HOW TO PREPARE FOR IELTS?
The IELTS, which is the abbreviated form of the International English Language Testing System, is actually a standardized test that is usually taken by students and mid-career professionals for studying a degree or course in a university located in a majority English speaking country. The IELTS is also sometimes taken if an aspirant plans to work in such a country.
While the test is designed for average students, it is neither very easy nor is it extremely difficult to crack. The marking system in the IELTS uses a nine-band scoring scale from 0 to 9, in the same order, where I stands for non-user and 9 stands for an expert. 0 means the test taker was absent for the test.
Some of the best features of the IELTS test are the fact that it is a fair test and does not differentiate between the test takes on any background. Also, the test accepts all native English speakers regardless of their English, American, Australian or New Zealand origin. Another important feature is the fact that the test is extremely widely available in over 1600 centers all across the world.
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There are two types of IELTS tests based on the requirement. The IELTS academic is for studying abroad. If you are someone who wishes to pursue their masters abroad or a professional degree, you must take the IELTS academic.
The other type is the IELTS general training test which is specifically designed for people who wish to migrate to Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom and must work every day in an entirely English speaking environment.
The IELTS has 4 sections in both the types of tests. These sections are Speaking, Listening, Reading, and Writing. The total duration of the test is 2 hours and 45 minutes.
While the Listening, Reading and Writing sections must be taken the same day without a break, the Speaking section can be attempted up to a week before or after your written test, the exact day depends upon the slot availability of your examiner.
Most universities prefer a score within or above band 6. Anything below that is highly probable to get rejected. So, in order to ensure that your score lies well above 6, following the following steps.
1.Make a plan that works well for you:
These tests are not tough but they definitely require organized practice so to help you score well within your desired range.
The first step is to find out the score band that your dream universities want from an eligible candidate. The next step is to take a practice test and see where you actually stand. The final step is to make a proper routine and focus on your weaker areas and mistakes during practice.
The key to cracking the IELTS is lots and lots of practise. To score well, you do not study for 24 hours a day but make sure that when you study, you give your 100% and concentrate completely.
2.Understand the format well:
The format of the IELTS can be tough to understand. In order to make sure that you use your time well and optimise it properly for the best results, it is important that you familiarise yourself with the pattern of the test. Understand the type of questions and the different tasks in each section.
Prepare accordingly and always keep a track of the time that you are spending on each question.
In order to achieve the best results, aim to finish the test early and revise each section at least twice because there is a high chance that you will find mistakes in the second revision that you may have missed in the first one.
3.Practise from sample tests and questions released by the official organisation
The official IELTS agency releases test papers, DVDs and sample questions that you must solve in order to get an idea of the exact questions that may come in your test.
The pattern of these questions and tests are absolutely similar to the actual test. Also these questions can give you an idea of where exactly you need to focus and which type of task should you practise more.
4.You can consider enrolling yourself in a preparation course:
There are several online courses such as the Princeton Review, Kaplan and Manhattan Prep that provide online coaching and sample materials that you can practise from This is especially helpful for students who need to constantly be in a rigid structure. Also, if you are having difficulty in teaching yourself, you can consider these courses.
However, they are expensive so make sure you have your budget planned out well.
5.Try to surround yourself in as much English as possible:
In the weeks and days leading up to the final IELTS exam, make sure that you surround yourself in English so that you are in constant touch with the language.
It can be books, magazines, newspapers, online forums, but make sure that you are always using the language.
If your mother tongue is not English, try to organize your thoughts and think in English. This will help you gain a command over the language, be it in terms of writing or speaking. It will also help you during the reading section as your speed will increase exponentially.
6.Register for the tests as soon as possible:
It is important to register for the test as soon as possible, preferably as soon as you decide to actually take the test. The fee of the IELTS test depends largely on the test centre you are appearing from.
However, the range is usually between $185 and $250. To avoid a high late fee, make sure that you apply as soon as possible.
We have emphasized on this above and would like to do so again, the IELTS exam is not tough at all. All you need to do is ensure that you practice hard and well to fill in any loopholes that you may have.
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