What are the key components of IELTS exam preparation? How should you prepare separate sections of IELTS to boost your overall score in the exam? How can you crack IELTS exam to enter different countries for your studies and work? Accepted over 140 countries worldwide, IELTS is one of the most popular English proficiency tests to study abroad. Divided into two versions- Academic and General, the test is a basic yardstick for admission to many universities globally. So, the big question is what does it take to crack IELTS? Before we bring you IELTS preparation tips, let us have a look at the exam pattern:
|IELTS Test Component||Duration||Brief Description|
|Listening||30 minutes||4 sections, 40 items|
|Reading||60 minutes||3 sections, 40 items|
|Writing||60 minutes||2 tasks|
|Speaking||11-14 minutes||3 part one-on-one conversation|
One of the interesting factors of IELTS preparation is that you can seamlessly incorporate your IELTS practice in your daily routine. Whether you are reading your favourite book, chatting with friends or even watching television, you can prepare for IELTS on the go!
Candidates can check IELTS pattern and IELTS preparation tips for all sections.
1. IELTS Preparation Tips – Listening Section
IELTS Listening pattern:
The Listening section is the most important part of the IELTS test. This section of IELTS has 4 sections and includes 40 items. In terms of IELTS preparation, it is best to take each section separately.
Here are the IELTS preparation tips for the Listening section:
- One-on-one interaction: As the name suggests, the one-on-one section is an interaction between two people. It could be a telephonic conversation or a general one and you will be asked to note down specific information from the conversation. The best way to prepare for this IELTS test is by listening to as many as conversations possible. A very easy way is to practice listening to English bulletins. One of the difficulties that a non-native English listener faces is to comprehend the fluency of native English speakers. However, this obstacle can be easily overcome with regular practice involving listening and noting it down on paper.
- Speech: In this section, the test-taker is made to listen to a speech. You listen to a speech in a social or academic context and answer a series of questions. The test will measure how well you can grasp the core idea of the speech and understand highlighted issues.
- Monologue: Similar to speech, this section involves a monologue. The best IELTS preparation tips to prepare for this is by mainly listening to discussions on television.
- Group discussion: This involves interaction between a maximum of four people. So, it is important that you make yourself comfortable catching up with more than one speech flow. Again, attending and listening to discussions are the best way to prepare for this test.
Some other IELTS preparation tips for listening section
- In the listening IELTS section, make sure you read the first example at the beginning of the first section to acquaint yourself with the sound, the speaker and the situation.
- Make sure you continue to listen to the audio while you write down the answers.
- You have to practise listening to both an individual talking and more than one person speaking simultaneously.
- Be smart with spellings, many lose easy marks because of spelling mistakes.
- Practice short hand writing style, as it will save you lot of time. For instance, instead of writing approximately write approx.
2. IELTS Preparation Tips – Reading Section
This section evaluates your reading skills. Basically, you are given a long article to read which is followed by a set of questions like multiple choice, sentence completion, summary writing, matching information, short-answers. The reading section for both IELTS Academic and General test are different. Since, you are required to sit for the Academic test for the purpose of admission the content of the test is generally heavier and tougher.
Here are the IELTS preparation tips for the IELTS Reading test:
- Read as much as possible: This might seem tedious in the beginning. Therefore, the easier way to do that is by reading whatever is interesting to you in the beginning. It might be a short paragraph, an Ad, newspaper briefs. Once that phase is over, shift to heavier material like long essays, editorials, short stories.
- Make Notes: Always make notes while reading. This will sharpen your ability to look for details. Highlight and note down whatever seems important.
- Repeat the exercise: Do not stop after reading a note once. Sometimes it helps to go through the whole process of reading the text as it helps you to keep updated and remember what you had earlier taken note of. Also, you could find new vital points in the same text when you re-read it.
- Practice comprehension: Practicing comprehensions help a lot in the preparation process. Since the questions in the test are based on the style of comprehension, it always helps to sharpen your skills in comprehension.
Some other IELTS preparation tips for reading section
- Read the entire passage carefully and take an overview of the crux of the passage.
