What is IELTS and how do I prepare for it?


What is IELTS and how do I prepare for it?


For those wondering what IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is, it’s a unique English proficiency test designed for non-native English speakers. Candidates are required to complete IELTS to help evaluate their English language abilities if they plan to work, immigrate or study abroad. The assessment is based on listening, reading, speaking and writing skills.

IELTS is the world’s most popular English proficiency test, with over 3 million taken each year. Recognized by more than 10,000 organizations globally, IELTS was developed by some of the world’s leading language assessment experts.

Now that you’re familiar with what it is, you may be wondering how to best prepare for the test and pass it with flying colours. In this article, we’ll discuss tips and tricks for every section of IELTS. Keep in mind, scores vary based on visa requirements and where you will study or work. To learn your required score, click here.


IELTS Reading Section

If you’re not already doing this, be sure to read English books, newspapers, magazines and online articles during your free time. While reading, ensure you understand the main points and overall message the story is trying to tell. Enough so you can share and discuss the ideas with others. You can choose to practice your English writing skills while reading by making notes on key details. Doing so will also help you remember what’s important so you may answer any questions being asked on the written piece.


IELTS Speaking Section

The best way to prepare for IELTS is to really immerse yourself in the English language. Do your best to engage in conversation with others as often as possible. If you have no one to practice your language with, read a book or magazine out loud. This encourages you to practice the pronunciation of various words. You may feel talking to yourself is silly, but it’s a proven fact it helps. The more confident you become with speaking the language out loud to yourself, the better you will be at speaking English with others and engaging in conversation. The worst thing to do is hesitate because you are not fluent. You will be if you commit and practice consistently. Once you begin to get comfortable with words, try to learn slang words to help make your sentences sound natural.


IELTS Listening Section

Similar to the speaking section preparation, be sure to listen to conversations in English, listen to the television program, English songs, etc. In this case, listen and repeat what is said verbally. It’s also important to listen to and engage in group discussions this way you are familiar with and comfortable listening to multiple points coming from multiple people.


IELTS Writing Section

Writing can be a challenge. This is a skill you will develop and strengthen over time. In fact, even some native-English speakers aren’t the greatest writers and learn how to properly write in school. When it comes to writing essays, be mindful, following a structure is important. Structure helps the flow of the information being delivered to the reader. In addition to reading newspapers and magazines, be sure to read sample essays. You can find these online. Familiarize yourself with the various structures used to build essays such as the points made in each paragraph and the topic of the essay. Be patient with yourself and keep practicing.  


Remember, you are being tested on your communication skills, not on your general knowledge.


Good luck!


Do you feel you are ready for IELTS? Register for the test and find your nearest test centre here.


After you’ve successfully completed IELTS, begin your international education with ApplyBoard here


Adrianna Dyczkowsky, Public Relations Specialist at ApplyBoard


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