IELTS Preparation

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How to prepare for IELTS

A lot of students struggle to organise themselves and allow sufficient IELTS preparation time.

We have compiled some useful tips that will help you prepare for your IELTS exam and can be used to improve your English language studies.

IELTS preparation tips

1. Use your time to your advantage. Identify when you’re most productive.

  • Time: Some people work most effectively in the morning, while others prefer to solve problems in the evening. Your aim is to find out what works best for you, in accordance with your own peculiarities.
  • Space: It’s also important to define where you can really focus on the work you need to do – preferably a place with no distractions (for example, a library or a coworking space).
  • No distractions: Turn off your phone and give yourself a chance to study properly! Bring all the necessary materials with you, and check that everything you need is close at hand.

Again, it all depends on you. If you’ve already tried something and failed, don’t stop. Look for something new!

2. Reverse engineer the tests 

Find official IELTS exams, the Cambridge books are said to be the best because they are slightly harder than the real test.

They are also written by the same professionals who write the official exams. You cannot go wrong!

Sit down with an exam and go to the answers first. Deduce and reverse engineer, find the fragments that contain the answers.

Work out how the questions are asked, the styles and the formats.

This makes it far easier to find answers when you do mock tests the normal way.

3. Establish a routine – and stick with it.

It has been proven that studying too much may not have the best results. SO it is important to establish a routine, to use your time wisely.

Work smarter, not harder. If you suddenly have to go out and can’t postpone the trip, find a logical break point in your work.

Write a note to yourself so you can quickly remember where you need to start again.

I like to set sessions of 50 minutes, starting at exactly 9.a.m each morning. In fact I do exactly the same tasks each day at this time.

4. Organise your study time

Pay attention to your weak points first. Identify where you need to improve and provide yourself with extensive training.

The thing of paramount importance here is a schedule, as detailed as possible.

Write down dates and times, and specify exactly what you’re going to work on.

When you sign up to our email list you get access to a study planner excel doc which makes it all a little easier.

5. Write your objectives and debrief your sessions

Plan what you aim to work on at the start. For example will you be copying out IELTS band 9 essays? Or working on improving your vocabulary, using lists and definitions?

After assigning specific tasks to each session, remember that when you have finished write about what happened and the next step is.

This is the "debrief". Here is an example:

Worked up to part 3 of the listening, need to review collocations and complete the test.

This ensures that when you next sit down to study you not wasting time figuring out what to do. You are immediately productive.

6. Keep track of your results and improvement

Ask someone to proofread your essay, for example. It’s better if a teacher who is familiar with IELTS and has a good command of English.

This way you won’t waste your time when preparing.

If your IELTS results show that you’ve gained ground in one area, get to work on your next weak point. And focus on theory.

Even though it may be boring sometimes, theory is the foundation of a solid knowledge base.

7. Start with small steps, and stay realistic

Of course, you want to do and study the English language as much as possible.

This approach doesn’t always play into your hands. There may be a lot to review or learn.

Therefore, if you try to do it all, you may end being at a loss and in panic.

Always finish a task before you move on to the next one. Start with your weak points.

If you have time left, you’ll be able to do all the rest.

Don’t assign yourself more tasks than you can manage to do within the time you’ve allotted for them.

8. Break up your study time

Take a 5-minute break after each 25 minutes of work. Repeat this for 6 rounds.

This way you won’t feel completely exhausted and will be able to keep working longer.

This method is explained in more detail here:

9. Get familiar with the test

An important aspect to preparing for the IELTS test, is to get familiar with the IELTS exam. Take a look at some of our resources to help you learn all you need to know.

It is very important that you practice for your IELTS test by completing IELTS sample essay questions, so that you are prepared for any possible outcome.

It is always a good idea to improve your general English skills by means of writing a blog in English, or having a conversation with a friend in English. Immersion is key!

There are a lot of resources available online and an online IELTS course to help you stay focused and show you how to prepare for IELTS in the right way.

IELTS writing task 2 preparation

Below you will find links to help you prepare for your task 2

Sample questions and answers

Below you will find sample task 2 questions and a list of band 9 samples answers. Use these to compare and assess your writing.

IELTS writing academic task 1

Sample academic task 1 questions and essays

IELTS general writing task 1 preparation

Here you will find tutorials to help you prepare for GT 1

Sample academic task 1 questions and letter writing samples

Preparation for the IELTS speaking

Speaking part 1

In this section of the speaking test you will be asked questions on familiar topics.

Speaking part 2

Here you will be asked to give a short talk using a cue card. You will have one minute to prepare what you’re going to say and then you’re expected to speak for 1-2 minutes.

Speaking part 3

Part 3 of the IELTS speaking exam involves a discussion where you will have the opportunity to really develop your answers. You will be asked open-ended questions relating to part 2 of your exam.

Here are some more useful tutorials to help you prepare for your IELTS speaking

More useful tutorial for your IELTS Preparation