Getting the right IELTS band score can be a life changing experience. It can open doors to studying and working abroad, or help fulfill important language requirements for obtaining an immigration visa.
Whatever your final goal may be, it’s essential to be as prepared as possible. The IELTS is designed to test your knowledge and use of the English language. However, having a basic knowledge of the exam’s format will be a major help going into the exam. As an IELTS examiner, I’ve lost track of the number of candidates who came into an exam completely blind. Getting confused on the day of the exam is the #1 mistake I see candidates making. Confusion leads to a loss of confidence, and this often prevents a candidate from getting their best possible score on the big day.
Can you answer the following questions to show you have a basic knowledge of the IELTS exam? How long does the IELTS exam last? How often can I take the exam? What’s the difference between the IELTS Academic exam and the IELTS General Training exam? Take the 'Are You Ready for IELTS' quiz to find out.
If you’ve already taken the exam, or have done your research, and are familiar with the overall structure of the exam, it’s time to focus on language. Not everyone has the time to attend English classes, or look for a private tutor. However, practice is extremely important to improve the four skills which will be tested on the IELTS exam.
Listening and Reading skills are often areas where test-takers can struggle. The British Council offers some very good free resources to practice Reading and Listening. Please keep in mind, the British Council’s materials are not specific to the IELTS exam. To look over some authentic IELTS listening samples, completely free, you might want to visit the official IELTS website.
Speaking and Writing skills, often referred to as ‘productive skills’, can be especially challenging. Many students don’t have as many opportunities to practice these skills as Listening and Reading. It’s a good idea to look for as many opportunities to practice as possible. In any large city, there are usually free events organized by Internations or Couch Surfing where you can meet native English speakers to practice with. Also, make sure you have a look at some ofthe IELTS Pass IELTS worksheets which will show you some common IELTS speaking questions and examples of essay structure for both Task 1 and Task 2 writing essays.
It’s certainly possible to find free IELTS advice and practice material on the internet. However, this is time-consuming and not really a substitute for a complete IELTS preparation course designed by professional English teachers and exam trainers. If you’ve grown tired of sifting through the internet trying to find what’s really relevant, you might want to consider this online IELTS preparation course.