Take a practice test
Most test-takers consider taking an IELTS preparation course, one of the easiest ways to approach the test, as it focuses solely on getting you exam-ready for IELTS. Guide your preparation, by taking a practice test to begin with and identify your weaknesses.
Understand the test format
Before your begin practicing, it’s extremely important that you know what to expect of the test format. Familiarize yourself with it by reviewing the content of the test, as well as the question and task types for each section. Remember the key to success in any examination and not just IELTS is a sound familiarity with the test pattern and format.
Be aware of the exam time constraints
The clearer understanding you develop regarding the test structure, the higher your chances are to completing it successfully within the allocated time frame. Conduct your preparation under timed conditions, so you become accustomed to the pace of the test. Remember the IELTS test has a time limit and you will only have the time given for each module.
Develop your English capabilities and IELTS strategies
Keep in mind that learning IELTS is a process. On average it takes 12 weeks to move up a score band by one point. Start preparing for your test at least 3 – 6 months prior. We highly recommend finding an institution which will help you with English development and IELTS strategies.
Multitask when listening in English
You will have to provide answers to 40 questions throughout 4 recordings. The recordings will be played only once. Typical questions include sentence completion, summary completion, form completion and multiple choice. It is not surprising to get lost during a conversation, but you need to recover fast or you will miss all the questions of that task afterwards. As such, it is essential to understand how to follow a conversation, even if you miss something and how you can recover to continue answering the next questions. You are also expected to understand what type of information to supply depending on the question type. Is it a number, a name, an address?
Develop a wide range of reading skills
The sole purpose of the reading module is to test a wide range of reading skills. Reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical argument, and recognizing writers’ opinions, attitudes and purpose. Test takers have to provide short answers, match information, complete sentences, match headings or complete diagram labels. Ensure you practice includes a wide variety of questions so that you become accustomed to each type. Timing is of the essence in the reading module and you simply will not have the time to go through the texts several times. There are strategies to help you to avoid this situation.
Use appropriate and assertive English terms when writing
The writing module is perhaps the one that most people struggle with. Both tasks in the academic training must be written in a formal style. Task 1 requires that you describe and explain data, which you may be an expert at, this requires significant practice in English. Task 2 presents a number of challenges. Often, the topic given can be hard to develop if you are not familiar with it. In addition, the essay must have a proper structure. You need to be prepared to answer both tasks and understand the requirements of each. You should use appropriate language to complete Task 1 questions and ensure your practice includes the different types of charts (line graphs, bar charts, pie charts, tables, and multiple data sources, and processes, diagrams) to ensure you are prepared in the test. For Task 2 question preparation, familiarize yourself with the structure of an essay, how to develop it, how to write the introduction and the conclusion. You must be able to connect your ideas using appropriate English. Additionally, practice writing about topics that are common on the IELTS so you become familiar with them. A preparation course will you expose to you the different types of essays that commonly come up on IELTS such as: Agree or Disagree, Discuss two Opposing Opinions, Advantages and Disadvantages, Problems and Solutions, Causes and Solutions, Causes and Effects.
Speak with fluency or coherence in direct communication
This test is less than 15 minutes long and is split into three parts. The first 5 minutes are reserved for introduction and general topics between the test taker and the examiner. The second part assesses the test taker’s ability to speak about a random topic given on a task card. The last part merely adds complexity to the second. At this stage, the examiner will also pay attention to pronunciation, lexical resource and fluency. Practicing each part under exam conditions is essential to your test preparation and will get used to the pressure you will have during the test. You need to be able to write down notes that will help you to talk for two minutes during the second part of the test. You should also practice answering questions when you don’t really know the answer.
Immerse yourself in English
Expose yourself to as much language as you can alongside your test preparation. Read things that interest you in English, online magazines or blogs can be a great place to start. Write some English every day, by writing a diary, keeping a blog or communicating with an online community such as people on a Facebook group that share an interest with you. Listen to native speakers talking to one another and if possible join in. Try the ‘shadowing’ technique. This involves repeating what someone has just said in English. This will help with pronunciation, intonation and stress. Furthermore, you can watch English movies, TV shows, news to improve your listening and speaking skills.