In this article, we’ll be discussing “how to prepare for IELTS” in order to get yourself a decent scholarship to study abroad. Many Pakistani students dream of going abroad on scholarship in order to pursue a career there. But there are certain requirements that you must meet before getting started with your journey. IELTS is going to be one of them. Don’t worry we’ll guide you with some helpful tips so that you can go to this test with full preparation and pass it with distinction.
The key to achieving the IELTS score you need is preparation.
By no means is it the most challenging exam in the world; it assesses your fundamental reading, writing, listening, and speaking abilities in English.
But it does require some getting used to; if one wasn’t ready, even an “innate” speaker would find it difficult.
Trust me; prior to beginning my IELTS teaching career, I opted to take the exam myself. Let’s just say that I didn’t perform as well as I had anticipated!
The structure and the criteria for grading drew my attention more than the test’s actual substance. It’s crucial to become familiar with these components.
IELTS preparation’s essential components are actually quite simple:
- Recognizing the format
- The necessary score
- Strengthening certain skills
That’s pretty much all!
Let’s examine these points in detail so that you can determine how to effectively prepare for the IELTS test.
The best approach for preparing for the IELTS test
1. IELTS general preparation tips
a) Be prepared for your test: Is it academic or general training?
IELTS has two different exams.
The academic one is intended for potential international students, whereas the General Training one is more frequently taken for immigration and employment-related purposes.
The speaking and listening portions of the IELTS General Training and Academic examinations are identical. The reading and writing assessments, however, are very different, with the Academic paper placing a greater emphasis on academic English.
b) Learn the IELTS format and how the test is graded.
Regardless of how well you speak English, it’s important to understand what’s expected of you and what might be expected of you.
We’ve already established that there are four portions in the IELTS exam (listening, reading, writing, and speaking). It takes two hours and forty-five minutes in total.
To help you better understand the IELTS format, let’s split that down:
c) The IELTS test format
|IETLS paper||IELTS Questions format||Time for each|
|IELTS Listening||4 Portions 40 Questions in total||30 Minutes|
|IELTS Reading||3 Portions 40 Questions in total||1 Hour|
|IELTS Writing||Two things: Reporting on data: at least 150 words describing a certain graph, chart, or another method, etc. Essay on a specific subject (at least 250 words)||1 Hour|
|IELTS Speaking||chatting with an examiner||Max 15 minutes|
And now, let’s have a look at the grading.
- Each section is evaluated on a nine-band scale, with a score between 0 and 9 being provided for each. 5 points (for example, you can score a 7.5).
- A 6.1 becomes a 6, a 7.25 becomes a 7.5, etc., because your entire test result is calculated to the nearest.5 points.
- Naturally, the average band from the four sections makes up your overall test result (or band).
Most institutions typically require an overall band of at least 6 to be accepted.
But first, let’s look at the grades assigned to each individual portion.
|IELTS Paper||IELTS band score|
|Grading for listening in the IELTS test||There are 40 questions in the IELTS Listening test, and each right response earns one mark. The IELTS 9-band scale is converted to your score out of 40. Here is a rough estimate of how many correct answers are required for each band: |
1. Band 5: approx 16 out of 40
2. Band 6: approx 23
3. Band 7: approx 30
4. Band 8: approx 35
5. Band 9: 36+
|Grading for the IELTS Reading test||There are 40 questions on the reading test as well, and the right response earns one mark. Your score out of 40 is translated to the nine-band scale similarly to the listening exam. The band, an approximate scoring guide, is the same as it was previously.|
|Grading for the IELTS Writing test||The following four factors will determine how well you write: |
1. Task completion (Did you finish the assignment?)
2. Cohesion and coherence (is your writing clear?)
3. Lexical tool (how amazing, valuable, and relevant is your vocabulary?)
4. Accuracy & range of grammar (how well and adaptable) is the use of grammar?
You receive a score between 0 and 9 for each of these categories, with the average determining your overall grade for this part.
|Grading for the IELTS Speaking test||The speaking test is graded using four marginally different standards: |
3. Lexical resource
4. Grammatical range & accuracy
Again, you receive a score between 0 and 9 for each of these factors, with your overall section score being the average.
Now that you are aware of what to anticipate from the exam, let’s look at some of the top IELTS preparation tips.
