How To Prepare for and Pass the IELTS Reading Test

For some candidates, the IELTS Reading Test is the most difficult part of the exams. It is also the one that requires the most practice and training. There are some ways to be better prepared to pass the exam with confidence and practised efficiency. Easy mistakes are easy to make, but when you have prepared and practised, and follow these eight tips, you’ll be ready to do your best.

Tips to prepare for the IELTS Reading Test
1- Learn to read with a purpose

Many people enjoy reading, and that is fine. It is a leisure activity that helps expand your mind and your language skills. But in an exam environment, it is only a tool to pass. In the case of the IELTS exam, you must be able to read quickly and comprehend the most important points of what you have read. This is a mindset that takes time and practice to develop. One way you could do this is by learning a specific way to study. For example, begin a chapter by understanding the general topic and the purpose of the chapter, write down one to three questions that you intend to answer by reading the chapter in full. Set a time limit, read it, and answer the questions.

2 – Know the difference between singular and plural

This is something many students of English struggle with at first. But you must learn and understand the difference between singular and plural versions of words. There is an example right there, word vs word. One word vs many words. One way you can practice this is by looking at random objects or ideas, and saying to yourself both the singular and plural version of that word. Look at the chair, and then remember that the plural is chairs. You will get into the habit of this and very quickly it will come easily to you.

3 – Practice skimming and scanning

Like the first tip, but where that tip focuses on comprehension and the “purpose” behind what you are reading, this tip is about how to achieve that within a time limit. The IELTS Reading Test is timed, and this means that you need to read and answer the questions within the time limit. Practice reading a page as fast as possible while still understanding the main ideas. This is not to say that you need to skip much, but you don’t need to fully read every single word on a page to understand what is being said.

4 – Develop your speed reading abilities

By practising tip three, you will begin to read faster. But this is more than skimming and scanning written information, it is about mentally processing each line or sentence very quickly. Ideally, you should be able to read one line in one to two seconds. This will obviously allow you to read something very quickly. But the downside is that this skill does reduce your comprehension and recall memory. So only use it in the test when you are running out of time.

Tips to pass the IELTS Reading Test on the Test day.

5 – Read the question and be sure you understand what it is asking

Sounds simple. But, in reality, it is a very hard concept to remember to use. There are many times during the test where you will feel rushed, you might skim, scan or speed read the question and believe that you have understood exactly what it is asking. That is good, but you might also have misunderstood what it is truly asking. It would be advisable to read the question once, understand what is being asked, read it a second time just to be sure. Then answer the question and once you have finished writing your answer, re-read the question a third time to be sure that what you have written does answer the question originally asked. You might find that by working through the actual answer, that you have a deeper understanding of what was being asked that was different to what you originally thought.

6 – Pay attention to timing

The IELTS Reading Test is a timed exam. That means you need to be very mindful of the time. If you think that you have estimated you are ahead of time and will have a lot of time to answer the remaining questions, then you do not need to feel too much pressure. However, if you can see that you have many questions still left to answer but only a short time left, it may be a good idea to start speed reading, scanning or skimming the work. It is better to answer all questions at a good level, then to answer some questions perfectly.

7 – If you don’t know, move on

Honestly, this is hard to do. It feels like you must answer every single question in the exam, to the best of your abilities. But, sometimes a question is simply too hard for you to answer. Maybe it is in an area you have not studied, or for some reason, it is not making sense to you. Maybe you are stuck on a word or a concept. That is fine. It is better to try your best and move on or to simply skip the question than to waste your time answering something you don’t know.

8 – Attempt all questions

Is this a contradiction to the last tip? Kind of. When we are saying that you should skip questions you cannot answer, no matter how hard you try, we are not saying that you should not try at all. There is a difference there. Try your best first. But if you cannot understand or answer the question after trying, then move on. This is important to keep in mind when you are aware of the time limit.

Armed with this knowledge, you will be able to better prepare for and take the IELTS Reading Test. The skills and understanding gained from practising for this test will be a great benefit to you in everything you do afterwards. So, the concepts here are not just required for the IELTS exams, but also for your continued learning and use throughout life. Do your best, try your hardest and you will do well!

How to Prepare for and Pass the IELTS Writing Test

IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System. It is a test that is recognized internationally by hundreds of countries, and thousands of universities and institutions. It is a test you will be required to write if you (as a non-native English speaker) wish to migrate to a country with English as their native language. The IELTS exam has four parts which are listening, reading, writing and speaking. It has two modules also which are academic module and general training modules.

