So you’ve decided to pursue your higher education abroad. More specifically, you’re looking at studying in the UK, Canada, or Australia. You’re excited. You research what exams are required, and come across the IELTS. Naturally, you check out coaching academies so that you can prepare with the proper guidance. But as you look through them, you realise that the proper guidance doesn’t come cheap! So you’re in a real dilemma here. You don’t feel comfortable splurging on professional instruction, but you don’t know how to go about everything and want to ace this test.
Well, this article will solve all your problems. Here are some guidelines on preparing for this exam.
Learn the exam format
Before you begin preparing for any exam, you first must learn how the exam itself is structured.
The IELTS exam has four sections: reading, writing, listening and speaking. Now there are two types of IELTS tests: academic and general. The academic test is if you wish to study in English-speaking countries, while the general test is taken for regular immigration purposes. Based on the test you’re taking(i.e., academic or general), the reading and writing sections will differ. The speaking and listening sections will stay the same, however.
Check here for IELTS Test Format
Begin with a sample test
Now it may seem early for you to start practicing question papers without any real preparation, but hear us out. Before you start studying for anything, it’s a good idea to find out where you are, what you’re good at, and what you need to work on. Armed with this knowledge, you can tailor your preparation to suit your circumstances.
Now there’s a caveat: don’t time yourself. This is probably the first time you’re attempting questions like these, so don’t treat it like a race. It’s a purely diagnostic exercise to find your weak spots.
You can find a plethora of sample questions from all test sections on this website.
Build your vocabulary
Read. Read newspapers. Read books. Read anything you can get your hands on. And whenever you’re reading, remember to keep a dictionary and a notebook with you. When you find a word you don’t understand, look up its meaning, and write it down in your notebook. This is how you slowly build your vocabulary.
Want to supercharge your learning? Purchase a dedicated vocabulary ebook from our online store here.
P.S.: IELTS is conducted in British English, so make sure you learn the relevant vocabulary.
Check here for IELTS Vocabulary Books
Train your ear for accents
This will be important for your IELTS listening section. When they play that audio recording, the speaker could speak in a British, American, Canadian, or Australian accent. That’s why it is crucial that you’re able to understand what he’s saying in any of these scenarios.
How do you do that? Hear multiple accents as much as possible. Watch TV shows and youtube videos. Watch the news from all over the world. Listen to podcasts. Listen to music. Immerse yourself completely.
Practice speaking in English
As you know by now, IELTS also has a speaking component. You’ll be interacting with a human examiner – unlike TOEFL, where you speak into a microphone – and you’ll have to speak for a few minutes on a given topic, then spend the next few minutes answering questions about that topic.
In order to take your speaking test with confidence, you must build that confidence by speaking to everyone around you in English. The more you speak it, the more comfortable you get with it.
Don’t forget to practice your sample speaking questions. You can find an array of these questions on our website.
Check here for IELTS Speaking Practice tests
We know we’ve mentioned this before, but we think this bears repeating. That’s how critical reading is to your whole preparation. The reading section will involve some lengthy passages, and you will have limited time to read them and answer the questions based on them. So your reading speed needs to be on point. Practice skimming through passages. Train yourself to identify keywords that give you a rough idea of what the passage is about. Furthermore, read a passage and write a summary of it to test your understanding.
Check this article How to increase reading speed?
Write every day. Practice the sample questions given on this website. Keep a journal and write down your daily thoughts. The best way to get better at writing is to do it. Nothing more.
Get yourself a study partner
Having a study partner can help you when preparation gets difficult. You can also look to them for motivation and accountability. Look for someone in your network who is also preparing for the test.
Check out our ebooks
Just because you don’t plan to get coaching doesn’t mean you have to do everything without external guidance. Feel free to buy our ebooks linked throughout this article at affordable prices. For your convenience, we have linked them below for you.