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Ultimate Guide on How To Prepare For IELTS Exams in 2022

The Best Way To Prepare for IELTS Exam

IELTS is an acronym that stands for International English Language Testing System, and the test is made up of sections on reading, writing, speaking, and comprehending spoken English. The test score ranges from 1 to 9 with 1 as the lowest and 9 as the highest possible score. Test takers can determine their success or failure using this grading system. IELTS is an examination that is one of the major requirements most countries look out for in granting immigration requests of immigrants especially for academic purposes who are required to be relatively proficient in the English language. 

 

A score of 7 or more is needed to pass whether you are taking the IELTS to study at a university in an English-speaking country or taking it to demonstrate English language proficiency for a job. It could extend beyond the study guides and practice tests so adequate preparation is required to come out successful in the examination. 

√ The Areas of Focus 

The English language is built on four language proficiency skills, namely:

⏺️Listening Skill

⏺️ Speaking Skill 

⏺️ Reading Skill

⏺️ Writing Skill

A cursory look at the aforementioned skills gives a detailed description of how the English Language works, this also gives you a clue of what to face in the examination as well as how to go about it. The skills are chronologically arranged to show the synergy among them; for you to be a good speaker of English, it is pertinent for you to be a good listener and for you to be a good writer, you must be a good reader. These are also your basic areas of focus in the IELTS exams. 

The basic four sections are discussed below :

The Reading Section 

As the name implies, this section aims at assessing your reading skills by providing you with a  comprehension passage on which you read and answer questions. It encompasses the different types of questions for IELTS Academic and General Training. Prospective candidates should note that the reading section contains a mixed bunch of questions like MCQs, gap fillings, short answers, inference from pictures, etc. hence the need to focus on practicing various kinds of comprehension passages to effectively prepare for this section.

The Speaking Section  

The speaking section is considered the trickiest of all the sections.  The speaking test of IELTS is conducted as a face-to-face session, unlike the other language proficiency exams. Thus, it is important to confidently answer all the questions. A candidate may encounter some difficulties due to mother tongue interference, a candidate may speak a near-native-like variant of English when answering questions here. Imitation as a skill may be required, you can practice using some pre-recorded language items to acclimatize yourself with the acceptable way of speaking the English language. 

Writing Section 

The writing section of the IELTS is made up of an essay question that requires a lengthy answer. Aside from this, there is another question based on a diagram, picture, or chart on which you must write down your answers. You may have to boost your writing skills by seriously practicing some topics on your own. Coherence in writing, avoidance of ambiguous language items and flowery languages, a mixture of long and short sentences as well as avoiding punctuation errors among others are some basic rubrics of good writing in this section. 

Listening Section 

The listening section aims to assess the listening abilities of candidates and how attentively they can focus on an audio recording bearing in mind all items. Candidates are provided with questions in an audio format after which they provide answers to the questions. It is made up of different questions like fill-in-the-blanks, short answers, one-line answers, etc.

How To Prepare At Home for IELTS without coaching

It is recommended to begin your preparation at least seven weeks prior to your test. This could be done either on your own or with the help of a coach. While the latter is good, the former is better due to the fact that you know your strengths and weaknesses which may be hidden to an instructor, and also the aim of the instructor may majorly be to make money while yours is to pass thereby leading to a clash of interests. Preparing on your own involves the following :

  1. Build your vocabulary (Speaking Skills)

By vocabulary, we mean your word bank, which is a determiner of how vast you are in the language and how much you have about it. Every language is and should be treated as a spirit, the more of it you have in you, the more it surfaces in all you do. 

To achieve this, there is a need to expose yourself to the different forms of the language. 

Watch recommended English movies, documentaries, and tv series. 

Listen more to English songs and English news. 

Carefully Observe the native speakers. A person doesn’t master the language through mere study but by being practically involved in activities of the language. 

 As you endeavor to form an English atmosphere around you, it works unconsciously in you and helps build your vocabulary. In case you come across words that you haven’t heard before, try to look out their meaning from the context especially through a dictionary. 

 At the end of the day, write all the new words down along with their meanings. Form meaningful sentences using those words and use them when talking to people. Work on these IELTS exam tips and you’ll see amazing results. Try using the words in a Context and do well to familiarize yourself with the words, so that they are used without making any special effort. It will be spontaneous and will not look like forceful inclusions when you speak.

  1. Think in English

One of the ways of beginning your IELTS preparation at home is to train your mind to think in English. 

You may at present think in your native language first and then translate it to English.  You will lessen the burden of your brain when you think in English. Paying attention to grammar and pronunciation will no longer be your cup of tea because they are automatically taken care of.  You will overcome time, see an improved version of yourself, both in diction and in grammar. Let your everyday activities be monopolized by the English language. Paste some words in English in your kitchen or bathroom. Let it be everywhere. Your mind at most times feeds on what you see quite often. You can also imagine talking to someone in English.

