Be an avid reader and read a variety of genres. IELTS Reading can be challenging and intimidating for you if you are not in the habit of reading on a regular basis. Also, you may find it tough if your reading speed is not good as you are required to answer 40 questions in 60 minutes. Furthermore, the difficulty level of the passages increases towards the end, when you may have to work against the clock – less time and more questions.

YunoLearning is offering IELTS Reading Practice Tests without any registration or fee.

To overcome the impediments that stop you from doing well in the IELTS Reading, here are some tips and tricks:

  1. Speed Reading: When you read faster, you are more absorbed into what you read. You get so engrossed in reading that mind becomes logical, leading to active reading and stopping you from getting stuck on hard and unimportant words.

Avoid the following if you want to read fast:

  • Reading word to word – This is extremely time-consuming and leads to slow speed. Also, there are chances that mind might wander losing focus on what is being read. Instead read groups of words together.
  • Going back to what has been read – Regression can hamper understanding to a great extent. The flow of reading gets affected and you take much more time to read the given text. So, keep a finger to go across and down the page.
  • Speaking using your lips or speaking in the mind – When you speak out every word, you take more time to read.Get into the habit of skimming.
  • Lack of concentration – When you read slowly, you tend to think about other things in between which distract you.

2. Understand the main idea and the supporting ideas:

When you start reading the passage, you must always try to understand what the passage is about. The author writes about a particular issue or a topic and supports it by giving sub points.

3. Pay attention to transition words:

Transition words, especially the words of contradiction, such as, although, however, while, will help in comprehending the points easily.

4. Paraphrase what you read.

If you start paraphrasing what you skim read, you’ll be able to comprehend effortlessly. A good level of vocabulary will certainly facilitate you in sailing through.

5. Understand the different types of questions that are asked in the IELTS reading. They can be answered well if you practice them regularly.

If you have plans to learn more about IELTS reading you can join YunoLearning free IELTS Reading Prepration Classes.

In both Reading and Listening tests in the IELTS, one area that can negatively affect your score is WRONG SPELLING of the words in your answer. A wrong spelling means wrong answer. Another area that can be disadvantageous for you is the WRONG FORM of the word,ie, noun/verb/adjective, etc. You can avoid punctuation error of capitals by writing all answers in capital letters. In fact, I would recommend writing the answers for Listening and Reading in Capitals. Also, you must adhere to what you are asked to write – one word/ two words/ three words/ a number/two numbers. A compound noun is counted as one word only, example,well-being, daughter-in-law, etc.

The IELTS Listening Test is the same for both Academic and General. It lasts for 30 minutes. You must write your answers on the question paper while listening to the recordings as you get additional 10 minutes to transfer your answers from your Question Booklet to your Answer Sheet.

The test has 4 sections. In Section 1, you listen to a conversation between two people set in any day to day situation (enquiry etc.). In Section 2, you listen to a monologue related to social needs. In Section 3, you listen to a conversation among a maximum of four speakers related to educational or training content. And in Section 4, you listen to a monologue related to educational or training content.

How is your score calculated in the IELTS Listening test?

All IELTS scores are between 0 and 9.

You get 40 questions in the Listening test. Therefore, logically, 50%,ie, 20 correct answers should give you a score of 4.5. But it is not so. In Listening, you get 5.5 if 18-22 answers are correct, and you get 4.5 if only 13 to 15 answers are correct. You score an 8 with 35 to 36 correct answers.

More on IELTS bands and scores are explained in this link: What is IELTS?

The IELTS Reading test is different for Academic and General. The IELTS Academic Reading test consists of three sections – each section has one text. They are authentic texts and are taken from newspapers, books, journals and magazines.The IELTS General Reading consists of three different sections. Section 1 has two or three short texts or several shorter ones on everyday life. Section 2 has two texts related to the workplace. Section 3 has one long discursive text.

How is your score calculated in the IELTS Reading test?

All IELTS scores are between 0 and 9.

You get 40 questions in both Academic and Reading but the scoring varies a little in both. For instance, in the Academic Reading test, for 19 to 22 correct answers you get 5.5, but you score 5.5 in the General Reading test only if 27 to 29 answers are correct. In the Academic Reading, you get 4.5 if only 13 to 14 answers are correct. However, in the General Reading test you score 4.5 with 19 to 22 correct answers. In the Academic, you score an 8 with 35 to 36 correct answers, whereas in General, you score an 8 with 37 to 38 correct answers.

If you have started preparing for IELTS, there are free live classes provided by Yuno Learning for IELTS reading test. The scoring criteria is also discussed in these classes. You can sign up at How to prepare for IELTS Reading Test.

Whether you want to prepare for IELTS Academic Reading or IELTS General Reading, you must develop the skills of speed reading, paraphrasing and locating answers.

The first step is to practise with shorter articles of different types given in newspapers, journals and magazines. Always note down the main points. Cross check your points with the original article. Also, note down the words that you do not understand. Find their meanings and summarize the article.

Second, take as many IELTS Reading Practice tests as you can. There are many free tests available on the net. But the main strategy lies in understanding different types of passages quickly and answering the questions based on them correctly. For this you must familiarise yourself with different types of passages that you can expect in the IELTS exam.

Factual passages have various facts. Note down or underline the different facts that you come across and find them by locating the keywords given in the question.

Sometimes an issue or a particular situation is explained or described. Such passages may have facts and figures also. You must match the information.

In an argumentative passage, the author presents his opinion – for or against – about a topic or a study or a situation. In such passages, you must understand the author’s tone, ie. his positive or negative response to it.

The pros and cons of an issue are presented by the author in an analytical passage. You must understand the scope of each paragraph so that you can differentiate them according to the pros and cons.

Discursive passages present arguments for or against a particular theory. Look for the words of contradiction to understand different opinions and views.

Once you develop the skill of comprehending a passage, start focusing on speed reading and paraphrasing. Focus on keywords and read faster than your normal speed.

Your reading skills for IELTS will improve if you understand the strategy of locating information in the passage. The passages may be lengthy and you might forget the content. So, make notes of the key points in each paragraph without wasting any time. Paraphrase the questions and locate information in the passage on the basis of your notes. With regular practise, you will improve your IELTS Reading Score.

Sometimes, vocabulary becomes a major hurdle. If you feel that you are not able to comprehend what you read because of certain words used in the passage, you must work on synonyms. Note down the words that are challenging for you and find out their synonyms. Start paraphrasing the paragraphs with difficult words by understanding the meanings of the words in reference to context.

IELTS General Reading consists of three different sections and there are 40 questions based on the passages given in the three sections. The difficulty level increases with each section, so you should keep more time for the last section.

The IELTS Academic Reading test has authentic texts taken from newspapers, books, journals and magazines. Therefore, if you are in the habit of reading newspapers and magazines, you will be able to comprehend the passages without much difficulty. These texts may also contain non-verbal material such as diagrams and graphs.

Take as many practice tests as you can. With a month’s regular practice, you will notice a remarkable improvement in your performance.

Along with these tips you can join the free How to prepare for IELTS Reading Test classes. It really helps to improve reading skills for IELTS.

IELTS is the door to go and study or work in an English speaking country and a number of websites on the internet try to get you entry through that door. There are n number of IELTS practice tests on the net. But the question is – which one will give you a smooth entry.

Some give you practice in only few selected types of questions. You are not exposed to the variety of questions that you may get in the actual exam. Resultingly, despite a lot of effort, you manage to get an overall score ranging just between 5.5 and 6.5.

To understand which site will give you good quality practice tests to develop all the needed skills, you should be familiar with the different question types that you can get in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening.

Types of questions in IELTS Reading:

  • Matching Paragraph Headings
  • True, False, Not given’ or ‘Yes, No and Not given’ questions
  • Sentence completion questions
  • Notes/ Flow-chart completion questions
  • Diagram completion questions
  • Multiple choice questions
  • Matching Paragraph information questions
  • Summary completion questions
  • Matching the title question
  • Table completion questions
  • Short Answer questions
  • Matching sentence endings questions
  • List selection questions
  • Categorisation questions

Types of questions in IELTS Writing Task 1 (Academic):

(summary/report writing)

  • Bar chart
  • Pie chart
  • Table
  • Map
  • Diagram
  • Line graph
  • Future Predictions

Types of questions in IELTS Writing Task 1 (General)

  • Application letter
  • Apology letter
  • Amendment letter
  • Complaint letter
  • Letter to a friend
  • Invitation letter
  • Instruction letter
  • Request letter

Types of questions in IELTS Writing Task 2:

  • Opinion Essay Questions
  • Advantage – Disadvantage Essay Questions
  • Discussion Essay Questions
  • Solution Essay Questions
  • Direct Essay Questions
  • Agree- Disagree Essay Questions

Types of questions in IELTS Listening:

  • Sentence completion questions/ Fill in the Blanks
  • Form completion questions
  • Summary completion questions
  • Short answer questions
  • Table completion questions
  • Flow-chart completion questions
  • Notes /List completion questions
  • Multiple choice questions
  • Plan/map/diagram labelling questions
  • Matching questions

Types of questions in IELTS Speaking:

  • Part 1: questions on familiar topics such as hobbies, friends, schooling, likes, dislikes, etc.
  • Part 2: a topic such as, “Your best holiday” etc.
  • Part 3: questions related to your topic in Part 2, for example, “Should people go out on holidays?”.

Hence, when you look for IELTS practice tests, you must check whether the website gives you practice in all types of questions. A practice test should give you the feel of the actual exam. You should have access to not just one but more sample answers for each type of question.

Without any registration on YunoLearning, you can practice for IELTS reading and listening tests. It will help you to improve your reading and listening skills with hundreds of tests.

The IELTS Reading test is different for Academic and General. The IELTS Academic Reading test consists of three sections – each section has one text. They are authentic texts and are taken from newspapers, books, journals and magazines. Therefore, if you are in the habit of reading newspapers and magazines, you will be able to comprehend the passages without much difficulty. These texts may also contain non-verbal material such as diagrams and graphs. For such questions, a glossary is provided for technical jargon.

The IELTS General Reading consists of three different sections. Section 1 has two or three short texts or several shorter ones on everyday life. Section 2 has two texts related to the workplace. Section 3 has one long discursive text.

What should you do to have better accuracy in your answers?

You will be able to answer the questions if you are able to comprehend what you read. Hence, the first step is to become familiar with the vocabulary that is used to write on different topics. Read different types of articles on a variety of topics regularly. Make a note of the words that you do not understand and find out their meanings. Read the articles again and paraphrase what you read. Then note down important points. Match the points or the notes that you make with what is given in the passage. After that, summarise what you comprehend. A regular practice will develop your skill of comprehending what you read.

There are certain question types you should be familiar with to attempt them faster on the exam day. You get 60 minutes to answer 40 questions.

  1. Matching Paragraph Headings
  2. True/ False/ Not Given
  3. Yes/ No/ Not Given
  4. Sentence Completion
  5. Notes Completion
  6. Flow-chart Completion
  7. Diagram Completion
  8. Multiple Choice
  9. Matching Paragraph Information
  10. Summary Completion
  11. Matching the Title
  12. Table Completion
  13. Short Answers
  14. Matching Sentence Endings
  15. List Selection
  16. Categorisation

To increase your IELTS Reading score, you must get enough practice for each type of question. Take different types of practice tests to master all. Some of practice tests you can get from YunoLearning like IELTS Reading Practice Test and IELTS Listening Practice Test.

Your reading skills for IELTS will improve if you understand the strategy of locating information in the passage. The passages may be lengthy and you might forget the content. So, make notes of the key points in each paragraph without wasting any time. Paraphrase the questions and locate information in the passage on the basis of your notes. With regular practise, you will improve your IELTS Reading Score.

The IELTS Writing test is for 60 minutes – 20 minutes for Task 1 and 40 minutes for task 2.

In the IELTS Writing Task 1, you are assessed for the following:

  1. Task achievement/ Task response
  2. Coherence and Cohesion.
  3. Lexical Resource
  4. Grammatical Range and Accuracy

In the Academic Writing Task, you have to accurately describe the given information and summarise it in your own words in 150 words. You are asked to summarize the information presented to you in the form of a graph (bar/line), pie chart, table or process.You should not write under 150 words; however, you can have more words – 170 to 190. Try not to write more than 200 words because you need 40 minutes for task 2 and Task 2 is double the worth of Task 1.

In response to the visual input, you should be able to:

  1. Report the main features
  2. Describe and compare data
  3. Describe a process
  4. Identify trends in factual information

What should be the structure for the IELTS Academic Task 1?

Paragraph 1 – Paraphrase the question

Use words such as – The graph shows/ The chart illustrates…

Paragraph 2 – Describe the most general trends. Include the most striking features in this paragraph. Give an overview.

Paragraph 3 – Give a more detailed description.

Paragraph 4 – Give other or contradictory detailed description.

Include one more paragraph if the information is more. Use linkers such as moreover, however, on the contrary, although, etc.

The IELTS General Writing Task 1 is also for 20 minutes. But here you respond to a different type of question. Hence, the structure is also different. In this task, you are supposed to write a letter in at least 150 words. It can be personal, semi-formal or formal letter depending upon the situation. You are supposed to write a letter in response to a given situation, describe a situation or to request for information.

You get instructions about the points to be included in your letter. You must include all the points in your letter otherwise you will get a low Band Score.

Before writing the letter, you must decide which type of letter you have to write. There are three types of letters in the IELTS writing topics and all have a different beginning and a different ending.

Personal letter: You write to someone you know very well – your friend or relative.

Semi-formal letter: You write to someone you don’t know well personally – your landlord or professor.

Formal letter: You write to someone you don’t know – a company or a college.

You structure your letter as follows:

Salutation

Paragraph 1 – opening statement(reason for writing)

Paragraph 2 – first point with detail

Paragraph 3 – second point with detail

Paragraph 4 – final point with detail

Paragraph 5 – closing statement

Signing off

Take practice tests or join IELTS writing task 1 classes before the IELTS exam. YunoLearning is offering free classes to prepare for IELTS Writing Task 1.

The IELTS Reading test is different for Academic and General. The IELTS Academic Reading test consists of three sections – each section has one text. They are authentic texts and are taken from newspapers, books, journals and magazines. Therefore, if you are in the habit of reading newspapers and magazines, you will be able to comprehend the passages without much difficulty. These texts may also contain non-verbal material such as diagrams and graphs. For such questions, a glossary is provided for technical jargon.

The IELTS General Reading consists of three different sections.

  • Section 1 has two or three short texts or several shorter ones on everyday life.
  • Section 2 has two texts related to the workplace.
  • Section 3 has one long discursive text.

What should you do to have better accuracy in your answers?

You will be able to answer the questions if you are able to comprehend what you read. Hence, the first step is to become familiar with the vocabulary that is used to write on different topics. Read different types of articles on a variety of topics regularly. Make a note of the words that you do not understand and find out their meanings. Read the articles again and paraphrase what you read. Then note down important points. Match the points or the notes that you make with what is given in the passage. After that, summarise what you comprehend. A regular practice will develop your skill of comprehending what you read.

There are certain question types you should be familiar with to attempt them faster on the exam day. You get 60 minutes to answer 40 questions.

  1. Matching Paragraph Headings
  2. True/ False/ Not Given
  3. Yes/ No/ Not Given
  4. Sentence Completion
  5. Notes Completion
  6. Flow-chart Completion
  7. Diagram Completion
  8. Multiple Choice
  9. Matching Paragraph Information
  10. Summary Completion
  11. Matching the Title
  12. Table Completion
  13. Short Answers
  14. Matching Sentence Endings
  15. List Selection
  16. Categorisation

To increase your IELTS Reading score, you must get enough practice for each type of question. Take different types of practice tests to master all.

Your reading skills for IELTS will improve if you understand the strategy of locating information in the passage. The passages may be lengthy and you might forget the content. So, make notes of the key points in each paragraph without wasting any time. Paraphrase the questions and locate information in the passage on the basis of your notes. With regular practise, you will improve your IELTS Reading Score. Also, you can join the free live classes of IELTS reading while sitting in your room. You just need to register at YunoLearning for joining the IELTS reading classes.

You take IELTS Academic if you wish to go for higher studies to an English Speaking country. The IELTS Academic Reading test consists of three sections – each section has one text. They are authentic texts and are taken from newspapers, books, journals and magazines.Therefore, if you are in the habit of reading newspapers and magazines, you will be able to comprehend the passages without much difficulty. These texts may also contain non-verbal material such as diagrams and graphs. For such questions, a glossary is provided for technical jargon.

You will require the skill to speed read and skim the passage for information. Otherwise, you will find it challenging to answer all the questions.You get 60 minutes to answer 40 questions based on the three texts on different topics. You should not only be able to comprehend the given passages quickly but also paraphrase the given questions and answer them.

The questions are of different types. If you have had enough practice in answering different types of questions, you will be able to attempt them fast within the given time.

The different types of questions that you can expect in the IELTS Academic Reading test are given below:

  1. Matching Paragraph Headings
  2. True/ False/ Not Given
  3. Yes/ No/ Not Given
  4. Sentence Completion
  5. Notes Completion
  6. Flow-chart Completion
  7. Diagram Completion
  8. Multiple Choice
  9. Matching Paragraph Information
  10. Summary Completion
  11. Matching the Title
  12. Table Completion
  13. Short Answers
  14. Matching Sentence Endings
  15. List Selection
  16. Categorisation

All IELTS scores are between 0 and 9.

In the Academic Reading test, for 19 to 22 correct answers you get 5.5, and you get 4.5 if only 13 to 14 answers are correct. You score an 8 with 35 to 36 correct answers. Know more about bands in IELTS exam and What is IELTS?

Therefore, to get a good score in IELTS Academic Reading, become familiar with the different types of passages that you can expect.

Factual passages

These are related to advertisements, official documents, newspapers etc. These facts are not debatable

Descriptive passages

An issue or a particular situation is explained without any subjective opinion.

Argumentative Passages

The author presents his opinion about an issue and expresses his own viewpoint related to that issue. He may have an opinion for or against the issue presented in the passage.

Analytical Passages

In analytical passages, the author presents an issue and discusses the pros and cons of that issue.

Discursive Passages

Discursive passages may present arguments for or against a particular theory.

To score good in IELTS reading test you just need to practice and join the online webinars on YunoLearning. Enroll yourself on How to prepare for IELTS Reading Test

IELTS evaluates your level of English by testing you in four skills of the language – Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. Three of these skills – Listening, Reading and Writing, are tested on the same day without any break. Speaking test is either on the same day or 7 days prior or after.

There are many who do not take any formal coaching for IELTS and still secure an overall band score of 7.5 or more. Being a language teacher for more than twenty-five years, I have had number of students approaching me just to get information about the right material which can help them to prepare for IELTS on their own.

These IELTS aspirants, trying to prepare on their own, are those who are avid readers. They read newspapers, magazines and novels regularly; their comprehension and paraphrasing skills are good. With the right practice tests and regular practice of two to three weeks, they get a good score.

However, before starting your preparation for IELTS on your own, you must have clarity about the way you will be tested.

Listening and Speaking test formats are same for both IELTS Academic exam and IELTS General exam.

Listening: 30 mins, plus 10 mins extra for transferring the answers to the answer sheet. The questions are based on four recorded monologues and conversations.

Speaking: 11 to 14 mins. There is a face to face interview which includes short questions, speaking at length about a familiar topic and a structured discussion.

Reading and Writing are different for both versions.

Reading section: (Time: 60 minutes)

Academic Reading: Three long reading passages which include text ranging from descriptive and factual to discursive and analytical, including non-verbal material such as diagrams, graphs or illustrations.

General Reading: Three sections:

Section 1 – two or three short factual texts

Section 2 – two short, work-related factual texts

Section 3 – one longer text on a topic of general interest taken from company handbooks, official documents, books and newspapers.

Writing Section: 60 mins. The writing section has two tasks.

Academic Writing (Task 1) – You must summarize, describe or explain a table, graph, chart or diagram in at least 150 words.

Academic Writing (Task 2) – You have to write a short essay of at least 250 words.

General Writing (Task 1 )- You have to write a letter in about 150 words.

General Writing (Task 2) – You have to write an essay of at least 250 words on a topic similar to that of Academic writing.

Hence, to prepare by yourself for the IELTS Reading test, you need to develop the habit of reading. Read different articles – make notes after reading an article; write down the words that you don’t understand and find their meanings; summarize whatever you read. Regular practice of about a month will enhance your reading skills to such level that if you take some online practice tests (around 20) after that, you will score well in the IELTS Reading test.

There are many free podcasts available on the internet. Listen to as many as you want in order to prepare by yourself for the IELTS Listening Test. Use good headphones and make notes of names, dates, events etc. After practising for one to two weeks, take free online tests. Some sites are really good.

You can easily practice at YunoLearning for IELTS Listening Test and IELTS Reading Test. It’s free for everyone.

For the IELTS Writing test, read some sample answers. Sample tests that help you to understand different types of IELTS writing test questions will train you well. Take some grammar quizzes to overcome subject-verb agreement, tense and sentence structure errors. Practise writing answers to different types of questions. You must adhere to the time limit. The number of words matters – at least 150 words in Task 1 and 250 words in Task 2.

You will face a challenge in improving your speaking skills if you are not in the habit of communicating in English. So, start speaking in English from the day you decide to take the IELTS exam. Communicate in this language only with all those who understand English. You can even join English Speaking Groups on Social Media. To practice for Part 2, take questions from the internet, prepare your answer – speak for two minutes and record it. Regular practice will make you fluent. Ensure that you understand the question correctly.

Do you watch English movies? Do you listen to English songs? Are you able to understand what they say? If yes, great – you have chances of doing well in the IELTS Listening.

The IELTS Listening test requires you to understand spoken English correctly when you hear different accents. You listen to four pre-recorded conversations or monologues only once and answer questions based on them. You get 30 minutes for this test – an additional 10 minutes to transfer your 40 answers to the answer sheet.

The IELTS Listening has four sections.There are two dialogues and two monologues. In section one, you listen to a conversation between two people set in any day to day situation (enquiry etc.). In section two, you listen to a monologue related to social needs. In section three, you listen to a conversation between upto four speakers related to educational or training content. In section four, you listen to a monologue related to educational or training content.

First, you listen to a brief introduction to the Listening section. You are told about the speakers, what they are talking about and why. You must listen to this information, known as the context, carefully, as it is not written on the question paper and it helps you to understand the topic. Soon after the introduction, you are given a short time to read the questions. This helps you to understand what the speakers are going to discuss or talk about in that recording.

Read the questions carefully so that you get the information for it correctly and note it down fast as and when you listen to it in the recording. In each of these sections, different types of questions are asked. Each section has 10 questions.You should answer all questions as there is no negative marking. However, take care of spellings as a wrong spelling means wrong answer.You have to read, write and listen at the same time. Therefore, you should not allow your mind to wander even for a second. Listen carefully.

Some answers require you to write digits/ names. Take practice tests so that you become familiar with the sounds of different letters and numbers in spoken English.

You should practise your listening skills regularly.

By practising regularly, you will be able to understand the difference between different vowel and consonant sounds. There are sites that offer free IELTS Listening Practice Tests. Attempt as many as possible till you start getting all your answers correct.

You take IELTS Academic if you wish to study in an English speaking country and you take IELTS General if you wish to work there. Whichever it may be, you should be able to communicate effectively by presenting your opinion with your solution and suggestions.

IELTS tests your English writing skills through two tasks. You are assessed on the basis of the following:

  1. Task achievement/ Task response: You should be able to cover all the requirements of the task.
  2. Coherence and Cohesion: You should be able to present all the information logically in paragraphs.
  3. Lexical Resource – Range of Vocabulary: You should be able to use a wide range of vocabulary to convey precise meanings.
  4. Grammatical Range and Accuracy:You should be able to use a wide range of structures. Your sentences should be a good mix of Simple and Complex sentences with rare grammatical errors.

Overall, you get 60 minutes to attempt two writing tasks.The task 1 in both Academic and General should be answered in 20 minutes, and Task 2 in 40 minutes. In the Academic Task 1 you have to summarise the given visual (bar/pie/line graph) information in 150 words. In the General Task 1 you have to write a letter in response to a situation in 150 words. Task 2 in both is an essay in which you have to answer the given question in 250 words.

What should you do to improve your writing skills for IELTS?

Step 1: Practise to paraphrase the question statement.

Step 2: Practise to put down the points that you would like to include in your response.

Step 3: Initially, write your answer in simple sentences using the vocabulary that you have on day 1 of your preparation.

Step 4: Restructure your simple sentences to have some compound and complex sentences.

Step 5: Replace your simple high frequency words with low frequency words, and slowly make the new words part of your active vocabulary.

Step 6: You can practise different types of questions by visiting authentic IELTS preparation sites.

Step 7: Put different points of your answer in different paragraphs.

Step 8: Use linkers, such as moreover and however, to join different points and to transit from one point to another.

Step 9: Visit IELTS preparation sites to understand the format for writing different answers.

Step 10: Get your response evaluated by an IELTS instructor.

Step 11: Overcome your grammatical errors by taking help of an IELTS instructor or through self study.

You can join the How to prepare for IELTS Writing Task 2 class. It really helps you to improve your english writing skills for IELTS.

Canada follows a point based system for immigration. Federal Express Entry System is the most popular immigration system of Canada, which asses the profile of the applicants based on key parameters, i.e. age, education, work experience, language skills, etc. Express Entry has key points’ criteria for selection, i.e. FSWP.

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP): As per the FSWP threshold, an applicant need to achieve minimum 67 points out of 100 to qualify to apply in express entry.

The FSWP points allocation for First official language (Maximum 24 points)

Know more about IELTS bands and scores in this link: What is IELTS?

The minimum IELTS score requirement is an overall band of 6.5, with no band below 6.0. Applicants for Undergraduate Nursing programs: IELTS 7, with at least 6.5 in reading and listening and at least 7 in writing and speaking.

IELTS evaluates your level of English by testing you in four skills of the language – Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. You take IELTS Academic if you wish to pursue undergraduate level in an English speaking country or go for higher studies, postgraduate level, to an English speaking country or join a professional organisation in an English speaking country. You take IELTS General if you wish to emigrate to an English speaking country or get a work visa to work in an English speaking country or train/study at below degree level.

To know the common topics that are asked in the IELTS exam, you should know what all is asked in the IELTS exam.

