Road to IELTS: Preparation, Things to Consider Before Taking IELTS

To ace the IELTS, you must prepare for the test. We have put together some basic information to help your IELTS preparation and know what to expect on your test.

It is crucial to understand the format to score better

Acquaint yourself with the format of the examination by studying the test content and the question types for each section. During IELTS preparation focus on your lacunae and strive to eradicate it. You must read through the IELTS rules and regulations. These are enclosed in the application form within the Notice to Candidates and Declaration.

Section 1: Listening (30 minutes)

Four recordings of native English speakers will play, and then you write your answers to a series of questions.

  • Recording 1: a dialogue between two people in an everyday social context.
  • Recording 2: a monologue in a normal social context.
  • Recording 3: a conversation between up to four people set in an educational or training context. 
  • Recording 4: a monologue on an academic subject like an educational lecture.

No. of questions: 40

Task types: A variety of question types including multiple choice, matching, form/note/table/flow-chart/summary completion, sentence completion, plan/map/diagram labelling.

Marks: Each question is worth 1 mark.

Note: Poor spelling and grammar are penalised, and one must avoid them when writing answers.

Section 2: Reading (60 minutes)

This section consists of 40 questions developed to test a broad range of reading skills. Three long texts contain descriptive, factual, discursive and analytical questions.

No. of questions: 40

Task types: Multiple choice, Identifying information, Identifying a writer’s views, Matching information, Matching headings, Matching features, Sentence completion, Diagram label completion, etc.

Marks: Each question is worth 1 mark.

Note: No extra time is allocated for the transfer of answers. 

Section 3: Writing (60 minutes)

Topics are suitable for test takers entering degree programs or seeking professional registration. There are two tasks:

  • Task 1 – It will ask you to describe, summarise or explain the information in your own words divulged from the given graph, table, chart or diagram 
  • Task 2 – Write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. Answers to both tasks must be in a formal style. 

No. of questions: 2

Tip: Focus on Coherence and cohesion, Lexical Resource, Grammatical Range and accuracy. 

Task types: In Task 1, test takers will present some visual information in their own words. They need to write 150 words in about 20 minutes. In response to a point of view, argument or problem, they need to write 250 words in about 40 minutes for Task 2.

Section 4: Speaking (11–14 minutes)

This section evaluates your use of spoken English.

  • Part 1: The examiner asks general questions about you and everyday topics such as family, home, work, studies and interests. It lasts between four and five minutes.
  • Part 2: You will have a card containing a particular topic. You will have one minute to organise your thoughts before speaking for up to two minutes. The examiner will ask a question or two on the same topic.
  • Part 3: Further questions about the topic in Part 2 will come up. These will allow you to discuss some abstract ideas. It will last for four to five minutes.

No. of questions: Variable

Task types: Introduction and interview, Long turn, and Discussion.

Tip: Practice more on fluency and coherence, lexical resources, grammatical range and accuracy, and pronunciation. 

Are there two IELTS test types?

Categorization into Academic tests and General training makes the IELTS test serve a candidate’s purpose and requirements for going abroad.   

  1. IELTS Academic: It is for students planning for higher studies, such as Undergraduate, Masters, MBA, or PhD, in countries where the English language is the primary language.

  2. IELTS General Training: It primarily gauges test-takers English language proficiency in an everyday context. So, it is ideal for individuals who are planning for a vocational training program or to immigrate professionally.

Also, there are IELTS test types based on the mode of conduct of the test: Computer-delivered and Paper-based. Your IELTS preparation plans would depend on the test type (General or Academic) as also the mode.

Essential information about the test

  • Paper-based IELTS is available up to 2 times a week. The computer-delivered IELTS can be functional up to 3 times a day on all days of the week.

  • Computer-delivered IELTS tests are available in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Kochi, Mumbai, Vijayawada and Pune at one of the British Council or IDP’s official test centres.

  • The computer-delivered test’s results reflect within 3-5 working days after the test, whereas the same result for the paper-based test is released 13 working days after the test.

Registration for the exam

So, have you chosen which IELTS test to take and when to take it? Before you begin IELTS preparation, let’s go through the registration procedure for the test.

1. Which document will you need?

As per British Council, your passport is the only valid identity document approved to complete the IELTS registration process. No other form of identification acts as valid proof. Carry your passport on the test day and make sure it is not expired at the time of booking and on the test day.

2. Where to book the test from?

You have an option to register for the test either through the British Council or IDP India. If you were to book through IDP, you would be allotted a slot at one of their centres, and the same goes for the British Council.

3. What is the range of the score band?

IELTS has a 9-band scale, with each score band corresponding to a defined proficiency in the English language. Thus, they range from 1 (non-user) to 9 (expert user).

4. How will you get your IELTS results?

A Test Report Form (TRF) contains your test results. It shows your score in each section: Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking, along with the Overall Band Score.

5. What is the validity of your test results?

Your IELTS TRF will be valid for two years from the date of being given. You can choose to retake the test as many times as you wish by registering again. If your IELTS preparation has been thorough, you would definitely score satisfactorily the first time.

Many colleges and universities have a set Language Proficiency Score making an applicant eligible. Make sure that your IELTS preparation consists of several practice tests to prepare you for every type of question.

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