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2. Best IELTS test-taking guidance
a. Start off early
Start preparing for the IELTS at least eight weeks beforehand.
Although some claim that six weeks is sufficient time to prepare, it is preferable to choose the side of caution in this situation.
Using four areas to prepare for, you should have 10 to 14 days for each to assess your skills, weaknesses, and progress with practice problems (more on that below).
b. Establish a study schedule
You’ll save so much time and accomplish so much more if you create a timetable and follow it.
For the first week, we advise scheduling an hour or two a day, after which the intensity should be increased for the next two weeks. You can ease up on the plan once more in the last week leading up to your exam by only spending an hour or so polishing your abilities.
This “tapering off” interval is necessary to give your mind some time to calm down and assist you in relaxing before the exam.
c. Purchase a quality study guide
You will benefit greatly from having at least one reliable study resource on hand while you get ready for the exam.
The ideal book will provide practical study tips and tactics as well as sample questions and answers for you to practice on.
d. Take the practice exams
It’s great to work through sample questions every day, but nothing beats actually taking a “mock exam” where you can follow the structure and time restrictions that will be in effect on test day.
Try to subject yourself to the same limits and pressures that you will experience on the day of the exam once or twice a week. This will enable you to hone your skills and help you become more comfortable with the test environment so you can reduce your tension on the actual test day.
Let’s move on to some of the most effective methods for refining your IELTS test-taking abilities for each component.
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3. Tips for each section of the IELTS examination
i. Tips on the IELTS listening test
Practice taking notes
It’s a big deal. It wouldn’t be a good idea to merely relax and listen to the audio recordings throughout the listening exam because you can miss some crucial knowledge!
Making notes is a useful tool for keeping track of the solutions.
However, since we are unable to write in great detail while maintaining attention while listening, taking notes is a skill that must be developed. Here’s a little tip on how to take them properly.
Here is one instance. I spent at least ten seconds writing the twelve-word line, “My name is Harry Cowell, I’m thirty years old, and I am from the United States,” but only three seconds of speaking it.
But what crucial details are there? Harry, 30, and United States. In your notes, keep it even shorter.
You only need to write down the essential details; the rest may be put together rationally in your thoughts.
Start out by tuning in to short audio clips on YouTube or other websites. Practice writing down the important details while making sure you still comprehend the entire clip. When you’re done listening, try to use these notes to reassemble the tale or clip.
If it’s simpler for you, you can even take notes in your own tongue. Increase the difficulty as you practice more and watch how you do it.
ii. Tips on the IELTS Reading test
Recognize that you don’t need to know every word.
Understanding meaning without fully comprehending every word is one of the fundamental challenges of reading comprehension.
Consider this: in your first language, do you understand every word you read?
I most certainly don’t think so! But the majority of the articles or stories you read don’t prevent you from understanding them, right?
Don’t allow the intentionally difficult words in your IELTS reading test to worry you.
See if you can still determine a sentence’s general meaning while studying or answering a practice question based on:
- other words
- the bigger picture
When you’re finished, you can look up the word in the dictionary to see what it means.
iii. Tips on the IELTS Writing test
Timed writing exercises
This was discussed earlier when discussing taking practice examinations, but it’s also important to keep in mind here.
When I was a teacher, it always broke my heart to watch bright students submit an unfinished essay due to poor time management.
Try to become used to planning your time to fit the allotted amount.
Spend a few minutes planning your response, the majority of your time writing it, and the final few minutes reading it over and making any necessary edits.
iv. Tips on the IELTS Speaking test
Speak to yourself (or anyone else nearby, if you’re able)
There is no better way to learn a language than by actually using it. Even native speakers make slight errors when they speak, but the difference is that they don’t often focus on them.
Think aloud in English with that in mind!
This can help you become more at ease speaking the language, which is important when an examiner evaluates your level of fluency.
Additionally, under NO circumstances should you memorize all the answers!
Even if the types of questions you’ll be asked tend to be similar, it’s risky to try to memorize an entire “speech.”
First of all, just forget about it! Second, the emphasis of the questions can be different, making everything you might say, well, worthless.
Additionally, we frequently sound robotic when we memorize things word for word. Keep in mind that communication, comprehension, and conversation are the focus of the speaking part.