How to Prepare for IELTS at HomeUpdated on 12 May, 2022
Study Abroad Expert
Study Abroad Expert
IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is an English language proficiency test considered the world's most reliable language assessment. IELTS tests four skills of aspirants' English language skills: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. It is accepted by around 8,000 universities, companies, and immigration institutions worldwide. It includes major English-speaking countries like New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the UK. The IELTS testing methods focus on the candidate's practical capability to use and comprehend English in real-life situations fluently.
So, Before we answer it, let us understand the two types of IELTS exams.
The test is categorized into:
(i) Academic IELTS: Taken by students seeking admission to academic institutions, and
(ii) General IELTS: Taken by candidates looking to move to English-speaking countries for jobs or PRs.
For the candidates wondering how to start preparing for IELTS at home, some generic tips ensure that the students are on the right track:
1. Practice Well— The candidate needs to keep practicing questions at home. It is a critical part of the initial preparation that helps the students know their strengths and weaknesses. It helps test-takers work on their weaknesses and focuses on reinforcing their strengths.
2. Take Mock Tests Online— When opting for a computer-delivered exam type, it is essential to get accustomed to the online format by practicing questions online over the desktop. Additionally, the online world is a treasure trove of quality study material for IELTS.
3. Learn Time Management— Test-takers are allowed 2 hours 45 minutes to take the English proficiency exam. Therefore, it is essential to practice the questions within a set time frame. For this swiftness, you need proficiency. Naturally, for mastery, you need practice. And we cannot harp enough on this. The more you practice, the better you get at time management.
4. Start the Preparation Before Time — The candidates should be ready for the exam at least a week before the official date of the test. But the preparation procedure requires at least 3-6 months.
Recommended Read: How to Prepare for IELTS at Home Without Coaching
Listening is considered the easiest of the four sections. The candidate must listen intently to four different recordings and answer 40 questions within 30 minutes. But the most challenging part is that the student has to hear the questions and answer them simultaneously. That is when the tips for listening preparations given below would come helpful:
1. Practice Well — If the candidate is practicing listening to the questions multiple times and trying to answer them, it will benefit them a lot. The mock tests prepare students well for the test day. This is considered the best way to prepare for IELTS at home.
2. Focus is Imperative — A candidate with a good focus is sure to ace the listening test. It is important not to lose focus when attempting the listening section.
3. Master Different English Accents — Pronunciation matters in IELTS. Simply because the correct diction connotes a student's ability to use the words with clarity and accuracy. It is imperative for an aspirant must be fluent and spontaneous. There needs to be coherency as well. Expose yourself to various accents by listening to a plethora of audio.
4. Watch Varied Content— The experts suggest watching different content in English, such as shows, podcasts, and news channels, can aid with IELTS preparation for beginners. It essentially aids in improving the student's listening abilities and understanding of the various English accents.
Important Resources to Read for IELTS:
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The reading section mainly tests comprehension. The examinees have to provide short answers (relevant to the passage provided), match the correct information, and complete the given sentences and labels accurately.
As part of the reading section, the candidate has to answer 40 questions within 60 minutes. The segment contains three sections, and the students are expected to read the passage given to find correct answers. While a student can master the art of understanding the native English accents via listening, the reading section helps them master the art of assessing the information.
Some tips to ace the reading section are listed below:
a. Keeping Track of Reading Time — The students should master their reading skills while keeping track of the time. If the students are reading regularly, their speed increases, and they can easily finish reading the given passage in the time provided.
b. Brushing Up the Vocabulary — Along with reading regularly, the candidates should also concentrate on expanding their vocabulary. They should learn new and complicated words by reading different levels of passages.
c. Concentration is Essential — Reading multiple times without concentration only wastes time. Instead, if the students read just once, intently, and with absolute focus, they tend to grasp the matter better.
d. Reading Questions Carefully — The candidates shouldn't start answering the questions without understanding them carefully. They should take time to read the passage carefully and answer what is asked. It's essential to keep track of the critical keywords listed in the question to provide accurate answers.
e. Cover All the Pointers — Providing incomplete answers can also take away a big part of your expected score. It is essential that the students read properly, understand the questions well, and then answer them, covering all the relevant parts.
