How to prepare for IELTS



How to prepare for IELTS



Tips and resources (including free tests) to prepare for the IELTS


IELTS is the International English Language Testing System exam, which verifies the knowledge of English at a level sufficient for higher education, migration and working abroad, where English is used as the main language to communicate. If you are looking to migrate to Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the UK passing the IELTS exam will help you with that. It is accepted as proof of proficiency in English by more than 9000 educational institutions in the world. International companies, professionals and employers around the world rely on the IELTS exam to verify skills of potential candidates.

Find out more about IELTS.




Understand the structure of the exam

This step is crucial. By studying the IELTS test format you will know what to expect and you can prepare accordingly.  The test includes the following parts in this order: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Speaking can be taken on the same day or 7 days before or after your test this depends on local arrangements. There are no pauses between Listening, Reading and Writing. There is a separate answer sheet so be careful when you transfer your answers.



According to British Council this part of the test “is designed to assess a wide range of listening skills including how well you understand main ideas and specific factual information, recognize the opinions, attitudes and purpose of the speaker and follow the development of an argument.” Be aware that all standard varieties of the English language can be heard in this section and in different types of speech, so prepare by listening to interviews, lectures, conversations and news on YouTube or TV to get accustomed to different accents and types of speech.

Read more about Listening here.



You will be given three different text to read and asked to answer questions about them. On top of trying to verify the same points as in the Listening part skills such as general reading comprehension, paying attention to detail and catching implied meaning will be verified. Practice with different types of texts preferably with an answer key to check how well you are doing.

Read more about Reading here.



This task will require you to write two texts, one shorter and one longer text. It’s important to manage your time. You will have an hour for both tasks so divide it accordingly (best option 20-40 minutes). During preparations read about different types of texts and what they should include, always double check your grammar and spelling. Expand your vocabulary and use it wisely. Make sure to do what you’re asked for – cover all points.

Read more about Writing here.



When practicing for speaking try to develop your vocabulary, learn new words using flashcards and revise them as often as you can. If you have a learning buddy practice speaking with them using the format of the test (use practice exams for reference). Try to be calm, speak fluently and in a natural manner. Think about structuring your statements – your answers need to be organized. The examiner will be looking for skills such as ability to express and justify your views and opinions, analyzing, discussing issues.

Read more about Speaking here.


Quick tips

–          Expand your vocabulary, practice often, use vocabulary in context.

–          Improve grammar – thoroughly revise crucial grammatical aspects.

–          Examine the test format and types of questions which can occur.

–          Remember there is a separate answer sheet.

–          Do practice tests under timed conditions.

–           Try different approaches to learning – don’t only use books! Listen to podcasts, watch videos, read articles and more.



The links gathered below include practice exams, individual exercises, model answers, YouTube channels and more. Use them in your preparation to better understand the format of the test and each section individually.



Schools offering IELTS exam preparation.


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