How to prepare for IELTS
Learn the structure of the test
Even English speakers make mistakes on the IELTS exam without knowing its structure. The test must be carefully studied: the format, wording of the questions, features of individual exercises, and so on. This is the only way you will be prepared to take the exam.
Solving practice tests
The key to preparing for standardized tests is practice. Solve as many IELTS exercises as you can. This way, you will hone your English comprehension skills and prepare for the exam. The more often you solve practice tests, the faster you will be able to complete the questions. You can use online resources for practice: Britishcouncil, Ieltsforfree, Polyu, and others.
Listen to texts in English
To pass the Listening section, you need to be able to analyze information and understand the main idea of each text. To prepare, listen to as much English speech as you can: radio, TV, series, and movies. For the Academic test, we recommend watching TED Talks and lectures in English. Choose topics that interest you so that the learning process is not boring. Keep in mind that the Listening section makes use of varying accents: Scottish, Australian, New Zealand, and others. Not everyone understands them at first, so it is best to prepare ahead of time.
Read a lot in English
This is important for both versions of the test: General and Academic. In the first case, focus on more vital texts from newspaper articles and magazines. For the Academic test, read as much scientific literature as possible. This way, you will learn the specialized vocabulary that will be encountered on the exam. Read periodical literature: National Geographic, The Guardian, and The Times. Look for articles in the Cambridge Collection at Cambridge Core. Not all of them are in the public domain, but several dozen can be found. They are enough to develop skills in understanding academic texts.
Develop a strategy for completing exercises
To do well on the IELTS exam, consider a strategy for working with each section of the test. For example, in Reading, do not go into detailed reading of texts. Otherwise, you will not have enough time to answer questions. To prepare for the exam, use special techniques:
- Skimming. Go through the text with your eyes, not dwelling on incomprehensible words or expressions. After reading, you should be able to understand the general gist of each paragraph.
- Scanning. This technique is aimed at finding details. You can first read the questions, and then look for answers in the text using keywords.
Practice writing an essay
The Writing section is the hardest to pass, especially on the Academic IELTS exam. Practice — and only practice — will help you cope with the description of a graph, chart, or table in English. Knowledge of grammatical rules and constructions does not guarantee a good result. It is important to understand the principle of performing such tasks. To do this, review some exams from previous years.
Another important nuance of essays is the use of academic vocabulary in English. You can get acquainted with the necessary terminology by reading scientific journals, books, and articles in English: Scientific American, The Economist, Popular Mechanics, and BBC news.
Prepare for the Speaking section
The topics in the Speaking section are very different: sports, science, culture, music, cinema, art, and so on. The first task of the Speaking section is an interview, where you will be asked about work, studying, and interests. Decide in advance on topics that are easy for you to talk about. It could be jazz, figure skating, or Hitchcock films. Keep them at hand so as to direct the dialogue towards the area familiar to you. This must be done carefully: the examiner evaluates not only speaking skills, but also the ability to clearly answer the question.
To speak fluently on any topic in the exam, you need to diligently practice. An effective method is to participate in a conversation club or communicate with a native speaker.
Minimum IELTS scores for university admission
|4||UK||University of Cambridge||7||7|
|6||UK||University of Oxford||7||7|
|21||Canada||University of Toronto||6.5||7|
|32||Australia||University of Melbourne||6.5||6.5|
|111||Ireland||Trinity College Dublin||6.5||6.5|
|139||New Zealand||University of Auckland||6||6.5|
Comparing IELTS to other exams
English exams have different scoring systems. Below is a comparison of IELTS scores and other tests.
Exams are the main criterion for selecting students at most universities around the world.
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