1. IELTS Preparation Tips
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Every aspect of life, which is new for us, attracts our sensibilities. May it be a new
cuisine, a new flavour, a new country or a new culture. This tendency of magnetism
towards everything new is giving rise to a phenomenon of finding one’s foot in foreign
nations. But not everyone gets a chance to fulfill their ambition, courtesy the competitive
forces buzzing all over. The developed nations look out for the cream of the talent while
considering foreign applicants for both jobs and migration to their countries. They, thus
do that with the help of a qualifying exam, called IELTS.
IELTS, an acronym for International English Language Testing System is a two-pronged
ability test, meant for:
Aspiring students who are looking forward to admissions in universities and institutes of
higher education, and doctors, nurses among other professionals who want to practice
in English-speaking countries, and
The other alternative is the general Training version which is meant for aspirants looking
for non-academic training, professionals and for immigration purposes.
IELTS is managed jointly by University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations, the British
Council and IDP Education, and was established in 1989. It is recognized by many well-
known universities across Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Canada, various
other commonwealth countries and USA.
The IELTS test consists of four basic aspects to test a candidate’s proficiency in English
language. These are:
An applicant’s capabilities are tested in this exam on a scale of 9, known as bands. It
means that if a student gets 1. It implies no knowledge, whereas 9 on the scale connote
an expert in the language. No minimum score is set as a passing mark in the test.
Different institutions maintain different parameters for selection. Institutes are apprised
not to consider scores older than two years unless a student proves that he/she has
been working to improve his/ her levels.
The exam is structured in the following manner:
IELTS Reading Section
This section is different for the general and the academic tests. This lasts for 60 minutes
and asks around 40 questions. The academic section includes journals, newspaper
2. articles, magazine articles, etc., Each article presents a detailed logical argument. The
general section, on the other hand, can include advertisements, notices, booklets,
passages, etc., which focus on day-to-day survival and general reading. The
comprehension passages can depend on a variety of topics, as general as dung beetles
or something like newspaper production process.
The kind of questions asked in the general and the academic variant are the same.
Multiple choice questions
Short answer questions
True/ False/Not Given questions
Reading is considered to be the most difficult section of all. Most of the times, applicants
have problems in understanding the contents of the passage or evaluating the
relationship between different subjects in the passage.
In the academic module, the passages are lengthy and difficult to crack as compared to
the general module.
It is generally believed that the first passage is easier than the second, and the third.
But, sometimes even this doesn’t hold true. Thus, it makes good sense to take an
overview of the subject matter of the passages and then decide on the strategy to solve
the passages. These strategies can be a banal one as the skim-and-scan method, or a
legitimate method like intensive reading.
Skimming the passage means just reading the main headlines and the first few lines of
each paragraph. This also involves noticing the repetition of the words in each
paragraph. The main purpose is to get the crux of the passage.
Intensive reading, on the contrary involves reading each and every sentence of the
passage carefully, underlining what’s important and trying to deduce the meaning by the
means of this consistent process.
Selection of a strategy out of these two depends thoroughly upon the difficulty level of
the comprehension passage. Thus, it’s important to:
· Evaluate the relationship between various subjects,
· Trying to find the meaning of difficult words by relating it to the rest of the sentence
and while doing all this,
· Be well defined within the time limits.
· Be extremely careful with spellings. Those are the silliest of mistakes you can make.
3. · Don’t leave any question unanswered as there is no negative marking. But remember
not to cling on to one question as it will waste your precious time. Leave a question if
you are stuck and return to it when you are done with the rest of your exam.
· Write your answers directly on transfer sheets as no extra time is given to materialize
IELTS Listening Section
This is the first section in the IELTS examination. In this test, applicants are made to
hear a tape and they have to answer questions based on that. The duration for this
section is 40-45 minutes. The tape is a pre-recorded one and is played only once, with
pauses wherever required. Applicants are provided with question sheets where they
have to write their answers. In the last 10 minutes, they are required to transfer their
answers to the answer sheets.
There are a total of 3-4 sections, which adds up to 40 questions. The following can be
the probable conversations:
· Section 1: Two speakers conversing about a social/semi official topic.
