The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is a testing system whose purpose is to accurately measure the level of a candidate who plans to study or work in an English-speaking organization. As a general rule, preparation for IELTS starts as soon as you find that you need a certain score to enter university or an English-speaking company. Unfortunately, training for this test is not easy. These three steps will help you to be better prepared.
Step 1: Assess your English level
The IELTS test has four components: listening, reading, writing and speaking. The first three components take place on the same day, during the same session. The Speaking component can be taken on the same day or taken up to seven days before or after the other tests, depending on the organisation of different test centres. The IELTS testing system implements sophisticated biometric security measures that protect candidates and organizations against fraud attempts. If you do not have an idea of your current IELTS ability, you will not be able to determine what you need to do to pass your test.
Therefore, training for IELTS is primarily about testing your current skills. There are several tools available, but the easiest way to determine your score is to take the EFSET Plus. This is a two-hour assessment with scores for listening and reading comprehension. In addition, IELTS offers computer-based tests for listening, reading and writing. It is a form of familiarisation that allows you to experience the IELTS exam provided by the computer so that you know what to expect on the day of the assessment. Platforms such as Global-Exam are also of great interest in this area. They not only allow you to prepare online, but also to determine your level accurately.
Step 2: Work on targeted areas for improvement
Practising IELTS requires the use of a variety of tools on the Internet, such as written materials or courses. Your preparation should cover all aspects of English proficiency: reading, listening, speaking and writing. At this stage, IELTS-specific tools are not essential, as any learning technique that appeals to your interest will be effective. For example, you can read documents in English, trying to find the meaning of new words. Magazines or newspapers are excellent media for this kind of exercise. Reading helps you to improve your written expression, but writing is also essential. Don’t reduce your exercise to a single style of writing.
Writing short stories and practicing essay writing are an effective way to practice writing. You will need to find someone to correct your work. Watching films or listening to the radio is an advantage if you can replay the sequences you have misunderstood. Oral practice can be quite complicated, but by doing some research you will find people with whom you can exchange language, either at a distance or in the locality where you live. Make an effort to discuss complex topics, beyond simple courtesy conversations. Online, you’ll discover many preparatory courses. But if your budget allows it, the best thing to do is to invest in IELTS-approved preparatory courses for the IELTS tests.
Step 3: Know the different IELTS test formats
Perfecting English at all levels is a good way to practice IELTS, but sometimes it is not enough. The institution-specific test must be carefully studied, which will allow you to get the best score. For example, you need to understand the scoring system in the test, the type and format of answers you are asked to give, and the conditions under which your score increases or decreases. There are essential details, such as the decision to skip a question when you are not sure of your answer or the number of times you will listen to a recording during the oral assessment. On the other hand, you will need to make sure that your assessor can read your handwriting well.
While in the second stage, you will focus on increasing your English skills, this last stage will be more about mastering techniques to optimize your score. Dedicated IELTS training websites and materials will help you to do this. It is essential that you visit the official page. The aim is to direct you to the exam session and identify the quizzes that await you. These are all scored differently, and you need to have a strategy in place to get the most points. Please note that IELTS scores are reported on a scale of 1 to 9 (highest).