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IELTS Preparation tips

The best ways to study for the four IELTS sub-tests: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking

IELTS on low budget – free resources

These days there are many kinds of IELTS help available – courses, books, private tutors, etc. The one thing they all have in common is that they cost a lot of money. IELTS preparation can be expensive – but it doesn’t have to be.

The good news is that you can prepare yourself for IELTS and it will cost you almost nothing. All you need is one good IELTS study book and a lot of practice. You see, IELTS is the type of exam where good English doesn’t mean success; even native speakers can fail. Preparing for IELTS doesn’t mean learning English – it mostly means learning all the tricks and traps that IELTS is famous for. Be ready, aware and watching for them, IELTS is one wicked test.

Anyone who wants to get a high band score in IELTS must expect several weeks of daily training. I came across certain books that promise to get you ready in 5 hours. Well, wake up! Have you ever done something meaningful in your life in just 5 hours? Maybe if you’re genius it would work, but regular people like me and you have to study for a month (and then, of course, we ace the test!).

Now after I’ve told you what doesn’t work, let me tell you what does. First, read the IELTS-blog tips and get to know what to expect during the IELTS exam. Second, use the free online IELTS-like tests to practice on – all the links in the right sidebar. This really is a goldmine, because free IELTS tests are hard to find, usually they cost money.

But don’t let that stop you, if you need to practice more – go ahead and buy more IELTS practice tests, it is money well spent. Another suggestion is to make a regular IELTS study plan and follow it religiously. Work every day for at least 3 hours, but don’t forget to take a day off once a week.

Click here for more IELTS preparation tips.

Reading at a glance

Reading consists of 3 to 5 passages of text and 40 questions in total. The Academic Reading test has 3 longer passages, whereas the General Training Reading test can have 4 or 5 shorter passages. Your job is to read the passages and either answer questions, label diagrams, complete sentences or fill in gaps. For every type of task there are instructions and an example. Passages are taken from books, newspapers, magazines and the topics are very diverse, from scuba diving to space exploration. Passages progress in difficulty, with the first being the easiest and the last being the hardest.

Good news is that you don’t really have to read the whole passage, thanks to a technique I will refer to later. Not so good news is that there is no additional time to copy your answers to the Answer Sheet and you need to squeeze it in the 60 minutes that you have in total for the Reading test. Please, don’t forget to do it – I witnessed someone who did, and it was not a pretty sight. The poor guy was crying, he received a score 0 for the whole Reading test. Here too you may write in pencil only, no pens are allowed.

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