Listening and Speaking test formats are same for both IELTS Academic exam and IELTS General exam. The Listening lasts for 30 minutes, plus 10 minutes extra for transferring the answers to the answer sheet. The questions are based on four recorded monologues and conversations. Section 1 conversation and Section 2 monologue are on social needs. Section 3 conversation and Section 4 monologue are related to education or training content. The Speaking test lasts for 11 to 14 minutes. There is a face to face interview which includes short questions, speaking at length about a familiar topic and a structured discussion.

Reading and Writing are different for both versions. The Reading section is for 60 minutes. The Academic Reading test has three long reading passages which include text ranging from descriptive and factual to discursive and analytical, including non-verbal material such as diagrams, graphs or illustrations. General Reading has three sections,. Section 1 has two or three short factual texts. Section 2 has two short, work-related factual texts. Section 3 has one longer text on a topic of general interest taken from company handbooks, official documents, books and newspapers.

The Writing Section is for 60 mins. The writing section has two tasks. Task 1 is different for both Academic and General. In the Academic Task 1, you are required to summarize, describe or explain a table, graph, chart or diagram in at least 150 words. You should take 20 minutes for this task. In the General Task 1, you are required to write a letter on the given situation in at least 150 words in 20 minutes. In the Writing Task 2, in both Academic and General, you have to write an essay of at 250 words to answer the given question.

Try IELTS Reading Practice Tests and IELTS Listening Practice Tests, it will help you to improve your reading and listening skills.

IELTS evaluates your level of English by testing you in four skills of the language – Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. The best way to improve your English for IELTS is to get into the habit of reading. Read novels, magazines, newspapers, journals. Everyday read for at least two hours. Use a good dictionary – online or offline – to find out the meanings of the words that you don’t understand. Also listen to the pronunciation of these words.

Online dictionaries will give you good practice. This practice will help you with your pronunciation, and you will be able to practise the much needed stress and stretch in English words.

Listen to different speakers. Listen to TED talks, watch English news on T.V. Also, there are various free podcasts available. You can download new podcasts daily and listen to them. Paraphrase what you hear, and discuss the podcast with a friend or someone who would like to practise with you. This will prepare you for for both Listening and Speaking tests.

However, don’t emphasise just on enhancing your vocabulary and improving your pronunciation, you must also improve your grammar. It should be strong. If your hold on English grammar is not good, your band score of not only speaking and writing tests but also of reading and listening tests will be adversely affected. Take online intermediate and advanced level grammar quizzes. They will help you to improve your grammar. YunoLearning is the website that offer free practice tests for reading and listening.

Become familiar with the type of questions in the four tests of IELTS exam. Understand what you are required to do in response to those questions. Your familiarity with the questions will increase your speed. Take practice tests to improve your English reading, writing, speaking and listening skills according to the what is required in IELTS.

To improve your English for IELTS, you can even attend free online classes. It is an excellent platform to understand the different modules and to clarify your doubts. Writing Tasks 1 and 2 may be challenging for you if you face difficulty in reviewing them yourself or you are unable to locate your mistakes. An instructor can evaluate your response and help you in overcoming your weaker areas.

In the IELTS Listening test, you can write your answers in lower or upper case or a combination of both. In other words, you are not marked on your use of capitalisation so you can choose whichever works best for you. Some students prefer to ‘print’ their answers in capital letters, and this is a good idea if your handwriting is not legible. Writing in capital letters usually requires more time, but in the listening test this is not really a problem as you have an additional 10 minutes at the end of the final recording to transfer your answers to the answer sheet.

For the IELTS Reading test, you can similarly write all answers in upper or lower case or a combination of both (using capitals at the beginning of proper nouns). Punctuation is not taken into account when marking reading papers so your score will not be affected by your use of capital letters. Remember, however, in the reading test you cannot get an additional 10 minutes at the end to transfer your answers, hence it is advisable to transfer answers in a running hand than in capitals as it might be a time consuming task unless your handwriting is not readable.

You do not have to understand the IELTS Reading text. Instead, you should be able to identify the different points covered by the author in that particular text and get a good general view of the entire text to answer the questions based on it. One skill that you need to acquire for this is the skill of skimming.

How should you skim read the text? Well, this is what you do daily when you read a newspaper or a novel or an interesting article. Your focus is on just the main points, and you want to read those points as quickly as you can without wasting any time.

Therefore, do the following to improve your skimming speed for your IELTS reading:

  1. Read the title of the passage and get a general idea of the passage – what it is about. This will tell you what you can expect in the text you are going to read
  2. Read the first sentence of each paragraph to know the scope of the paragraph. You can look just for the words that will help you to know the points related to the topic sentence. Underline the first sentence and note down the gist in one or two words in the margin.
  3. Read and underline the subheadings and subtitles. They will provide the points for your answers.
  4. In the longer discursive or analytical passages with bigger paragraphs, read and underline the last sentence of each paragraph. These sentences will help you to get an idea about the opinion of the author.
  5. Underline the linkers and transition words. They will help you to locate different points for your answers.
  6. Underline the repetitions. Sometimes, names and dates are repeated in different paragraphs. When you have to scan the text to locate information for particular answers, these will help.
  7. Read the last paragraph quickly to understand the conclusion.

Thus, skim reading is a quick overview of what you read – but you read by paying attention to important points that help you to know what the author has included in the text about a particular subject. When you re-read the passage after reading the questions, you know which part or paragraph should be scanned for information.

In the IELTS Reading test, you get 60 minutes to answer 40 questions based on the passages – three longer ones in the Academic and several shorter ones and one longer one in the General. Hence, you need to skim read before moving on to the questions. Before reading the questions, you must have an overview of the text which you will be scanning for information. Take IELTS Reading Practice Tests, it helps you to improve your skimming speed for IELTS reading.

Sitting for an IELTS test especially IELTS academic test requires a lot of mental alertness, promptness and proper understanding of the IELTS format. IELTS exam is divided into four sections Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking and out of that, it is further divided into two categories ie. General and Academic. IELTS academic is generally for those candidates who are seeking admission into a professional, masters degree or higher studies. IELTS academic section weighs your language understanding before your start with any course.

I took a lot of IELTS academic practice tests as sitting for the IELTS exam requires a lot of practice beforehand as it is much harder than the general IELTS exam. An academic exam consists of an academic reading section which contains 3 long passages which are procured from various sources like magazines, journals, books, newspapers etc. and a couple of questions based on those passages. A person gets around 60 minutes to complete this section.

Next is the academic writing section which was quite a challenge as it requires understanding, good thought process but it has to be completed in the stipulated time. It contains the reporting or description of the line graphs, bar graphs, pie charts, tables or diagrams. Besides that, it contains an essay which has to be written from your viewpoint.

Other than the academic writing, comes the academic listening section that carries 4 sections that comprise 40 questions and time allowed is 30 minutes. It basically is a speed based and retention-based section. The different sections consist of a dialogue, a monologue, a conversation between a group of people generally not more than 4 people and a monologue on any academic subject. The biggest challenge while attempting this section is that the audio will play just once and if you skip on some information, there is a high chance of you goofing up in the questions.

Last but not least is the academic speaking section and this comprises of an extempore speaking on a topic, your self-introduction section and a question-answer round with an examiner. This section is to be done in 15 minutes.

Overall, an academic IELTS exam can become a scary deal if it is not well prepared beforehand as it is a major test of your accuracy skills, retention, speed and sticking to the word limit and also not deviating from the main questions asked. Especially the writing task requires a lot of precise ideas which need to be summarised in a presentable manner and that too in brief. Sticking to the word limit is again another challenge which needs to be taken care of besides good expression via good vocabulary and apt grammar.

IELTS is a language testing system which is a test of language proficiency on an International level. It assesses your proficiency in the English language which is needed to qualify for higher education abroad.

Like any other assessment tests, IELTS too have a score rating. The higher the score the better you qualify for top-ranked universities abroad. The rating of IELTS is called bands and it rated is on a scale of 1 to 9. An IELTS score is considered to be good if it is above 7 bands. All the foreign universities consider 7 bands or higher for high end technical and professional courses. Even the permanent residency is based on a good IELTS score. A lower than 7 IELTS score will not be eligible for admissions in high-end universities. So overall, a score reflects a person’s competency and fluency in each of the English module like reading, writing, listening and speaking.

7.5 bands in IELTS is a pretty good score and to score that much one must have a minimum of 8 bands in 2 of the modules and 7 bands in another two modules which totals up and gives the average of 7.5. This score is good enough to qualify for fast-paced immigration to Canada and to top-notch universities in the USA. Countries like Canada and USA require a band of 7.5 or above to allow admission into their Master’s program, doctoral or postdoctoral degrees. Even some Australian universities need 7 bands or above to allow admission in their undergraduate programs.

7.5 is not a tough nut to crack if the candidate is proficient and well versed with the English language but surely it is a challenge for the candidate who has a weak grip on the English language. The main challenge people face in IELTS exam is the grammar if that portion is practised a lot and understood well then a person can score reasonable good. But the higher bands in IELTS are achieved depending on a person’s inherent skills in the English language. When it comes to achieving a score that is higher than 7 bands then following the IELTS band descriptors always help, in which everything counts like the speed, ability to paraphrase, grammar, accuracy, connectivity, lexical resource, fluency, pronunciation, task achievement, sticking to the word limit, use of simple and complex sentence structures, coherence and cohesiveness etc. If all these band descriptors are closely followed and infused in the IELTS exam, a person can get a high band score.

To get a good score in IELTS join free IELTS Live classes.

Yes, even if you are fluent in English, you still need to prepare well for the IELTS exam. As many people with good English do not score high band in IELTS which implies that IELTS require not only good English but also need certain specific skills like analyzing skills, summarising skills, concluding the essays, retention of the information etc. And all these skills need a lot of training and practice.

As IELTS is not just a regular English language test but it tests you on various parameters. Good spoken English is not the only thing which is required to sit for the IELTS exam rather sit for this exam one needs proper guidance and preparation. As the writing portion of the IELTS test requires a lot of precision, good lexicon and sound knowledge of grammar rules, and for that one needs to do extensive practice. If a candidate has a good thought process and is able to express precisely then taking a lot of practice sessions can help him/her improvise on summarizing and analysing the different writing task 1 questions.

IELTS exam is time-based and even if the candidate is fluent it won’t help him much until you go through many practice tests so as to know the exact pattern of the test. The practice tests give you practice on skimming through the long reading passages and extract the useful information, to write precisely in a limited number of words without over-stuffing, to listen attentively and retaining the necessary information.

Basically, IELTS exam requires to the point and apt answers, be it any section of the exam especially the writing section and that too in a limited time frame. That means along with the language one needs to have good speed as well, which one can acquire with a lot of practice. Many people lose good score due to information overdose in the writing section, even though the English is good but a lot of unnecessary information is stuffed in which is definitely not required and is considered as a negative point in IELTS. IELTS format is very typical and it needs to be understood before giving it a shot. So even a person having good conversation skills need certain guidance for the IELTS exam as there are lot many technicalities which one must know before sitting for the IELTS exam and that can only be learnt with self-preparation or coaching.

There are various factors people choose Canada as their permanent destination like a high standard of living, finest education, robust economy and work benefits.

It is very evident that if one becomes a permanent resident of Canada, he/she is legal to live, study and work anywhere in Canada. But it’s a prerequisite that one can apply for the permanent residency only after living in Canada for 3 years. Besides, that if one gets the Permanent residency then one can also sponsor their relatives or family.

You need to approach the Canadian embassy to get going and in a nutshell, there are few basic things which are required when you apply for Canadian PR:

1.) The medical certificate which shows that you are fit to apply.

2.) Criminal Record check which states that you’ve not been involved in any crime

related activity.

3.) IELTS score

4.) Educational qualification assessment by IRCC accredited agency like WES

etc.

5.) The required documents like NOC, Work experience, reference letter, Birth

certificate etc.

6.) Duly filled up PR application.

How to get the Permanent residence in Canada?

There are various programs under which one can apply for Canadian Permanent Residency. Visa can be applied under different categories for PR:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program: This is considered to be the most open and preferred program to apply for Permanent Canadian immigration. It is a point based system called Comprehensive Ranking system (CRS), wherein your age, educational qualification, work experience and IELTS score etc. are considered. Under this, the first and the foremost thing you require is the IELTS exam score (with minimum 6 bands) and the educational qualification assessment for equivalency check (from an IRCC accredited agency like WES, ICAS etc). Once you have qualifying points then you submit your application and the processing of which takes around 6 months to a year if all the parameters are met.
  • Provincial Nomination Program: This program is meant for the people who want to live in a specific province within Canada. And living in that province they would contribute to economic growth of that region by investing finances or by working there. There is a different application for this program and also a list of PNP requirements is different for each province. Like some of the provinces need a job offer beforehand and some do not require the job offer prior to applying. The provinces which do not need the job offer are Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick etc.
  • Family Sponsorship: People who have a family or relatives already settled in Canada, can be sponsored by them. The relations that can be sponsored are parents, siblings, spouse, dependents and domestic partner.
  • Investor or Business Class program: People who want to venture into Canada to flourish their business further and want to invest financially in Canada to create resources and opportunities can apply under this category. People who have to start-up businesses or are entrepreneurs or would like to invest finances in Canada are the eligible candidates for this category.
  • Canadian Experience Class program: This program is for the people who are already in Canada on a temporary basis but wish to settle permanently in Canada itself. There are various factors that are considered to qualify for this program and those are an education in Canada and Canadian work experience.

IELTS is a language exam which needs proper preparation before sitting for the exam. Coaching is usually an individual preference but it depends on the current proficiency level of a candidate in English and what score the candidate wants to achieve. If a higher band is needed then guidance always is helpful. Although coaching is not a must if one is aware of the format of this exam. There are many online portals where you can find sample tests (ReadingListeningWriting task 1, and Writing task 2) and a lot of information about the IELTS exam.

A candidate who has good command over English and has good communication skills can gather the required material from the internet from various online portals. There are many different websites which give many tips, tricks and techniques to attempt the IELTS exam. Since it is a time-based exam so a lot of practice is required even if the candidate is good at English. It’s simply not a grammar test that one can walk in and crack the exam, but it tests you on all areas of the language like spoken, written, listening and reading. A robust vocabulary and jotting down the notes of the grammar rules is always helpful.

Ideally, if a candidate is fluent in the language, then one can take a sample IELTS exam which is available on the internet, it will give you a clear picture about how well prepared are you and where all are you lacking? So it gives you a better sense and a rough assessment of your IELTS preparation. Once you know about your weak areas, you can hone them up by taking practice in those areas and also there are many IELTS training videos on youtube. One can refer to those videos and do self-preparation.

Self-training is helpful for those candidates who are well familiar with the language and just need brushing up of the techniques of the exam. Whereas in case someone is not very well versed with the language then coaching is one thing that they should prefer as it the coaching will help them to learn the structuring of the writing tasks, grammar rules, the basic style of writing, understanding of the language etc. Without the coaching, they may not be able to secure a good band in IELTS. But yes coaching is not a prerequisite for IELTS exam, it is an individual preference. And it should be decided on the basis of one’s current proficiency level in the language and what score one plans to achieve.

There is one prerequisite which every foreign country requires before giving the admission to the students from different parts of the world and that is proficiency in the English language. It can be tested by an International English Language Testing System, also abbreviated as IELTS.

Anyone who is applying for a student visa to Canada needs to clear IELTS with a minimum of 6 bands overall. The IELTS score requirement may vary in different colleges but if one is applying for an undergraduate course then the minimum IELTS score requirement is 6 bands overall. That implies a 5.5 band in each of the IELTS section. But for the graduate or postgraduate courses, one needs to have a minimum 6.5 bands in IELTS. A 6.5 band means at least 6 bands in all four sections of IELTS.

There are some professional courses like nursing, medicine etc which need at least 7 bands in IELTS. To score 7 bands means to fetch at least 6.5 bands in each reading as well as listening sections and 7 bands in the writing and speaking sections.

There are more than 89 universities in Canada and each university in Canada has their own minimum IELTS score criteria. Although the minimum cut off is 6 bands for any kind of basic course.

Some of the top universities in Canada which require overall 6.5 bands are:

· McGill University

· University of Toronto

· University of British Columbia

These universities have an overall band requirement and individual score by section requirement as well. Like the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia needs a minimum 6 bands in each section of IELTS.

Besides the top universities, there are some universities that have a lesser cut off score for IELTS, namely:

· St.Clair College of Applied Arts and Technology

· Canadore College of Applied Arts and Technology

· Royal Roads University

The above-mentioned universities require minimum 5.5 bands overall and 5 bands in each section except Canadore College of Applied Arts and Technology which requires 5.5 bands in each section.

We all are aware that immigration to any foreign country be it Australia, Canada or New Zealand etc. is on the basis of the point system. There are many factors to calculate these points such as the age of a person, qualification, work experience etc. but besides that, language proficiency is another important factor. IELTS is one such exam of language testing which basically is an English test to see your proficiency in the language in all the areas like speaking, reading, listening, writing. This testing system doesn’t actually have any pass or fail criteria but a higher IELTS score can open up many opportunities for a person and also it is suggestive that a person has superior and very proficient English language skills.

A score of band 5, 6 or 7 in the IELTS exam is considered to be an average score but it doesn’t fetch any points until one scores much higher bands. A high IELTS score can bag you another 20 points if the IELTS band is 8 or above. Which implies that if you have a higher IELTS band you have better points for immigration purpose and it is not only limited for the immigration points but an above 8 IELTS score opens the door to many top-notch foreign universities. It isn’t rocket science to get score 8 in IELTS but all it needs is the right focus and certain tips and techniques to crack that score.

However, getting a band 8 needs preparation as per the band descriptors such as the task fulfilment, correct use of grammar, good vocabulary usage, fluency, pronunciation, coherence and cohesion used in a way that it looks natural than forced. Paraphrasing of the statements in an appropriate manner, highlighting the salient features, ideas should be presented sequentially and logically in a well organised manner. All of these features are critical and can help achieve a high score.

Besides that, when you are applying to any foreign university, understanding of their language is always a big plus point as the courses you will be studying will be in their language. So, the higher IELTS score is not just a score to get admission or to clear immigration point system but it also helps you to prepare for the best because when you will prepare for the English language test thoroughly, the preparation will hone up your language skills in many aspects like it will enhance your vocabulary, will enhance your spoken English, it will make your thought process more organised and you will also know how to extract the useful information from vast reading passage. Once these things are achieved, it obviously gives a better grasp of the language which is very essential.

IELTS classes and practice tests to help you improve your English language skills and score 8+ bands for General and Academic IELTS.

As Canada is a land of opportunities, gives security of high living standard and professional growth, so it has become the hottest spot for Indians to migrate and settle down. Getting a Canadian Permanent residency also abbreviated as Canadian PR from India is a series of meticulous steps which when followed can get you in the PR queue. The immigration to Canada guidelines are set by a federal body known as the Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

To qualify for a Canadian PR there are some very basic things that are needed in the first place and those are:

· A valid travel document ie. Valid Passport

· Identity Proof

· Educational qualifications which will have to be assessed and evaluated by WES or any accredited online agency for Canadian equivalency.

· Recent passport photographs

· Your prior work experience (recommendations and references will be needed)

· Completed PR Application along with the required documents

· A valid IELTS score

· Job offer from the employer in Canada

Out of all the things, one key requirement to apply for Canadian PR from India is the IELTS result and one needs to have a minimum of 6 bands irrespective of the category you are applying under.

Besides this basic checklist, one has to check under which category one is applying for. The immigration procedure is divided into many different categories :

1. Express Entry program

2. Provincial Nominee Program

3. Quebec Skilled worker Program

4. Family sponsorship

Under these categories, there are various ways one can get the Canadian PR. But the main difference in the Express Entry and Provincial Nominee Program categories is that the Express Entry program allows a candidate to settle anywhere in Canada and the Provincial Nominee Program allows to settle just in a particular province.

There are subcategories under Express Entry Program like Federal Skilled Worker Program, Canadian Experienced Class, Federal Skilled Trades Program.

There are basic requirements for the Indians to apply for the PR and those are:

1. Assessment of Educational credentials: This is the prime thing which is needed to apply for Express Entry PR program. The assessment is done online by the World Education Services (WES) and they check your educational qualifications for the equivalency with Canadian education.

2. IELTS exam result: IELTS is an English proficiency language test and is most important for the Canadian PR. As the immigration is assessed on a point system, the IELTS score fetches you good points if the IELTS result is above 6 bands.

3. Application Submission: Once the educational qualification assessment is done and the IELTS exam is cleared, the next step is to create a profile online and select the category under which you are applying your PR and submit the completed application online along with the support documents.

4. Comprehensive Ranking System: After you submit the application online, it goes to the CRS which decides whether you qualify for immigration or not on the basis of your age, education, IELTS score etc. Just in case you do not qualify, you will have to enhance your CRS score by rewriting your IELTS exam and getting a better score or by enhancing your educational qualifications or getting more work experience. All this will help you secure more points for Immigration. On the other hand, if you do qualify for the immigration then, you will get into the Express Entry Draw system which takes place every 15 days.

5. Invitation to Apply: Once you get through the draw and receive an invitation to apply, you will get a few days to apply for PR and then you will finally get the PR Visa.

The IELTS exam is taken by approximately 2.5 people over the year for immigration or seeking admission to various universities across the globe that accept IELTS scores. IELTS is an English proficiency test that tests you on four criteria namely, reading, writing, speaking and listening. People who have learnt English as a second or third language struggle with attaining the required bands to fulfill their purposes. Learning a language is a dedicated task that requires reliable sources for self learning.

Most students struggle with the reading module. This demands you to read through 2500-3000 words and comprehend them to answer 40 questions. You need to ace reading to get a good score and simultaneously understand various question types. This requires the test taker to improve vocabulary, understand complex sentences and practice writing IELTS style questions.

WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE:

  • Develop your vocabulary especially of key IELTS topics such as work, education, social trends, mass media, travel and tourism, and the environment.
  • Improve your understanding of complex English so you can quickly follow complicated ideas and arguments. You need to see how ideas are connected together – within sentences, between sentences, and between paragraphs.
  • Practice answering IELTS style questions so you get used to them – work on practice test papers and get tips from your teacher

The best practice is to begin reading. Read articles that you find interesting to begin with. Later move on to IELTS related topics to build topic specific vocabulary. Do not mug words but also take a note of their usage. With continued reading you shall find multiple vocabulary words being used repeatedly and soon they shall be etched in your memory.

Once reading becomes a habit, try to indulge in “active reading”. Begin making notes and underline facts and figures. Identify key words and look for change in tone of the passage. Keep a dictionary along wherever you get stuck.

As a starting point, we have compiled a list of 10 useful reading resources and websites which may help you practice your reading skills at home. These cover a variety of topics, hence are very useful for preparing for an IELTS test.

  1. http://learnenglish.britishcounc…: free texts and exercises with a focus on business and work)
  2. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world: good for academic English and also good to keep up with current world issues
  3. https://www.newscientist.com/: excellent site about technology, health, science and the environment
  4. http://www.economist.com/: covering world politics, economics, science and technology, offering 3 articles a week for free if you sign up
  5. http://www.nationalgeographic.com/: covering environmental issues, culture, nature and animals. Very illustrative with a lot of amazing pictures.
  6. http://socialnewsdaily.com/: lots of short, easy to understand, contemporary articles drawn from the world of social media
  7. http://www.the-scientist.com/: a site about science, health, ecology, biology and innovation
  8. http://historynewsnetwork.org/: American site focusing on history, both US and worldwide, with lots of current affairs articles too
  9. http://www.bbc.co.uk/: news, views and much more from the UK’s most famous media institution. All topics included – also a good site to practice listening

http://www.inspirational-short-s…: sometimes it’s good to expand your vocabulary by reading short stories – here are some funny ones, and there are plenty more on the website.

  1. You Only Listen Once (YOLO!)

Many of us would love the chance to listen again, but IELTS won’t give you that. Here are a few tips to doing well with just one listening:

  • When you do practice test only listen once. Get used to it.
  • Try and identify your listening weaknesses and work on improving those areas.
  • On the question sheet, underline key words. Prepare to listen for those exact words and their synonyms.
  • Practice different types of listening situations (lectures, conversations, chatting, etc…).

2. Follow Your Heart

When practicing, choose interesting topics. Interesting for YOU. If you love professional tennis, listen to podcasts about professional tennis. If you love Roman history, listen to stories about Roman history. It is well known that we listen better to things we want to or enjoy hearing. If you really want to motivate yourself and get the best out of each and every listening practice, try this approach. You might even have fun doing it!

3. Audio Scripts

When choosing or searching for practice tests try and find ones with scripts. Scripts are the word-for-word written texts of the audio you listen to. There are many activities you can do with scripts. Here are a few points :

  • Accuracy check: First take notes without scripts. After that, compare your notes to the script. Check for accuracy, spelling, and misunderstanding.
  • Read aloud: After you read aloud, listen to the audio. How accurate were you? Did you sound the same as the speaker(s)?
  • Listen and read along: Follow the text while you listen. This will make strong connections for you in respect to pronunciation and understanding key words. Notice how the keywords are pronounced clearer and louder.

4. SYNONYMS

You probably know that synonyms are important in all parts of the exam. In the speaking and writing exam, you have to show you know how to use synonyms. In the reading and listening exam, many of the questions use synonyms in the questions. For example:

Listening text: “Duchess, who is the only King’s daughter…”

Listening test question:

Who is the princess?

  • Duchess
  • Duke
  • Not given

5. Get Real – Real Life Listening

English isn’t just a test. It is a language. IELTS tests you on your knowledge and skill of this language. One of the best ways to learn a language well and to do well on the test is to use English in real life. Every day you don’t have a conversation is a missed opportunity. So next chance you have… chat, text, call, email, discuss, and laugh in English.

6. Think In English

Many language experts agree about one key rule. Thinking in a specific language helps you learn that language. Many students of English often try and translate everything in their heads.

Don’t do it.

Translating has two main problems. First, it is slower. Second, you remember your language and forget the English.

On the listening exam you won’t have time to translate. Also, you’ll have to remember key English words. So, when you’re practicing English… think in English!

I have been approached by many students to help them in improving their score in the IELTS writing. Most of them are able to manage on their own in Speaking, Listening and Reading but get stuck in Writing. This happens despite their good English.

