IELTS Preparation Tips

Team JagVimal 22 Jan 2024 3262 views
IELTS Preparation Tips

There is a myriad of English proficiency tests available, nevertheless, the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) remains one of the most respected and a popular choice amongst students and skilled workers who aim to study, work or migrate respectively to English-speaking countries namely, USA, United Kingdom, Australia, New-Zealand or Canada. In this blog, we will share some of the most promising IELTS preparation tips and tricks that will provide comprehensive insight and help aspirants in their decision-making process.

IELTS remains a tricky exam and numerous students struggle to understand the basic exam format. Despite writing the exam several times, test takers fail to understand & develop the basic strategy to handle various types of questions in the four modules of Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. Such students need a well-established preparation strategy for IELTS and very specifically need to understand the marking criteria, exam format and the structure of various questions as the absence of the same is what leads to poor results.

So, if you aspire to achieve your desired band in IELTS on your first attempt, let us help you by discussing a detailed strategy on how to master & crack IELTS in one go!

Read Also - IELTS Coaching in Jaipur 

IELTS General or IELTS Academic?

First and foremost, as a test-taker, you need to decide whether you aspire to book IELTS general training or IELTS academic test, as the testing system is available in two versions and the preparation entirely depends on the type of test, you aim to appear for. The speaking & listening sections remain the same in IELTS Academic & General Training, though the writing & reading sections vary and you will need to prepare accordingly. A quick comparison of both tests has been outlined below for better understanding and in-depth analysis:

IELTS Academic  IELTS General Training 

Listening Module/  Played once only / Time Duration - 30 minutes

4 recorded monologues & conversations are played once in the listening module. There are 10 questions in each part and may include tasks like note-completion, multiple-choice, short-answer questions, labeling a diagram etc.

 

Listening Module/ Played once only/ Time Duration - 30 minutes

4 recorded monologues & conversations are played once in the listening module. There are 10 questions in each part and may include tasks like note-completion, multiple-choice, short-answer questions, labeling a diagram etc.

 

Reading Module/ No. of Questions: 40/ Time Duration - 1 hour

Three reading passages with questions, each passage will have 12-14 items, which are from an academic source & authentic.
Texts may include illustrations, bar graphs, line graphs, charts or diagrams. In the case of technical terminologies, glossary is provided to the test taker
Texts are generally taken from authentic academic journals, books, newspapers or magazines The style may be descriptive or argumentative.
Generally, the passages/texts are arranged from the simplest to the most challenging in the reading section.

 

Reading Module/ No. of Questions: 40/ Time Duration - 1 hour

Section 1 contains 2 -3 short realistic texts or several shorter ones.
Section 2 contains 2 short, business-related authentic texts.
Section 3 contains one longer text of general interest, which could be company handbooks, official documents or newspapers.
Texts are genuine and taken from notices or advertisements.

 

Writing Module/ No.of Questions: 2/ Time Duration - 60 minutes

Writing task 1 is of at least 150 words where the test taker needs to summarize the visual information. This information given in the question could be in the form of a diagram, table, map, or any type of graph or chart.
In writing task 2, the candidate is required to write a lengthy essay with a minimum limit of 250 words. The test taker needs to respond to a problem, issue or opinion by analyzing the problem, providing solutions, comparing and contrasting varied ideas or challenges. It is advised to allocate 40 minutes to this task.

 

Writing Module/ No.of Questions: 2/ Time Duration - 60 minutes

In General training, writing task 1, the candidate is required to write a letter in 150 words, in response to a given circumstance. It is advised to allocate 20 minutes to this task.
In writing task 2, the candidate is required to write a lengthy essay with a minimum limit of 250 words. The test taker needs to respond to a problem, issue or opinion by analyzing the problem, providing solutions, comparing and contrasting varied ideas or challenges. It is advised to allocate 40 minutes to this task.

 

Speaking Module/ 3 parts/ Time Duration - 11–14 minutes

Part 1 - This is a face-to-face interview questions round on familiar topics (hobbies, likes, dislikes, family etc. ) Generally takes - 4-5 minutes.
Part 2 It is a cue card round where a topic is provided & a minute is given to prepare about the topic, post that the test taker needs to speak on it uninterrupted, for 2 minutes. Generally takes 3-4 minutes.
Part 3 This part includes more detailed or abstract questions about the topic in part 2, which may be in the form of short questions or structured discussions on familiar topics.