Writing is considered an essential part of the exam. It comprises two sections. Task 1 involves analyzing a graph diagram or a chart. Task 2 includes writing a long essay about the topic given to the students. The writing module is the type that most people struggle with. The students should note that the write-ups should use a formal style. The aspirants should explain the data in detail, which requires significant and constant practice.
Since it is a written examination, the candidates need to be careful about the words and sentence structures. The best tips to prepare for the writing test are:
a. Prepare a Mind Map — The writing test displays the English language skills of the candidate. The student should approach the tasks once the mind map has been prepared. Thinking about all the essential matters related to the topic is essential and also covering them in writing is crucial.
b. Write Answers in Paragraphs— The candidate should write about the topic in multiple paragraphs. The practice gives a better structure and clarity to the write-up.
c. Practicing Decoding Graphs — The students require practice analyzing a graph and writing about them. They should refer to the test samples and check what types of charts they'll get to comprehend.
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Fluency in spoken English is an integral part of the IELTS examination. Here, the examiners assess how the candidate fares in expressing an idea candidly. After all, a fluent conversation gives the examiner the impression of whether the student can communicate and interact in the English language.
Fluency, overall uninterrupted speech, and the right choice of words and accent are critical to getting a high band score. The section spans around 15 minutes. There are three segments in the test: introduction, induction, and a smooth two-way conversation between the examiner and the examinee. When preparing for the segment, the following tips may come in handy:
1. Converse in English at Home — Excellent English-speaking skills include having good fluency and clarity in speech. And to gain this, the individual should converse in English wherever possible, even at home. Proper diction is a must for the clarity and comprehension of the examiner.
2. Avoid Repetition— The students should avoid redundancy and repetition. They should consider learning more synonyms and practice framing a sentence keeping in mind only the relevant and vital pointers.
3. Be Quick While Answering — It is important to pace the conversation well to be a confident speaker. Accuracy and speed in answering help gain better scores in the section.
All set to take the IELTS exam, the following tips will help during the exam day:
· Read the instructions carefully before starting the exam.
· Keep track of time while answering the questions.
· When taking the speaking test, the students don't have to be too casual. A one-to-one conversation between the examiner and the examinee is possible easily and informally. The more comfortable the student is during the speaking test, the better the results are.
· Students should also ensure that their headphones are working fine.
· They should keep writing the questions on paper while attempting the listening section to refer to them later.
· Check for grammar and sentence structures before submitting the test.
· Keep track of the word count.
· Trim out the fluff. Only keep relevant information in the answers.
· Not taking long pauses when taking the Speaking test is specifically recommended.
· Examining all the details of the graphs and diagrams in the Writing section is necessary.
Suppose you have been facing problems preparing for IELTS at home. In that case, you can enroll in upGrad Abroad's booster program that helps in preparation for IELTS, academic writing, profile building, university application, education loan, and visa support.
The program costs INR 15,000 and is 100% refundable if a student starts their study abroad journey with us.
It is a six-week-long course and offers the following for IELTS preparation:
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One needs to pay INR 15,500 to take the IELTS exam in India. One can take either the Computer-delivered or pen and paper-based IELTS exams for the price. These days IELTS home edition is also available for the same test fee.
The IELTS test scorecard is valid for two years. One can get the scorecard five to seven days after the exam day. The English proficiency test is accepted in around 140 countries and across 11,000 organizations.
Recommended Read: Validity of IELTS Score
An overall score of 7.0 or higher is considered a good IELTS band score. Even 6.5 is regarded as a decent score. One needs to have a 6.5 band score across all four sections to get a cumulative band score of 6.5.
Yes, IELTS can be taken from home. The conducting body, IDP, rolled out IELTS Online early in 2022. The format includes a real-time face-to-face Speaking Test and has the same pattern as the pen and paper-based and Computer-delivered IELTS test. However, aspirants need to confirm if the universities will accept the test's home edition.
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