Section 2: One speaker talking about any social or non-academic topic, also
known as a monologue.
Section 3: Two to four speakers conversing about an academic topic.
Section 4: Single speaker making a university style presentation about an
academic topic/news item.
The cassette shall start by an announcer who will introduce the situation to you. The
next 30 seconds involve going through the questions so that you know on which
information to concentrate once the tape starts playing.
Following things should be taken care of in order to qualify this module in flying colors:
· You should read and listen to the instructions carefully.
· Try to guess the requisite answers while you are reading the questions, and underline
important words from the text.
· You should make sure that you continue to listen to the conversation while you’re
writing the answers.
· You should try and stay ahead of the recording so that you know the questions asked
and are able to extract the essential points.
IELTS Writing Section
This section tests your writing skills. The writing skills are tested through the following
Ø Handwriting which is legible
4. Ø Proper presentation and organization
Ø Grammatically correct sentences are formed
Ø Effective use of vocabulary
The section has duration of 60 minutes. The following are the tasks included in the
· Academic (essay and graph)
· General (essay and letter)
It comprises of two tasks:
Task 1: Different for Academic & General.
Word Limit: 150-180 words. Duration: 20 minutes
Academic:it usually asks you to describe and interpret a graph or a chart in your own
words. You are usually asked to describe and interpret a graph or a chart in your own
General: candidates are asked to write a letter describing a situation.
Task 2:Same for Academic & General. (Topics are different)
The essays can be an agree/disagree one, wherein the candidate has to agree or
disagree with a thought as given.
Or it can be a comment/opinion one. Here, you are required to examine both the
negative and the positive sides of the issue and give reasons for your leanings towards
one of them.
Word Limit: 250-280 words. Duration: 40 minutes
The writing section is one section which demands the most of your attention and the
intricacies of your intelligence. It should start with reading the tasks carefully.
After you are done reading the tasks, decide how you plan to approach the task and
what elements are you going to include in your answers. Reading and planning should
not exceed 5 minutes.
After you are done planning, proceed with the writing part. Remember not to repeat the
question in what you write. In Task 1, writing should take about 10 minutes, whereas in
Task 2, this should extend to about 25 minutes.
After you are done with the whole thing, check your thoughts. Checking should take
maximum five minutes in both the tasks. Even if you can’t complete Task 1 in the
designated time limit, move on to Task 2 as it will fetch you more marks.
· . Do a brain storming session, note down all the important points.
5. · . Divide the essay clearly into paragraphs.
· . Frame an organized map of the essay as you are going to approach it.
· . Try giving examples, as per your personal experiences and knowledge.
· . Use simple words and stick to the original topic.
IELTS Speaking Section
The speaking test is basically an interview session. It tests a candidate’s composure
and ability to speak proficiently. It consists of the following parts:
PART 1 :Introduction and interview (4 to 5 minutes)
The interviewer invites you to sit down,and your ID is checked. General
questions about your life, background, family etc., are asked so that you feel
relaxed and find it easy to settle down. This is done to basically test the body
language of the candidate. It also helps in maintaining a particular rapport
between the interviewer and the interviewee.
PART 2 : (3 to 4 minutes)
You are provided a card with a topic written on it, you get one minute to think
about the topic and get prepared for what you have to say. After you are done
with speaking on your topic, the examiner could ask some follow-up questions.
This, again, tests your composure.
PART 3: (4 to 5 minutes)
This is a discussion wherein you have to engage yourself with the examiner
about the similar general themes as discussed in Part 2.
The whole session would be recorded in an audio device to ensure that the whole
process was accountable and up-to-the mark.
· Never use ‘NO’ for an answer.
· Keep your answers short and crisp. But, they should not sound inadequate.
· In the cue card session, don’t stop until you are asked to.
· Speak clearly, as your voice would be recorded in an audio device to ensure that the
interview has taken place in a correct manner.
· If you are making a grammatical error somewhere, do not hesitate to correct it
· Proper body language is the key to success in this session. Good eye contact,
minimum hand movements and appropriate body posture are all indications of a good
· Do not let your calm lose even till the end of the interview. Do not rush out of the room.