How to Prepare for IELTS
Migrating to another country where English is the native language calls you to prove your English language capabilities. Yes, you are required to achieve the prescribed language proficiency tests scores as per the study program opted, work visa, or even a residence visa. Hence, you’ll find aspiring migrants worried when it comes to cracking these tests. Typically, the English language proficiency test result must be written within two years of application.
What is IELTS?
IELTS stands for The International English Language Testing System. It is an assessment to gauge your English communication capabilities (verbal, written, and comprehension). IELTS is the most accepted worldwide English proficiency test.
Academic Vs General Test
Academic Test – Academic is for those who are migrating for studies on a student visa to a western country, and for those seeking professional registration.
General Test – All other types of visas fall under the General Test category of IELTS.
English is the primary language of instruction and communication here. Since all academic activities (lectures, seminars, laboratories, workshops, internships, projects, etc.) are conducted in English, it is essential that all students possess strong English writing, listening, reading, speaking, and writing skills. You will need to provide evidence of an adequate level of proficiency in English, regardless of your citizenship status or country of origin. unless you qualify for an exemption. There are other approved English language tests too like PTE (Pearson Language Tests), TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), etc. However, IELTS is the most popular one. So, let’s talk about IELTS.
IELTS is a task-based test covering the following four sections:
It is graded on a scale of 1-9; 9 being the highest. The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes. The Listening, Reading and Writing sections of all IELTS tests are completed on the same day, with no breaks in between them. The Speaking test, however, can be completed up to a week before or after the other tests.
Understanding the test format
This test consists of four recorded monologues and conversations that are played to you only once for a straight 20 minutes. There are 40 questions. You’re given 10 minutes to write the answers. The questions are in the form MCQ (multiple choice), matching, plan/map/diagram labeling, form completion, note completion, table completion, flow-chart completion, summary completion, sentence completion, short-answer questions.
The reading test is somewhat similar to the listening test. The time allotted to complete the test, for this test is an hour. There are 40 questions. A variety of question types are used, chosen from the following:
- MCQ (multiple choice)
- Identifying information (True/False/Not Given)
- Identifying a writer’s views/claims (Yes/No/Not Given)
- Matching information, headings, features, sentence endings
- A sentence, summary, note, table, flow-chart, and diagram label completion
- Short-answer questions
The writing test is for an hour and has 2 tasks.
- Task 1: Describe a graph, chart, diagram, or table based on statistical data within 150 words. You’ll be given 20 minutes to complete this activity.
- Task 2: Write an essay on a given topic within 250 words for 40 minutes.
This is for 11-14 minutes and includes 3 tasks.
- Task 1: Introduce yourself.
- Task 2: Prepare and speak on a given topic.
- Task 3: Answer questions related to the topic on which you spoke.
How can I give the IELTS?
IELTS can be taken either by the paper method or can be computer-based. Both ways are conducted at official IELTS test centers. In paper-based tests, test-takers will write their answers in either pen or HB pencils. In computer-based tests, test takers submit their answers through the use of a keyboard and a mouse. In both paper and computer-based ways, the Speaking Test is carried out face-to-face with a trained IELTS examiner.
IELTS Official Practice Test
IELTS Progress Check is an official IELTS online paid practice test that can be accessed on the official IELTS website. You can choose to purchase an untimed or timed test. This practice test gives you an idea about your current English level and areas of improvement. Proper feedback and indicative band scores are provided.
Official IELTS Practice Materials
These materials are designed to help you understand the IELTS test format and the types of test questions you may be asked. Two volumes of Official IELTS Practice Materials are available for purchase from test centers or at ielts.org/prepare. These materials include a full practice test with answers, and sample Writing and Speaking performances with examiner comments.
Preparing for the tests
You have two options. You can either prepare by taking up IELTS coaching classes or prepare yourself at home. IELTS test centers and language schools around the world offer IELTS preparation courses. Now we’ll discuss how to prepare at home with these tips:
- Learn the format of the test as discussed above.
- Practice using sample questions.
- Consider buying official IELTS practice materials.
- Know the IELTS rules and regulations stated in the Notice to Candidates and Declaration which are included in the application form.
- Consider taking the IELTS official practice test.
- Pay attention to the timelines for each task, word limit, spelling, and grammar.
When you feel you are ready to take the test, you need to register for a test date with an IELTS center. There is always a rush. Hence, contact the center as soon as you are confident that you are prepared to give the test. You will need to pay the test fee when you register. Tell your center if you have special requirements or arrangements that have to be made for exceptional situations.
Don’t be tense about the IELTS. Prepare well. Attempt all questions, do not lose attention, listen carefully, speak slowly and fluently, Read clearly (accents don’t matter), recheck your written answers, Be confident. Take a chill pill and enjoy the tests. All the best!