How is the IELTS Writing score calculated? Why is it difficult to move beyond a score of 6 or 6.5 in the writing test?

IELTS does not ask you to make your answers interesting. You should be able do what you are asked to do. In the Academic Writing Task 1, your score gets negatively affected if you fail to present accurate information, an overview for the visual input and highlight key features by supporting details with data. Moreover, your band score does not go beyond 6/6.5 if you do not include a range of vocabulary, including linkers. Similarly in the General Writing Task 1, you should have the correct format for letter writing and include the three points mentioned in the question in the order in which they are mentioned. Use a range of vocabulary and transition words to add details.

The Writing Task 2 is similar for both, only the difficulty level varies a little – the academic is the more difficult of the two. You should not focus on making the introductory paragraph eye-catching. Instead, paraphrase the question statement with a background statement and include your thesis statement, i.e. answer the task. Answer the question by giving relevant points. Support and develop these main points in different paragraphs. If your opinion is asked, you should state it clearly. Also, include a concluding paragraph. As in Task 1, in Task 2, i.e. essay question also, you should use a varied range of vocabulary. Use synonyms effectively. Link your points well.

Whether task 1 or 2, both should be error free. Ensure that you use a good mix of simple and complex sentences without grammatical errors. Errors of ‘subject verb agreement’ and the ‘tenses’ can affect your band score. Punctuation also plays a key role.

Hence, to move from a band score of 6/6.5 to a band score of 7 and more, you should practise a lot. There are many online sites where you will find High Band Score sample answers for different types of Task 1 and Task 2 questions. Compare your response with the sample response. If needed, get your answers evaluated by an IELTS instructor.

You now have the choice of taking IELTS on paper or on computer in a number of locations.

If you select this option, you will take the Listening, Reading and Writing sections on a computer. The Speaking test will remain face to face with a trained IELTS Examiner, as it is believed to be the most effective way of assessing your speaking skills.

The Listening, Reading and Writing sections of all IELTS tests (Paper-based or Computer-delivered) are completed on the same day. The Speaking section, however, can be completed up to a week before or after the other tests.

Read What is IELTS?

If you have taken the computer delivered IELTS test, you can preview your results online within 5-7 days after your test date. If you take the IELTS paper-based test, you can preview your IELTS results online in 13 calendar days after your test date. Your test centre will notify you when they become available. You’ll need your passport number, personal details, and your test date to retrieve your results. Your results will be available online for 28 days.

You will only receive one copy of your test report form, unless you are applying to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), or United Kingdom Visas and Immigration (UKVI) – in this case, you can receive two. Some test centres provide SMS alerts and you can preview your results online. Additional TRFs beyond these five can be requested from the test centre which issued the TRF. Please note, an administration fee may be charged for additional TRFs. If you have lost your TRF, contact the test centre which issued your TRF.

At any time within two years of sitting the test, you can apply to your test centre for up to five additional copies of your original test report form. These copies will NOT be sent to you, but can be sent to universities, embassies, consulates etc. on your behalf. You will only ever receive ONE personal copy of your test report form.

If the test centre where you took your test has closed the test centre can still send a copy of your test report form to any receiving organisation for the first two years after your test.

Vocabulary plays an indispensable role in IELTS. It is one of marking parameters in Reading and Writing modules. English Language is a vast ocean of vocabulary words knit together to make the language interesting and communicate effectively. This can be a tedious task for people whose native language is not English. The language which is used in the reading passages is not very easy to understand for all. Moreover, in Writing also, it is advised to use good vocabulary to grab good bands. For this purpose, one needs to inculcate power vocabulary. One can increase word power in various ways that are mentioned below:

  • READ NEWSPAPER: Reading newspaper is one of the best activities you can adopt for learning vocabulary. At the time of reading newspaper, you should keep a notebook and pen with which one can make notes of the words that are unknown. In this way, you collect plenty of words and build active vocabulary.
  • Once you have collected words, it is very important to retain them which is only possible if they are used actively in communication. It is advised to make sentences using them. Correct use of vocabulary words is equally important.
  • The next step is to find synonyms of these words. It is a usual practice in IELTS to paraphrase the questions using appropriate synonyms especially in reading passages. This practice of identifying synonyms and answering will increase scores.
  • Expression in English language plays a vital role and similar is the case for IELTS writing tasks. Appropriate use of phrases, connectors and transition words enhance your language skills and hints the examiner that one is well versed with using complex sentences that eventually heightens scores.
  • Apart from aforementioned, one can learn vocabulary by installing various mobile applications in their smartphones which is quite handy and are IELTS specific. They are topic specific and help in writing tasks.

Working on building a strong vocabulary requires persistence and perseverance. Active reading is one of the best techniques in my opinion to master this skill and passion combined with will power will automatically build vocabulary to get a high band in IELTS. This also goes a long way in communicating at various levels.

To improve your IELTS vocabulary take reading, writing, listening, and speaking practice tests.

PRACTICE, PRACTICE AND PRACTICE….The only way to score a perfect band is to burn the midnight oil. An effective schedule that includes practicing the four modules namely reading, writing, listening and speaking everyday would definitely help you score high. This coupled with an enthusiastic environment that helps to refine your skills could achieve the target.

Well, how to begin?

A good foundation of standard English grammar, academic level vocabulary, fluency in reading comprehension, writing with good grammar and a rich vocabulary, listening comprehension and speaking – can you take the next step: getting familiar with the IELTS format.

The time taken to improve your overall level of English will differ depending on your starting level and intensity of study. You should then take some time to become familiar with the specific IELTS requirements and accustomed to the exam format.

Here are eleven essential steps that will help you achieve a high IELTS score:

  • Start your preparation early, be consistent, and monitor your progress frequently.
  • Master English grammar in a systematic way.
  • Practice using your English skills in four ways – listening, speaking, reading and writing.
  • Take every opportunity to communicate in English, orally and in writing.
  • Enrich your vocabulary. This doesn’t happen overnight. Aim to learn at least 10 new words from different subject areas every day.
  • Read longer texts specialized in different subject areas – management, finance, culture, history, sciences, etc.
  • Listen to the news and watch documentaries on various topics in English.
  • Practice talking with other English speakers about yourself – your hobbies, interests, everyday life, family, job, dreams and professional aspirations.
  • When you have a solid foundation of English language knowledge and skills, join an IELTS course or work with a professional IELTS tutor.
  • If you are not sure whether you are ready to start preparing for the IELTS exam, take a diagnostic test and get feedback from a professional instructor on your level and next steps.
  • Towards the end of your IELTS preparation, start practicing with full-length tests under realistic conditions for several weeks before the test date.

Join Live classes of IELTS to get 9 bands in IELTS exam.

The aim of securing a 9 band is never impossible, but propelling yourself to attain such a score could take its toll. One must always look forward to an interactive class that fuels you with motivation, gives sound advice and guidance. It is simply not just securing a high score but also improving your English language skills.

To get through the IELTS exam, fluency of English is a must. For that, you need to be in an English speaking environment. Make sure you practice the listening and speaking very well as that will strengthen your language base. Apart from that, make sure you do refer to the accredited online IELTS material for your practice and also understand the format of the IELTS exam. Be aware of the various tasks it has, the number of questions each task carries etc.

You should listen to Ted Talks, Podcasts, English songs and radio regularly. Also, watch English movies without the subtitles, watch talk shows and interviews by Oprah, Ellen, world news etc., all these will help you in understanding the IELTS listening section.

For reading practice, you can join some library and make a habit of reading journals, newspapers, magazines, latest updates etc. It’ll increase your reading speed and also improve your understanding of the long passages. If all these tips are followed well, will improve your reading speed and they will help you attempt your reading section very well.

Whenever you get an opportunity to address or speak in English in an event, without thinking just grab that opportunity. Speaking extempore on some topic in front of a mirror also helps in speaking fluent English. If it’s done on a daily basis, it’ll improve our verbal skills in English. With that, it will be easier for you to crack the speaking section.

Take lots and lots of IELTS sample tests each day so you know your progress. Each time you do a practice test, check for the mistakes you made. Try to understand why mistakes happen and rectify them.

To attempt your writing section impressively, try to make a habit of learning 10 new words from a standardised dictionary each day and revise them each day before learning new ones. It’ll improve your vocabulary for effective spoken and writing skills. Always make use of synonyms while doing writing practice. Practice to write essays and letters every day and record the time taken for each task. Remember that the IELTS exam is not just an English language test, it also tests your language accuracy and speed. If required, you can take tips from the online IELTS portals as they provide the sample answers and tips for writing different tasks. Also, do refer grammar books to update your grammar rules. In that way you will not falter grammatically.

Once you do the regular reading, writing, listening and speaking practice you will be proficient enough to pass the IELTS exam. Though the IELTS exam does not have any pass or fail criteria, it does have a band system. The higher the bands, the better score it is considered.

A good way to start speaking in English by yourself is by first changing your environment by listening to a good selection of English songs, watching English TV series, TV shows, watching English movies, listening to talk shows, debates and podcasts etc. This way you will create a stimulating environment for yourself and it will motivate you to speak in English and not only just speaking but it will enhance your vocabulary, and expression.

Listening is the best way, to begin with, and it really will enhance your English speaking pronunciation and voice modulation. The second best way to improve your English speaking skills is by Reading books. It lifts up your choice of words you use while speaking and also helps you to improve your sentence structuring.

The next effective way to improvise on your English speaking skills is to communicate more in English. You can start off by regularly speaking extempore on some random topics. Extempores can build your imagination and sync up your thoughts with your speech and you will have more control over your language. Hence you can speak in English with more spontaneity. Besides that, taking the help of your English speaking friends can be helpful. Make sure you converse in English with them no matter how good or not so good you are at the language. You can only grasp the language speaking skills by practising it as much as you can.

Consequently, all these tips will really help you in making your spoken skills effective. One of the most important things to do is to keep exploring and touch up the grammar each day so that you understand the basis of the language. Once you are familiar with the grammar rules and you put them into practical use, you will be quite fluent in your spoken skills. Also, to enhance your verbal skills, you can record your spoken content and then you can hear it back to check for the grammatical and sentence structuring mistakes. It will help you to catch hold of your shortcomings in your English speaking skills.

English is a language by virtue of which you communicate your feelings, ideas, thoughts to the other person and the only way to communicate well with the others is by practising it by speaking in English whenever you can. On the whole, if you create an English speaking environment around you, it will automatically increase your language understanding and hence encourage you to speak in English. The idea is to speak in the English language only, even if you have grammar or pronunciation issues; you should not hesitate at all. You will get into the flow after a few days practice and that is the key to get fluency in your English language skills.

IELTS being a language test to check your proficiency in English. The better language skills you possess, the better score you achieve. To be honest, score 6 is not at all difficult to secure in the IELTS exam but you must remember like any other exam you must be thorough with your preparation.

If you have decent to more than average English language skills while writing and speaking than you are more likely to achieve a score 6 or above. Whatever the score you set your eyes upon you need to prepare more than that so you are near your set goals.

To get score 6 or above, the first and the foremost thing is to know the basic format of the IELTS exam to know what is the pattern and what kind of questions will be asked. Once you a familiar with the pattern of the exam, you can start your preparation by enrolling yourself into some professional coaching or you can prepare individually on your own.

Basically, IELTS exam assesses you on your English speaking and writing skills as it just tests your communication level before you enter into any foreign country. So, knowing their language well will be an advantage for you. It’s essential for anyone to have a fair knowledge of the English language, and especially the grammar which is the biggest challenge for many candidates appearing for the IELTS exam. If you prepare well and make that portion your strong part, it becomes much easier for you to get good scores as many candidates lose good grades due to that.

Besides the grammar, good practice of writing task 1 and writing task 2 with the help of a professional or taking many sample tests can cover your major portion. Next important sections are you listening and speaking sections. You really need to have a mammoth size retention power while attempting listening section, as the audio piece you will hear will be played just once and you need to retain the important facts and figures to answer the questions based on it. To practice that, you can listen to many audio podcasts on the BBC portal or you can listen to TED Talks and many monologues etc. A good grasp on the listening section can really be helpful in the exam.

Other than the writing, listening sections, the reading and speaking sections are equally important and getting good bands in each of them will cumulatively help you get a score of 6 or above. You should practice reading by going through journals, blogs, newspapers, articles, current affairs, current global issues and other important topics like environmental issues etc. And when you read try to skim out the important points. For speaking try to get the help of a fellow candidate who is to appear for the IELTS, try to discuss and practice speaking with him so that you a fluent.

All these tips if followed and practised well can help you get a 6 band in IELTS exam without any hassle.

Improving your oral English in a month is not a very gigantic task to achieve. It is very much attainable but all you need is a strong motivation and perseverance to achieve your set goal.

By creating an environment which motivates you to practice your English verbal skills can help you enhance your language. English is mere language to communicate you’re your thoughts with the other person.

To possess good English oral skills, there are certain parameters you should go by like:

  • Speaking grammatically correct English: In English or be it any language, “grammar” is the king. The other person you are communicating with will not be able to comprehend what you want to say if you are using grammatically incorrect English.
  • Intonation: Putting the right stress on the required words so that your speech does not look flat.
  • Right expression: It’s not important that what we talk but how we put it across is more Important.
  • Language Fluency which also means you speak without fumbling.
  • Correct pronunciation: The way the word is pronounced matters a lot.
  • Proper sentence structuring: Whatever you want to communicate make sure a sentence needs to be formed by keeping in mind all the grammar rules.
  • Use of good vocabulary: The use of good vocabulary is always a plus point. For that, you don’t need to use fancy lexicon but using synonyms can do the magic on your spoken skills.

Developing your oral skills can be acquired through constant practice. And this can be learnt in a few days by watching English movies with the subtitles in English, English TV serials, watching YouTube videos which help you with your pronunciation, verbal expression etc. Along with that reading novels, good English books can help you with your English expression at your own pace. You can refer to some good books pertaining to the English speaking as they help you with the grammatical issues. Also, listening to good English songs can keep a tab on your English fluency, as you listen to them, try to pick on the lyrics and hum along, it’s a good way to become fluent in English.

Take free IELTS Reading Practice Tests

To some extent writing, short stories or essays etc on any generic topics can help you with organizing your ideas and imagination. The foremost thing to be a fluent English speaker is having organized ideas, you win half of the war. If you are able to sort and arrange your ideas in a proper manner, your hesitation will be gone and you will be able to structure your sentence more efficiently, hence, more fluency.

The most important thing for IELTS listening section is to know about the format of the section.The listening section is divided into 4 subsections and you get only 40 minutes in all to complete your test. And you have to remember one thing that the audio is played just once in the listening section so your attentiveness is of utmost importance. Daily practise of listening tests will help you increase your retention power as that is the foremost thing that is required while attempting this section.

You must read the instructions before you start the test and it is always helpful to go through the questions beforehand so that you know what answers you need from the audio. It will save your time and also help you to concentrate on finding the correct answers from the audio played. You must keep one thing in your mind is that when you answer the questions, spellings should be absolutely correct as if you misspell the answer you lose the score.

The key to success is practise listening sample tests each day to get the hang of the different accents. Listening to a good quality of podcasts, audios, monologues, dialogues etc each day will enable you to understand the words clearly. While listening to the different audios try to jot down the important points or the main highlights without stopping the audio, it will give you better practise as during the exam the audio will be played continuously without any break. You really need to concentrate on every word of the audio and need to catch the names, facts, and figures accurately. Avoid writing immediately when you hear the answer, just look for the connecting words but/however/whereas etc. as generally, the answers would be around those words. Don’t waste too much time on one question, if you have skipped an answer just write a probable answer and move onto the next question. The wrong response will not fetch you negative marking so try to write something in the response sheet, it may be correct.

Since, the listening test has 4 sections, with each section difficulty level grows, so you must maintain your calm to concentrate well. The other way to crack the listening section is to learn various tips and strategies to attempt this section. And that can be learned from various online IELTS portals and youtube channels run by IELTS professionals, which teach you many techniques with the help of which you can score well in this section.

If you need to prepare for the IELTS exam but have no idea how long it will take you to get the required score, then air idea of the time required to ace the exam. The time preparation varies from person to person. An individual’s level of English language proficiency is the deciding factor that includes knowledge of the language, grammar, correct pronunciation etc.

Accessing your language skills:

Below, you will find 4 questions you must ask yourself if you wish to determine how long it will take you to prepare for the IELTS exam:

Question 1: “How is my general English?”

If your general English is weak, you will need to learn the rules behind grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation, all of which require TIME and practice to improve.

If your general English is strong, your main focus will be improving your exam skills, which will require far less time.

Question 2: “Where am I now and where do I need to be?”

What is your current band score and what is your required band score?

The larger the gap between your current and required scores, the MORE TIME it will take you to prepare for your test.

Question 3: “When is my exam?”

If you have already booked your test, it’s important that you are realistic with your expectations. For example, expecting to complete your preparation in just one month will damage both your confidence and your perception of the IELTS exam.

If you haven’t booked your test yet – GOOD! You are in a very favorable position. Set a realistic deadline by which you should complete your studies. Once you hit this deadline, you must ask yourself – ‘Am I confident that

I can get the score I need?’ If the answer is ‘no’ then you should spend more time preparing.

Question 4: “How much time can I spend studying each day?”

This one requires you to be realistic.

An individual that can spare 4 hours of study per day will achieve their IELTS goals in a much shorter period of time than a student that can only study for 30 minutes a day.

Once you’ve determined how long it should take you to get your required score, you need to make a plan of action. In other words, you need to make a study plan. A step by step guide to creating your own study plan or schedule will help to reach the goal

IELTS academic reading test will be in three parts with difficulty level rising with each upcoming passage. So to get a high band score in IELTS reading the first and foremost thing to do is start reading articles and journals on Science, Education, Management, Technology, Inventions, Health, etc. Start reading newspaper likes The Hindu, The NewYork Times, The Guardian, The Washington Post and alike. Try to summarise what you have read in your words so that you know if you have covered all the points or not. While reading jot down main points or underline them. Try locating the thesis statement wherever possible. Keep adding new vocabulary to your dictionary. Make it a habit of reading at least 2-3 hours per day. Keep a track on the time you take to read a passage. Maintain a good speed in the reading test. Last but not the least; try attempting as many mocks as possible or IELTS reading practice test.

Tips for the D-Day

  • Start with passage one as it will be the easiest one. (The last will be the difficult one).
  • Allot sufficient time to each passage. Try completing the first one in around 13 min. The second in around 15-18 min. In this way, you’ll be left with 29-32 min. Utilize this time in answering the last passage and verifying your entire answer sheet.
  • Give a quick glance on questions whenever you attend a passage, so you are aware of what answers you need to search for.

OR

First, go through the passage quickly and then give a quick glance to questions and then start attempting questions. (Try with both the strategies and see what suits you the most)

  • Keep on underlining important details, facts, and figures while reading.
  • Do not get stuck on one question. Move on if you are not able to answer and get back to it at a later stage.
  • No need to read the entire passage for specific information. Skim and scan the passage.
  • Try to understand from the heading of the passage.
  • Questions are not jumbled, henceforth the answer for a second question will be after the answer of question one and before the answer of question three. For other types of questions, elimination is the key to success.
  • Forgiving a title to the passage, try locating the thesis statement or try understanding the summary of the comprehension.
  • For matching heading questions, read each paragraph carefully and try eliminating options (here questions will not follow a sequence). Whichever you get first, mark the answer for that and then try for others. No need to follow the sequence.
  • Follow the instructions properly. For Questions, in which not more than one/two/three words are to be mentioned, needs to handle with care. Any extra information will cost you a point.
  • For a question like True/False/Not Given or Yes/No/Not Given. Be intelligent enough to distinguish between False/No and Not Given. Generally, the trap lies in marking something as false or Not Given.
  • Try understanding the author’s opinions and arguments.
  • If you are not able to understand the passage, do not panic. You’ll still be able to find answers. Just read questions and try locating answers.
  • Staying calm and confident will boost your chances of success.
  • Copy answers carefully on your answer sheet.

If you are sitting for the pen and paper IELTS exam, handwriting plays an important role. Clear writing so that the examiner can read your work is very important. It text can be both straight or cursive but handwriting plays a vital role while attempting the writing module. Bad handwriting can take the examiner efforts to read answers while good handwriting gives a good first impression. It also shows clarity in thought and planning before drafting the answer.

If writing is a rare occasion for you, it is better to start penning down your answers in blue and black to assess your handwriting. Also, time yourself while answering the tasks to perform well in the actual exam when you will be under performance pressure.

A lot of students now struggle with getting a band of 7 and above. Attaining this band requires strategic writing and avoiding the following mistakes:

  1. Using good IELTS specific vocabulary: Using vocabulary while writing section 1 and 2 of academic IELTS is misunderstood. Writing impressive words simply to show the expanse of lexical resources is foolishness. The correct use of wide range of vocabulary words is quintessential to attain a high score. The sentences should be framed correctly with no grammatical mistakes and collocation to bring meaning to the main idea. The words so used should not to be out of place and embedded in the text to enhance the meaning of the sentence.
  2. No grammatical errors: A good score of 7 and above requires no grammatical mistakes. Correct use of tenses, articles and punctuation will give maturity to the sentence. Incorrect grammar although with good ideas will not achieve a band greater than 5 in IELTS academic writing. In order to improve your writing skills, take advice from a trained, experienced IELTS trainer to assess your writing and give feedback. After knowing the grey areas, it will be clear to work on those aspects of grammar. Try solving worksheets based on those topics to eliminate those mistakes.
  3. Understanding the question correctly: It is very important to write relevant information to support the question. In order to do so, you need to understand the topic and give specific details to support your argument. The “WHAT/WHY/HOW/WHEN” needs to be answered correctly. A clear opinion must be emphasised on while drafting your answer.
  4. Developing the main idea: The most common mistake done while drafting the answer for task 2 is not developing the main idea but enlisting them in the body paragraphs. There should be explanation to support the main idea and an example to further make the idea more clear. Before drafting the essay, 5 to 10 minutes should be spent on laying out the main ideas and relevant explanation to support the statement.
  5. Effective writing: The elements to be included in the introduction, body paragraphs and the conclusion should be clearly developed. Its best to put yourself in the situation and think of the pros and cons before drafting. The introduction paraphrases the statement and includes your opinion as well. The body paragraphs should support your opinion and exemplify to support the argument. The conclusion should summarize the statement and reflect your opinion. There should be both task completion and task achievement to get a good band score.

The candidates who are aspiring to go in for higher education abroad for professional degrees are the ones who take the IELTS academic exam. The total duration of the IELTS exam is 2 hour 45 minutes. Although IELTS Academic and IELTS General have the same pattern having 4 different sections i.e Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking, but the reading and writing section differs in IELTS academic.

In the Academic writing section, a candidate gets two writing tasks (task 1 & task 2) and both the tasks must be completed within 60 minutes (1 hour). In task 1, a candidate is given a pie chart/bar graph/line chart/diagram/table/process, which he/she needs to describe in 150 words. All the important facts and figures are given in the visual need to be included in the report/description. It is a subjective task, so a candidate needs to fulfil the task by providing the relevant content related to the topic and should not stagger from the main topic. This task needs to be completed within 20 minutes. It can be written in formal or semi-formal English. Make sure the written content should not be under the word limit or should not exceed the word limit. Stick to the word limit. The overview should have the crux of the topic and the succeeding paragraphs should contain the different facts related to the visual. But, in this kind of writing, there are no concluding paragraphs. This task assesses you on how you use the given information in your writing.

In task 2 of academic writing, a candidate is required to write an opinion based or a discussion based essay on a general or a global issue. Again, it should begin with the introductory paragraph which should contain the question statement in a paraphrased language, followed by the candidate’s point of view. The candidate is required to write the essay in 250 words as that is the word limit, within 40 minutes. A candidate is supposed to write different ideas in separate paragraphs and ending the essay with a concluding paragraph. The content should be built around the topic and should not divert from the main concept and also it should not exceed the word limit. Try to use the synonyms, good vocabulary and there should not be any grammar mistakes. This task assesses you on the clarity of concept, how well organised the content is and connectivity of the ideas.

The academic reading section has 40 questions in all to be completed in 60 minutes. It carries three long passages which are taken from magazines, journals, newspaper articles etc. The questions are based on the passages and the question vary in form. They could be multiple choice, sentence completion questions, flow-chart completion, short answers, sentence completion, table completion, notes completion, match the headings, match the sentence endings, the paragraph containing the given statement, label the diagram and summary completion.

Overall, the academic section is marked on the basis of:

· Accuracy in Grammar

· Use of good vocabulary

· Cohesion and Coherence

· Task Achievement

If a candidate is able to fulfill these steps, it means he has clarity of the format.

Read more What is IELTS?

You have got a head start if you’re able to converse well in English. But being good or not good at the English language is not the only prerequisite for getting a good band in the IELTS exam. To tread the stretch to achieve high bands in IELTS need a lot more inputs rather than just good spoken skills. The most prominent thing is knowing the format of the IELTS exam. For that, you need to know all the different sections, the IELTS test is bifurcated into.

To start with, take a few samples tests which will help you identify your strong parts and the weak portions. Once you know your strengths and weaknesses, work diligently to hone up your weak areas. In order to attain 7 bands in IELTS exam, you need to push yourself to prepare for 9 bands because that will give you an enormous practice and your goal will be achievable. Make sure you do a comprehensive study for the exam and highlight the main areas which need more elaborate practice like writing section, especially task 2. In my opinion, a writing section is the toughest out of the lot yet most scoring.

To crack the IELTS with high bands, you need to get a stronghold on the writing section first and eventually the speaking section. To get that writing stint in you, go through a lot of writing task samples to get familiarize with the flow of writing, see how cohesion makes the writing impressive, ways to elaborate the ideas and then try to write an essay each day, to get synchronized with the IELTS writing pattern. A quick tip to nail the writing exam is first attempt task 2 of the writing section prior to task 1, as task 2 is lengthy and scoring.

To mark an impact on the interviewer you need to speak with confidence without any put-on accent. Use variation in tone along with the right expressions on the face to avoid looking like a poker face or expressionless. Also, the use of good vocabulary will make a difference. Besides that, a strong command on the English grammar will be a saving grace. In order to do that, try to speak extempore daily in front of a mirror on a multitude of topics. Converse in only English till the time you are preparing for your IELTS exam.