 

Speaking Module/ 3 parts/ Time Duration - 11–14 minutes

Part 1 - This is a face-to-face interview question round on familiar topics (hobbies, likes, dislikes, family etc. ) Generally takes - 4-5 minutes.
Part 2 It is a cue card round where a topic is provided & a minute is given to prepare about the topic, post that the test taker needs to speak on it uninterrupted, for 2 minutes. Generally takes 3-4 minutes.
Part 3 This part includes more detailed or abstract questions about the topic in part 2, which may be in the form of short questions or structured discussions on familiar topics.

 

Tips for IELTS Reading Preparation

The reading section in both the variants of IELTS consists of 40 questions, which are to be resolved in 60 minutes i.e., an hour. Here, you need to read quickly and effectively as there is a strict timeline of 60 minutes including the transfer time. Three long texts varying from descriptive, factual to analytical are taken from academic journals, magazines & newspapers. Whereas, the General Training may consist of 3 or more short texts with 2 texts related to the workplace and 1 long discursive text. Some of the question types are Multiple choice questions, True/False /Not given, Yes/No /Not Given, fill in the gaps, Match the headings, and Diagram/Chart completion. Scores are received out of 40 which are then converted to IELTS 9-band scale.

Some of the key tips to excel in IELTS Reading, on the first attempt, have been outlined below:

  • You thoroughly need to understand the section structure & the types of questions.
  • Reading English newspapers, magazines, journals and books will help you to sharpen your vocabulary skills and ultimately improve your speaking and writing abilities as well.
  • Practice reading a variety of academic texts as it will help you develop an ability to read more in less time. Improving reading speed is quite a helpful ability in reading.
  • Do not underestimate the importance of reading the question carefully as it is quite significant, to achieve a high score.
  • You always need to ensure that you answer the question based on the information provided in the passage itself and refrain from using your knowledge on the topic.
  • Spellings are important to achieve that full score in reading so you need to ensure that you write accurate spellings.
  • Practice and develop your basic & advanced grammar. 

Tips for IELTS writing preparation

In the Academic writing section, two tasks are given & the time duration to answer the tasks is 60 minutes. In Task 1, you are asked to report, summarize, and make relevant comparisons wherever required in 150 words, the information provided could be in the form of (a bar graph, line graph, table chart or diagram. Here, it becomes crucial as you are required to make relevant comparisons and describe a stage or process as wanted by the question. In Task 2, you are required to write an essay, in favour of or against a viewpoint or a disagreement or a challenge in a minimum of 250 words. The topic is of general interest and suitable for any level of test taker. In the General IELTS writing section, you are presented with a situation of general interest & asked to write a letter either requesting information or explaining a situation in a formal, semi-formal or personal style as per the requirement of the question, in 150 words. Whereas in task 2 you are required to write an essay in response to a viewpoint, an argument, or an issue in 250 words.
 
Some of the essential preparation tips to outshine in the IELTS writing section are:

  • Practicing mock papers and developing writing skills on an everyday basis is significant, as this will help you to build up your writing know-how. Additionally, gathering feedback from an expert in the field on your write-ups will further support you in making substantial improvement.
  • Reading the instructions for each & every question carefully and patiently will help you avoid any last-minute confusion.
  • In Academic writing tasks 1 & 2, write in a semi-formal or neutral style for achieving better scores.
  • We need to keep in mind that in writing tasks there is no correct or incorrect answer or opinion, as the examiner is trying to assess your level of English, so the focus should be on reporting or describing the information in grammatically correct English.
  • A good foundation in vocabulary and grammar will unquestionably boost your score.
  • It is important to abide by the minimum word limit rule of 150 & 250 words accurately. Writing below the word prescribed limit will call for marks deduction.
  • Arranging the answer in proper structure and paragraphs will help you score better rather than note form or point-wise outline, which is not accepted in IELTS.
  • Please be cautious and avoid copying the question as copied words are not included in the word count by the examiner. 

Tips for IELTS listening preparation

The listening section for both Academic and General Training remains the same with 40 questions and 30 minutes to answer the questions & 10 minutes to transfer answers to the answer sheet. In Listening, candidates will get to hear 4 different types of recordings by native English speakers & are then required to write answers to a series of questions. The recording is played once only and each time you will hear a different recording. Here, the examiner is trying to evaluate your ability to understand the main idea, factual information, opinions, and attitudes of the monologue or the dialogue in the audio script. Various question types incorporated are plan/map/diagram completion, multiple-choice, matching sentence etc.

