The International English Language Testing System, or IELTS, is an international standardized test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers. It is jointly managed by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English, and was established in 1989.
There are two types of IELTS: Academic and General Training. Listening and Speaking are the same for both tests, but the subject matter of the Reading and Writing sections differs depending on which test you take.
The Listening, Reading and Writing sections of all IELTS tests are completed on the same day, with no breaks in between them.
The Speaking section, however, can be completed up to a week before or after the other tests. Your test centre will advise.
The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes.
We have compiled a top-10 list to help students preparing for the IELTS exam:
- Understand what’s in the IELTS exam and how it works. A lot of people don’t really find out much about the exam and its content so they don’t know what to expect.
- Practice as much as possible. Work on your global level of English; read lots of academic and general texts, read English newspapers and magazines; watch films so that you improve your listening.
- Concentrate on time management. Make yourself a revision timetable as this can help to keep things in perspective. Over time you can see real progress and concentrate on the areas that are problematic.
- Be positive. Don’t let insecurity hinder all your hard work. Show the examiner what you know, don’t be afraid to try. If you make a mistake, carry on. Find a ‘study buddy’ and practice together. You don’t even have to be in the same room, you can use skype, instant messaging, or Google Hangout.
- Boost your vocabulary. Vocabulary lists are one way of learning – mind maps, word association, picture matching, synonyms and antonyms, and placing words in context will all aid vocabulary memorization. For example, if you are learning about food, think about where you buy it, store it, cook it. Then visualize yourself buying food or ordering a meal at a restaurant and use the new words in sentences. You can even do some role play with your study buddy, where, for instance, you are the waiter and your buddy is the customer. Other good study techniques include carrying a vocabulary notebook that can go everywhere with you, use post-its, and your phone to store word lists.
- Listening tip: Read through the questions to predict what the topic will be about. It will be easier if you have an idea of what you are going to hear. Use the time allowed for reading the questions to identify the signposts to the answers.
- Reading tip: Read the questions first. Identify the keywords and then scan-read the text for the answers.
- Writing tip: Write clearly, making sure you include paragraphs and use a varied vocabulary. Most of all, answer the essay questions and stick to the topic. Check the word count when you are done.
- Speaking tip: Try to give full answers. Give your opinion and then add reasons and examples to support it. If you don’t understand a question or a word, tell the examiner and ask for clarification.
- Last wise words: watch the clock on the big day and don’t leave any gaps. Guess the answer if you don’t know it.
Check out our books to buy section to find the best books related to IELTS.
If you can dream it, you can achieve it! take the help from those books on how to be proficient in taking the IELTS test with confidence and to attain the highest band score. For the non-native speakers of English, those books are great help in extensively providing tips and techniques to crack the test in a single attempt.