Listen to quality English music, watch English movies, series etc. to register different accents on your mind. It will give you a fine practice for listening skills. You can also watch Youtube videos that offer tips for good listening, reading, writing and speaking skills. Beyond that, reading a lot of articles, blogs, newspapers, books, journals etc. will train you to be a fast avid reader.

One main aspect to keep in mind before appearing for the IELTS exam is the time management. It is not just a test of your language abilities but it also tests you on your promptness of your responses.Getting a good band in IELTS majorly depends on the quality and time, as you get limited time for every task in every section. So, make sure you practice well for that. Also, you can prepare a quick reference sheet having main tips, tricks and strategies to follow, to attempt the exam in an effective way to fetch a band 7 or above.

Read how to improve IELTS Reading Skills and What is Speed Reading ?

Yes, there are a variety of online portals that offer free online sample tests for the IELTS exam. A vast majority of them offer you limited practice tests only after you sign up on their online portals. But you have to be very cautious and make sure the quality of the practice tests provided is good enough, up to the mark for you to go through them. The free practice tests available online are designed as per the original IELTS format. These tests give you the key points to get you started for an intensive practice for the IELTS exam and help you ace the IELTS exam with a high score. Some of the portals that offer free online practice are:

· https://takeielts.britishcouncil…

· https://www.yunolearning.com/iel…

· https://ieltsonlinetests.com/

· https://www.examenglish.com

· https://www.ielts.org

And there are many more such portals that provide free IELTS sample tests for practice. They give you a fair knowledge of the pattern of the IELTS exam, familiarize you with different sections and questions they carry. They are designed so as to imitate the real test to give you the real test feel. They give you a complete understanding of the real IELTS test and provide many important resources, practice materials that can hone up your skills that are required for the exam.

There are some portals which provide individual section specific sample tests like listening, reading, writing or reading. Although the free online portals provide you with limited content. Such portals also provide you with quick handy tips and strategies to nail the different sections of the IELTS exam. Reading through a variety of online samples from a good source for different sections will enable you to get the precise idea of how to go about.

English is just a language to convey your line of thoughts and speaking is just a process in which you interject the words into your thoughts. To speak well in English you just need the right words to express your ideas. And if you are looking to create the difference in your IELTS exam performance, there are many online free portals that teach you the concepts, do’s and don’ts, techniques to be used, etc. Even youtube has many IELTS based channels which methodically impart quality based IELTS training and help you prepare for the test with the help of pertinent examples. For the focussed preparation for the IELTS test, it will be best for the candidates to take the practice tests on the free portals available online.

The sure shot way to succeed in an exam is to be persistent in your efforts and breaking up with stress to avoid any mental blocks. The more well organized your preparation would be, the better results you will get. Even before you sit for the IELTS exam it’s very essential to schedule your time table according to the number of hours you intend to put into your IELTS study.

You need to organize your time to be devoted to each section of the exam and for doing that you need to have a clear understanding and familiarity with the format of the exam. IELTS is a test of your English language which clearly indicates that you need to have clarity of expression while writing or speaking. The biggest roadblock for the candidates appearing for the IELTS exam is the correct usage of the grammar rules. So, you should begin by brushing up your grammar rules and it will cover up a lot of things before you turn to the individual sections of IELTS. Once you have a good grasp of the grammar you can divide your time sections wise and you can start off with the preparation of the IELTS reading section by taking IELTS reading practice tests.

Since IELTS exam is a time-bound exam, so along with the preparation you also need to be quick in answering the questions without wasting the time. The reading section of IELTS can be attempted successfully by following certain tips and techniques that can save you a lot of time. One such technique is, if you read the questions before you start reading the passage then you can spot or identify the keywords in the passage to answer the questions you are looking for. It certainly buys you more time for other sections.

Similarly, there are many such tips that can be followed to attempt writing, speaking and listening sections of the IELTS exam. Besides that, the use of good lexicon is always an added advantage when you are appearing for the IELTS exam.

If in doubt, you can always enrol yourself in a professional IELTS preparatory course that is available online as web classes or even as private coaching. Also, the internet being a hub of information, you can find many portals offering IELTS sample tests and official IELTS practice material. The more you will practice the better you will be able to perform in the IELTS exam. Along with that keep a track of your progress while you prepare.

Task 2 of general writing in IELTS contains an essay which is largely on some social issue, global issue or a cause which needs your opinion or it will be an argument based essay. You get 40 minutes to write the essay in 250 words and the content of the essay should be relevant to the topic. Task 2 essays are opinion based, solution based or discussion based and in all types, you have to provide relevant examples on the basis of your own personal experiences. Some generic topics are If the internet is causing a social setback, issues due to modern technology, How increased use of Mobile phones is affecting our lives, Traffic and road congestion problems-How it can be fixed, Overpopulation-way to deal with it, Money is important for happiness or not, to what extent technological advancement has lead to problem of unemployment etc.

The writing task 2 is to be written in a typical format and the way to attempt it is by starting the essay with paraphrasing the question statement in the first paragraph which is also called the introductory paragraph. The success of this task is dependent on how effective your introduction is; you need to include your thesis statement in it along with a crisp introduction of the topic as per what you think. Thereafter, the next two paragraphs need to have the ideas supporting your opinion by giving examples from your experiences. Different ideas need to be stated in different paragraphs. Finally, there needs to be a concluding paragraph which needs to reword the thesis statement having the solutions/advantages/disadvantages/opinions that can help fix the given issue.

Always make sure that there is connectivity in all the paragraphs of the essay. If the information is placed haywire in the paragraphs your score would go down as you are assessed on cohesion, coherence, task achievement and the relevance of the content. Always stick to the topic given and avoid stuffing in the unnecessary details. Make sure the thoughts expressed in the essay should be organized logically with the supporting facts. Besides that, the essay should be grammatically correct and wherever needed make use of punctuations. Avoid exceeding the word limit. Read more about IELTS.

Like any other language, English is one of the languages used to communicate your thoughts and ideas to the other person. When you put across your idea to the other person, it will be better understood if your spoken or written expression is clear and grammatically correct.

Your success in IELTS exam lies in the use of grammatically correct English be it written or verbal. If you are good at your grammar skills, it implies you understand the English language well and will have effective sentence structuring. And a good sentence structure and good verbal skills will fetch you a good score in the IELTS exam. Besides that grammatically correct English will boost your confidence to do well in the IELTS exam.

To enhance grammar skills, there are various online websites, blogs, mobile applications which give you the practice exercises and also updates you on the basic grammar rules. By going through the grammar rules can help you understand the sentence structuring better. Also, you can undergo an IELTS preparation course that is conducted by various institutes and online portals. They cover everything including the grammar rules to be followed while attempting the IELTS writing and speaking section. The “ grammar” is the backbone of the English language, honing up your knowledge in it will definitely help you securing good score in IELTS.

You can take free IELTS practice tests at Yuno Learning.

Although in IELTS exam there is no such individual test of grammar rather you are graded on different skill sets like task achievement, accuracy, word limit, expression, lexical resource etc. Yet knowing the grammar rules will help you to get a good score in the IELTS exam. That implies you need to have a clear and deep understanding of the active/passive voices, (present, past, future) tenses, usage of prepositions, use of contracted forms, usage of countable and uncountable nouns, verbs, use of articles, using commas etc. Knowing all of this is the crux of the entire IELTS exam; if you are well versed with all of this, you sure will get a 7 band or above. As it’s said, “the practice makes the man perfect”; the more you practice the more proficient you will be at it.

In addition to this, to enhance your IELTS score, listening to the Podcasts, Ted Talks, watching good English TV shows, English movies can help you improve your listening and speaking skills. Reading magazines, current affairs, newspapers, journals etc can enhance your reading capability. All these things can cumulatively help you in getting a good score in the IELTS exam.

IELTS speaking test will be around 15 min and with a certified examiner giving it a real-life situation. Henceforth, it becomes imperative to be thorough with your IELTS speaking. She/he is more like an interviewer and an assessor, assessing whether you can communicate in your daily routine in a country you are trying to migrate. It basically checks will you be able to cope up with local residents in terms of communication for fulfilling your basic and essential needs.

The speaking test will be in three parts, the first part, being an ice-breaker between you and the examiner, lasting for around 1-3 min. She/he will ask you to introduce yourself, how you reached the place, how much time it took you to reach this place, about your family, your education, schooling etc. Thus, it is important that you know about yourself and can present yourself in the best possible way.

For-example – if your name is Mannpreet, the extra “n” in the name can lead to a question, “why you have double “n” in your name Mannpreet?

So be ready for such kinds of questions.

Also, be quick in replying and don’t start wandering. Ask for question clarification if you are not able to understand it. Your answers should be properly structured and follow a correct sequence. Do not fumble while answering the questions. Take pauses at the correct place so as to be able to generate new ideas.

In the second part, you will be given a topic and a minute to think about it. You will be provided with a notepad and pen to write about the given task so that you can use those ideas while speaking. It’s better to write down the ideas in point form. It will not only save time but also help you in jotting down ample of points. After sharp 1 min you’ll be asked to speak on the given topic. Be careful about how you start topic. Try starting with a quote if possible or make it as attractive as possible. So for speaking you need to read!! So start with journals, try reading New York Times, The Guardian or as a beginner start reading The Hindu. This will not only help you in speaking by improving your vocabulary but will help you in your Reading Test also!! Some points to be taken care during this task are as follows:

  • Do not repeat ideas. You can have two or more ideas and then you can elaborate on them. Wisely distribute content and time between ideas.
  • Do not deviate from the topic.
  • Correct usage of grammar is a must for a high score.
  • Try learning new words and use them in your daily life so that you can use them on the spot. For example instead of using word “delay” use word “procrastinate”.
  • Use synonyms for words. Do not repeat same word again and again.
  • Try not to start every new idea with same word as it will make your speaking task monotonous.
  • Be fluent while speaking.
  • Maintain an eye contact with the examiner while speaking
  • Make proper gestures.
  • Be confident while speaking and do not fidget.
  • Keep speaking till the time you are asked to stop.

Once, you are through with your second section, it’s time for the third part of the Speaking Test. Here you will be asked questions connected with the second task. It is more like a conversation and you need to be clear about your views and idea portrayed. You should not contradict yourself.

Miscellaneous:

Some points to be kept in mind during IELTS Speaking:

  • Do not be aggressive at any point of time. Be calm and relaxed.
  • Maintain the right posture.
  • Try not to be too loud or too soft while speaking. You should be clear and audible.
  • Modulate your voice. Stress on areas where needed.
  • Start practising by standing in front of the mirror and speak loud. Be your own teacher!!
  • Carry a smile on your face.
  • Start conversing in daily life in English with friends and family.
  • Record your voice and try finding errors.
  • Do not copy accents.

The IELTS Speaking test comprises of 3 rounds and the test takes between 11 to 14 minutes.

The First round will take about 5 minutes in which you will have to talk about yourself.

The second round takes about 3-4 minutes. In this round, the examiner will give you a cue or a topic on which you have to gather your ideas and talk about it for 3-4 minutes.

The last round will be the question answer round where the examiner will strike a conversation with you by asking certain questions pertaining to you. The examiner will assess the clarity of your thoughts, your promptness, how you connect your ideas, how fluently and comfortably you can converse.

In those 3 rounds you are going to be assessed on the following variables:

· The way you pronounce the words.

· The range of your vocabulary used in your speech.

· The way you structure your sentences.

· The grammatical accuracy.

· Fluency in your speech.

· Clarity of your thoughts.

· Command over the language.

In order to be fully prepared for the Speaking test, you need to be thorough with the above-stated parameters. There are very petty things which contribute to fetch you a good score. To begin with, be very sure of one thing, no matter what, you should not put on any heavy accent just to secure higher marks. You will not be judged on the basis of your accent. If you have a natural accent it’s your innate ability but if you do not possess it, it’s absolutely not necessary. Your clarity of speech, the way you pronounce the words accurately matters. Try to stay natural, speak in a neutral accent and talk in a rhythmic flow.

Avoid taking unnecessary pauses or using fillers like Ummm, aaa etc. They make you look as if you are at loss of words or have a lack of clarity. If you need time to think, try using filler questions like, “This is a very unusual question” OR “Interestingly, I haven’t heard about it in my everyday life” OR “Just give me a moment to think about it”.

Increase the range of your vocabulary by daily reading and learning new words that can be used daily. Make sure your grammar falls in place while structuring the sentences. All the tenses, forms, noun-verb agreement should be in proper format.

Do not rush while speaking or answering, be clear in your speech and give logical answers. Learn to be in control and use the right expression to say what you feel about the topic. Go at your own pace and pause where required along with an emphasis on the right words. Eventually, your communication will come out very impressive. Your command over the language is what will be judged.

Another important aspect is the linking or fusing two words like “with that” will sound like “withat”. This happens with two weak sounding words that link up together to sound like one.

Besides that, the most promising area that can assure you a good score is your focus on the Intonation. Your conversation should look rhythmic having the right pitch and tone to convey the exact expression.

The IELTS test is an English proficiency test used as a benchmark by various universities as an eligibility criterion and also for migration to an English speaking country. The IELTS test has two test types, namely the IELTS Academic test and the IELTS General training test. The IELTS Academic test is taken by students who are planning for higher studies abroad however, IELTS General training test is an eligibility criteria for work permits and immigration purposes.

The marking criteria for both the tests are similar but the level of difficulty and the strategies to solve these differs. Both the tests include four modules – READING, WRITING, SPEAKING and LISTENING. Certainly, the question now arises which test is easier? Although before answering this question, I would like to mention here the test takers English abilities. His basic understanding of the language plays a pivotal role in deciding the difficulty levels in both the test types.

Know more about IELTS Academic and IELTS General

Let’s look at the four modules individually to answer the question at hand:

WRITING MODULE

Writing Task 1: The Academic task 1 is writing a summarization for a graph, cycle or a flowchart whereas the task 1 for General training is a letter. The letter writing can be a challenge for certain students for the following reasons:

  • While one can prepare the five types of writing tasks for an academic test with required vocabulary, linkers and adjectives to analyze and make comparisons but in a letter, one does not know what to expect. A letter can be a request, apology, complaint or an invitation. These are about everyday situations and the vocabulary cannot be prepared. Active reading of samples shall help a test taker to respond in an actual exam.
  • Secondly, writing a letter requires one to be more creative. Letter writing needs imagination for descriptions. It is very important to add detailed specifications for a higher band. This involves brainstorming and access the response in real life situations.

Hence, writing task 1 is difficult as compared to task 1 for academics.

Writing Task 2: Writing task 2 for both academic and general training is an opinion based essay that entails same marking criteria and similar weight-age.

READING:

Academic Module: The academic module has three passages that have over 800 words with various question types raging from fill in the blanks, True, False, not given, yes, no etc. These texts are abridged forms of studies taken from research articles. The challenge is to learn speed reading and identifying location of answers using keywords. This makes reading a difficult section to attempt and ace for many students.

General Training Module: It has three sections just as the academic module however, the first two sections are small articles or advertisements. The third section is a passage like the academic module with the same question types. The reading module here requires locating key words and implications to the information given in the passage.

Thus, overall the general training reading section is easier than the academic section.

LISTENING:

The listening module for both general training and academic is similar. It has four sections that include both monologues and conversations and similar question types. This section can be aced by increasing attention spans over a time period with continuous practice. Identifying different accents and correct pronunciation of words can be useful to secure a given band.

SPEAKING:

The speaking is a face to face interview for both types of tests. They are marked on same parameters and the speaking is divided in three sections, namely the introductory question, cue card and the follow up questions. These are based on everyday conversations to check English language proficiency in verbal communication.

In conclusion, no matter what test one has to appear depending on the requirement, both these tests require practice in order to secure a high band score.

A writing style that falls accurately in sync with accurate grammar, vast vocabulary, right expression with sewing all the ideas with clarity is considered to qualify for high score bands.

To get yourself attuned to that kind of writing flair, make sure you do some groundwork by going through the grammar rules thoroughly and building a good lexical resource. Besides that, keeping in mind the punctuation rules would come to your rescue while writing.

When preparing for the IELTS writing exam, always emphasize on a formal writing style or semi-formal. At any cost avoid informal style of writing as you may lose on a good score by doing so.

Understand the different tasks that are involved in the IELTS writing exam. Depending upon which exam you are taking, be it IELTS General or IELTS Academic, prepare likewise. Academic writing test would require more skilful writing than the General writing tasks.

Practice each day to write different forms of letters, essays on global issues, write your opinion about it. Explore online portals to see the samples of the same to understand the format in which the essay, letter or a report is to be written. While writing, time yourself accordingly as you get limited time in the exam and you have a word limit for each task.

Take free Writing Task 1 Practice Tests and Writing Task 2 Practice Tests.

In essay writing, try using more and more transition word to show coherence in your writing. Always start with an introductory paragraph by paraphrasing the question statement along with your viewpoint or an opinion as asked. Write the different ideas in the different paragraphs and give supporting examples. Use synonyms to avoid repeating a particular word. Make sure you structure your sentences as per the grammar rules. To end the essay, add a concluding paragraph which sums up the topic in question. Stick to the word limit.

When writing a description or report on the basis of the given diagram/ line chart/ bar graph etc. always give an overview in the introductory paragraph which covers the gist of what you are going to say in succeeding paragraphs. Use the factual or visual information and include it in your content. A report will never have a concluding paragraph. The format of writing should be clear to you before you take your test.

A letter should be responded in a formal or a semi-formal style of writing depending upon the question. If it’s a friend or a relative, write in a friendly tone which is semi-formal and if it’s to your superior or a landlord or someone you are not known to, then write in a formal way of writing using appropriate tone and words.

Practising these tips will help you improve your writing skills and will surely get you higher bands like 7.5 or more. One important tip is, whatever score you want to achieve, always prepare for a band higher. This will make your preparation thorough and extensive, and get you your desired goal.

IELTS Writing section is a time-based task, in fact, all the sections of the IELTS exam are time-bound. But writing tasks need more practice before appearing for the test as to write a letter, essay or a report you need to think and create ideas around a given concept and then penning it down on the answer sheet. All this consumes a lot of time and without practice, it will be very taxing for you. So, the time constraint is certainly there and you will need to be thorough with the writing practice.

Understanding the pattern of this section is of prime importance. In order to attempt well in the writing section of the IELTS exam, you need to know the format first. You get 60 minutes to complete the writing test and those 60 minutes are further divided into two tasks. In task 1, you are given a pie chart, line chart, bar graph or a diagram and you are asked to describe or prepare the report around the facts given in the chart/diagram. You are given 20 minutes to complete task 1. In task 2, you are asked to write an opinion or a discussion based essay in 40 minutes.

Certain writing strategies will always be helpful in achieving your task in time, like:

1. Jot down the main points and the facts around which you will build your report or an essay.

2. Always state different ideas in different paragraphs as it will give more clarity in your writing.

3. Paraphrase the question statement in your introduction paragraph of your essay and then write your opinion or the possible solution to the issue being questioned.

4. Write only necessary content with examples relevant to the question asked.

5. Use transition words to show the link or cohesion between the different paragraphs.

6. Write the supporting ideas first and then elucidate it.

7. Make sure you place the punctuation’s at the right places and check your grammar before you proceed with the next question.

8. Use good lexicon to make your writing task look impressive overall.

9. Avoid repeating the same words, instead use synonyms.

10. Always, end the essay with an impactful conclusion paragraph stuffed with a good vocabulary.

11. Avoid overuse of very heavy vocabulary.

12. In writing reports, you never end the report with a concluding paragraph.

13. While writing a letter, be sure about the salutations are as per the tone of the letter eg, formal letter, semi-formal letter or an informal letter.

14. Stick to the word limit by writing relevant text and avoid writing irrelevant things.

There are various quick tips to nail the reading section of the IELTS exam. IELTS reading section carries a variety of questions based on the reading passage. In order to come out with flying colours in the reading section by answering the questions quickly without wasting much time, you can follow the promising tips given below:

1. Firstly, skim through the reading passage, then quickly glance through the questions asked pertaining to the given passage. Going through the questions once will give you a fair idea of what the passage is about.

2. Once you have gone through the questions, highlight the keywords. Some of the keywords can be any unique word, fact, number, figure, name, place or a date. After marking your keyword in the question, look for the matching keyword in the passage. This will help you get to the answer quickly without wasting your time.

3. When you know the type of questions, you will just have to skim through the passage without going deep into it. Most of the times you don’t have to understand the entire passage, just go through the heading, read the first lines of every paragraph and it will give you the gist of the passage. Also, it will be easier for you to locate the information as you would know what you are looking for.

4. The another best method of getting to the answers right away is, after locating the keyword in the passage just read one sentence before that and one sentence after the keyword line. Majority of the time the answer lies in those sentences.

5. Usually, the questions are based as per the paragraphs, so, reading the first line of every paragraph can help you find the answers much quicker.

6. To get a good band in the reading section, make sure you answer all the questions asked. Even if you are unsure of some answer, write a probable answer by highlighting a keyword. Later on, you may not find to come back and answer the skipped question, as time is limited.

7. One tip is before sitting for the exam, always practice a lot from good sources like the British council free reading tests and many other practice tests available online. Besides that going through the newspaper articles, good reading material, books and short passages etc. will help you increase your reading speed and help you manage time. This practice will surely speed up your reading pace with understanding of the passage.

The Cambridge English assessment is the controller of the IELTS exam and to make it easy, it conducts it via two different bodies, the IDP, Australia and the British Council, London. Both these bodies conduct the IELTS exam in different parts of the world and at some places both are prevalent.

There is no difference between the format of the IELTS exam conducted by the IDP and the British Council. The pattern and the questions remain the same in both the exams on a given date. Both the entities provide a paper-based format for the IELTS exam but the IDP, Australia does have a computer-based format available for the candidates appearing for the IELTS. The candidates who want the quick results opt for the computer-based exam, so they choose to take the IELTS exam via IDP. The results are declared within 5 days from the day of the exam in the computer-based exam.

The difference is not between the British Council IELTS and the IDP IELTS exam, the difference is as per the individual candidate’s experience. When the candidate chooses anyone out of these two IELTS, they form an opinion on the basis of how smoothly the test was conducted, how friendly the invigilators were during the exam, how quickly any technical issue was resolved etc. These reviews from the candidates become very important decision making factors for the other candidates and play a critical role. These opinions create a difference. Many candidates also believe in a theory based on personal experiences, that if a candidate applies for the exam from a small city, then they score some bands higher than exam centres in the bigger cities.

Another opinion based on the individual experience is that, if the seats of a particular entity who conducts the exam get filled earlier than the other entity, then that entity is better than the other. Which is not the case, as the seats are filled as per the availability and convenience of a candidate, so whichever gets filled first be it the IDP or the British Council doesn’t really mean that particular exam conducting body is more promising than the other exam conducting body.

From the exam pattern point of view, there is absolutely no difference or variation in questions or the format of the exam between the IDP IELTS and the British Council IELTS. On a specific date of the exam, the questions of both are the same.

When appearing for the IELTS Speaking exam, your resume is a major contributing factor to the types of questions asked by the examiner in part 1. Majorly the examiner goes through the resume and tries to fetch some typical questions which you have to answer like your hobbies, what you do over the weekends, about your qualifications.

Examiners ask you about yourself in the first part of the IELTS Speaking test, it could be your introduction or they may frame questions related to your resume. They just want to make you feel comfortable by engaging you in conversation about yourself. Here are some of the typical questions that are asked in part 1 of the IELTS Speaking section exam:

1. Are you are a student or where do you work? : Whatever your response would be, they may ask you to elaborate on the course you study or they may ask you to explain your work responsibilities or what do you like and dislike the most about your job?

2. Is the exam centre near to your location or it is far off from your place?: You have to give them an honest answer about it.

3. Where do you see yourself 5 years from now or What is your goal in life? Or What are your career plans?: BY asking such questions they just want to find out how you have set your goals in life and how passionately you are driving yourself towards it. It will demonstrate your commitment to your goals.

4. Do you like the architecture of your home? Or Which is your favourite room in your house and why? Or What is the one thing that you would like to change about your home?

5. What are your hobbies? Or What do you do over the weekends? Or Which activities do you pursue besides your work or studies?: They may ask you to choose between two locations and seek a response as to why you like that particular location.

6. How often do you pursue your hobby? Or Do you find enough time to indulge in your favourite hobby?: This question is generally asked to see the validity of the content of your resume.

7. Do you like reading? Or What types of books do you read? Or They may give you a question from which you have to choose one thing over the other: The examiner wants to find out how clear you are with your choices.

And there can be much more such everyday questions. This round is to make you familiar with the examiner and to make you feel at ease before proceeding for the next two rounds.

The format of the IELTS test is divided into four sections namely Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. The total time allotted to finish the test is 2 hours and 45 minutes and each section is allotted specific time frame.

  • The total time allotted for the Reading section is 60 minutes (i.e 1 hour)
  • The total time allotted for the Listening section is 30 minutes (i.e 1/2 hour)
  • The total time allotted for the Writing section is 60 minutes (i.e. 1 hour)
  • The total time allotted for the Speaking section is 11 to 14 minutes (inclusive of all 3 rounds)

The IELTS test format is set up in such a way that it is entirely a candidate’s choice to appear for all 4 sections in a single day or can split the test into two different dates. Usually, the test is completed in two days. The Listening, Reading and Writing tests can be taken on a single day and the speaking test on a different date which usually is within the 7 days of the date of the previous test (i.e listening, reading and writing test).

You are given a schedule of your IELTS tests. The test of all the three sections Reading, Writing and Listening) are given on a single day yet speaking test is scheduled on a different date. It could be taken earlier than the other sections or it could be a week later. You are allotted the time, centre and the date of the test once you register yourself.

As the Speaking test is a one on one interview round with the examiner where you have to be answering the questions asked by the examiner, that is why the speaking test is generally scheduled on a different day or different time slot. Speaking requires more practice as it is a live test where you have to think and answer in front of the examiner. There is an introduction round where you have to speak about yourself for about two minutes, followed by an extempore round where the examiner gives you a situation of a cue and you have to speak on that topic for next 2 to 3 minutes. In the last round, you are asked questions pertaining to round 2. This round takes around 11 to 14 mins in all but since it requires your presence of mind and it’s a physical interview round, that is why the test of this section is scheduled on a separate date or time slot than the other sections which are taken on a single day.

Read What is IELTS? and What to expect on the exam day?