  • The general training module is for those who want to immigrate for non-academic purposes.
  • The academic module is taken by those who aim to study in higher institutions in English speaking countries.

The speaking and listening parts are the same for all the participants while the Writing and reading parts differ depending on whether you are taking the general training or academic modules. While there is usually no pass or fail in the IELTS exam, and no minimum score required in passing the test, results are issued to the participants with scores from band 1(non-user) to band 9(expert user). Different thresholds are set by each institution. There is a band 0 as well for those who does not attempt the exam. In this article, we will focus on how to prepare for and pass the IELTS Writing Test.

Things to Know about the IELTS Writing Test

The IELTS Writing Test differs for the academic and general module. Here are some things to know about them

Academic Module

The writing test is a 60 minutes test in which the participant is required to complete two tasks of different styles and texts.

Task 1: Here, the participant is required to write 150 words of descriptive report about the pictorial or graphical information provided. The graphical or pictorial information could be a diagram, table or chart. The time allotted for this task is 20 minutes.

Task 2: The participant will be given a topic to write an argument on. The argument needs to be 250 words and must be supported with applicable examples. This task should take around 40 minutes.

General Writing Module

The IELTS Writing Test for this module is different. The participant also has to finish two tasks oh 150 words and 250 words each in one hour. The first task will be letter writing while the second task is essay writing usually based on any allocated topic.

Tips to prepare for and pass the IELTS Writing Test

Here are some tips to follow in order to prepare and pass the exam. We have divided the tips into what you have to do while preparing for the exam and what you should do during the exam. Here are the tips:

Before the exam
  1. It will be great if you know people who have taken the test and passed. Meet with them and ask them for advice on areas to focus on and the topic trends of the exam. You can also get past IELTS Writing Test questions to familiarize yourself with the test. Also, try to get IELTS self-study books or even hire a tutor.
  2. Try to focus more on making what you write understandable. If all your tutor does is to write question marks on your essay, then you need to know that you are not making yourself clear enough. You need to perfect this because if the examiner fails to understand what you wrote, then you have not communicated and that can stop you from getting the high score that you were hoping to get.
  3. You need to learn to use your words and phrases well. You should not be preoccupied with trying to link them. Even though you need to use words and phrases efficaciously to score high, you won’t score high when you use them obscurely or unusually or if you place them wrongly.
  4. Another tip in preparing for the IELTS Writing Test is to try to imagine and develop different kinds of ideas and opinions on all the common topics in former tests. Study your course book, read newspapers, watch videos on YouTube, listen to news and make ideas book.
  5. Although you need to memorize a lot of vocabularies to score high, don’t go on to start memorizing long vocabularies you find in you IELTS book. Find some phrases instead and familiarize yourself with them until you are very familiar with them. You can use them in your writings, what you say etc. Also make sure you are using them rightly. Then keep at it and try more words.
During the exam

On the day of the exam, here are some tips to follow to score high on your IELTS Writing Test.

  1. One golden rule you need to follow is “Do not spend more than 20 minutes on task 1”. You need to have enough time to for task 2 in order to score high. This is because Task 2 carries more mark. This is a very important rule that must stick with you as you sit for you IELTS Writing Test
  2. Sometimes, you might not fully understand the question, if and when this happens, do no panic. Just make sure you read the question again and again. If you really, really, really find it difficult to understand the question, be calm still. Just take the most reasonable guess you feel the means and clarify yourself in the introduction. It will be easier for the reader to grab and he/she will get where you are coming from. If you write a very good piece, you will still get a nice score.
  3. To get a good score, try and scribble your main ideas. Make a very quick plan on how you are going to write the essay. This will make your writing look more organized and you will easily express yourself. There is a lot of mark awarded for neat and organized work. It will be very hard if you try to do it while writing.
  4. When you reach the end of your writing, and you immediately think of a very good idea that you should have put in, say the second paragraph, don’t try and put everything in the conclusion. In order to get the mark for the idea, after writing the conclusion, leave a space and then put down your awesome idea. After putting it down, link the separate idea with a long arrow to where it’s supposed to be in the essay.

These are some tips that will be useful to prepare for and pass your IELTS Writing Test. Take time to study well and rest when necessary. You can take a break once in a week to avoid being depressed. Also absorb English whenever you can, watch videos, TV, and listen to radios; and you will surely get a good score.