  • Reading the questions carefully before the recording begins is essential as this will allow you to follow the recording & identify the answers.
  • You must be very careful to check the word limit mentioned in every question, as crossing the prescribed limit will mean a zero score in that particular question.
  • To identify the correct answer, you should try & listen to every recording very clearly, focus on the keywords as well as synonyms, for the identification of the correct answer.
  • Besides, you need to understand that the correct answer is not always in the order that you hear the recording in, the possible could be in the alphabetical order also. So, be attentive.
  • In everyday life, try and incorporate listening to English News Channels, Podcasts, watching movies without subtitles as well as converse in the language, as this will aid improvement.
  • Refrain from translating into English from your native language, rather you should start thinking, writing, speaking & listening in English.
  • 'Practice makes a man perfect' so will the practice of mock tests of listening will. However, you should only practice mock tests from authentic sources.

Tips for IELTS Speaking Preparation

The speaking section has three parts, in which there is a face-to-face interview with the examiner which generally lasts from 11-14 minutes. Throughout the test you are evaluated by a certified IELTS examiner on 4 key criteria of (i) Fluency & Coherence (FC), (ii) Lexical Resource (LR) (iii) Grammar Range & Accuracy (GRA) & (iv) Pronunciation. In the first part of speaking, questions of familiar, generic topics are asked and could last between 4-5 minutes. In the second part of the test, which is an individual long turn, the examiner gives a topic with few prompts on a card & you are required to speak on the topic uninterrupted for 2 minutes. You will be given exactly a minute to prepare for the same. The third part is a two-way discussion, 4-5 minutes long, where you will be involved in a more complex & abstract discussion question, to justify your belief, the analysis also you will try and give elaborative responses on the given topic.

Below are some useful preparation tips for IELTS speaking:

  • Be cautious while using various verb forms and tenses.
  • Avoid giving monosyllabic 'Yes' or 'No' or 2 -3 word answers, rather you should try and use 1-2 sentences to showcase your English language skills, specifically in the section of speaking.
  • Vocabulary plays an important role in achieving a higher score in IELTS speaking, accordingly focus on the enrichment of vocabulary before the test day.
  • In part 2 of the speaking section, it is quite helpful if you take notes and try to structure your reply by using some keywords from the prompt for a superior score.
  • Place efforts in extending the topic given in the cue card round to 2 minutes & use a range of expressions, vocabulary and grammatical structures.
  • Practice talking in front of the mirror on the various outlined topics for at least 2 minutes, as this activity will help to gain confidence & develop a sense of timing.
  • Try to develop your language creativity, styles and skills to lengthen answers & opinions using examples & reasoning.
  • Try and avoid giving long pauses, i.e., too much time should not pass without speaking.
  • If you are unable to understand the question, ask for clarification or repetition rather than giving an irrelevant reply.
  • Avoid using any kind of fillers like um, uh, oh, er, ah, got it, ok! 

Tips to Follow on the Day Before & on the Day of Your IELTS Exam

Some common Do's and Don'ts

  • As per our expert trainers some of the noted do's & don'ts are as follows:
  • Stay calm, relaxed and have a positive attitude. Listen to music if that relaxes you.
  • Eat properly & avoid heavy food so that you can concentrate more during the exam.
  • Don't forget to carry your stationery, ID proof, preferably a passport & water bottle.
  • The IELTS exam does not have any negative markings, so it is worth attempting all the questions.
  • The minimum word limit particularly in writing tasks 1 & 2 should be met.
  • Check spelling & punctuation marks are vital, as for every wrong spelling you will lose marks.
  • Read & listen to a variety of academic journals in your spare time to develop your vocabulary & viewpoints.
  • Read every question very carefully and abide by the word limit, for example - no more than 2 words and/or a number, in the reading & listening sections respectively.
  • In listening, be very cautious while transferring the answers, and follow proper numbering and timeline.
  • In speaking, part 2, use the 1 minute preparation time to organize your answer well. If required feel free to make notes, moreover, try and speak for a full 2 minutes.
  • In speaking and writing sections do not reproduce memorized answers as your invigilators will come to know & this could drastically affect your scores. Be original! 

