understand the Listening test of IELTS

IELTS tips

You will be listening for a purpose and hear a variety of accents.

A variety of voices is used in the IELTS Listening test, so you might hear Australian, British, New Zealand or North American accents.

You will be listening to a pre-recorded CD-ROM, and the passages that you hear will increase in difficulty as you go through the test.

The content of the Listening test is the same for both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests.

Purpose of the test

The IELTS Listening test is designed to assess a wide range of listening skills, including how well you

  • understand main ideas and specific factual information
  • recognise the opinions, attitudes and purpose of a speaker
  • follow the development of an argument

Timing

The IELTS Listening test takes approximately 30 minutes, and you are allowed an extra 10 minutes to transfer your answers from your question booklet to your answer sheet.

Four sections

The IELTS Listening test is broken down into four sections:

Section Description
1 You listen to a conversation between two people set in an everyday social situation, e.g. a conversation in an accommodation agency, and answer questions on your comprehension.
2 You listen to a monologue set in an everyday social situation, e.g. a speech about local facilities or a talk about the arrangements for meals during a conference.
3 You listen to a conversation between up to four people set in an educational or training context, e.g. a university tutor and a student discussing an assignment, or a group of students planning a research project.
4 You listen to a monologue on an academic subject, e.g. a university lecture.

You will begin by listening to a recording of instructions and a sample question for section 1. Then you will read the questions for section 1, listen to section 1, and answer the questions.

This procedure is repeated for sections 2, 3 and 4.

In the final 10 minutes, you will transfer your answers onto the answer sheet.

Each section is heard once only.

Questions

There are 40 questions.

A variety of question types is used, and you may be asked to

  • answer multiple choice questions
  • label a plan, map or diagram
  • fill in a form
  • complete a table
  • complete a flow-chart
  • give short answers

Marking

Each correct answer receives one mark.

Scores out of 40 are converted to the IELTS 9-band scale. Scores are reported in whole and half bands.

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