Preparing for the IELTS exam at home requires dedication coupled with using the right strategies. In most cases, candidates preparing for the IELTS exam are working professionals or pursuing a full-time course and as such do not have a lot of time to prepare for the exam. If this is you, this article will walk you through the nuances of preparing for IELTS at home and will also provide useful tips to take your preparation to the next level.
For How Long Should I Prepare For The IELTS Exam?
Studyin-uk.in recommends that students spend at least 6-8 weeks preparing for the IELTS exam, focusing on basic grammar, reading speed, test strategies, and writing skills. Each part of the IELTS exam is different, so ensure you fully understand what is expected of you.
How To Prepare For IELTS Exam At Home
IELTS Exam evaluates your abilities based on four essential aspects of the English language; Speaking, Reading, Writing & Listening. Therefore, you need a lot of time for the IELTS preparation, but you can save many hours of sitting and studying by just applying a few simple study strategies at home.
Let’s take a look at the five steps that will help you practice for the IELTS at home:
- Work on Vocabulary
- Enhance Your Writing Skills
- Fluency & Pronunciation
- Improve Your Listening Skills
- Practice with IELTS reading tips
1. Work on your vocabulary
You can practice your vocabulary by picking up a newspaper or magazine and reading or paying close attention to unfamiliar words. This will help you improve your vocabulary. You can make a note of these vocabularies and use them in your practice sentences.
The more complex words you encounter, the more you will learn about their meanings and significance. To understand sentence formations, also refer to the supporting context. Start watching news channels or shows to expand your vocabulary with new words. These suggestions will undoubtedly assist you in expanding your vocabulary.
According to Grammarly, reading is an excellent way to learn new words. Because reading is a one-person activity, you can really take your time with a new word and work out its meaning and usage.
Building a strong vocabulary allows you to communicate your thoughts, verbally or in writing, to avoid confusion and achieve clarity.
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2. Enhance Your Writing Skills
You can practice for one IELTS Writing test at home each day. By doing so, you will complete 30 IELTS Writing Tasks in a month and be greatly better at your writing skills than most candidates.
Here are the specific parameters for improving your writing skills to get the desired score in the IELTS exam:
- During your preparation, always practice keeping in mind the word limit.
- Preparation for Writing Task 2 takes more time than IELTS Writing Task 1
- Remember: Speed and Accuracy are the keys to better preparation.
- Analyze the question carefully and cover all the given points in the Writing Task.
- Check for common mistakes and mend them before you submit your answer.
3. Fluency and Pronunciation
Your fluency and pronunciation will matter in the IELTS Speaking exam. Therefore, it is important to practice daily and remember to use the Cue Cards. The speaking exam is split into three parts, and it takes a total of 11-15 minutes.
You will need consistent practice, and by doing so, you will focus on learning new fluency skills. Here are a few IELTS speaking tips that will help:
- During your Preparation, be confident, answer questions, and be loud and clear.
- Record your practice sessions and listen to them to improve every day.
- Listen to English shows and news channels as much as possible.
According to FluentU, Whenever you’re at home (or alone somewhere else) you can improve your English by speaking with your favorite person: yourself. This time don’t focus on grammar but on fluency and pronunciation.
4. Improve Your Listening Skills
Listening is how we first learn words as a child and can profoundly impact how we learn to pronounce and use new words. There are lots of ways to learn by listening.
It is important to learn the right technique to achieve the desired score in the IELTS Listening exam. It will help improve the Listening tasks as the surrounding environment is full of natural noises and daily chaos. It will further improve your focus even under dire situations.
During your IELTS Exam, you will be given a recording. This recording will be played only once so focus on listening to the entire recording. In the meanwhile, read the questions, listen to the recording, and write down the correct answers on your answer sheet.
In simple words, you will be a multi-tasker. Practicing for the listening task will help you increase your listening abilities and pick up the correct answer from the recording. It is very essential that you pay close attention to the recording because as the sections increase, the speed of the recording increases as well.
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5. Practice with IELTS Reading Tips
It is imperative to know the meaning of a sentence and words before you appear for the IELTS Reading exam. While studying you need to have a dictionary beside you to know the meaning of some challenging words. IELTS Preparation is all about making mistakes and correcting them as you proceed.
Make sure you continue with your preparation and follow these tips to help you succeed:
- Make a habit of skimming and scanning to form an idea through the text quickly.
- During IELTS Preparation, Read the Instruction for every task carefully.