How To Prepare for and Pass the IELTS Listening Test

The IELTS Listening Test is an examination of your listening skills. During the test, you will read through the questions and then listen. You will hear a recording only once, so listen carefully. Write your answers to what you are listening to and then at the end of the test you will have a short time to use your notes to answer the questions. These tips will help you prepare for your test, as well as give you the best advice to use during the exam.

Tips To Prepare for the IELTS Listening Test
1) Practice Tour Shorthand

The test only allows you to listen to the verbal answers once, so you will not have time to record everything you are hearing. Thus, it is important to be concise and quick when recording what you are hearing. One of the best ways to achieve this is by writing in shorthand. This is where you write in a short way that will be able to trigger your memory. You can practise this by listening to a TV show, movie or song and writing in shorthand about things relevant to what you are hearing, such as conversations or answers to questions you form.

2) Practice Spelling and Grammar

Since your final answers will be written, you must be able to use the correct spelling and grammar. If you do not, then you will lose marks. English can be very difficult sometimes, for instance, the difference between there, their and they’re may seem impossible. So, practice, practice, practice. Use whatever method of study works best for you, but be sure that you are confident in your ability to use the correct spelling of most words. If you struggle with a word, then try and avoid using it in your answers. Instead, find an alternative word, or a similar word (synonym).

3) Learn To Multitask

You will be required and expected to be able to read, write and listen at the same time. Doing all 03 can be very taxing on your brain, so the best way to prepare for this is to… practice. The ability to do this is not something that comes easily to everyone, even to natural born English speakers. Sometimes you may be better able to focus on one or another. If that is the case, it may be prudent to find a method of coping with this. For example, if you can read and listen well, but not write at the same time, you could try breaking things up into parts. Read and listen, then write down what you need to as an individual activity. The ability to do this may be limited to the exam, but if you can focus on what you know you will need to write down, then you can pace this for yourself.

Tips for the IELTS Listening Test on Test Day
4) Follow Instructions Carefully

Be precise and understand exactly what a question is asking. This can be difficult, due to the ambiguity of the English language, you may not be able to easily decipher what exactly is being asked. For example, if a question asks you to complete the sentence “in the…” and you know the correct answer is “evening,” then the correct answer to the question would be “evening” and not “in the evening.” A small difference, but one that makes you right or wrong. Double check the question, once before answering, and again after answering to ensure your answer is correct.

5) Concentrate and Anticipate

Concentration is key to focus. Focus allows you to pay attention and digest as much information as possible. When you are focused, your brain turns all its power towards the task. In this case, understanding the information you are hearing and then writing it down. Without concentration, your brain will not give enough attention to the task and you will miss things. Try also to anticipate your examiner, this will put your brain into overdrive and help you focus better.

6) Don’t Stress If You Don’t Know a Word

You are on a time limit for this exam, so it is more important to answer or not answer and move on as soon as you are sure you’ve done your best. The word may not even be important to the answer, so focus only on what matters to be able to answer the question. Some words are more difficult than others, and some you might struggle with. For this words, it is better to skip them or use an alternative you have prepared (mentioned in tip 2).

7) Word Count Counts

Many questions will have a word limit, and you are expected to stick to it exactly. If a question requires 2 words, then you will find an answer that uses 2 words. IF you have a question that requires 4 words, then use 4 words! For example, if the question is asking you a question that you know the answer is “treasure island,” but the question asks for a 4-word answer, then you might say “the mysterious treasure island.” Stretching your answer, or shrinking it, are surprisingly vital tools in an English speaker’s arsenal.

8) Do Your Best & Don’t Stress!

Relax, be confident, and know that you have prepared for this (hopefully!). If you do not know an answer, then skip it and come back later if you can. Do not feel bad for this, it is more important you answer the questions you can answer than to try to answer the questions you cannot answer. See how hard English is sometimes? If you are unsure, take a blind guess, you will not lose marks for an incorrect answer, so you may as well try!


Armed with these 8 tips, it is our hope that you will be able to overcome your IELTS listening test and be ready to move on to the next step or complete the qualification. If you take the time to prepare, practice and study, then you will be in a good place to put the tips from part 2 into practice. Follow these tips but above all, remember to summon your best disposition; be calm, relaxed and confident and you will do fine. Good luck with your IELTS listening test.

08 Tips To Help You Ace Your IELTS Speaking Test

The speaking test can be a scary conversation for some people who do not feel prepared. When learning English, it is sometimes considered the final test. Because it is a face-to-face conversation, there is more pressure to perform well. In the first part, examiners will ask questions about normal topics, like home, work or studies. The most important thing is to relax and try to be confident in your abilities. If you feel the pressure, then your speech will not seem natural. This list of IELTS Speaking Tips will help you pass your test.

