Whether you’re wishing to study abroad or planning to migrate to English-speaking countries, you will be required to take an IELTS test. The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is designed to assess your ability to speak, listen, read and write in English. The test has four components, and each test has different parts and tasks: from multiple choice to labelling maps and diagrams. 

The IELTS test can be overwhelming at first, but with enough practise and preparation, it’s possible to get the band score you’re aiming for! Here are six tried-and-tested tips for your upcoming IELTS test.

Have a good ear for accents

Did you know that each recording in the listening test is heard once only? A range of native-speaker accents (North American, Australian, New Zealand, British etc.) is used in the listening test, so it’s a huge advantage if you are able to understand all of them. Train your ears by subscribing to English podcasts and TV news channels. 

Read the directions

If in the listening test you are asked to complete a sentence using NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS, and the correct answer is ‘leather coat’, the answer ‘coat made of leather’ would be incorrect. In the writing test, pay attention to the number of words required for each task. You will lose marks if you fail to write the minimum number of words (150 words for Task 1, for example). Sample tests are available on our website 

Do drills or practise tests

Did you know that the listening test is 40 minutes long, with only ten minutes for writing down your answers? During your practise tests, learn to pace yourself with time limits. Doing so will not only help you to simulate the time constraints—it will also help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. This will give you an idea on which module you are particularly weak in. If you have difficulty in reading, for example, devote more time to it. Devise techniques to help you remember the English words you’re having trouble in.

If you have difficulty in reading, for example, devote more time to it. Devise techniques to help you remember the English words you’re having trouble in.

Develop a strategy

With ample knowledge of each test and its parts, you can develop time-saving methods and techniques to answer each question more efficiently. In the listening test, for example, underlining keywords can help you focus on important concepts. To save time during the reading test, you may want to go straight to the questions first. There are methods that might work for you but not for others; what’s important is to know the strategy that suits you.

Write like a native English speaker

Reading and writing go hand in hand. Expose yourself to a wide range of texts and topics: read manuals, advertisements, magazines, news articles, essays and reports about culture, science, or anything under the sun! Test your English vocabulary by writing sentences using the new words you’ve encountered. Once you’re comfortable in writing complete sentences, you can practise writing paragraphs and organising them properly.

Find a study partner

Having a friend with excellent English skills to assess you during practise tests can be a huge advantage—especially for the speaking test. Rehearse with your friend and ask for feedback. Make sure to record your rehearsals so it’s easier to review your performance. Did you speak too fast? Were you mumbling or stuttering? Were you able to provide a coherent answer? Try to improve your speech through the feedback: you may list down the words you are having trouble to enunciate, or reorganise your thoughts. With enough rehearsals, you are slowly rewiring your brain to think in English.

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