The IELTS exam comprises of four different sections namely Writing, Reading, Listening and Speaking. All the sections can be attempted with ease with a good amount of preparation but the tricky part is the speaking section. The speaking section is conducted in three rounds. In the first round, an examiner asks the candidate to introduce himself and in the next round the candidate is given a cue card about a particular topic or situation to speak on for about 2 minutes and in the last round, the examiner will ask the questions pertaining to the 2nd round.

The round one is the most challenging part as there is a lot of tension in the air around the candidate at that moment as the candidate is anxious and nervous. The introduction round is designed to ease that tension. The predominant questions are about the candidate’s qualifications, life, hobbies, work, likes and dislikes etc. The question is how to handle this round? In order to sail through smoothly in this introduction round, a candidate should maintain his calm and stay confident. Maintain eye contact with the examiner while speaking and talk at a regular pace with proper pauses. Small pauses will buy you time to think in between the lines as you speak. Try to speak in a normal accent using intonation and do not put on any heavy or fake accent to impress the examiner as it may result in losing marks. Just talk with spontaneity and with fluency without hesitation. Do rehearse the introduction beforehand for the smooth flow of speech but do not memorise it, as it may look rehearsed. Keep a pleasant smile on your face, it will help you to stay composed and will mark a good impression on the examiner. Use a lot of good vocabulary and make use of good sentence structuring along with correct grammar. If the examiner asks you a question and you are in doubt try to buy time by confirming the question or by using statements like “this is an unusual question but interesting one” etc. Just stay focused on the question asked, do not start to create unnecessary imagination as it will divert you off the main topic. Just give a simple and logical answer in the most presentable manner. Examiner’s interview many candidates on a given day, so your logically valid and to the point answers would give a good impression. Do not hesitate to ask the examiner if you are unclear about the question. Carve your answers around the question asked by the examiner.

Getting higher bands in IELTS isn’t as hard as it may seem and within six months you can achieve much higher bands. If you are aspiring to get 7 bands in IELTS, six months of intensive preparation is quite good enough to achieve that score or maybe higher.

To get going, you need to start with knowing the pattern of the IELTS exam and find out what type of questions are asked in the exam. Once you know that, you will know from where to begin your preparation. Improving the English language is not as tough as rocket science, it is just a language meant to communicate your thought process either by speaking or by writing. In either way, you just need to well organize your thoughts about what to say and how you say. And to get to that, a rich vocabulary and impeccable grammar add weight to your verbal or written skills.

To improve your English skills, start with voracious reading as it will help you hone up your language expression and help you understand how to maintain the connectivity throughout. By reading every day you will come across many new words, make a habit of writing them with their meanings. Try to instil those words into your conversation as more you practice this, it will enhance your English spoken skills. It will also improve your fluency.

Writing a daily diary is a very effective method to improve your English expression. Also, jot down a few good words from the dictionary daily and use them. Finding out synonyms of the words will make your vocabulary vast. Always remember one main thing, no matter how you speak but make sure you talk in English at all the times, even if you tend to make mistakes but don’t give up. Practice is the key to improve your English. Create an English speaking environment around you, surround yourself with English speaking people so that each time you converse, you are talking in English. It is absolutely fine to make mistakes, but just identify your mistakes and rectify them. Touch up the grammar each day and memorise the grammar rules. Practice speaking extempore in front of the mirror on random topics and judge yourself on the basis of sentence structuring, grammar, vocabulary etc. Come what may never lose your confidence. Listening to English audio like radio, podcasts etc. will also help in improving English. When you speak put stress on the right words and take pauses where required. This makes your English impressive.

Choosing between IELTS or TOEFL depends primarily on the purpose for which you are applying to move abroad. Although the pattern of both the exams is similar and both the exams test you on your English language proficiency yet there is a difference between the two exams. IELTS and TOEFL, both exams have four sections namely, Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking but the speaking section of both the exams differ. In IELTS exam, in the speaking section, an examiner conducts a formal interview having 3 rounds and the candidate is supposed to answer all the questions in person like self-introduction, extempore etc. Whereas in the TOEFL speaking section, a candidate is given a situation over the computer which he has to listen and record his response.

Both tests are conducted by different entities. The IELTS exam is conducted jointly by the IDP, Australia and the British Council, London and is co-owned by Cambridge Assessment English. That is why both the US and the UK English is accepted in the IELTS exam. On the other hand, the TOEFL exam is owned and conducted by the US-based entity, the Education testing service, that is why in the TOEFL exam the US English is accepted.

The total time frame of both the exams differ. The TOEFL exam takes 4 hours to complete whereas the IELTS exam takes 2 hours and 45 minutes in all to complete. The range of questions vary in IELTS exam, they could be MCQ, Notes completion, Essay based, Letter writing, True or False, Flowchart completion, Match the titles etc. whereas in the TOEFL exam there are only Multiple choice questions.

The TOEFL exam tests the candidate on the academic English and the IELTS exam tests on the candidate on both academic English and the general English. The TOEFL exam is accepted in over 8500 universities across 130 countries but it is majorly popular amongst the United States, Canadian, French and German universities. It is entirely a computer-based exam. The candidates who want to pursue higher education abroad or want to work in foreign countries like the US, Canada, Germany etc. go in for the TOEFL exam. The TOEFL is accepted in even top 100 universities of the world. On the contrary, the IELTS exam is widely accepted in 10,000 universities across 140 countries in the world. It is a paper-based exam but now IDP has an option of computer-based exam too. The candidates who wants to go in for higher studies take IELTS Academic exam and the candidates who want to apply for immigration and job, take IELTS General exam.

Comparative to TOEFL exam, the IELTS exam takes much lesser time to complete. So, keeping in mind all the factors a candidate can choose between the two exams i.e IELTS or TOEFL.

IELTS exam is fairly easy for anyone who has a decent command over spoken English. A person can attempt the IELTS exam easily with a fair amount of preparation depending upon how fluent he is in the English language. Good grammar sense and rich vocabulary are the main ingredients, required to get good scores in IELTS exam. Anyone who possesses these skills can easily get through the exam with ease. It isn’t any different from any other exam, it is just a test that assesses you on the different parameters of the English language skills i.e Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. The score band ranges from 0-9 and there is no pass or fail criteria in this exam.

If you want to achieve higher bands you have to prepare for the exam religiously as it comprises of many other areas on which you are tested. Such areas are task achievement, word limit, clarity of speech, intonation, promptness, grammar, pronunciation and lexical resource.

Every section of the IELTS exam is timed, so you have to practice diligently to attempt the exam in the given time frame else you may skip the questions and lose good score. It is not a difficult exam but like any other exam, it requires from you a proper understanding of the pattern of the exam, so that you can prepare according to that and score well. Good practice by taking many sample tests available online can help anyone achieve a good score in the exam. But on the other hand, there is a percentage of people who are not well versed with the language, speaking in English is a challenge for them, they find the IELTS exam difficult. It is entirely dependent on the individual capability of a person. Yet the exam is not that easy, that it can be taken lightly, it does require a certain amount of preparation beforehand for achieving higher bands. If under rehearsed, you might get low bands even though your spoken English might be good. Preparation as per the pattern of the exam and knowing what is expected from you in the exam is a must to get the good score.

In IELTS Task 2, a candidate is given a direct question, an opinion based or an argument based essay which is majorly on a global issue or a social cause. It has a word limit of 250 words in all which has to be completed within 40 minutes. The essay should have four paragraphs having an introductory paragraph, two body paragraphs and one conclusion paragraph.

The word limit should not go beyond 290 words and it should not be under 250 words. The introductory paragraph of the essay should have a general introduction of the topic along with rewording of the question statement. Further, the introductory paragraph should contain your opinion or a possible solution to the given issue.

In academic writing task 2, the body paragraphs which follows the introductory paragraphs should contain different ideas pertaining to the topic. Each idea should be elaborated with a valid logical explanation and relevant examples. The final paragraph should be a conclusion paragraph having the crux of the entire body of the essay including the outcome/solution/advantages. The body paragraphs of the essay should be interlinked, which means the ideas should have some connection as the body paragraphs contain the essence of the whole essay. Always make sure that you address all the parts of the question. The essay question is marked on the basis of task achievement, word limit, relevance to the topic, vocabulary, grammatical accuracy, punctuation, coherence and cohesion.

There is no such individual word limit for the body paragraphs but overall, the essay content should be more than 250 words and should not go beyond 290 words as every word is counted. Make sure every word used in the essay question of task 2, should mark an impression on the examiner. Try to keep the body content very engaging, crisp and to the point.

Speaking is an art of communication. It is that aspect of verbal communication by virtue of which one is able to put across his emotions, ideas or thoughts to the other person who is in conversation with him. The prime aspect of Speaking is “clarity of speech”. If the person speaks too fast, the other person may not be able to comprehend what he is saying. Fast speech generally is considered to be less clear as the words spoken may not be pronounced well. But sometimes there are people who have command over the English language and they speak fast yet clear. I personally would not recommend anyone to speak too fast in the IELTS Speaking exam as it looks as if one is rushing and it may not look very impressive to the examiner.

Speaking too fast will definitely affect the IELTS score as the examiner looks for the fluency, not the speed, how you express yourself in English and how comfortable you are with the language. It is absolutely fine to talk slowly at your own pace with required pauses and stress at the right places. The examiner marks you on your understanding of the question and how nicely you curate your response with reference to the question. Irrespective of the rate of speech, be very clear of one thing, whatever response you give in front of the examiner, it should have a logic, clear meaning and should be well-framed ideology. Do not go overboard with the accent and the speed.

Sometimes speaking too fast can make your speech slurred or as you speak too fast, you may not find time to think much about your response. A controlled rate of speech and appropriate pauses can buy you time to think. You need time to construct your response when you are asked a certain question by an examiner. If you speak at a normal pace, you will be able to think and speak well. On the contrary, speaking too fast can goof up your response resulting in losing good bands.

If you have a tendency to speak too fast, it is always advisable to practice to control your rate of speech at home. In order to do so, you can take any newspaper or an article to read, mark 110 to 150 words and then read up to those many words per minute. The normal rate of speech which we consider to be good enough is around 110 to 150 words per minute. It is neither too fast nor too slow. With constant practice, the mind will tune itself to that rate of speech. It is the best way to control the speech rate.

IELTS writing task is a difficult one and at times you get stuck at a score of 6.5 and it becomes really hard to cross this score in writing. Though a band of 6.5 does not matter much in IELTS Academic but in case of PR you need a score of 7 and above.

IELTS writing task is in two parts. In IELTS Academic, the first part consists of analyzing data in the form of bar chart, line graph etc. while in General Training, one needs to respond to a situation by writing a letter. It is of less weight and one needs to write at least 150 words.

The second task is similar for both the tests. It is an essay kind where you might need to give your opinions, take a stand in for/against kind topics, discuss on arguments or issues. The word limit for this is 250 words.

Word limit needs to be followed stringently. Less number of words will lead to a penalty and exceeding too much will again cost you a point.

Thus, as we see that the word limit for second task is more than the first task it is evident that it also carries more marks.

The exam will be of 60 min and it’s wise to break time for both the tasks. For the first you should dedicate 20 min and for the second one 40 min. You should maintain your speed and have enough time to go through your tasks and make necessary corrections.

As far as attempting sequence is concerned it’s purely a personal choice. There is no deduction as such if you attempt task 2 before task 1. But attempting task 2 can have adverse implications. Suppose you start with task 2 and you get so engrossed that you are left with very little time for task 1. This kind of situation will not only put you in a panicky situation but also will have impact on your task 1 and you might end up scoring less in task 1 which would impact your overall score in writing. Another drawback it might have that you miss out information while analyzing data for the academic task or may not respond correctly in the letter for General training task. The added advantage of attending task 1 earlier is that it is easy and more or less information is provided. You just need to frame your answer in the most presentable form.

It thus increases confidence for your next task!!

Once through with task 1, you can relax down that you have good 35-40 min with only one more task to go. It is also advisable to move from an easy task towards a difficult rather doing vice versa.

It is thus better that you start with your task 1 and try completing it within the time frame of 20 min so you have sufficient time for task 2. But still if you think that you can dedicate accurate time for task 2 and after 40 min will be able to switch to task 1 you may go ahead with attending task 2 first!!

When you are all set to appear for the IELTS exam, the mock tests are like a breather that can help you assess your skills and preparation beforehand. The mock test serves as a practice for the upcoming exam. It may or may not carry any scoring but it gives you the feel of the real exam.

The writing test is the most testing and a skilful part of the entire test out of all the other modules of the IELTS exam. One can easily learn the skills like conversing in English, reading the text and listening to the English content but penning down the ideas needs a lot of fine thought process. It needs high focus and clarity of mind as expressing your ideas in a written format requires strong grammar skills, sound vocabulary and a strong understanding of sentence formations. Other than that it is imperative that how you carve the entire expression and sew the fragments of the text together to make it meaningful. The essence which you need to convey should come out clear and in an organised manner.

Mock tests mean a test whose pattern is exactly the same as the real exam, it is given to the candidate to practice and get the feel of the real test under similar environment. Once a candidate undergoes a lot many mock tests, it gives him an extensive practice of the writing test by virtue of which he is able to perform well in the actual exam. As the candidate takes the mock tests, they give him an exposure to each and every kind of question of the writing section and it helps him to know about his shortcomings each time. It gives the candidate a chance to improvise and get better each time and perform well in the IELTS exam.

Read How to Write a Paragraph in the IELTS writing Exam.

Any additional coaching classes will never go waste when you are preparing for an IELTS exam or any other such exam. Although, a candidate can prepare for the IELTS exam on his own if he has more than average English speaking and writing skills. Which means he has a fair knowledge and understanding of the language. It is not at all mandatory to join the IELTS classes to improve English, yet, if a candidate joins IELTS classes, it will definitely help him to improve in all the areas related to IELTS exam including spoken English. As the classes provide a very professional environment to the candidate where he has to compulsively speak in English. This kind of exposure on a regular basis will surely help the candidate to improve his English.

Be it English or any other language, it becomes fluent only when it is constantly practised. Many non-native English speakers who are appearing for IELTS are good in spoken skills but when it comes to grammar they falter at various places. Coaching classes will always give them that edge over the language by rectifying the problematic areas and honing up their grammatical skills.

Moreover, a candidate gets to learn various English speaking expressions and intonation in a coaching class as it provides a typical English speaking environment. The classes train you on the word choice, sentence structuring and common daily use phrases or words, all of these will help a candidate score better in the exam. I personally would advocate that a candidate who is preparing for IELTS must join a coaching class besides preparing on his own as the classes can give him more competitive environment and he can get to learn many more things related to exam preparation than just spoken English. Also, regularly speaking English in the class will strengthen a candidate’s self-confidence as a daily practice will shed off his inhibitions of speaking in English.

The IELTS task 2 contains an essay question that you have to attempt in 250 words in 40 minutes. The essay question will be based on a global/social issue or common topics which needs an opinion, discussion or an argument or a problem which needs a solution.

The essay format is such that you have to open the essay with the rewording of the question statement in the introductory paragraph and also include your opinion, disagreement/agreement or suggestive measures pertaining to the topic. You have to state a general overview of the essay in this paragraph. So, the thesis statement will create the first paragraph.

The next two paragraphs become the body of the essay, which will have the reasons or the explanation linked with the topic. You can discuss your different ideas in the different paragraphs and give the details pertaining to the question. These paragraphs will contain the main issue where you will state the problem and then you will have to explain it further by giving supporting examples. Next, add the solutions that will help to fix the main issue in question and how it will affect. These paragraphs form the supporting content with the examples from real life or related examples. In the body paragraph, you need to outline the main causes and the factors causing them, and you can restate the main idea by giving your viewpoint. The last paragraph becomes the concluding paragraph summarizing the main topic along with the suggestion of how a certain issue can be resolved according to your knowledge. Basically, in the concluding paragraph, you can put your last thought to end the essay.

An essay should have proper sentence structuring keeping in mind the subject-verb agreement. Punctuation and grammar need to be thorough and placed accurately in the essay. Failure to do so may result in fewer IELTS bands.

Strategic planning while preparing for your IELTS exam can easily fetch you higher bands be it 7.5, 8 or 9 bands. To achieve 8 bands in IELTS is not as tough as it seems. You just need to be organised and stay focused while preparing for the exam. An 8 band can be secured only if you get high bands in every section i.e Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking and for that, you need to answer at least 95% questions correctly in each section.

In the writing section, 8 bands can be achieved if you attempt all the questions completely in a proper IELTS format. For that, you need to be fluent with paraphrasing the thesis statement when writing the essays, use various ideas to outline the essay question and make use of real life or unique examples to support your discussion/opinion/ argument. The letters should be written in a semi-formal or formal way of writing, use appropriate words to explain the situation or to request the information. Using correct salutation, introduction and ending will help you get a good score. The report writing should be apt and to the point making use of all the important facts and figures given in the chart/diagram etc.

A good band in the reading section can be secured by attempting nearly 38 questions correctly out of 40 questions. Although to get 8 bands the number of correct responses varies in both IELTS General and IELTS Academic, roughly the pattern remains the same.

Achieving 8 bands in the Listening section can be secured if you familiarize yourself with various foreign accents before the exam. You need to listen to English based audio, songs, dialogues, monologues, radio channels actively each day so you are comfortable and become an attentive listener. Once you have focussed listening skills, you will be able to grasp the answers much easily and get good bands.

A band 8 or higher in the Speaking section is entirely dependent on you. In this section, there are no written passages, questions or audios but you are interviewed by an examiner on the basis of your resume. It has three rounds starting with the introduction round, followed by an extempore round where you will be given a situation or a cue on which you need to speak for few minutes and in round 3 you will be asked certain questions from round 2. The main strength of this section lies in round 1, if you are confident in giving your introduction then the subsequent rounds will be easily conquered by you. Just make sure, you practice very well on some common topics which are asked in IELTS speaking section. You will know how to frame the answers logically and precisely.

Read about Bands in IELTS exam?

To gain entry into an undergraduate or postgraduate course in any university in Australia requires your score in an English proficiency test. There are many English language tests available that are accepted in Australian universities but IELTS and TOEFL are most popular language tests. The basic format of both the tests is the same i.e both have four sections Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. But the test duration and the type of questions asked in both the tests differ. All the over the world, both have wide acceptability. TOEFL is more accepted and prevalent in European countries like Ireland, France, Germany etc. as it is US based test and IELTS is UK based and is widely accepted in all the countries across the world. Since IELTS is conducted by the British Council, London and IDP, Australia, it is more preferred in the UK, Australia, New Zealand etc.

IELTS and TOEFL, both the tests are equally acceptable but IELTS is more preferred by Australian universities. Although it is an individual preference of every university in Australia, whether they prefer IELTS or TOEFL score. Still a lot many universities accept the score of either exam, a candidate needs to explore the options well and then decide upon which test he should take.

Read Which is better: IELTS or TOEFL?

The minimum score required for TOEFL (computer based) for the undergraduate courses in Australian universities is an overall score of 60 to 90. Whereas the minimum score requirement for IELTS for the undergraduate courses in Australian universities is an overall 6 to 6.5 bands. Although there are many Australian universities which need a lesser score in English language tests as a minimum requirement like 5.5 for IELTS and 46 for (Computer-based) TOEFL, to get an entry in Australia on a student visa. However, it is always advisable to check with the individual university you are applying to, as every university has different criteria.

IELTS exam does not have any pass or fail criteria but most of the foreign countries you want to apply to for studies/ immigration/ work need a minimum of 5.5 to 6 bands. More bands are always an added advantage but less than 5 won’t make you eligible for many things abroad but that doesn’t mean you have failed. A higher band always gets you more weight-age in terms of points calculation. Most of us are aware that whenever you are applying to move to a foreign country for any specific purpose, you are checked for the eligibility and that is done with the help of the point system.

There are many parameters that are quantified to calculate the points such as the education, work experience, marital status and the IELTS score. The better bands you get in the IELTS exam, the more points you get. To get a good score you need to be very thorough with your IELTS preparation. English is the backbone of this exam, if you are really good at it and grammar comes to you naturally, you are already on the track. But if you have some slip-ups in your English language then you really need to get a grip on it.

Here are some of the best ways to learn English faster:

i. To learn something new, starting off with observing is an effective way. Start watching English movies, serials, series, youtube videos and observe the way English is being used. Focus on the sentence framing, pronunciation, accent, vocabulary and intonation. You will be able to learn faster this way.

ii. Practical application of the language helps. You should converse in English at all times. Create an English speaking environment and surround yourself with people/ friends who speak in English only. Every day, stand in front of the mirror and try to speak impromptu on various topics, also record it. Listen to your recording once you have finished speaking, as it will help you to identify your shortcomings and you can fix them up. Unscripted speaking always helps you in developing your brain and speech synchronization.

iii. Listen to English audio, radio channels, podcasts, monologues etc. on a regular basis. You will be able to pick up much faster than just by cramming the things from the textbook.

iv. Reading is another way of learning English as it sets the right pace of speaking. When you read good books like biographies, journals, articles, newsletters etc. it enables you to learn effective English expression.

Once you get into the practice of all these tips, there is nothing which can stop you to achieve good score in IELTS.

To ace, 8 bands in IELTS General in one month is quite an achievable score, but only if you are already proficient in the English language, which implies that you are able to converse well and good at expressing your thoughts via speaking and writing.

To be able to achieve 8 bands, the foremost thing is to understand the format of the exam and the pattern of the questions asked. Once you are familiar with the format, you can start off with the preparation yourself at home devoting 7 days for each module and since IELTS has 4 modules, it will take 4 weeks to prepare all four modules.

Before you kickstart the actual preparation, it is always advisable to assess yourself by taking sample tests. By this practice, you will be able to know your weak areas and then you can concentrate to improvise those areas. As per the experience of the majority of the test takers, the writing module seems to be the most challenging section for everyone. As per my opinion, it is quite true, as writing involves carving of the ideas in a systematic manner and linking them in a way that every thought should have connectivity. You should take the practice of many essays, letters, reporting according to the prescribed format so that your writing skills get smooth. Make use of transition words, give logical answers and make sure the sentence formation is correct.

Check out the Tips to Improve Letter Writing

One major tip to score 8 bands is, that every week take at least 3-4 sample tests, it will give a boost to your self-confidence. Another suggestion is that taking extra coaching classes also helps in giving you more practice, strategies to crack the exam, tips on how to attempt certain sections and keep you updated about the latest trends of the questions. Besides that, you get study material which will be helpful in focussed preparation.

If you are fluent in your conversation in English and have a good command over the grammar, one month is sufficient time for you to prepare for any kind of English proficiency test. It is entirely an individual opinion, whether the IELTS test is easier or the TOEFL test. The basic pattern of both the tests remains the same i.e both have 4 modules Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. Even though their basic format is similar but there are many differences between the two. Firstly, the time duration of both the tests vary, IELTS is allotted 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete the test whereas TOEFL is 4-hour long test. So TOEFL is considered to be more lengthy.

It is always advisable to explore the exam options with the university you are applying to, as many universities prefer IELTS to TOEFL. And universities of some European countries like Germany, Ireland, France etc. prefer TOEFL more than IELTS.

TOEFL is entirely an academic test of English whereas the IELTS test has both the options, Academic English test and a General English test, depending on the purpose you are applying for. TOEFL is preferred by many candidates who are more comfortable with the computer-based exam whereas IELTS has both the options i.e paper-based test and the computer-based test. So, as per the personal preference you can choose between the two.

TOEFL is conducted by the US entity, so they accept US-based English, on the other hand, IELTS is conducted by the British Council, London and the IDP, Australia, so the IELTS test accepts both the US and the UK English. You can say IELTS pattern is more flexible than the TOEFL.

Next consideration is scoring. In IELTS, all the questions given in all the modules are scored items and you get points for every correct answer. On the contrary, the TOEFL test has some unscored items in the test so it becomes a bit challenging task to achieve better scores in TOEFL.

Which is better: IELTS or TOEFL?

Also, the availability of the test dates is yet another thing to consider before choosing between IELTS and TOEFL. IELTS test slots are more readily and frequently available than the TOEFL test slots. That is why candidates consider IELTS more than the TOEFL but then again, it is an individual choice and the preference of the university you are applying to. We can not outrightly say which one is easier. Although for a decent to more than average English speaking candidate, 4-weeks will be sufficient time for the preparation of the exam.

It is a well-known fact that to apply for the PR in any country is based on a point calculation system. For an Australian visa, a candidate needs at least 60 points to be qualified for the PR and the Australian PR needs a minimum of 6 bands in all the modules of IELTS exam i.e Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing. But 6 bands will not fetch you good points and to get good points, you need to have at least 7 bands in IELTS exam which means you need to achieve 7 bands in every module, higher bands will add more points. Though the PR points are not just based on the IELTS score, it is based on different categories like the age group, educational qualifications (Bachelor’s Degree or Master’s Degree), work experience (no. of years carry different points), any additional degree/ education or work in Australia carries more points.

Although 6 or 6.5 bands are good enough to apply for PR in Australia, yet these many bands won’t carry any points. If you want to add more points, in that case, you need to achieve more bands i.e 7 bands or more, a band range of 7 to 7.5 bands fetch you 10 points and band range 8 to 9 bands secure 20 points for you. If you have worked or studied in Australia, then each category adds 5 points to your existing profile.

Besides all the key factors that count in Australian PR, proficiency in English is the most important one. So, getting a good band not only contributes in getting you the points but it further benefits you in your education and your stay in Australia. As the level and quality of education abroad is much higher, to be at par, you need to be on the equivalent level of the language understanding. Only then you will be able to follow what is being imparted.

When a candidate sits for the IELTS exam, the result is declared within 13 days. The IELTS score is valid for two years from the date that is written on the IELTS result form.

This means if you’re appearing for the IELTS exam on 1st April 2019, the IELTS score will be valid up to 31st March 2021. Yes, it does expire after it’s validity criteria of 2 years. And this validity criteria is same for both the IELTS General exam and IELTS Academic exam. In some cases, the validity has been extended to 3 years but majorly it is valid of 2 years only. Once the score expires, a candidate has to appear for the IELTS exam again. The exam itself does not have any validity, it’s the score that has the validity. The score is valid in most of the universities in various countries across the globe. The date of expiry of the IELTS score is mentioned on the IELTS certificate.

