No matter your English level, every language proficiency certificate exam requires preparation, as it usually involves specific tasks and assessment criteria. IELTS is no exception.
There are many ways to prepare for IELTS. This article gives a quick overview of the best tips.
1. Focus on building your core English skills.
Just doing mock tests is not enough to prepare for IELTS. It is a skill-based exam, and different mock test tasks focus on different skills – you can’t possibly memorize them all.
A better strategy would be making sure you have great language skills: reading, writing, listening, speaking. Being familiar with the test format is very useful, but this alone is not enough to pass the IELTS with flying colors.
You can take an English course, work with a private tutor, immerse yourself into the language by reading books, watching movies, listening to podcasts, communicating with people in English on- and offline.
When English becomes natural to you, acing the test will be a piece of cake.
2.Read a lot of diverse materials.
Read up on a variety of topics such as news, current affairs, science, climate change, animals, history, economics, sociology, etc. The more you read, the more familiar you will become with new vocabulary in context. This will help you increase your English proficiency and feel more comfortable with the reading section of the test.
3. Hone your essay writing skills.
Essay questions are one of the key parts of IELTS. You need to practice giving written answers to a variety of questions. Aim for clear, well-structured essays. You can begin with single paragraphs and build your essay writing skills from there. A good idea is to read a few sample essays: they will help you understand the structure, provide you with some ideas and useful vocabulary, such as argumentative vocabulary, for instance. However, avoid memorizing sample essays – IELTS examiners can easily recognize them.
4. Practice fluent speaking and pronunciation.
The speaking component of IELTS is divided into three parts. They include a structured interview, a short talk, and a free interview. The best way to practice for that is consistent, regular practice. When you learn new words, learn their correct pronunciation and repeat the words out loud a few times. Practice sample speaking
tests, preferably with a friend. You can prepare some general answers for the first part, but try to make them sound spontaneous and natural – examiners can spot memorized answers. It is important that you get comfortable with speaking about yourself, your experiences and your opinion. Try to practice this on a daily basis before the exam. Even if it means speaking to yourself sometimes!
5. Develop your listening skills.
As with other skills, regular practice is key. One of the best ways to practice listening for IELTS is to listen to the news daily. It will be even more effective if you try to write down what you hear and then analyze it. During the exam, you can only hear the recording once! When you prepare, try not to pause whatever you are listening to in order to prepare for that.
As you can see, preparation for IELTS is mostly a matter of regular practice and honing your core English skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
Familiarizing yourself with the test format is helpful, but you won’t be successful by doing only that. Practice the core skills regularly and thoroughly, use a variety of high-quality resources and IELTS mock tests to help you, and after a while English will come to you naturally which will also guarantee your success at the exam.