 

  1. Read English Daily

Improving your English reading skills is not something that comes on a platter of gold, it requires a concerted effort and can be achieved by reading excessively. The reading section of the IELTS test is 60 minutes and features 40 questions on parts that you will have to read. For the general reading test, the sections include topics such as the workplace, social settings, and everyday reading, such as newspaper or magazine text. The academic reading test comprises a material that you might encounter in a university course. Some ways you can prepare for the English reading section include reading English

Novels and short stories

Textbooks

Magazines

Newspapers

Blogs

Websites

Social media posts among others

 

  1. Completing Practice Tests and Quizzes

Preparing for an examination without testing or practicing will amount to wasted effort. 

Completing sample test questions for practice will help you understand how the examination would look since sample test questions mimic the format of questions on the IELTS using different languages and scenarios. 

Completing sample test questions affords you the opportunity to become more familiar with the types of questions you will encounter on the test. You can access sample test questions online, in guide books, and apps for the IELTS.

 

  1. Sharpen your listening skills.

Most people who have acquired the English language as their second language (L2)  may find it difficult to correctly understand what has been said by a native speaker of English but with constant practice, this becomes easy. Practicing to enhance your listening skills helps to achieve success in the examination. The IELTS listening section is 30 minutes long and it features 4 recordings of native English speakers having a conversation. The recordings comprise 2 monologues and 2 conversations set in an everyday social context. Listening to native English speakers talking every day beyond a reasonable doubt improves your English listening skills. You can achieve this by doing the following :

 

⏺️Listening to English podcasts, music, and radio shows

⏺️Watching Youtube videos, movies, and TV shows in English

⏺️Having conversations with native English speakers

 

  1. Write more!

 

Write in English in order to build your skills for the writing section. The more you write the better you become. The IELTS writing section is 60 minutes long and it only has 2 questions. You may need to write a letter making a specific request and an essay responding to a question. Getting as much writing practice as possible in your daily life is something you must-do if you plan to be successful in the examination. Some ways you can  practice writing include writing:

Emails

Letters

Essays

Notes

Social media posts

Text messages.

 

  1. Understand the test format

. It is extremely pertinent that you know what to expect of the test format before you begin practicing. Acquaint yourself with it by reviewing the content of the test, as well as the question and task types assigned to each section. 

Bear in mind that the key to success in any examination and not just IELTS is a sound familiarity with the test format, content, and pattern.

Try as much as possible to avoid time constraints. It should be noted that the clearer understanding you develop regarding the test structure, the higher your chances are of completing it successfully within the allotted time frame

In order to become accustomed to the pace of the test, conduct your preparation under timed conditions.

√ IELTS Self Study Plan

A self-study Plan is a carefully and perfectly organized schedule created by outlining study times and learning goals. It comprises a well-written study goal(s) as well as carefully structured ways of achieving them.

 

Just like school or work schedules, it is pertinent for IELTS learners to develop their study plans that help in getting a high score.

 

A well-organized study Plan allows you to save valuable time while preparing for IELTS. Without mincing words, everyone has some weak points which differ from one another, this can be easily sorted out through an action plan for IELTS which helps you to clarify your goals and weaknesses to concentrate more on your weak points while studying and preparing for IELTS. 

 

In creating an effective study plan for IELTS, a few factors such as daily, weekly or monthly allocation of time, researching, setting deadlines among others should be considered. 

 

IELTS Study Plan: Step #1

If you are taking the test for the first time, you may need to get the help of a professional on the basics of passing the IELTS examinations. Even if you have taken it in the past, being guided by a professional who can look at your writing/speaking/listening/reading and can help you to get an idea about why you are not reaching your target isn’t a bad idea.

Suggestions from someone who is familiar with the test will definitely help you to know your weak areas and improve them.

IELTS Study plan: Step #2

Have a thorough understanding of the following :

  • What is the IELTS about?
  • How does the IELTS work?
  • How is it assessed?
  • IELTS Tips
  • How are IELTS scores calculated?

 This gives you a beautiful foundation on which to erect your success edifice. Here, you should also know about past and current topics 

 

IELTS Study Plan: Step #3

The next step is setting up a realistic time frame for your study.

Don’t just simply set  unrealistic goals like studying 20hrs/day, which is unrealistic, Set goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound)

Get a thorough assessment and calculate your level of attempting IELTS.

Map out time available to study and always avoid distractions.

IELTS Study Guide: Step #4

It is essential to have consistent practice to achieve success in IELTS. 

Spend some time every day doing something in English. you may assign different days of study to different sections of the examination.