How to prepare for IELTS

Isn’t it nice to learn from the mistakes of someone else :)? Well, another mistake I made in my preparation for IELTS was concentrating on just one sub-test out of four. I started to study for Writing and neglected all the other parts – Listening, Reading and Speaking.

There are reasons why a person would do what I did. Usually, people like doing things they are good at and avoid doing things they are not so good at. I was good at writing, so it was very natural for me to write essays and letters and set aside all the other difficult and “scary” subjects. Or the opposite might happen – people assume they are good in Writing and concentrate on something else that needs improvement.

There are many reasons not to do what I did. Firstly, in many cases you are required to get a nice band score in every sub-test, or at least in two sub-tests. That means you can not be satisfied with a good average, because you need a Band Score 7 in two sub-tests no matter what.

Secondly, when you hope for a good average while concentrating on one or two sub-tests, your chances don’t look good. All the sub-tests in IELTS have the same weight, so if you score 8 in Reading, 4 in Listening, 8 in Writing and 4 in Speaking, the average score will be 6 (simple math). If you think about it, it is quite difficult to score 8 in Reading or Writing, no matter how hard you try. That’s why studying a little bit harder for all four sub-tests makes much more sense and eventually pays off.

Finally, some real advice – divide your time into four equal (or almost equal) parts and practice in IELTS Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking without making exceptions.

You can mix 2 subjects in one day, for example, practice in Reading for one hour and then in Writing for one hour. This way of studying helped me and my friends – I hope it will help you, too.

Listening at a glance

The Listening test consists of 4 sections. There are 40 questions in total. You need to answer all the questions as you listen to the recording. The recording is not paused at any time and you hear it only once. The questions get more difficult as you progress through the test.

Are you scared yet? Don’t be! Listening is a skill, not a gift – read here what you can do to improve it. During the Listening test you will hear many distractions, and here is a technique how to deal with them. There are also clues to answers and you should be able to recognize them in the recording, read more about it here. And whatever you do, don’t leave anything for later as there is no later in the IELTS Listening test.

Remember, it is important that you spell correctly all of your Listening answers, not just the words they spell for you on the recording. Also, make sure that your answers are readable and understandable, when you copy them to the Answer Sheet. You may write in pencil only.

Click here for more IELTS Listening tips



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