If a candidate applies for a 3 years degree course in some university abroad on the basis of the IELTS score, then by the time his degree is completed his IELTS score validity will expire. And just in case he needs to study further or wants to apply for work and if his English proficiency level needs a valid proof, then he will have to appear for the IELTS again to get admission into the next course or to get the job.

Apart from that, it is imperative to know that the IELTS score validity cannot be further extended once it has expired. A candidate has to reappear for the exam after the validity is over. Also, a candidate can appear for the IELTS as many times as he wants, there is no limitation on that. So, a candidate should always apply for the education or work visa in accordance with the score validity.

There are many English language tests available all over the world such as IELTS, TOEFL, CELPIP, and each one is widely accepted in different countries and universities. IELTS and TOEFL are the most popular ones amongst all the other language tests. The IELTS is co-jointly owned by Cambridge, the IDP Australia and the British Council, London whereas the TOEFL is owned by the US-based entity. The basic pattern of both the tests is similar yet there are many differences in both the exams.

Before making the decision to take up either of the exams, do check with the university you are applying to. Every university has its own set of requirements, whichever exam fits into it is the correct choice for you. You need to explore the options with various institutes or universities you are considering for your education.

The TOEFL exam is a 4-hour long test which is entirely computer-based and IELTS exam is 2 hours and 45 minutes long and is paper-based. But now IDP also offers internet-based IELTS exam. Although both the exams have 4 sections i.e Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking but the pattern of questions is different in reading and listening sections of TOEFL exam as it does contain some unscored questions as well. So, due to that, your score in TOEFL can be pulled down. In order to avoid such a thing, always make a decision of choosing an exam keeping in mind your strengths and weaknesses. IELTS exam has direct questions using synonyms or similar words and it becomes easier to score in IELTS than TOEFL.

Next big thing is the score which you have to achieve in the exam should be good enough that you can qualify the university benchmark. IELTS score ranges from 1 to 9 bands in every individual section. The Writing, Reading and Listening exam takes place on the same day while the Speaking test takes place prior to or within the 7 days after the exam of the other sections. The entire TOEFL exam is computer-based, hence the exam of all the four sections takes place on the same day, hence it’s more convenient than the IELTS exam. In the speaking section, the questions or a situation is given to the candidate and the candidate has to record his response for the same on the computer itself. If you see from a convenience point of view the TOEFL exam is more favourable.

Last but not least, do consider the option of which exam results are declared earlier. That is also an important factor in decision making.

IELTS is an abbreviated form of the International English Language Testing System. It is a language test setup and conducted to assess your proficiency in the English language. It is co-jointly conducted by three different entities namely the University of Cambridge, the British Council (London) and the IDP (Australia). It is a test meant for non-native English speakers who want to move to foreign countries for various reasons.

This test assesses you on the different parameters such as sentence framing capability, usage of correct grammar, clarity of thought process, expression, intonation etc. The IELTS test is divided into four different sections namely Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. Each section is scored individually and the average of all four sections becomes your overall band. The score ranges from 0-9 bands where 0 bands being non-proficient level and 9 band is an expert level.

Also, IELTS is of two kinds IELTS General test and IELTS Academic test. The candidates who are applying for a student visa to study abroad take IELTS Academic test as it tests your ability to understand the language well, so you are able to follow the language at the university level. On the other hand, the IELTS General test is taken by the candidates who are applying to foreign locations across the globe for a work visa or immigration purpose. Although the score eligibility for IELTS Academic and IELTS General is different.

The IELTS test is conducted in two parts: the reading, listening and the writing section test is conducted on the same day whereas the speaking section test is conducted prior to or within 7 days of the other test. As the speaking test is a one on one interview round, so it is conducted on a different day.

The main purpose of IELTS test is, when you move to a foreign country where the first language is English, you are expected to understand their language well, so that you can strike a conversation comfortably, understand and also follow their way of speaking. With your IELTS score, you get a valid proof of your English proficiency in native English speaking countries.

This test is recognized and widely accepted in 140 countries in the world in more than 10,000 universities/schools.

It is a prerequisite for every country as when you are visiting abroad, their culture is assorted due to a mix of various cultures and different people from all walks of life have different accents but English unites them all. Being well-versed with the language helps you to connect with people easily and gel well with them.

Read What is IELTS?

IELTS is an English language test which checks your proficiency in the language and how comfortably you can understand and use the language. The test is set up with direct questions based on the passages, audio, generic situations. Although the test is not difficult if you are an average to above average in the English language, yet it can be considered as tricky at some portions in the reading section and in the writing section. The listening section requires a lot of practice to quickly retain the information in your brain so that you can answer the questions based on the audio you hear. And the Speaking section needs more practice, as it is one on one interview round with the examiner and there are 3 rounds in which you have to introduce yourself and speak impromptu on a topic given by the examiner. You have to be well prepared to be able to answer promptly with the logical explanation.

A lot many test takers have experienced that the writing section is the toughest or the most difficult part of the IELTS exam. Rest of the sections can still be managed with constant practice. To write something perfectly you need to have an imaginative mind, the right expression, technique and skilful usage of the right words. Not many people who appear for the test have a natural flair of writing so they have to learn the skill. Learning to write requires the perfect blend of correct grammar, punctuations at the right places and robust vocabulary and this makes the writing impressive. Yet a lot many candidates make mistake in writing section, as they get carried away while writing and they either exceed the word limit or tend to write irrelevant ideas. To know how to handle the writing section well, a candidate must know the writing format, like when you are writing a report you need to organise the information properly. Which means the details need to be elaborated like the first paragraph becomes the introduction, then an overview and then the body containing the facts along with the changes in trends.

For the letter writing, it needs to have your introduction, the next paragraph should have an explanation of the situation and the next paragraph should have the request for the information or whatever the topic is related to. Last is the closing line.

An essay should open with an introduction with your opinion about the topic, the next two paragraphs are the body of the essay containing the supporting text along with the relevant examples. The last is the concluding paragraph having a possible solution to fix the issue.

There are many IELTS study material websites available on the internet. If you google for the IELTS study material online, you will find ample results pertaining to the search but the point is which portal carry the trustworthy information. There are few legitimate sites having the relevant study material and some of them conduct online classes as well to help you prepare for your IELTS exam. Other than that, there are many android apps which offer IELTS study material, sample papers, practice tests, tips, strategies etc. But again we need to rely on trusted sources.

Here are some of the sites that are a reliable source for IELTS study material:

www.ielts.org/book-a-test/prepare-for-your-ielts-test This is the official site for IELTS exam which provides all the information pertaining to the exam including the study material and the information needed for the IELTS exam.

www.yunolearning.com Another trustworthy portal which offers ample amount of preparation material, online classes, practice tests, blogs etc. They dedicatedly provide you with all the latest updates related to the IELTS exam on a regular basis.

https://takeielts.britishcouncil… The British Council is yet another reliable source having the required information posted on their website. They provide every update related to IELTS exam i.e test booking, study material, practice tests and besides that, they offer online courses and online classes as well.

www.cambridgeenglish.org/ielts-practice This online portal familiarises you with the format of the IELTS exam including the kind of questions in every section. Besides this information, they also offer you practice sample tests and other preparation resources.

Although, there are many online resources that furnish the IELTS exam related details. In my opinion, it is always safe to follow only a few reliable online resources for your preparation as the content given online is not always standardised. There are certain sites that provide sub-standard content copied from elsewhere which can hamper your preparation and sometimes is misleading too. The above-mentioned websites are the most trusted sources for the preparation for the IELTS exam or any kind of help for the IELTS exam. The entire content given on these portals is verified and standardised.

Moving abroad needs from you a valid proof of your language proficiency and that can be gained by giving a language assessment exam such as IELTS exam or any other English proficiency exam like TOEFL, CELPIP etc. IELTS is more prevalent and popular than the other tests.

Which IELTS exam to take? It depends on which category you are applying for, whether you are applying for a student visa or work visa. IELTS exam is bifurcated into two kinds based on the category you are applying for to move to a foreign country. One is IELTS General exam and the other one is IELTS academic exam, If you are applying for a work visa in a foreign country, you need to take the IELTS General exam and the same exam is valid for immigration purpose as well. If you are applying to any university in the US, the UK, New Zealand, Canada, Australia for study purpose be it for an undergraduate course or a postgraduate course, in that case, you need to go in for IELTS academic exam. The format for both the exams is the same yet the difficulty level differs. Both contains 4 modules i.e Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. The Speaking and the Listening module remains the same in IELTS General and IELTS academic but the difficulty level changes in Reading and Writing modules. The IELTS General Reading has 3 sections and 40 questions. The first section carries a few short texts, the second section carries two passages and the third section carries one long passage. Whereas, the IELTS Academic contains three reading passages and 40 questions based on it. The total time allowed for both the IELTS General and Academic is 60 minutes.

The writing task of the IELTS General and IELTS Academic carries 2 tasks which are to be completed in 60 minutes. The time allowed for Task 1 is 20 minutes and for Task 2 is 40 minutes. In the General writing, in task 1, you are given a situation based on which you have to write a letter explaining the situation or requesting some information and task 2, you are given an essay which can be argumentative or issue related for which you have to give solutions. On the contrary, the Academic writing task 1 has a chart, graph, picture, a table which you have to explain or summarize using the facts and figures in a formal way and task 2 carries an essay question having a global problem or social issue on which you have to present your point of view in the formal style of writing.

So, for study purpose one has to consider the IELTS Academic to be at par with the foreign universities level of education and for work or immigration IELTS General is the right choice.

Your preparation plan depends on your calibre, pick up and fluency in English. If you are planning to prepare for the IELTS exam in 4 weeks you will need an exhaustive and stringent study plan and that too If you are already good at spoken English and writing skills. In that case, you just need to know the format of the IELTS exam and 4 hours daily classes would be beneficial to get good scores. But there is yet another thing that matters is whether a candidate is appearing for IELTS General or IELTS Academic. Although IELTS General and IELTS Academic are almost the same formats wise, the reading and writing section of both differ. The difficulty level of IELTS academic reading and writing is much higher. So, academic preparation needs a bit more time than general reading and writing.

Again 4 hours of class a day, 5 days a week in a month will not be sufficient enough for a candidate who is not spontaneous or fluent in the English language. As the candidate won’t be having a proper understanding of the language. He will need more time to get a better grip on the language and the format of the exam.

A 4-hour class each day can cover up at least 1 IELTS sample paper, some writing and listening practice. As the speaking exam is conducted separately, so it requires some extra time for preparation.

The classes will make you familiar with the format, the time allowed and will give you certain tips to attempt the exam in time and score good bands. It will give you that right kind of English speaking environment where you can practice more.

As per my opinion, 4 weeks preparation for 7 bands is entirely based on the pick up of a candidate, it cannot be ascertained that 4-weeks are enough for every candidate to get 7 bands. Every candidate is different and needs a different time frame to get prepared for the IELTS exam. Although in a month’s time you get sufficient practice that you can clear the IELTS exam, but the bands are dependent on your ability to learn. The classes can help you learn strategies such as skimming, scanning, attentive listening, to crack the exam in a certain way that you can achieve a decent score. The coaching classes will encourage you to converse in English, will hone up your language skills and will impart tips on grammar etc.

In brief, to get 7 bands in 4 week s classes for 4 hours daily is sufficient time for the candidate who is well versed with the language.

IELTS Life Skill test is conducted by Cambridge Assessment English, IDP (Australia) and the British Council (UK).

IELTS Life Skill test is required for the candidates are applying for UK Visa and Immigration (in short UKVI) and they are assessed on their basic English Speaking and Listening capabilities. These candidates are the ones who already have some family member or relative living in the UK, or they are currently living in the UK but want to prolong their stay to be permanent and the ones who want to become British citizenship holder.

These candidates need to prove their English speaking and listening skills by appearing for a test in person, in which they are supposed to answer the questions asked by an examiner and also participating in discussions based on the daily life topics.

The IELTS Life Skill Test is divided into different categories:

1. The first category IELTS Life Skill test is meant for a visa for the family of a settled person and it’s called A1 Speaking and Listening Test. This test takes about 16 to 18 minutes in all.

2. The second category of IELTS Life Skill test is meant for extension of visa for the family of a settled person and it’s called A2 Speaking and Listening Test. A2 Speaking and Listening test is allotted 20 mins time frame.

3. The third category of IELTS Life Skill test is meant for the candidate who wants to prolong his stay in the UK or want British Citizenship or stay for an indefinite time frame in the UK and it’s called B1 Speaking and Listening test. The B1 Speaking and Listening test takes 22 minutes in all.

The format of this test is such that it’s just the assessment of a candidate’s daily life communication and his listening abilities. There is no break between a Speaking and Listening test as both the skills are assessed simultaneously. A candidate is asked questions one on one by an examiner on various everyday topics such as weather, transportation, commuting, leisure time, work-related, about self, about the family, about friend circle etc. Anything that is covered in regular day to day life. All these activities will enable the examiner to assess your verbal skills and assess how attentively you listen and respond. The main parameters a candidate is assessed on are:

1. How a candidate comprehends the information.

2. A candidate’s speaking skills while communicating.

3. How a candidate is conveying the information.

4. How a candidate engages in the discussion.

To prepare for this test, it is best to take a lot of sample tests available online and try to have a discussion on daily life topics putting your opinions with the help of your friend. Try to listen to sample audio or recordings based on some places etc, take the notes and try to answer. Focus on the daily life basic conversations.

If you are to appear in the IELTS exam in June, you have just about a month at hand, that means you need to be on your toes while preparing. Be very selective in your preparation especially with the writing section. Just go through the various online help portals like www.yunolearning.com and others, to learn how to attempt the writing section. Structure your essay well, stitch together the entire essay in a way that it should look connected and not scattered ideas. Always mention each idea in a separate paragraph along with the relevant examples that support the idea. Do not gather all the ideas in a single paragraph as you may lose marks for that. Rather it should be presented in a very short and crisp manner so that the thought behind the essay is outright, clear and to the point.

Next thing you should focus on is, the Speaking section. Search online videos to see how you should conduct yourself, how to stay calm and focussed. How to handle the introduction round and then how to answer the questions asked. The tricky part here is, there may be some questions from your daily life which you may not have ever heard of, do not fumble or get nervous, just buy some time by saying phrases like, “Interesting question, never heard of this before” etc. It will give you time to think about a possible answer in a constructive manner. Avoid putting on the fake accent as that puts the examiner off and you may lose marks. Stick to your natural flow of English and be clear with your speech and pronunciation.

Practice Skim reading for the reading section, as you may not find much time to go through each passage thoroughly, but you have to gather the main idea by going through the main points to understand the passage broadly. To be able to do that, you will have to take a lot of sample papers that are available on the online portals likewww.yunolearning.com and others. There are a lot many tricks on the site on how to attempt the questions in the given time frame.

Practice a lot for the Listening section, by listening to monologues, dialogues and other audio content with various accents. It will give you an exhaustive preparation for the exam. You can listen to good audio on the BBC etc.

Take mock tests and practice tests daily as if you are giving the actual test. While you take the sample tests, try to attempt the whole paper in the same time frame as allowed in the exam. It will give you the feel of the real exam and will help you build up your confidence. Do check your weak areas and try to rectify the problematic areas. This will enable you to get 7 bands.

Of course, Yes! You can crack the IELTS exam without any coaching, all you need is to have is about 4 weeks to prepare, the right focus, the format of the exam, the study material, sample tests which are available online.

It primarily depends on your current English proficiency level, if you are more than average in your English language skills, you surely can crack the exam yourself. By language skills, we mean you should be fluent in speaking English, you should have a fine understanding of the language, you are able to grasp the information when you listen to someone who is a native English speaker, you are well versed with different accents. Whatever time you have at hand, just manage your time well.

IELTS consists of four modules:

Reading Module: The total time allotted to this section is 60 minutes. There are 40 questions in this module based on the passages from the journals, newspapers, books, magazines etc. You have to quickly skim through the passages to attempt the questions in time. Time management is required to attempt this section.

Writing Module: The total time allotted to this section is 60 minutes. There are two tasks given in this module out of which task 1 is allotted 20 minutes and task 2 is allotted 40 minutes. You have to write down the main relevant points in the tasks and cover the facts, figures and the question statement. Fulfil both the tasks religiously as it will fetch you good score if done according to the required format.

Listening Module: The total time allotted to this section is 40 minutes. There will be four audios which will be played on the basis of which the questions will be asked.The audio will be a monologue on an everyday topic, a conversation between two people or more, a monologue on some academic topic. The answers are case sensitive, so be very careful while answering the questions. You have to be very attentive while listening to the audio and you can jot down your answers on the question paper and move to the answer sheet later when you are given time to move them.

Speaking Module: The total time allotted to this section is 11 to 14 minutes. It is a one on one interview round with the IELTS certified examiner. It has been divided into 3 sections, in the first section, you have to speak about yourself, in the second section, you are asked to speak on some given topic and in the third section, you are asked some questions pertaining to the previous section. Just stay calm, composed and answer logically to the point.

IELTS is a test of English language for non-native English speaking people, who wish to move abroad for various reasons like study, work or immigration. They need to give this test to prove their proficiency in the English language. IELTS stands for International English language testing system and it is of two types, one is IELTS General test and the other is IELTS Academic test.

For the people who are willing to work abroad or want to go on an immigration visa, they need to take the IELTS General test and on the other hand, people who want to move to a foreign country on a student visa, they need to take the IELTS Academic test. Although IELTS basic pattern is the same and comprises of four different modules to assess the person on different skills such as Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.

Yet, IELTS General and IELTS Academic differ in their reading and writing section, though the Listening and Speaking sections are the same.

The Listening and the Speaking modules for both the IELTS are the same. Their format is:

The time allowed for completing the Listening section is 30 minutes. In this section, a person will listen to different audio recordings in different accents by native speakers. Generally, they are either monologues or a dialogue between two or more people. On the basis of the recording, a person has to answer a set of 40 questions. A person can write down the answers on the questions paper initially and later they get 10 minutes to transfer the answers to the answer sheet.

The time allowed for the Speaking section is 11 to 14 minutes. A one on one interview is conducted in this section by an IELTS expert examiner. This section is divided into 3 different rounds. In the first round, the person appearing for the test is asked to give his introduction to assess his speaking skills. In the second round, a person is asked to speak impromptu on a topic given by the examiner. It assesses the person’s thought process and how he links the ideas. In the last round, some questions are asked from the person related to the second round.

IELTS General Reading section: The time allowed for this section is 60 minutes in which a person has to answer 40 questions by skimming through the passages given. There are many short texts related to everyday life. The questions are of different kinds such as multiple choice, match the headings, summary completion etc.

IELTS General Writing section: The time allowed for this section is 60 minutes which is divided into two parts, task 1 of 20 minutes and task 2 of 40 minutes. In task 1, a person is given a situation on which he has to write a letter to request information or explain the situation. Task 2 carries an essay question, in which a person has to put forward his opinion or viewpoint.

IELTS Academic Reading section: 40 different types of questions are to be completed in 60 minutes. There are three long passages taken from journals, books, newspapers etc. on the basis of which questions as asked.

IELTS Academic Writing section: This section carries 2 tasks to be completed within 60 minutes. In task 1, visual information is given, based on which a person has to prepare a report or summarise the facts given. In task 2, an argument based essay is to be written.

The IELTS exam comprises of 4 different modules to test you on each skill such as Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking. Out of all, Speaking skill is the most important one, as it is only when you speak something, you are able to express yourself fully and effectively. Another way in which you can express yourself is by writing. Now, every module of the IELTS exam is unique and set up in such a way that it requires a lot of preparation before taking the exam. It is not that tough to ace the exam but one section that needs a lot of attention, focus, practice and skill to attempt is the Writing module. Majority of the candidates who take the IELTS exam, feel that writing is the toughest part of the IELTS exam, as there are two tasks which you have to write in your own words. And effective writing is an assortment of good imagination, creativity in writing, correct grammar, impressive vocabulary, simple sentence formation which is understandable and integrating the different ideas in a way that they look interconnected.

IELTS Academic Writing tasks require more appropriate language. It has two tasks, one is visual information for which you have to write a report using the figures, facts and information provided. And the other tasks is an opinion based/ solution oriented essay and you have to be very careful about the content of the essay. You should not interject all the ideas together in a single paragraph rather elaborate every point in separate paragraph along with the supporting examples. Make use of transition words to link the different ideas and show continuity. Always begin with an introductory paragraph with your personal opinion about the topic and end with a concluding paragraph mentioning the overall solution to the issue in question.

Check out How to Write a Paragraph ?

IELTS General Writing consists of two tasks one is a formal/ semi-formal/ informal letter writing explaining a situation or requesting information. The other task is an argumentative/ discussion based essay. In the letter writing, your own introduction, the body of the letter, suggestion, the salutation is important. Use the language according to the type of the letter i.e if you writing to a friend, the language should be informal/ casual, if you are writing to someone unknown, the tone of the letter should be formal etc.

Read Tips to Improve Letter Writing for Task 1 General in IELTS

Writing section is very scoring if you know how to attempt it well, but it’s challenging if you don’t follow the proper format of writing and you may lose a good score.

A candidate who is to appear for the IELTS exam should set up his preparation schedule on the basis of his current English proficiency level. To initiate the preparation, I would suggest taking a mock test first, to know your weaker areas. Once you are familiar with all your strengths and the weaknesses, you can concentrate on honing up the right areas.

The second factor that matters is, the time frame you have at hand before appearing for the IELTS exam. If your exam date is around the corner or is just about a month away, then the study schedule will be different, which means you will have to put in more number of study hours in a day. On the other hand, if you have an ample amount of time at hand, let’s say your exam date is six months away, then the preparation schedule will vary. The more preparation time you have, the lesser number of hours you will have to invest on a daily basis. But it is entirely the candidate’s choice.

The best schedule for a candidate who has a lot of time at hand can be, investing about 2 to 3 hours on a daily basis for the preparation. It will not be a very exhaustive schedule. In those 2 to 3 hours, you should read some good books, articles, journals etc. to increase your reading capacity and the reading pace. Besides that, reading will build up your vocabulary and increase your understanding of the text. Also, practice to skim read the text by going through the content broadly. Other than reading, watch English based videos, serials, series, movies etc. so that you create that English environment around you. When you will be surrounded by an appropriate environment, you will automatically get more fluent and start understanding the accent easily. Also, listen to English songs, good audios from famous speakers. At the weekends, take 2 sample tests, it will keep a tab on the progress you are making. That ways you will be more focused in your preparation.

For a candidate whose exam is just in about a month’s time, he should invest nearly 4 to 5 hours a day and touching up all the different modules of the exam along with taking at least 2 mock tests every weekend. The schedule has to be intensive as you will have less time at hand. Along with that, try to practice more of writing and speaking modules. As these two modules can get your performance down if not prepared well.

IELTS is an exam which assesses your English language in every aspect. English is just a language and is used for communicating your ideas to others by speaking or writing. Every aspect of IELTS is important, be it reading, writing, listening or speaking. More than the individual module, it is your attentiveness, focus, active listening skills, fluency, confidence while speaking, promptness, grammatically correct English, strong vocabulary, impressive writing skills, apt sentence structuring are more important parts of the IELTS exam. The whole body of the test relies on these areas.

Attentive listening is important because if your listening skills are poor or you are not attentive, you may miss out on a lot of information and once you miss the information you will not be able to answer the questions. So, active listening is essential.

Creative and imaginative writing is yet another important part of the IELTS exam. The way you express your imagination in words directly reflects your mind. The more organised thinking you will have, better writing tasks you will be able to do. A disorganised thought process will always jumble up your ideas and your writing will look haywire and disconnected.

Reading is as important as any other module as the pace at which you go through the passages during the exam will affect your overall result. You should practice reading quickly and skim through the text. Always go through the main points of the text and try to understand the content broadly. If you are still not very well with deducing the broad concept of the passage, you must practice reading more and read varied articles, books etc.

Speaking is of utmost importance in terms of communication everywhere be it socially or in IELTS exam. Your body language reflects your confidence level. The way you speak will show how calm, composed, anxious or nervous you are. Your rate of speech, intonation, quality of words, clarity of speech, pronunciation, the right use of words, stress on the appropriate places, pauses in between the sentences matters a lot. That really marks a strong impression on the examiner. You must intensify your practice if you feel you are lacking the self-confidence, as this module is the only module in which you have to be physically present on the site with the examiner for one on one interview round.

Do not assume any module to be more important than the other, each one of them is important. And prepare for every module thoroughly.

The writing section of the IELTS Academic test and IELTS General test differ. But the time frame allowed for both is the same and so is the word limit.

In both General and Academic writing, the time allowed is 60 minutes in all. Both have 2 tasks each respectively. The time allowed for task 1 is 20 minutes and the time allowed for task 2 is 40 minutes. The word limit for task 1 is 150 words and for task 2 is 250 words.

IELTS General writing task 1: Task 1 of General writing is a letter writing to be written in 150 words. The letter can be an informal letter, semi-formal letter or a formal letter. An informal letter is written to someone you are known to personally such as a friend. In this kind of letter, you can use the contracted forms. The topic of this kind of letter can be a social invitation or a personal reason. The semi-formal letter is written to someone you know or an acquaintance. The topic can be something like requesting an accommodation or a complaint to the landlord etc. A formal letter is written to someone you don’t know. The contracted forms are not acceptable in formal letters. The topic can be an application for a job, providing some information to an organization etc. The word limit is 150 words to be completed in 20 mins.

Take IELTS practice tests for Writing task 1 & 2, Listening, and Reading

IELTS Academic writing task 1: Academic Task 1 is a report writing in which visual information is provided such as a graph/ chart/ flowchart/ table/ diagram etc. on the basis of which you have to prepare a report or summarize the information in a formal manner using all the information provided. You have to show the different trends using the information, with a proper choice of words. The word limit is 150 words to be completed in 20 mins.

IELTS General writing task 2: General Task 2 carries an Essay question on the basis of which you are assessed on the grammatical accuracy, the lexical resource, task achievement. This task requires you to address what is asked in the question. State the purpose very clearly and always highlight the main points while writing. There should be cohesion between the different sentences. The time allowed is 40 minutes and the word limit is 250 words.

IELTS Academic writing task 2: Academic writing task 2 has an argumentative/ discussion based/ solution oriented or generic issue based essay question which needs to be addressed by elaborating the relevant points and with supporting examples. It assesses your grammar, spellings, vocabulary, cohesion and coherence. Always state the thesis statement clearly in the overview and the rephrase the thesis statement in the concluding paragraph. Always arrange the information coherently. The time allowed to complete this task is 40 minutes and the word limit is 250 words.

