The International English Language System, or IELTS, is a crucial part of your preparations to study abroad. Every international student is required to achieve a designated score, or what is called a “band,” in order to prove their English proficiency and be accepted to an overseas university. 

So, whether you’re new to the IELTS test or plan to take it for a second time, here are four tips that can help you improve your results and band up in IELTS.

Don’t dismiss the diagrams (Listening)

The Listening portion of the IELTS test will include different types of diagrams, like a line graph, pie chart or even a geographical map. These are included for a reason, so make sure to scan them before the timer starts. What is title of the diagram? What do the numbers, lines or bars represent? These details will help you answer not one, but several questions.

Don’t sweat the small stuff (Reading)

Remember that you have a limited amount of time to read the text and answer questions in the Reading module. Therefore, don’t get too caught up in the details by slowly examining each paragraph. You can get most of the important ideas of a long piece of text in the introduction, the first sentence of each body paragraph (topic sentences) and the conclusion. Read these carefully, then move on to the questions. Because you’ve read the topic sentences, you’ll know which paragraph to return to for specific answers to more detailed question.


Don’t obsess about grammar (Writing) 

Don’t let your fear of grammar slow you down when doing the Writing portion, because you may find yourself out of time without having completed all the tasks. Long sentences can impact your grammar, so to avoid unnecessary errors, keep your sentences short at no more than 15-18 words. Also, make a smooth transition from one sentence or idea to the next by using linking words, such as however, for example and furthermore.

Keep it real (Speaking)

When you’re put on the spot, it’s difficult to come up with things to talk about. This is where many test takers struggle in the IELTS Speaking module. A helpful strategy to overcome this is to connect the examiner’s question to your own experience. When you talk about something close to you or something that you care about, the words and ideas tend to flow more easily.  

The IELTS test is not a competition in which you’re required to score a perfect 9 (the highest band) in every module. Make sure to practice for the test, then do your very best to pass the overall score required by the university of your choice. 

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