- Be careful of the time limits, you will not be given any extra seconds.
- Do not leave any question unanswered even if you are not sure of the answer, as there is no negative marking.
- To save few seconds, write the responses directly on sheets since you will not be given extra time to write it again.
3. IELTS Preparation Tips – Writing Section
The writing section in each version of IELTS has two sub sections. In the academic test, you are required to describe a chart, graph or diagram and in addition write an essay expressing your point of view or argument.
In the general test, the test-taker is presented with a situation and asked to write a letter explaining the situation along with the essay.
Here are the IELTS preparation tips for the IELTS writing test:
1. Read sample essays: It is always helpful to read as many sample essays as possible. Study the essays carefully and note down the points. There are few points to consider here:
Bring clarity on what is the essay about.
- Does the first paragraph make the topic clear?
- Does the headline reflect the subject of the essay?
- Observe how the writer flows the vital points of the essay.
2. Write essays: It is important to write sample essays as part of the preparation. Keep the following points in mind before writing the essay:
Note all the points that come to mind on the topic.
- Once that is done, filter the necessary points from the same list.
- Bring clarity on which direction you want your essay to take.
- While presenting an argument, it is important that you stick to your point. Never present more than one point of view in an argument. It will reflect confusion on the invigilator’s part.
3. Grammar practice: Practicing grammar will help you in making your essays and summaries free of any mistakes. Since it is an English level exam, grammar is one of the vital areas that will be checked. Hence, it is important that your articles are grammatically correct.
Some other IELTS Preparation tips for writing section
- Begin with Task 2 first as it is worth more marks and is more easier.
- Make sure you complete both the tasks on time. To get familiar with IELTS writing section time limits, it is necessary you practise writing.
- Avoid informal language as much as you can, for instance, no abbreviations, no 1st or 2ndpronouns or possessive, apart from the concluding paragraph where you support your response.
- Underline important words in the task to focus on what you have to do when you start answering. It works as a reminder.
- Stick to the topic, do not write unnecesarry responses.
4. IELTS Preparation Tips – Speaking Section
One of the interesting sections of the IELTS test, the speaking section involves a one-on-one live interaction with an invigilator. This test analyses your use of spoken English, and takes between 11 and 14 minutes.
The speaking test requires you to be spontaneous as it is a human interaction as opposed to a computerized one. The test is divided into three parts.
First part: In the first part, the examiner asks some general questions to the test taker like his/her interests, what are you studying etc. Here are the tips to crack this section:
- Add value to your replies: It is good to be specific with your replies but you can always add some interesting facts in your answers. Eg: If you are asked where are you from? Besides answering the usual you can also add some detail about the place you are from.
- Be responsive: Do not take too long to answer questions. Be quick and responsive.
Second part: In this part, you are given a topic and asked to speak uninterrupted on the topic for at least 2 to 3 minutes. The examiner tests both your speaking skills and knowledge in this test.
- Think before you speak: It is best to take at least a minute before you start speaking. Bring clarity on the points you are going to make and most importantly how you are going to start.
- Knowledge: Make sure you have knowledge about what you are speaking. You should be able to communicate the key points of the topic to the invigilator.
Third part: This part is important as here the examiner asks you questions about the topic from the second part. He can put forward some arguments from your speech or he could ask you to elaborate on a specific point of view you have previously shared.
- Remember your arguments: Always remember your arguments from the previous test part. You should not look surprised or taken off guard when asked a question.
- Do not sound confused: Do not let your answer reflect confusion. Be confident and show your willingness.
Some other IELTS Preparation tips for Speaking
- This is the section where you can enjoy speaking English, thus be confident and talk as fluently as you want.
- You can do so by practising recording on a tape at home and listen to it. Focus on your mistakes and pronunciation.
- Make sure you don’t go with prepared answer, as the examiner may spot it.
- The best way to respond is to present your opinion, as that will help them assess your communication skills.
- Remember there is no single answer and there is no right or wrong answer. However, make sure you present your idea.