Learning is best when you get it straight from the horse’s mouth. What could be better than preparing for the IELTS exam directly from the British Council itself? As they are the ones who conduct the IELTS exam themselves in collaboration with Cambridge University. They have been conducting this test since long and they know the IELTS pattern inside out. Their IELTS preparation will be the best for any candidate aspiring to score well in the IELTS exam.

They conduct many seminars and learning workshops related to IELTS. Besides that, they offer many free resources online such as free videos, online lessons, free courses, face to face courses etc. Also, they do offer many kinds of courses meant for different age groups and different types of candidates such as, there are IELTS courses for 15 to 17 yrs age group, Intensive IELTS courses for candidates who want to prepare in the last minute or their exam date is near, regular courses for the candidates who have ample amount of time at hand for their IELTS exam preparation. A candidate can book any preparation course that is best suited to him. Once the course is booked, a candidate will get preparation study material from the British Council. Other than that, they have provided all the information on their online portal to enable a candidate to explore more about the exam and the courses offered by them. Besides that, they do have a dedicated youtube channel, where you can log in and learn from.

Their online courses give the candidate an opportunity to connect with other candidates who are preparing for the IELTS. They can connect and share their tips, strategies, experiences etc. Also, the British Council online advisors give the candidates the best advice and guidance to hone up their skills to crack the exam. Since the British Council has mastered in conducting the exam over the years, their practice tests are the most updated and standardized. Even their study material is upbeat and latest. The preparation material provided by them gives a candidate an intensive practice.

The candidate preparing for the IELTS should always refer to good quality and standardized study material for the IELTS preparation. The British Council’s preparation material is one of the best and most trusted.

Check out the difference between the British Council IELTS and IDP IELTS?

You are familiar with the IELTS pattern and also you are aware that now the IELTS exam is available online via IDP, Australia. In both the IELTS: Online IELTS and Offline IELTS, the questions are the same, the only difference is the medium over which you give the exam. Online IELTS is computer-based i.e the answers are to be typed or recorded on a computer whereas the Offline IELTS is paper-based i.e answers are to be written manually on an answer sheet.

Now the question is, out of both, which one is easier?

The candidates who have a fast typing speed will be prompt on the computer-based IELTS, as they can type in their answers quickly. Even though the computer-based IELTS is a lucrative option for the candidates who are well versed with computers and have very fast typing speed, yet there are certain things that candidates should consider before deciding the medium of exam. There can be a possibility of a power failure during the online IELTS exam and the time taken to switch to the power backup may take up some time, which may result in losing on precious time. Since the time allowed for the IELTS exam is limited, a candidate cannot afford to lose even a single minute. The other issues that can prop up during the online IELTS exam can be some technical issues such as the headsets not working properly or in the middle of the listening section the headsets develop some technical glitch, the time taken by the invigilator to fix it will be lost and a candidate may miss the audio due to which he may lose marks, as he may not be able to answer the questions. Besides the technical issues, a candidate can make many typing errors too. While giving the exam a candidate will always be conscious about the limited time and may make mistakes.

In my opinion, a paper-based IELTS which is also termed as offline IELTS exam is more convenient and handy as you can go at your own pace. You can speed up when you know you have a paucity of time. Power failure or any other issue will not affect your writing speed, although, during the listening section, the problem may occur due to quality of the audio etc. but overall everything is in candidate’s control. The paper-based exam gives you the flexibility of jotting down the answers on the question paper and later move on to the answer sheet. You can underline the keywords or highlight the important parts of the text during the exam. But there can be spelling mistakes in the paper-based exam too. You have to be very careful about the spellings as you will lose the marks in case of the wrong spellings.

It is entirely an individual’s preference. Candidates who are well versed with computers find online IELTS easier than the offline exam. On the contrary, the candidates who are not good at typing speed prefer offline IELTS exam. The scoring and the pattern of both the exams is the same.

An IELTS Speaking test takes around 11 to 14 minutes in all but it does require a lot of practice to face the interview with the IELTS certified examiner.The important thing that matters the most in the IELTS Speaking test is your confidence level and the clarity of speech.

The test is divided into three sections: the first section is a self-introduction round. The entire onus lies on this round, if you are able to carry it well, it will give you a confidence boost to face the next two rounds. In order to handle the first round well, practice to speak impromptu at home, in front of the mirror every day to build up your confidence level. Practice the self-introduction well, so that you do not falter at all. The body language and the posture speak volumes about your personality. Just maintain an erect posture with a straight spine, avoid drooping shoulders, sit comfortably and keep a smile on your face. Even if the examiner is not smiling, just stay calm and composed. Half of the war will be won if you do that. Your self-introduction should be crisp and to the point, state your work experience, studies, hobbies, likes and dislikes very clearly. Keep clarity in your speech, your pronunciation should be correct, avoid grammatical mistakes, use intonation while you speak.You need to practice this daily in front of a mirror or ask someone to help you by enacting as your examiner.That can help you overcome any anxiety or shyness you may have. At any cost, avoid putting on a fake or heavy accent, it is not required and moreover, it puts the examiner off.

In section 2 of the Speaking test, you will be given a cue card or a topic to speak on for a few minutes. Just practice at home to speak on various topics like your home, family, pet, work etc. The more you will practice, the better you will be able to perform in the extempore round. The tip to ace this round is, once you get the topic, jot down some key points for a rough outline and create content around it. That way you will be more focussed while speaking.

In Section 3 of the IELTS Speaking, the examiner will ask you certain questions based on round 2 topic. So make sure whatever you speak is logical and to the point so that you know how to elaborate and support your content. All this will come with practice repeatedly. You can record your extempore sessions in a recorder and then listen to it to see your shortcomings.Then try to rectify the problematic areas and try again until you are confident.

Read Listening and Speaking Tips That Will Help You Score High in IELTS.

IELTS Speaking test is conducted separately from the other three modules. It takes about 11 to 14 minutes for the complete Speaking test to finish. There are three rounds which are conducted one on one by an IELTS certified examiner.

The first round is a self-introduction round, in which the examiner will ask you to speak about your family, home, education, work experience, hobbies etc. And whatever you will speak, your answers will be recorded for assessment purpose. The format of round 1 is such, it is designed to break the ice between the candidate and the examiner. The best possible way to tackle this round is to maintain your calm, do not put on a fake or a heavy accent, just be composed and speak clearly. Be very clear about your hobbies, likes, dislikes, family, work, education etc. It will be easier for you to speak on them but make sure you do not go over the board or lie to impress the examiner, as the examiner may ask questions pertaining to what you speak. So, if you lie about something, you may get stuck when asked to elaborate it. Just be crisp in your introduction and stick to the main points.

By round 2, you will be more relaxed and you will be given a cue card having a topic, on which you have to speak on. It will be an extempore round just to assess you on your thought and speech synchronization, intonation, grammar, how you frame your ideas into meaningful sentences, the way you stitch together different ideas, the way you use the linking words, the choice of words you use. You will be given a minute’s time to jot down the ideas and then you can elaborate on it. A good way to handle this round is, to write down the main points related to the topic and when you start speaking, start with the introduction of the topic, then use your main points as the body and end with a crisp conclusion. Try to be logical and use valid examples in between, if required.

In the last round, the examiner will ask you questions about round 2. It will be a discussion round. The examiner may ask you to elaborate on a certain point which you just touched upon in round 2 or any random idea you used. This round gives you the opportunity to show your confidence and assertiveness. This is the best way to show your proactiveness and discuss the ideas with logical reasoning.

Read some more Speaking Tips That Will Help You Score High in IELTS.

Your Content Goes Here

Generally, candidates live in a misconception about the preparation of IELTS mean, just reading through IELTS based content, listening to monologues and dialogues and writing on the IELTS based topics. In a rush to mug up all this, candidates forget to follow a basic thumb rule, that until they do not speak in English, their language would not improve by just listening and watching the English based content. Learning to speak in English is just like learning to drive a car unless you do not practice it yourself each day, your hitch and fear will not go away. Once you practice it every day your judgement improves, similarly, talking in English every day will give you more command over your language and you will have a better judgement to use the appropriate words. First and the foremost thing about IELTS exam is good English as the main aim of the IELTS exam is to assess your proficiency in English and the best way to be fluent in it is to talk in English each day. Only then the other preparation areas will help the candidate to improve.

Enriching the vocabulary and mugging up the grammar is not enough for good English, but daily reading sessions, learning and using good phrases can help a candidate to perform better. Do not just concentrate on IELTS based English all the time as that can limit the language learning. Just focus on improving English in every aspect. Create an environment where the first language used is English and once a candidate is surrounded by English speaking company, it will automatically kick in the motivation to speak more effectively. That ways mind gets to work and try to generate more ideas, better sentence formations etc.

Besides that, each day listening to good English based audio like listening to radio channels, songs, motivational talks, English talks shows, monologues, dialogues will enable a candidate to grasp the way in which he can speak and express in English.

Moreover, watching English movies, series, videos without subtitles will give the candidate an opportunity to learn and grasp the pronunciation and the way words are spoken by native English speakers.

Writing is challenging if the candidate’s current English level isn’t up to the mark. As the writing part of the exam requires high precision and accurate English. Each component of writing is scored such as accuracy in grammar, writing style, punctuations, transition words, vocabulary, cohesion and formatting of the content. Everything should be up to the mark. Read many writing sample answers to know how to go about and then take a lot of practice in this portion of the exam.

The First and the foremost thing to score the highest band in the IELTS exam is to understand the format of the exam. Second thing is to set the goal you want to achieve eg. 8.5 or 9 bands and 9 being the highest. Before we proceed any further, let’s understand that the IELTS exam is divided into 4 sections to test you on 4 different language skills namely Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. The band achieved in each section is as important as the overall band.

To start with, do self-study. In order to do that systematically, divide your study hours each day to give equivalent time to prepare each section. As securing good bands in each and every section is important to get the highest overall bands.

Begin with preparing the Listening section, as listening to a variety of audios will keep your interest alive and set the preparation tone rightfully. Take tips from various online portals that provide standardised information about the IELTS exam such aswww.yunolearning.com

Next thing you should do is to prepare for the writing test. To do that effectively, go through a lot of transition/ linking words to bring in continuity to your writing skills. Also, going through the good glossary, Idioms and Phrases will help you bind your writing expression impressively. Learn contracted forms for Informal letter writing/ general writing and formal vocabulary for the academic writing tasks. Go through various online portals to know the probable Essay topics.

To prepare for the Speaking test, practice your introduction or extempore, by standing in front of a mirror so that you can overcome your anxiety or shyness. It will build your confidence to face the examiner during Speaking test. In addition to that, record your spoken content and then listen to identify the weak areas or problematic areas. Rectify those weaknesses or take professional help for the same.

Read a lot to ace the IELTS reading test. Reading will help you to crack the reading section efficiently, as the more you will read, the better reading pace you will have. Your understanding of the text will increase and along with that, your vocabulary will magnify. Do not forget to practice skim reading, that will be the most helpful to get high bands in reading section.

Every week take at least two mock or practice tests in an exam like conditions and take exactly the same time as is allowed in the IELTS exam. It will give you a lot of practice and boost up your confidence to take the exam.

Taking professional coaching helps quite a lot, as a lot many students learn the same thing in a similar environment. You get the right environment for Speaking practice and also, you are guided well to improve your weak areas.

An IELTS exam is a doorway that opens up multiple avenues to the people who wish to migrate to foreign lands to try their luck in various fields. But to reach that goal they have to pass through the IELTS exam. IELTS enables a person to fulfil his dreams to migrate to a foreign country, study in a reputed foreign college or a university and to work in an organisation in different parts of the world. To be able to get there, a person has to achieve good scores or has to meet a barest minimum score required to be able to pursue the dreams further. IELTS does open up many career paths yet it is not a competitive exam that will guarantee you the admission to a college or competitive.

People who are looking for Immigration to any foreign country have to take IELTS General Training exam and get a minimum of 6 bands or whatever the band requirement is for a particular country. Each country has its own IELTS band requirements which a person has to fulfil. Immigration to any country is based on a point system, points are calculated on the basis of the level of education, work experience, marital status, education abroad, work experience from any foreign country, IELTS bands etc. Rest of the factors can vary but a person has to get a good IELTS score to get good points eg. If a person is applying for an Australian PR then the minimum bands he needs is 7 bands to be able to get 10 points. If he gets 8 to 9 bands then he will be able to secure 20 points for the immigration point system. For Canadian immigration, the IELTS point calculation is different. The calculation varies for each country.

For a work visa, the IELTS band requirement is different. A person has to appear for IELTS General training exam for applying for a work visa for any country. The band requirement is different for every country. The minimum band needed is 6 which shows that a person is above average in his language skills and can pull along well at work in any country.

For Study visa, a student has to be very efficient in his language skills to be able to understand the course which he is applying for. For education, the English level has to be really good as in any foreign country the education level is very high. To get admission to a good college or a university, a student has to achieve at least 7 bands to be eligible. Higher the bands, better are the chances to get admission in a good institute.

The IELTS Speaking test is a one-on-one interview round with the IELTS certified examiner, which is conducted on a separate day from the other three modules. It is usually held within a week’s time from the rest of the exam. The format of the Speaking section is such that it comprises of three rounds. The total time allowed for the Speaking test is 11 to 14 minutes.

The first round is a self-introduction round. The examiner will first introduce himself and then he will ask you to speak about yourself in which you have to speak for 4 to 5 minutes. The introduction round covers everything about yourself such as your education, family, hobbies, work experience, likes and dislikes, your opinions about everyday things and your home etc. This round assesses you on your communication skills, grammar, vocabulary, confidence level, Intonation and clarity of speech. Round 1 breaks the ice between the candidate and the examiner.

In the second round, the examiner will give you a cue card having a topic to speak on for about 2 minutes. You will be given 1 minute to prepare for the topic by jotting down notes or important points about the topic. Since this is an impromptu round, this round assesses your ability to speak extempore at length without faltering. Other than that, it tests you on your ability to organise your thoughts and the way you connect your ideas by maintaining the continuity.

In the third round, the examiner asks you some generic questions related to the topic given in round 2. The questions will be such that you have to elaborate/ discuss your ideas you spoke on in round 2 or you have to give your opinion with the help of supporting examples. Overall, it is a discussion based around where you have to talk about your ideas in depth. The overall time taken by this round is around 4 to 5 minutes. This round gives you the opportunity to assert your opinion and show your promptness.

Overall, in all the three rounds you are judged on the basis of your range of vocabulary, grammatical accuracy, fluency and command on the language, correct pronunciation, the rate of speech, sentence structuring, coherence, intonation, usage of linking words, clarity of speech, logical answers, right pauses at the right places and putting stress at the right words.

Read Speaking Tips That Will Help You Score High in IELTS.

All the answers provided by you are recorded for assessment and scoring purpose.

There are no shortcuts to increase your vocabulary, it builds up gradually. It is an ongoing and continuous process and it happens when you read a lot, be it books, articles, newspapers, magazines, read something online etc. While listening to a song or reading some text or watching an English movie always jot down the new words you come across and write their meanings in a diary or a journal. Then practice those words in your speech the same day and also check out more sentences with those words so that you know the application of that word in varied ways. Keep doing that each day and keep practising. Every weekend refresh your memory of new words by brushing up the words you jotted down. When you do that the new words you learnt will be etched in your memory and those words will be retained in your brain forever. If you do not have someone around you to practice the words, try to write something using that word.This practice will gradually increase your vocabulary.

Besides the new words, make sure you check the synonyms of the words you have gathered. And look out for the ways to use them. Make sure you practice the new words the very same day else you may not be able to grasp it well. Other than learning new words, there are some word building games like Spellex, SpellBee, Scrabble, Crossword puzzles and Sudoku, playing these games will help you enhance your vocabulary extensively.

Another way with which you can boost your vocabulary is by understanding the root of the word. As you know every word is originated and derived from some other word, mainly a vast majority of the English words have originated from Latin or Greek words. If you start recognising the pattern of the origin of the words, you will start deducing their meanings on your own.

Other than learning the root of the words, keeping a pocket Thesaurus always handy will help you dig out the right word when you want to express something. It will bring more clarity to your speech. You will eventually learn to use the right words in your communication.

Also, learn transition or linking words, they always bring more value to your language as they link up your ideas or thoughts that you want to convey and brings continuity to your language. Going through Idioms and Phrases also strengthens your spoken or written expression.

IELTS is a test of English to assess your language abilities in every facet be it Spoken, Reading, Writing and Listening. It tests you on how well you are able to apply the language in actual. The more you make use of the English language practically the better output you will get. English is a language which is universally accepted and majorly spoken in all the parts of the world. A vast majority of people understand the language even if they are not native speakers. IELTS is a language proficiency test meant for the non-native English speaking candidates who are looking for a relocation to a foreign land on the basis of work, study or immigration visa.

IELTS consists of four modules which are marked on a score range of 0 to 9. Every module is scored individually and the common score of all the four modules becomes the overall band. The bands depict your level of English proficiency where band 9 signifies that the candidate is an expert in the English language. Band range assessment is as follows:

A candidate scores Band 0, if he does not attempt the test.

If a candidate scores Band 1, he is considered to be just not good enough in English.

If a candidate scores Band 2, he is considered to be a beginner but does not use the language.

If a candidate scores Band 3, he is considered to be a minimal user.

If a candidate scores Band 4, he is considered to be a limited user.

If a candidate scores Band 5, he is considered to be an average user.

If a candidate scores Band 6, he is considered to be an above average user.

If a candidate scores Band 7, he is considered to be a very good user.

If a candidate scores Band 8, he is considered to be a very proficient user.

If a candidate scores Band 9, he is considered to be on an expert in English usage.

Besides the band range, the IELTS scoring is such that a candidate can score 0.5 bands as well eg. a candidate can score 6.5, 7.5 bands also.

Know more about IELTS scoring pattern and the 9-BAND scale

A band 9 is considered to be the highest and the best score in the IELTS. It shows that the candidate is flawlessly perfect in his language skills be it the grammar accuracy, pronunciation, vocabulary, sentence framing, expression, fluency and command over the language.

The IELTS exam is conducted by the IDP and the British Council. It is held many times in one year. And in one month’s time, it is conducted at least twice or thrice. As such, there is no limit for retaking the IELTS exam. You can appear as many times as you want to for the IELTS exam. It can be taken twice within a month or two. Though the validity of the IELTS Test Report form is 2 years from the date written on the Test Report form eg. If the date mentioned on the IELTS Test report form is 31st May 2019, then it will be valid until 31st May 2021.

The IELTS exam pattern is very well organised and is designed in such a way that you can take this exam as many times depending upon the availability. You can appear twice within a month’s gap or once in two months. But if in the first attempt you do not score good bands, then the best advice for you will be to take a considerable gap in between and polish up the areas you are weak in. The IELTS exam pattern is such that appearing for the exam back to back will not change your score much until you update or improve your skill in which you are lagging. It’s always good to take time to prepare well and rectify your problematic areas, only then the scores will improve. At least keep more than 2 months or more gap in between so that you can prepare well and improve your IELTS score. The validity will be 2 years each time you appear for the exam.

By and large, people appear once in two months if they do not get satisfactory results. Even if the score improves by 0.5 bands, it increases their score overall. Generally, people retake the IELTS test, as a large percentage of the candidates appearing for the IELTS exam are students who have applied for a student visa in foreign countries and they usually require good bands for getting admission. It is totally your personal preference of how soon you want to retake the test within a year but it is always helpful if you prepare well and then retake the exam.The more practice, the better scores you will attain.

Read What is IELTS?

IELTS exam is divided into two types, one is the IELTS General Training exam and the other is IELTS Academic exam. The IELTS General Training exam is taken by those candidates who are applying for Immigration abroad or work visa whereas the IELTS Academic exam is taken by the candidates who are applying to foreign universities for pursuing higher education.

IELTS General exam pattern is overall the same as the IELTS Academic but the difficulty level varies which means IELTS General is slightly easier than the IELTS Academic. There are two tasks given in each of the writing exams. The IELTS General Writing Task 1 is a letter writing, explain a situation or requesting information and task 2 is an essay question. In the IELTS Academic Writing exam, task 1 is a report writing or summarization based on a graph/ table/ chart/ diagram and task 2 is an opinion based essay writing.

Since IELTS Academic is meant for the candidates who want to go abroad for studies, so it’s obvious that their English standards should be very high to be at par with the English levels of the foreign universities. Considering that, the IELTS Academic writing is a formal style of writing which implies a candidate cannot use informal vocabulary, no contracted forms are allowed such as lots of, I’ll, I’ve etc. The sentence structuring should be long and complex one which looks formal and the choice of words should be formal too, such as moreover, sufficient, purchase, obtain, completely, definitely, carried out etc. Even abbreviated forms or colloquial is not allowed in formal writing. The content is written in the passive voice and the use of transition words connect the text and make it more meaningful. In the formal writing style, the use of phrases as verbs is very essential such as pertain to, adhere to, complain of, brought about etc.

On the contrary, in the IELTS General exam use of contracted forms is acceptable and the abbreviated forms or the colloquial are allowed. The sentence formation is short, crisp and is written in the active voice. The choice of words used is informal such as enough, need, did, buy, help, also, lots etc. The informal letter expression is such that you can end the letter with the words like Best Wishes, Best Regards etc. whereas in the formal letter writing the beginnings and endings are formal such as using the words like Sir, Madam, Yours faithfully etc. The letter is informal when you know the person yourself and the letter is formal when you are not known to the person you are writing to.

Here are the Tips to Improve Letter Writing for Task 1 General in IELTS

In all the major countries like Australia, New Zealand, U.S.A, Canada, United Kingdom, IELTS score is a prerequisite to get an entry on the basis of Study Visa, Work Visa or Immigration. But there are many European and South East Asian countries that allow admission, work permit or entry without IELTS score. Few countries where IELTS is not required are:

  • Singapore
  • Malaysia
  • Greece
  • Georgia
  • Poland
  • Latvia
  • France
  • Hungary
  • Russia
  • South Korea
  • Ukraine
  • Dubai
  • Norway
  • Holland
  • Germany
  • India
  • Czech Republic
  • Philippines

Besides these countries, there are some universities in Australia where IELTS is not needed but you need to have your previous education in English medium. To name a few universities that allow admission without the IELTS score are:

  • Swinburne University of Technology
  • University of Southern Queensland
  • University of South Australia
  • Bond University
  • Macquarie University
  • University of New South Wales
  • University Adelaide
  • University of Queensland

Similarly, there are many universities in Canada as well, which require English as your primary language in your previously attended educational institute but they do not require IELTS score. Few of them are:

  • Memorial University
  • Concordia University
  • Carleton University
  • Brock University
  • University of Winnipeg
  • University of Regina

There are some universities in the United Kingdom which just needs proof that your previous education has been completed in the English language and they do not require IELTS score. Some of the universities in the UK that allow admission without IELTS are:

  • Robert Gordon University
  • London South Bank University
  • The University of Bolton
  • University of Bristol

In the United States, there are many universities that allow admission without the IELTS or any other English proficiency test but a prior condition that the candidate’s native language must be English. And few more conditions which vary from one university to another university. Some of the US universities that do not need IELTS are:

  • University of Arkansas
  • University of Dayton
  • University of Colorado
  • California State University
  • State University of New York
  • University of New Orleans
  • University of Delaware
  • Drexel University
  • University Iowa

A large number of universities in Norway, Germany and Holland offers admission without the IELTS or any other English proficiency exam. Some of them are: University of Oslo, Inholland University etc. They just require proof of English proficiency by procuring a written letter from the previous educational institute, which validate that you have completed your studies in English medium.

A night before you sit for your IELTS exam, make sure you eat well, rest well and stay calm. On the exam day, always wear comfortable clothes, as the exam is 2 hours and 45 minutes long and you may get exhausted if you are uncomfortably dressed up. Although there is no official dress code for the exam, you can consider the smart casuals or comfortable formals. Carry a water bottle or a juice in a transparent bottle, so that you keep yourself hydrated during the exam.

Reach the exam centre at least 15 to 20 mins before the allotted time, it keeps your anxiousness at bay and you can check for the whereabouts of the exam room and what is allowed inside the exam hall etc. When you arrive at the exam centre assigned to you, your identity will be checked by the staff on duty. For that, you have to carry your original identity proof along with the coloured photocopy of the same and the original ID is mandatory. You have to use the same ID proof, the details of which you have filled in the application form when you apply for the exam date.The identity proof which is accepted and is considered valid is your original passport and no other ID proof is acceptable such as driving license, student ID card or any other such ID proofs. Other than the ID proof, you have to carry a printout of your confirmation email for the IELTS exam.

To be on the safer side, it is always advisable to carry at least two coloured photocopies of all the ID’s and the documents with you to the exam centre including a minimum of two passport size photographs of yourself.

Besides the identity proof, carry your complete stationery kit which contains pencils, pen, eraser, sharpener etc. To save your time, always sharpen the pencils beforehand and check your pen for any leakage etc.

Please make sure that you do not carry any calculator, wristwatch, laptop, mobile phone, any recording device, any other gadget which is capable of recording or making video or clicking pictures etc. All these devices are prohibited inside the exam room. You must not carry any of these things. If you do, then you have to keep these things outside the exam room and you can collect them after the exam.

Lastly, for the IELTS Speaking exam which is conducted separately on a different date, you just have to carry your passport and its coloured photocopy for the identity proof. Nothing else is required in the Speaking test. Though, you may carry few stationery items to jot down some points for round 2.

The first thing I realized to get band 7 was, it is imperative to understand the task and what is expected from you in the task. The major onus lies in the fact that understanding the question can help you achieve the bands you have aimed for. Once you know what exactly you want to convey in your answer, you will be focussed and will write relevant content, that’s the key.

As per the requirement of the task, I jotted down the main points I wanted to elaborate and then I built the content around those main ideas I gathered. When you gather the ideas which are relevant to the question, it gives you clarity on what you want to convey in your writing task and you stay in sync with the topic.

Besides that, the sentence structuring is a very important part of the writing task. If you write your answer in complex sentences, it gives a more impressive stroke to the writing. The use of the linking words creates coherence in the writing and binds the overall text into meaningful content.