Tips to Follow on the Day of the IELTS Exam - Do's and Don'ts

Some handy tips and tricks to help you on the very day of the test are as follows:-

  • Stay Relaxed: Primarily, getting up early and eating light on the test day will help you stay energized & focused all through the exam.
  • Reach early to exam venue: Try and reach the test centre well in advance as this will allow you to regain composure & will give you sufficient time to register, get the IDs checked, and get seated for the test.
  • Check in your items: All your personal items like mobile phones, headphones, hats, scarves, notes, books etc. will be collected and put in a secure locker & can be collected post-exam completion. However, it is suggested you avoid carrying your mobile phones altogether.
  • Carry ID proofs: It is suggested to carry the same ID card using which the test was booked, preferably your valid passport.
  • Entering the test hall: The invigilators would be there in the examination hall to guide you towards your seat, however in case of confusion feel free to raise your hand and ask for help.
  • Asking for help: If you face any problem, for example, headphones are not working/ broken or have been given the wrong paper, raise your hand and ask the supervisor for help.
  • Allowed to take breaks: In case you need to go to the washroom, you can seek permission from the invigilator. However, time is crucial, so avoid drinking too much water.
  • End of the test: If you have finished the paper before the stipulated period, it is not allowed to leave the examination hall, so you should take the benefit and review all the answers to your satisfaction.
  • Results: The results are available online, however, the timeline varies depending on the medium used to write the exam. Generally, for paper-based IELTS it takes 13 days & for computer-delivered IELTS, 5-7 days.
  • Avoid indulging in any unnecessary conversations with other test takers.
  • Keep a close watch on time and arrange yourself accordingly for every section.
  • Carry your stationery on the exam day. Avoid asking other candidates for pencils, erasers, pens etc.
  • Be attentive and listen to all the instructions given by the IELTS invigilators. 

IELTS Preparation Tips to Score Band 8

As it is rightly said that 'Rome was not built in a day', similarly only consistency in practicing your skills of listening, reading, writing & speaking will facilitate a higher band in IELTS.

Some quick tips to score band 8 in IELTS are:

  • Work on boosting your vocabulary & grammar in English.
  • Practice towards improving your listening skills by listening to English Podcasts, News etc.
  • Enhance your reading skills by skimming and scanning texts.
  • Pay attention to the keywords, synonyms & paraphrasing techniques used in the reading passages.
  • Practice speaking in a neutral accent. Also avoid fillers like um, uh, got it, ok, alright !
  • Try using complex sentences & a variety of speaking styles as it will help boost your score.
  • Coherence & cohesion, lexical resource, task completion as well as grammatical accuracy and range are the important marking criteria in the writing section and you should make an effort to develop a foolproof approach to meet them.
  • In writing tasks 1 & 2, follow the minimum words of 150 & 250 respectively, below the same will affect the scoring.
  • Stay relaxed, consistent and focused during the entire tenure of preparation for IELTS.
  • Try and get regular feedback on your mock tests, writing & speaking sections from an expert.
  • Always time yourself while practicing the mock tests of IELTS, as discipline in timing is the KEY in achieving the desired band in IELTS. 

IELTS Preparation Checklist

With at least 7 days in hand before the IELTS exam, you must make a preparation checklist to evaluate your level of understanding of the various test sections of reading, writing, speaking & listening as it will help you to know your standing before the exam. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Have I practiced enough for the mock tests?
  • Am I aware of the relevant question formats in all the sections of the test?
  • Is my accent neutral?
  • Do I finish in the allotted time frame?
  • Do I get the desired band in the mock tests?
  • Are my spellings in place?
  • Am I prepared enough?
  • Have I missed preparing or focusing on anything important?
  • If you think the reply to all these questions is a 'YES' then you are ready to take the next big leap of your life by writing the IELTS exam and if your reply is a 'NO' then it is worth refocusing on additional classes, material & seeking expert trainer support. 

Conclusion

Thus, based on the details outlined in the blog, it can be construed that the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an English proficiency test that requires a focused approach and dedication from the test taker. Likewise, it can be said that 'there is no shortcut to hard work,' under the guidance of qualified trainers and experts in the field, IELTS can be cracked on your first attempt.

So, if you are looking for experts in the field, with regards to IELTS, We at Jagvimal Consultants & Management Services Private Limited are here to guide you through the entire test and help you achieve your dream of studying, moving or working abroad. Feel free to book one on one session or descriptive counseling session, at 919982377888 or email at info@jagvimal.com 

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