Preparation tips for IELTS
Updated on Mar 27, 2017 - 2:24 p.m. IST by Sarah Deverall
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Designed to assess the English language ability of those who need to study, work or live in an English-speaking environment, IELTS makes a holistic assessment of a person’s ability to understand and use the language. This covers all the four language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking. IELTS is the only test of this type which has a face-to-face speaking test, which enables test-takers to show their skills in real-life interactions


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Say no to learning by rote
Often there are perfect bits of writing, which test-takers have memorised, and very incorrect bits which are clearly the test-takers’ true level, making it very obvious to the examiner. This is a serious mistake that can backfire because examiners are trained to look for memorised essays or scripts. When an individual memorises chunks of language without a context, there is very little flexibility to fit new or unfamiliar situations.

To know all about IELTS, watch the video below:

How must you learn?
To learn a language really well, it would be ideal to have as much exposure to it as possible. So, a word of advice would be to read and listen to English as much as possible as this will also help with the skills of writing and speaking.

Preparing for each section
Listening and Reading:

  • Read questions carefully first, underline keywords and then answers.

  • While listening, make a note of answers on the question paper.

  • Read, write and listen at the same time.

  • Often the speaker will give you an answer, then correct themselves - watch out for this.

  • If you think the topic is difficult or the speaker is too fast, relax and tune in.

Writing tips

  • Highlight/circle keywords in the questions.

  • Plan your answer before you write.

  • Stick to the topic.

  • One paragraph = one idea.

  • Make sure you write at least the minimum number of words required.

  • Make sure there is time to check spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Speaking tips

  • Try to relax, listen carefully to the examiner’s questions & instructions.

  • Give full answers to the questions.

  • Aim to speak more than the examiner.

  • Use the preparation time to plan your talk.

  • Before the test, practise speaking for full 2 minutes and try to use all of this time in your turn.

General mantras

  • Spelling is important.

  • Use of informal language, abbreviations and slang is not acceptable.

  • Don’t leave blank answers – you do not lose marks for wrong answers, but you will if you do not try at all.

  • Whatever happens, don’t panic. Keep calm and do your best.

Common mistakes by students
  1. Preparing by rote method

  2. Focusing only on the test rather than improving English skills. A wide exposure to English is recommended, not just narrowly focusing on test items.

  3. Not managing time well, especially in reading. It’s essential to get an overall understanding and be able to scan for specific information (also important to transfer answers to the answer sheet within the given time).

  4. Not answering all parts of the question in speaking and writing parts. It is essential to really listen and focus on each part of the question or topic, as missing one part will mean you did not answer the question completely, and thus cause loss of marks.

The author, Sarah Deverall, is Director of Exams and Customer Services South Asia, British Council.

Also Read:

IELTS Test Pattern

Download IELTS Sample Paper

Download IELTS E-Book: Complete Guide to the Test

IELTS Syllabus

IELTS Application Form

Know minimum IELTS score required for top B-Schools

Suggested Reading:

All about IELTS

IELTS Sample Papers

IELTS Practice Papers

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Questions related to IELTS

Showing 408 out of 408 Questions

Feb 13 i had written my IELTS exam(paper based), can anyone know the result date?

Hrisheekesh Singh 21st Feb, 2020

Hi Sudalai,

Generally, the IELTS 2020 results are available 13 days after the test date. The IELTS results can be seen online via the candidate's IELTS registration account using the candidate's Identification Document Number i.e. passport number and registration number. However, the result of the computer based exam is made available after 5-7 days of the exam date.

IELTS 2020 scores are calculated on a 1-9 point scale which is a mean of the individual sectional scores.

You may refer to the source article for more detailed information about IELTS Result 2020.

I hope this information helps you.

Good Luck!



I am currently studying for the NEET-UG 2021. I want to go to Cambridge University for MBBS. Apart from NEET and IELTS, is there anything I should be aware of? Also, what are the various choices offered for getting a scholarship?

Animesh Vats Student Expert 21st Feb, 2020


Well I must tell you that there are no such scholarship available to study medicine in UK specially for international students and the education is way too expensive. The exam you need to qualify depend on what the college demands. IELTS or TOEFL is needed as language proficiency requirement.

I hope my answer helps.

All the best.


can you please inform me how to apply for IELTS and TOEFL exams

Charvi Nayyar 7th Feb, 2020

hello aspirant

you can register for IELTS exam in the following way:

1. you can register online and pay the fees by credit card (Log on to and Select the option "Register for IELTS" and fill the necessary information).

2.  register in person at idp branch and pay the fees there. identical to the first option.

3. register by courier and pay test fee by demand draft.

you can register for TOEFL exam by online means and or by email or by phone. you can also register in person at a toefl resource center. you will be basically required to visit and create an online profile and then pay the exam fees.

hope this helps


Dear Sir/Mam, I want to do MS in UK in January 2021. Do i have to give both IELTS and TOEFL exams or either? I dont know when and how to start preparation. please Help. Thanks

Mayank Chowdhary 2nd Feb, 2020

Giving either of them is ok actually. And for preparations then if you plan to shift in 2021 try to give the exam in around November 2020 if possible and to start it's preparations, as per me it's a 3 months regular studies required to crack the same. So you can start in around July/August to be well prepared to give the exam.

Either the IELTS or the TOEFL is required as part of your application to an English-speaking university and will demonstrate if you will be able to understand the course material.

The IELTS and TOEFL exams are two of the most accepted English proficiency exams around the world. However, both of these tests are different in their structure, approach, and teaching criteria. This means that you need to understand how the two differ before selecting which test to study for and ultimately take.

Thank you.


Dear Sir/Mam, I want to do MS in UK. But cost of study is Expensive. Does scoring good in IELTS and TOEFL helps to reduce the amount of cost ? what else option do i get in order to get admission in UK in minimum cost ? Please Help Me !!

Harshit sethi 1st Feb, 2020

All the foreign Universities offer a scholarship which is on the basis of meriat and need basis . You should try to look for it and inform the competent authority about it . They would help you in every way . They also offers 100 % scholarship to merit and need basis students.

This would help you to study abroad.

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