How to prepare for IELTS?
What is IELTS?
The International English language Testing System or IELTS is a globally accepted standardized examination which officially allows entry for non native English speakers to any English speaking Country either for Higher Studies or for work. More than 3.5 million people sit for the test every year. IELTS is conducted in over 1600 test centres across 140 countries. It is accepted by more than 9000 Educational Institutions, Corporations and Immigration Offices. This exam tests your proficiency in the basics of English Language in terms of Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.
In this article we bring to you a few tips which will help you to prepare for your IELTS exam. If you are an IELTS aspirant, these tips will help you to master the exam in one go. Read On!
Study with a Professional Test Prep Institution
Enroll in a private test prep institution or coaching centre which has a good track record and qualified instructors. This will help you in availing a structured plan for your syllabus. Moreover, a professional instructor may provide you with IELTS skill development, proper guidance and constructive feedback. This will give you a clear picture of your progress and development.
Choose the Right Type of Test
There are two types of IELTS tests:
a) IELTS Academic Test: IELTS Academic test is taken by the ones who are planning to study abroad. So, if you are someone who is looking forward to pursuing Bachelors, Masters and beyond, then the IELTS Academic test is just for you. Furthermore, this test certificate evaluates your English language skills and opens doors to many universities across many countries.
b) IELTS General Test: If you are looking forward to working or settling in an English speaking country, then the IELTS General test is just for you. The test certificate can be used to gain work permits in countries like Canada, New Zealand and the US.
The test you take will depend on whether you plan to work or study or migrate to an English speaking country.
The Test Format
The IELTS format consists of 4 sections: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. These tests help the examiners to evaluate your understanding of the English language.
Carrying 1 mark for each question, the Reading Section has a total of 40 questions. It has a strict time limit of 60 minutes. You will have to answer questions ranging from factual and descriptive to analytical and discursive.
This section consists of 2 questions:
- The first question has to be completed within a time frame of 20 minutes. You will be given a question which has to be answered in 150 words. You may be asked to give a detailed analysis on any graphical image or diagram expressing your understating of the same.
- The second question has to be answered in a time frame of 40 minutes. You have to write an essay in 250 words. This question evaluates your clarity and understanding of external situations.
This section consists of 40 questions and gives you a time limit of 30 minutes. You are made to listen to audio recordings of conversations of native English speakers. The audio includes English accents of native English speaking countries .You have to answer questions based on the audio recordings.
This test comprises a face to face interaction between you and the examiner. You will be assessed on the basis of your usage of the English language. You will be given an opportunity to speak in detail about any given topic. The examiner will evaluate you on your fluency of language, choice of vocabulary and confidence.
The Reading and Writing tests vary for the General test takers.
Be aware of the Exam Time Constraints
IELTS is a time limit test. Therefore, you are advised to practice for it with its given time frame. This will enable you to grasp the nuances of prompt writing and getting used to writing your exam within the fixed time limit. While practicing, please, remember to dedicate equal time and attention for all the four sections. This plays a pivotal role in ensuring a successful band score for you.
Master the English Language
Do not forget to improve your English language skills. Read English magazines, blogs and watch English news channels like BBC. This will help you to polish your English language capabilities and grasp the accent. If you have a weak command over the language, try to polish it up by communicating to others only in English. This will enable you to have a smooth fluency over the language. Try the shadowing technique to improve your intonation and pronunciation. Start preparing for your test 3-4 months prior. Find someone who is able to give you constructive feedback. This will give you a clear picture of your progress and development of the language.
Develop a wide range of skills
Polish your skills by practicing a variety of questions on all the 4 sections of the test. This will help you to become aware of what questions to expect on test day. Try to solve situational questions from an analytical bent of mind, solve graphical questions, quantitative and factual questions.
Take the Mock tests
Take mock tests to brush up your test skills. Mockups present genuine IELTS questions under real test conditions.
Know what to expect on test day
Please follow these tips to get rid of those pre-test nerves:
- Arrive early to allow time to register
- Check in personal belongings like notebooks and ID’s
- Calm down
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