IELTS: Follow these 10 steps for flawless preparation
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is one of the most widely recognised English proficiency tests in the world. IELTS can create multifarious opportunities whether you are planning on studying abroad, working in English-speaking countries or evaluating your English language skills.
Before starting with your preparation, it’s very important to have a good understanding of the IELTS test format. The test comprises four different sections - speaking, listening, writing and reading. There are two different modules for the tests - academic and general training.
For higher studies, one has to take the test in the academic module while the ‘general training module’ is for technical matters, migration and to take part in training. There are four sections- listening, reading, writing and speaking in both the modules. Indian media outlet India Today has recommended 10 steps on how to prepare for IELTS.
The speaking test usually lasts for 11-14 minutes. The speaking test consists of three parts. The examiner usually discusses personal interests like family, work, education or hobbies. In the second part, the examinee is given a specific topic and they have to speak about it for almost two minutes.
They will get a minute to prepare before starting to speak though. The discussion in the third part basically revolves around the things they said in the second part. The examiner will ask them various questions and they have to answer them intelligently.
The examinee is made to listen to four audio recordings in the listening sections. There might be several people talking in some audio. In some other audio there might be just one person talking who will describe a specific topic.
There are quite a few multiple choice questions in the listening part. Sometimes, they are asked to give the answers in one or three words. They have to listen attentively to answer all types of questions.
Examinees have to read three paragraphs and answer 40 questions within 60 minutes in this section. There are multiple choice questions and fill in the blanks among them. They also have to make comments such as ‘true, false or not given’ after reading a specific paragraph.
In case of ‘matching sentence endings’, they have to complete sentences after reading the paragraph. There could be questions of ‘sentence completion’ sort also. Besides, they might also have to fill up a table or flowchart from reading a paragraph.
In academic writing, the examinee has to complete two tasks in 60 minutes. They’ll have to write about a topic related to graphs, tables, charts or diagrams. They have to explain or give a brief description of the data presented in the graph or table in 150 words.
In the second part of the test, they have to write a 250-word answer within 40 minutes. How rich is their vocabulary or can they utilise the English language properly or not are the things that are tested in the writing sections.
Effective IELTS preparation strategies
1. Familiarise yourself with the IELTS test format:
* Study the official IELTS website and read the test format guidelines thoroughly.
* Take practice tests to get accustomed to the exam's structure and timing.
2. Develop a study schedule:
* Create a study plan that allocates sufficient time for each section.
* Set achievable daily or weekly goals to track your progress.
3. Improve your language skills:
* Enhance your vocabulary and grammar by reading newspapers, magazines, and academic articles.
* Watch English-language movies, and TV shows, or listen to podcasts to improve your listening and comprehension skills.
4. Practice regularly:
* Practice is key to success. Use official IELTS practice materials and sample tests.
* Consider joining IELTS preparation courses or using online resources and apps designed for IELTS preparation.
5. Enhance your writing skills:
* Practice writing essays and reports regularly.
* Seek feedback from teachers or peers to improve your writing skills.
6. Master time management:
* During the actual exam, time management is crucial. Practice answering questions within the allocated time frame.
7. Work on your speaking skills:
* Engage in English conversations with native speakers or language exchange partners.
* Record your responses to IELTS speaking prompts to evaluate and improve your fluency.
8. Take mock tests:
* Take full-length mock tests under timed conditions to simulate the actual exam experience.
*Analyse your performance and identify areas that need improvement.
9. Review and revise:
* Regularly review your notes, practice tests, and areas of weakness.
* Revise grammar rules, vocabulary, and writing techniques.
10. Stay calm and confident:
* On the test day, remain calm and confident. Confidence can positively impact your performance in the speaking section.
By following these effective strategies, you can enhance your English language skills and increase your chances of achieving a high score.
Where and how to take the test
In Bangladesh, one can take the IELTS test from the British Council Bangladesh and IDP Education. The tests are conducted in specified centres on specified dates every month. One can take the test either in computer based or in paper based methods.