Depending upon which task you are attempting, whether its general writing or academic writing, use the vocabulary likewise. In general writing, contracted forms are acceptable and the voice used is active whereas in academic writing, the vocabulary used should be formal and in the passive voice, and no contracted forms are allowed. Also, do take care of the subject-verb agreement in your writing, if not followed well, it can lead to deduction of marks.

The grammar and the punctuation plays a very crucial role in achieving high bands in the writing section, be it general or academic. Make sure you review your content for any grammatical or punctuation mistakes. Other than that, stick to the topic, use the ideas which are related to the topic and give appropriate examples and do not go off the track. There is no need to write irrelevant ideas just to fulfil the word limit. Whatever the main idea is, just elaborate that nicely with the required examples.

Make sure you do not repeat the words, instead use synonyms. Using the synonyms in your content makes your writing glossy and a lot more impressive. Use a very effective vocabulary especially in the report writing where you have to use describing or comparing words. The contrasting words are able to present the contrast or trending between two or more different things/ time frames.

Read the how to Improve Letter Writing for Task 1 General in IELTS .

IELTS exam is of two types IELTS General training and IELTS academic and the writing format of both differ a lot. The two tasks of IELTS general writing are a letter writing which can be formal/ informal/ semi-formal and a discussion based essay. On the other hand, the two tasks of IELTS academic are report writing and an argument based essay.

There are various ways you can begin the task 1 and task 2. To start with task 1 of General writing is letter writing. Always read the question thoroughly to understand what is asked and that sets the tone of your letter. Start with your own introduction followed by the reason for writing the letter. The next paragraph will be the body of the letter where you will add the details i.e explaining a situation or requesting the information you need or a complaint you have or inviting someone you know.The next paragraph will have a possible solution to the problem or an action to be taken. The last paragraph will be the closing of the letter which will have a conclusion. Make sure the opening and closing of the letter should be apt per the requirement. Remember you get only 20 minutes to write the letter and stick to the word limit of 150 words.

Task 2 of IELTS General or Academic is an argument/opinion or a discussion based essay, which needs to be addressed very skilfully in an organized manner. The first paragraph will have an introduction of the subject along with your opinion on the same. Also, paraphrase the question statement to acknowledge the topic. In the next two paragraphs discuss your ideas with relevant examples and make sure to discuss each idea in a separate paragraph so as to present your ideas logically. Always structure your sentences well keeping in mind the active and passive voice. The last paragraph will be the concluding paragraph where you reword the question statement along with possible suggestions pertaining to the topic. The time allotted for this task is 40 minutes and word limit is 250 words.

Task 1 of IELTS Academic is a report writing or summarising on the basis of a diagram or a table. Writing a report needs to be formal and structured. It should start with a few introductory lines followed by an overview. The next two paragraphs will have all the facts and the figures which are given in the graph/ chart/ table. The language used should have the comparison words or the words that show the trending. And if it is a diagram then you need to choose the describing words. Adhere to the word limit of 150 words in 20 minutes.

Check out What are useful structure for IELTS writing task 1?

Depending on which course you want to take up and for what purpose you want to travel abroad, your minimum educational qualification will differ to take the IELTS exam. Also, based on your purpose, you will have to choose between IELTS General or IELTS Academic. But the basic eligibility criteria is that you should be a minimum of 16 years of age and should have a valid passport. You are eligible to take the IELTS exam if you are planning to study a professional or a higher degree abroad (UK/ USA/ Canada/ Australia/ New Zealand), or If you want to go on a work visa in a foreign country, or if you want to go abroad on immigration. If you fall into these categories then you are eligible to go ahead with the proficiency exam. For study visa, different courses require different eligibility like:

If you are seeking admission into a Bachelors Degree course:

· You need to have a Senior Secondary education level which is equivalent to the secondary education of the foreign country you are applying to.

· The second thing that you need is English language test scores.

If you are seeking admission into a Masters Degree course:

· You need to have a 4-year Bachelor’s degree which is equivalent to the Bachelor’s degree in the country you are applying to. And just in case you have a three year Bachelor’s degree then you can complete a Pre Masters program.

· The second thing that you need is English language test scores.

· The most important thing you will need is the transcripts of your scores at college or University level.

· Besides that, you will need a minimum of 2 recommendation letters from your college or university.

If you are seeking admission into a Doctorate course:

· You need to have a valid Master’s Degree from an accredited and recognized university.

· English language test scores.

· Transcripts from the university.

· Proof of relevant work experience.

Another important thing is that if the candidate is going abroad on a work visa or immigration visa, then he will have to appear for the IELTS General Training exam. Whereas if the candidate is going abroad on a student visa, then he has to appear for IELTS Academic exam. Both the tests vary in difficulty level.

Depending on the English skills of a person, any language proficiency test can be easy or difficult. You can not ascertain which one is easier than the other, you will have to weigh the pros and cons and then decide which one to prefer. CELPIP stands for Canadian English Language Proficiency English Program and it is curated to assess the language skills needed for permanent residency in Canada. On the other hand, IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System and is accepted for study, work and immigration purpose.

Comparing CELPIP to IELTS, CELPIP is a lengthy exam than the IELTS. The main advantage CELPIP has over the IELTS exam is that it is a totally computer-based exam, due to which you can keep a track of the time consumed versus time left for the exam.

Besides that, the IELTS exam has more advantages over the CELPIP exam. In the IELTS exam, you are given extra time for transitioning from one section to another whereas there is no separate transition time given in the CELPIP exam. Each an every question of IELTS exam is scored but in CELPIP there are certain unscored items which are not in one’s hand, so chances of losing marks in CELPIP are more.

Read the difference between IELTS and CELPIP

Another reason why IELTS is more preferable than CELPIP is that CELPIP is a very recently developed English proficiency exam, so there isn’t much practice material available online whereas, for IELTS, the internet is flooded with ample amount of practice material, sample papers etc.

Moreover, the score band range differs in both, in IELTS the band range is from 1 to 9 and in CELPIP it’s 1-12 for every section. Let us see the section wise comparison of the two exams to understand the format better:

· CELPIP Writing section comprises of two tasks, one is letter writing and the other is writing responses for survey questions and the time allowed is around 60 mins. In IELTS writing section there are two tasks, one is letter writing and the other is essay writing which is to be completed in 60 minutes.

· The speaking section of CELPIP has 8 questions which are to be answered in approximately 20 minutes and the speaking section of IELTS has 3 rounds which are to be answered in approximately 14 minutes.

· The CELPIP listening section has 40 questions which are to be completed in nearly 55 mins whereas the IELTS listening section comprises of 40 questions to be completed in 30 minutes.

· The reading section in CELPIP exam has nearly 45 questions out of which few are unscored and the time allotted for this section is 55-60 minutes. On the other hand, the reading section of IELTS contains 40 scored questions and the time allowed is 60 minutes.

If you want to practice for the speaking section for IELTS exam, the most important thing is to communicate in English as much as you can, as ultimately your fluency of speech matters.

To begin with, try to control your rate of speech, as it can vary according to your emotional state of mind or your anxiousness. Always maintain your calm, be focussed and hold your confidence and talk to the point, and there is no need to drag the conversation unnecessarily.Talk on the points you are confident about and if needs be you can elaborate, drop off the things that you can not elaborate on. In order to control your rate of speech, practice reading 150 words per minute from a newspaper/ book/ magazine every day. It will control your pace at which you speak and hence will bring more clarity in your spoken communication. Speaking too fast or too slow affects your clarity, fluency and spontaneity.

One thing about speaking which matters the most is the spontaneity in your speech and fluency. In order to achieve that, stand in front of a mirror as if you are facing an examiner, introduce yourself starting from your education, work, family, hobbies, likes and dislikes etc. If possible videotape it and after you finish check your stance, body language, rate of speech, relevant content, stress at the right places, redo this activity to master the introduction round.

Another important aspect of speaking is the tempo or intonation. Intonation is the variation in your voice while you speak, it’s essential to create rhythm in your speech as it makes the other person interested in what you want to say. A monotone or a flat tone is not appealing to anyone, put more stress on the right words and take pauses in between where necessary.

Other than that, speak impromptu on random topics to increase your focussed thought process on a variety of things and it will help you enhance your vocabulary as well as curating the right content.

Avoid talking in a heavy or a put on accent as it becomes difficult for the examiner to comprehend what you want to say. Just frame your sentences with appropriate words so that they are easy to understand and your spontaneity does not get affected.

The examiner always looks for clarity, confidence, fluency, vocabulary, grammatically correct English and the way you handle your answers without tangling up your ideas in unnecessary things. Keep your answers crisp and simple.

Read everything about IELTS Speaking and How to Prepare for IELTS Speaking Test

IELTS and TOEFL are two different kinds of English proficiency exams which are conducted by separate entities. Both the tests are formulated for the non-native English Speakers who are looking to move abroad for work, study and immigration purpose.

The basic format of both the exams is divided into four different sections yet the question pattern of the two varies. The IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System and the TOEFL stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language. The IELTS exam is conducted by the Cambridge University in collaboration with the IDP, Australia and the British Council, London. The TOEFL exam is conducted by the Educational testing service which is a US-based organisation.

The IELTS test is a paper-based exam which implies all the answers are to be written on the answer sheet. It is a 2 hours 45 minutes long test and is divided into reading, writing, listening and speaking sections. The test of writing, reading and listening module is conducted on the same day whereas the speaking section test is conducted on a separate day, usually within 7 days of the first part of the test. The score ranges from 0 to 9 bands and the score is valid for 2 years. In the IELTS exam, both US and UK English is acceptable and there are many different kinds of questions such as multiple choice questions, table completion, True or False, notes completion, match the headings, match the titles, short answer questions etc. and all the questions are scored. The IELTS test assesses the candidate on general as well as academic English. The result is declared within 13 days.

Check out the difference between IELTS and TOEFL test.

The TOEFL exam is a computer-based exam which means all the responses are recorded on the computer itself including the speaking exam. It is a 4-hour long test and is divided into 4 sections namely reading, writing, listening and speaking. The entire test is completed in a single day, unlike IELTS. TOEFL accepts the US English so it is a more preferable test for the candidates who wish to move to the US, Germany, France, Canada for study or work purpose. The TOEFL assesses the candidate just on academic English. The TOEFL exam is scored on a scale of 0 to 120 marks. There are only multiple choice questions in TOEFL and some of the items are unscored. The TOEFL result is declared within 10 days after appearing for the test and the score is valid for 2 years.

Let us address this question into two different parts. The first part will cover the preparation for the candidates who are more than average in their English speaking skills, they will need a minimum of two months preparation to achieve 7 bands in each module. And the second part would have the preparation time and tips for the candidates who are below average in their English speaking skills as they would need more time for preparation.

For the candidates who are above average in English, they should read the newspaper daily and skim and scan through the articles as it will give them enough practice for reading section. Also, it will build up their reading pace. Besides that, taking a listening and reading exam daily will help them in proactive/ attentive listening and will help them in identifying the keywords to find the answers quickly. Go through a lot of essay samples, read and understand the format and style of writing. Stick to a formal way of writing and practice to write reports, summarization, and essays using a good vocabulary. One important aspect of the IELTS writing section is the presentation of your content, the layout of the information, the relevance of the content to the given question. It is very essential to present it in an organized way with proper formatting and a good choice of words. Apart from that, always try to communicate in English and watch your grammar very closely so that there are no grammatical errors in your speech. Practice your introduction well and speak extempore on a variety of topics that generally gets repeated in the IELTS exam. It will enable you to build your confidence level for cracking the Speaking exam. This will certainly help you achieve a good score in IELTS.

On the contrary, the candidates who are below average in English speaking skills may require more time i.e six month or more as they will have to practice and prepare for every aspect of the English language such as sentence framing, grammar, pronunciation, understanding the reading passage to get a holistic idea about it and comprehending the audio. This continual practice will help them to get into the normal flow of English. Although they may not be very fluent in such a short time frame still they will be nearly average. Beyond that, they will have to work hard by taking an ample amount of sample tests to make up the speed to be able to completely understand the IELTS exam well.

Yes absolutely, 7 bands are a good enough score in the IELTS exam. Usually, it totally depends on the purpose for which you need the IELTS score. For immigration, work or PR, 6 bands are considered to be a good score. IELTS scoring ranges from 0 to 9 bands, where 0 band is for the one who does not appear for the test or who do not attempt the test and 9 bands are for the expert level of English language and honestly, scoring 9 bands is very tough. So any score between 7 to 8.5 is awesome.

Overall 6 bands are needed by many countries for immigration or permanent residency or for a work visa, yet 6 bands in IELTS exam will not fetch you any points for immigration when you calculate the points as per the point bases system. In order to get at least 10 points on the point-based immigration system, you need to have a minimum of 7 bands in each section of the IELTS exam. A score of 7 bands in IELTS is considered to be good enough as 7 bands show that you are proficient in all the language abilities.

Many graduate schools and universities need a minimum of 7 bands for admission to any course, as the academics need to be good enough to be able to apply for any higher studies. This is the minimum score they need. In some countries, for permanent residency, 6 bands are acceptable but they do not fetch you any points. 7 bands are considered to be safe and above average score. And this score is majorly accepted in all the countries for study visa and other visa categories.

A band 7 signifies that you are quite proficient in English speaking, reading, writing and listening and you have fairly good command over the language. It also means you have strong communication skills and are able to put across your thoughts to others clearly and are able to understand what the others convey to you. You written expression is fairly good and you are a quick reader.

Another factor that counts is, whether you have scored 7 bands in IELTS Academic or IELTS General. If you have got 7 bands in IELTS Academic, it is a fairly good score as Academic exam is difficult than the IELTS General. 7 bands in IELTS General are sufficient enough to apply for different kinds of visas yet this score is decent but can be improved as IELTS General is comparatively easier than Academic exam.

The higher the score the better it is but still, 7 bands can open up many doors of opportunities for moving abroad.

Check What are different Bands in IELTS exam?

The IELTS listening test comprises of four different sections and 40 questions in all. The time allowed to complete this section of the exam is 30 minutes and 10 minutes to transfer your answers onto the answer sheet. You will hear different audio tapes for each section and the audio will be played just once as it can not be repeated, so you have to be very attentive while listening to the audio. All the questions will be based on the audio that will be played. You will be provided with the headsets and an answer sheet to record your answers.

The audio can be of different kinds like the first section audio will have a conversation between two people on a social issue or everyday topic eg hotel booking or travel arrangement etc. Section 2 audio will be a monologue on the everyday life topic eg local facilities etc. The third recording will be a conversation between more than two people on an academic or education based topic. The fourth recording will be a monologue on academics.

There are different types of questions in the Listening section such as table completion, flowchart completion, notes completion, match the titles or items, sentence completion, multiple choice questions, short answers in less than two or three words etc. The difficulty level varies in each section of the Listening test.

The best piece of advice will be to go through the questions beforehand and also do carefully listen to the instructions. Once the audio starts, always jot down the answers with a pencil on the question paper itself and later when you will get the time of around 10 minutes towards the end of the exam, transfer all your answers to the answer sheet. It will save you time and you will be able to perform well in this section.The answers will appear in the exact order as the questions.The answers can be direct or can be indirect by using synonyms. Each question carries 1 mark each.

The listening test assesses you on your proactive listening skills and retention power. Generally, there is a word limit of one word to three words for each answer and that is always mentioned in the instructions. One important thing is, a word with a hyphen is considered as one word and not two different words. While listening to the audio, always focus on the keywords or synonyms related to the keywords.

The highest score in the IELTS speaking section is 9 and the minimum can be any depending on a candidates English speaking capability. A minimum required score that demonstrates that a candidate is efficient in English speaking skills is 6 bands. Below 6 bands, it is not considered a good score as it is below average score. Moreover, to move to any foreign country on any kind of visa, a bare minimum band required is 6 bands but some countries demand higher bands.

It is much easier to score at least 6 bands in speaking section as there is no complex writing or no passages to read rather it’s just how you present yourself. If you are confident and fluent, then you are definitely good to go. If you are not fully prepared and don’t have command over your language then you may lose a good score.

In order to achieve good bands, it is essential to do a lot of practice in speaking. Speaking section is a one on one interview round and since you have to face the examiner directly, so it is important for you to maintain your calm, and confidence. There are 3 rounds in which you have to give self-introduction, then an extempore round based on a cue given by the examiner and in the last round the examiner asks questions based on round 2. You have to be proactive and logical in your answers. Always avoid giving unnecessary details as that can lead you to go off the track while answering and that may result in losing a good score.

Practice speaking impromptu on various topics or take the IELTS topics from the internet, that will help you in boosting your confidence and improve your fluency. It will also give you more ideas on how to handle the questions.

The IELTS scoring is such that you can score a full band or can score a half band as well in every section of the test eg. a candidate can score a 6 band and can score a 6.5 band as well. The score in speaking section depends on how well you maintain your body posture, your pronunciation, how logically you present your answers, how pleasant and calmly you compose yourself, coherence in your answers, the choice of words you use, relevance of your answers to the topic, your fluency, sentence structuring, intonation in your voice etc.

Personally, I don’t think so, saying “ nice to meet you” to the IELTS examiner would affect the IELTS score as that looks courteous. Even if you will not say that it will not change anything but saying something courteous isn’t a bad thing either. But in some cases, it totally depends on the mood of an examiner. An examiner may take it otherwise and assume that you are trying to impress him or trying to influence by saying such nice words, yet it totally is on his mood. I think it should not affect the score much.

Normally, when we appear for the IELTS exam we try to speak in a pleasant tone and greet the examiner nicely so that it sets a pleasant vibe for the upcoming interview round and it actually affects the overall interview. Being pleasant and saying nice things don’t really affect your scores as examiner also understands that you have prepared for the speaking test on certain parameters so you are following the protocol. There are certain candidates who try to floor the examiner by being overly nice and try to impress them by asserting certain phrases or words so they can score more marks. But that will certainly not affect the examiner as what he is looking for, is your confidence level while answering the questions, how well you understand the questions and the way you present your answers logically. Furthermore, your vocabulary is one thing that will make an impactful mark on the examiner, so try to use decently glossy vocabulary but relevant to the content. There are certain things that will affect your score and you should avoid are: don’t just rush into answering the question rather try to understand it and then make a move. Avoid speaking too much or too little and at any cost do not reply in one word. Don’t parrot the question and don’t answer in a way as if you have memorized an answer. Keep it very natural and keep your pronunciation and grammar correct and avoid using overly complex sentences. All these things will help you in scoring.

IELTS is a test of English and anyone can prepare for this exam at home but it does need some professional help especially if someone is not up to the mark in the language skills. The professionals can give you various kinds of techniques, tips and strategies to prepare effectively for the exam that can save your time and effort significantly. Professional coaching can provide you with that kind of environment where you feel prompted and motivated to do well. To outshine, you really need to feel the competition which is lacking when you prepare for the IELTS exam by yourself at home. Whereas in a classroom setup, there are many other candidates who are preparing for the same exam, you get to interact with them, learn new ways to prepare for the exam. Communicating with the fellow candidates you get to learn new words, phrases etc. hence it improves your vocabulary and enhances your communication skills.

Moreover, the teachers who take the IELTS classes are certified and highly qualified, they understand the exam format well and will teach you in a way that it becomes easy for you to understand. Another additional advantage of the IELTS classes is, in case you have any kind of problem or you are stuck with something, you can always discuss with your teacher and he/ she will guide you right and clarify your concepts.

Also, taking professional classes will help you overcome your anxiousness to take the exam as your guide or a teacher will give you some quick tricks to crack different sections of the IELTS exam.

Besides this, English is a language which gets better when you practice it verbally. So, in a classroom setup you will have to talk in English more often with every other candidate, it will polish your language skills, plus the professional classes will give you preparation material which is very specific, well researched and going through that material will give you an extensive practice for the exam.

By the end of the coaching classes, you will be pretty confident to face the exam which may be lacking if you prepare on your own, as you tend to get anxious about the exam.

Taking the IELTS classes is not mandatory or not necessary at all, it is an individual choice but if a candidate takes up the professional coaching classes, it adds up to his knowledge and will always be beneficial and gives a better edge to face the IELTS exam. As the classes identify and hone up your weak areas and strengthen your strong areas, resulting in better scores.

Every mark in every section of the IELTS exam contributes towards the overall band. The overall bands are directly proportional to the scores of the individual sections. So unquestionably, scores of each section are equally important. Since IELTS exam is divided into 4 sections and each section is graded from band 0 to 9, each section’s score is calculated to infer the final score. It is essential to score good bands in every section of the IELTS exam so that the average of all the sections can bring out the good overall bands, as ultimately it’s the overall band that gets you the points in the immigration application and gets you admission in the foreign universities etc.

In a nutshell, it’s the mean of the individual scores that makes the overall bands. So, if you are looking for a good overall band then it is important to get a good band in each section of the IELTS exam as each skill is weighed equally. Even a half band matters and contribute towards the final score. The score is directly calculated on the basis of the number of correct responses and then finally they are converted into equivalent bands. Each section is different when it comes to scoring a good band eg. academic writing has its own criteria to mark the answers, speaking is based on your communication, listening is again different on the basis of correct responses including the capitalization of words or sometimes hyphenated words are counted as one etc., reading is judged on the number of accurate responses, on these basis the points are given and then those points are converted into bands. Bands too have complex calculation eg. if the scores end in .25 then it’s rounded off to nearest half .5 and if the scores end in .75 it’s rounded off to the nearest whole number. Make sure whenever you take your IELTS exam, always give your best shot in each section and that will enable you to achieve a fairly good overall score.

Making a mark on the IELTS interviewer is not as difficult as it may seem. It is fairly simple, just keep a few basic things in your mind, no matter what happens just don’t lose your confidence and keep the fluency alive till the end. And at the end of the day your fluent communication skills matter and how nicely you present yourself. Begin with a pleasant greeting and a smile on your face, be in control by being calm. After the interviewer starts asking the question, gather good points in your mind and begin with your personal opinion. While speaking even if you fumble a bit here and there doesn’t really mean that you have lost the good score, just take charge of the situation and continue with your answer. Fumbling while addressing some question in front of the interviewer, is not considered wrong, “NO” at any cost don’t give up and do not get anxious about it, just stay calm and carry on with your conversation, and apologize if you feel it’s required. Gather good points in your mind and talk about them one by one along with examples from your personal experience or some interesting instances. What matters the most is how interesting your conversation is, if you are able to engage the interviewer, your job is done.

The interviewer will judge you on your stance, your fluency, how comfortably you present yourself and the command you have over your communication skills. Do not get hyper if you make a grammatical mistake while answering, just maintain the continuity, keep talking and take it in your stride. Till the time you are presenting good ideas and you stitch them together nicely making them look coherent, the examiner will be pleased. Try to use good vocabulary, which means using relevant words which suit the content, very heavy or glossy words are not necessary.

Besides that, avoid using a heavy accent, just stick to your regular flow of English. The interviewer is not there to judge you on your accent rather he is looking for the comfort level you have with the language while you speak. Try to understand the question well before you answer it, quickly accumulate good points mentally and structure them well into a good answer. Try not to answer in short or a one-line sentence or too long sentences, as that can put off the examiner. Using too complex sentences may confuse you and you may lose track of your answer.

After you are done with the interview, just take leave by asking the interviewer politely. The mannerism, stance, confidence and fluency will surely impress the interviewer.

Yes, Of course, you can write the answers on the question paper while listening to the audio during the IELTS listening test. The IELTS Listening section’s pattern is designed in such a way that it plays on continuously without any breaks or gaps and you can not replay or skip forward any portion of the audio, due to that you have to be very attentive while listening to the audio. As the audio plays, you will come across the answers you are looking for and since there is no pause in between so you will not have enough time to write your response on an answer sheet immediately, which means you can quickly jot down the answer on the question paper itself and transfer it on the answer sheet when you get the last 10 minutes to write the answers on the answer sheet. You can simply use a pencil when you are roughly writing the answers on the question paper as you can erase them later on.

The best solution to avoid any slip-ups during the listening exam is to read the questions and instructions beforehand so that you know what answers you are looking for in the audio, failure to do so may lead you to lose marks. The reason many candidates lose marks is that they do not read or listen to the instructions carefully, which means they will not go through the questions beforehand due to which they will not know what answers they are looking for. And if they read the questions while the audio is playing, they may not be attentive and may skip the correct answer resulting in losing marks.

My suggestion would be to read the questions carefully and underline the main keywords so that when you listen to the audio clip, you can catch the right keywords or their synonyms and that will help you in finding the correct answers easily. Listen to the audio very carefully word by word and try to comprehend what they mean to say, that will help you deduce the correct answer. All this is feasible when you have practised a lot, make sure you practice daily and listen to varied audios from good sources such as BBC, CNN and there are many sample tests available on many portals such as www.yunolearning.com etc. to give you the feel of the real exam. Take as many sample tests as you can, that will help you build up your listening skills.

IELTS is one such English proficiency exam which is accepted in more than 8000 universities worldwide. Besides that, in the USA alone, the IELTS score is accepted in more than 3400 universities and undergraduate schools. Although the minimum band requirement for each university may differ across the US, still the IELTS score acceptability prevails. Some of the high ranking universities across the US that accepts the IELTS score are:

1. Stanford University

2. Yale University

3. Harvard Business School

4. Boston University

5. University of Kansas

6. University of Arizona

7. University of California(Los Angeles)

8. University of California(San Francisco)

9. University of California(Santa Barabara)

10. California Institute of Technology

11. University of Illinois (Chicago)

12. San Diego State University

13. University of Chicago

14. University of Delaware

15. North Carolina State University

16. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

17. Ohio State University

18. Princeton University

19. Auburn University

20. University of Iowa

21. University of Florida

22. Florida Institute of Technology

23. University of Miami

24. Cornell University

25. Duke University

26. Tufts University

27. Wayne State University

28. University of Maryland (Baltimore)

29. University of Massachusetts (Amherst)

30. Johns Hopkins University

31. Northeastern University

32. University of Michigan (Ann Arbor)

33. Purdue University (West Lafayette)

34. University of Maryland (College Park)

35. Brigham Young University (Idaho)

36. University of Central Florida

37. George Washington University

38. Georgetown University

39. University of San Diego

These are the top-notch universities in the US where IELTS score is accepted and besides these, there are many more such universities that absorb the candidates with considerably good IELTS score. Normally, the minimum IELTS band that the US universities accept is 6 or 7 but more than that is an added advantage.