08 Tips To Help You Ace Your IELTS Speaking Test
1) Try To Talk A Lot

By talking a lot, you have more opportunity to prove how well you know the language. Also, it gives you more chances to correct your speech and mistakes, the kind that wouldn’t otherwise come clear even when expressed in writing. The longer you talk, the more you activate the speech centres of your brain. This will, in turn, cause you to remember more of what you have learned as well as process information better. Consider it “getting into the flow” of having a conversation. 

2) Talk Fluently and with Spontaneity

This is easier said than done, but nonetheless, you must try. Speak like a local, learn slang words and how people talk in music, movies or TV shows. This will make you sound more natural. Try and talk spontaneously, do not overthink what you are going to say, or else you will come across as not knowing the language well. The correct words should flow from your mouth without much thought. When you can do this, you are speaking spontaneously, like a natural born speaker.

3) Relax… Be Confident!

Confidence and relaxation are two of the biggest keys to passing the IELTS test. You have spent a long time studying and practising the language, so you should feel more confident. Some people might pretend their examiner is in their underwear, or that they are talking to a friend or family member. By having a relaxed demeanour, you will come across as cool, calm and collected and the examiner will notice this instantly. From this relaxed state comes confidence. Confidence in your ability to speak English will help the words flow better and will allow you to speak more fluently. 

4) Develop Your Answers

One of the most common mistakes people make is if they answer a question and their answer is not clear, they leave it or do not elaborate. When people do this, it shows that they do not know how to explain their answer, or are unable to answer the question. When you give an answer that might not be clear, try and elaborate. Explain your answer more, or talk about it in deeper details. By doing so, it shows you understand the topic and that your answer comes directly from your knowledge and experience. 

5) Talk More Than Your Tester

Very honestly, most testers are not there to speak. They are there to ask questions and to grade your replies to those questions. Whilst the nature of the IELTS exam is a face-to-face conversation that mirrors real-life situations, it is still a test. Talking more than your tester allows you to develop your answers and better get into the flow of your conversation. In some ways, this is like leading the conversation and will show your confidence in your abilities. But, you must also be careful to not talk too much, otherwise, you may seem nervous or anxious. Find the balance and what is right for you.

6) If You Don’t Understand, Please Ask

Nervous and shy people will not ask for clarification when they are given a question they don’t fully understand. This is a bad idea, because they may then try and answer the question without knowing what is being asked. When you do this, it is more likely that you will give a wrong answer. Therefore, do not be afraid to ask if you do not understand what the examiner has said. They will appreciate it, and it is normal to do so in a conversation. So, it shows your desire to better learn and understand the language which is very positive.

7) Do not Memorise Answers

This may seem like a bad idea. When you prepare for an exam, you memorise answers so that you can get the right answers. That makes sense in most tests, but the IELTS exam is not like that. You do not have multiple choice answers or math problems. Memorising answers to questions will develop your brain to remember those answers and only them. This will slow down your ability to listen to, process and respond to questions asked. You want the answers you give to come from a more spontaneous place as if it was a natural conversation. Only fake people would memorise answers they use in a normal conversation.

8) Practice, Practice, Practice

Above all other tips, you must practice. Practice your learning by talking with people on the internet, phone or the street. Ask for directions from a stranger, or join a webcam conversation website. Read and write often, watch movies, TV shows or listen to music. Just be sure to turn off the subtitles so you are not making it too easy for yourself. By practising your abilities in many different situations, you will develop your brain to understand, process and respond to each different conversation. This will help you develop to be a more natural and confident speaker.

The Speaking Test can be nerve-wracking for some people. But it is important to remember that you have practised (hopefully) for this exam. You have spent time and effort learning the language and practising it in many different situations. So, remember to relax, be confident and try to be spontaneous. Talk often and ask for clarification if you do not understand. Don’t memorise your answers and try your hardest to be natural and speak fluently. You will do very well if you can follow these 8 IELTS Speaking Tips. Some may be harder than others, but try your best and you will pass the test. Good luck and do your best!

IELTS Speaking: Videos for IELTS Speaking Preparation from British Council

IELTS Speaking: Videos for IELTS Speaking Preparation from British Council

1. Improve English for the IELTS Speaking test

2. Improve English for the IELTS Speaking test: Grammar

3. Improve English for the IELTS Speaking test: Pronunciation

4. IELTS Speaking: Improve English & prepare for IELTS – Vocabulary