IELTS is a standardized English proficiency test created for the non-native English speakers who wish to study, work or move abroad. And having a command on the English language helps the person to get along well in a foreign country. The IELTS exam is a consecutive test without any breaks in between and it takes around 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete the test. In order to prepare for IELTS for the exam by yourself, you can begin with:
- Know the test format well: Start with knowing the test format in detail including the number of sections and type of questions in each section, time frame allotted to each section, and expectation from each section. On the basis of the format, know what is expected from you, start preparing accordingly.
- Time yourself: Divide your time efficiently so that each section can get appropriate time. Also, by taking sample tests at least twice a week will help you manage the time effectively.
- Use standardized preparation material: Procure official IELTS preparation material from a well-recommended source like Cambridge material or refer to some good online site for guidance to get IELTS Online Classes. If required take professional coaching classes or online coaching classes.
- Preparation time: Ideally, 6 months will be more than sufficient for the IELTS preparation but many of you may have less time at hand due to job or college, etc. in that case you can devote more no.of hours the weekends instead of weekdays.
- Choose good material to read: It’s always a good idea to choose superior quality reading material such as Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, etc. to be in sync with the latest news, current affairs as these reading platforms provide a very fine English that can enhance your language quite a lot.
Prepare For IELTS section wise:
- Reading section: The reading module comprises of 40 questions that are to be answered in 60 minutes. So whenever you practice for the reading test, make sure you time yourself while doing so because in the actual exam you get limited time to read and attempt the questions. The more you read different articles, journals, magazines, newspapers, the better speed you will have in reading and understanding the content will be easier. Learn to strategize your reading which implies you need to learn certain strategies such as skimming and scanning to attempt the reading section successfully. Skimming means to go through the entire passage once to have a general idea about it. Scanning means when you are looking for specific information in the passage then you scan the passage in detail looking for the keywords.
- Writing section: Writing section of IELTS Academic and IELTS General consists of two writing tasks. Each task is to be written in a typical format to score good bands. Read a lot of essay samples online, observe the format of the writing task such as how it is introduced, how the overview is written, how the different ideas use cohesion, what kind of vocabulary is used, etc. Keep your grammar and vocabulary updated and that can be achieved by reading a lot. Reading and writing go hand in hand as, if you read a lot, you will be able to express the writing task in a better manner using the right vocabulary. Again, since IELTS is a time-based exam, you get only 60 minutes to complete the 2 tasks, so the better way to do it is to attempt task 2 first and then attempt task 1. It will save time and you will score better. And the other tip is to practice writing as much as you can as that is the only key to hone up your writing skills using correct grammar structures and impressive vocabulary.
- Listening section: Listen to a lot many varied monologues, dialogues, English music, podcasts, English radio channels to get into the right kind of environment where each time you hear something is in English. It is only then you will get used to the various foreign accents. As there are 4 different sections in the Listening module which are generally about travel arrangement, local facilities, speech by a professor or a tutor, or something related to the academic subject. As the recording will be played just once in the exam, prepare yourself likewise under the timed condition. While listening to various audios keep a tab on the important facts, details, information, etc. and retain them. This will really help you in answering quickly in the exam.
- Speaking section: This section hardly takes 11-14 minutes in all and comprises of three parts. In the speaking test, you face the examiner directly and he will ask you a couple of questions related to yourself or some topic given by him. The best way to prepare for IELTS speaking test is by watching a lot of English movies to pick up the pronunciation and the flow of the language and talk extempore on different topics each day by standing in front of the mirror. It will help you in improving your verbal skills, clarity of speech, rate of speech, and how to conjoin the different ideas so they are in sync with each other.
All these tips and tricks can help you prepare for IELTS exam yourself in a better manner. Most importantly, being aware of the timing and the scoring of the exam will enable you to prepare on the exact parameters.