- Practice marking the keywords during the Reading Test.
- Ensure you follow the instructions mentioned in the Test
- Read newspapers every day and listen to the news to improve your reading skills.
- Practice your reading skills NOT your IELTS skills
- Perfect your timing skills
How To Prepare For The IELTS Speaking Test At Home
The IELTS speaking test takes between 11 and 14 minutes and is in the form of an oral interview between the candidate and an examiner. During the interview session, you will need to answer questions asked by the interviewer, speak at length on a topic selected by the interviewer and give and explain your opinions on a range of issues related to that topic. The interview has three main parts:
- some general questions about yourself, your life, and your interests
- a short talk on a particular topic
- a discussion of issues linked to the talk in part 2
You might be nervous about taking your IELTS Speaking test, but with these 5 tips and plenty of practice, you will be well on your way to building your confidence and getting the IELTS band score you need.
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1. Don’t memorize answers
Don’t memorize answers, especially in Part 1. Memorized language doesn’t give the examiner an accurate measure of your English-language skills. The examiner will be able to tell if you have memorized your answers and this may influence your final band score.
2. Speak as confidently as you can
As stated in Wikihow, candidates who are not able to participate fully and comfortably in the conversation *may not achieve their potential band score. This may be because they haven’t been able to demonstrate the level of language they are capable of producing from a place of comfort.
3. Don’t use big and unfamiliar words
You may want to impress the examiner with big and ambiguous words in your Speaking test. But to be safe, avoid using words you are not familiar with. There is a higher chance of making mistakes while using ambiguous words either by mispronouncing the words or using them in the wrong context. Mistakes can affect your final band score.
Always ensure you use a range of vocabulary that you know is relevant to the topic being discussed. Get our IELTS Speaking Study Material.
4. Practice with the sample questions
You need to practice the following sample questions that the interviewer will ask for general information about topics such as the following:
- Your country of origin
- Your hometown
- How long you have lived there
- What you do: work or study
- Your interests and future plans
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What Is The Best Way To Prepare For IELTS
The IELTS format is somewhat different from regular school and college exams, so your preparation also needs to be accordingly with simple IELTS tips. Most importantly, always practice every day. You can practice with our IELTS Study Material.
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, you need a score of 7 or higher to pass.
Let’s take a look at the best way to prepare for IELTS.
1. Start studying 6 to 8 weeks before your test date
After registering for the English language test, the next right thing to do is to give yourself at least 6 weeks to study for the test. This will help to ensure that you have enough time to prepare yourself for the test and you won’t have to retake it.
Here are a few tips to help:
- Avoid cramming for the exam or trying to take the exam too soon if you don’t feel ready.
- Create a study plan and stick to it. Procrastinating isn’t a good thing.
- Consider using a planner to develop a more organized study schedule.
2. Understand the test format
Familiarise yourself with the test format by reviewing the test content, as well as the question and task types for each section. It’s also important to read through the IELTS rules and regulations. These are laid out in the Notice to Candidates and Declaration which are included in the application form.
To get familiar with the IELTS, Get your IELTS study material.
3. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses
While studying with the IELTS study guide, you need to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses to know the areas to focus on. For instance, if you excel at reading and writing English, but have more difficulty engaging in conversations, then you might want to devote more time to studying for the listening and speaking sections of the exam. If you feel that you are equally skilled in all of the test areas, then you have to divide your study time evenly.
4. Get an IELTS book or study guide to direct your studies
There are many IELTS study guides and materials available online, or you can check a study book out of your local library, or purchase a study guide from a bookstore or online. Following along with a study guide will help ensure that you fully understand the exam layout, and increase your chances of success.
5. Take sample test questions
Sample test questions simulate the format of questions on the IELTS using different phrasing and scenarios. Completing sample test questions will help you to become more familiar with the types of questions you will encounter on the test. You can get access to sample test questions online, in guidebooks, and in apps for the IELTS.
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Is IELTS Reading Section The Same For Both Academic and General Tests?
The reading skills required (prediction, finding specific information, identifying opinions, etc.) are the same for both tests. The styles of questions, for example, multiple-choice, sentence completion, etc., are also the same for both the Academic and General test
The only difference is the type of text you will be given. This is to reflect the difference in exams and motivations of both types of candidates. On the Academic paper, there will be three long academic texts that are similar to the type of reading you might expect at university. The readings are taken from academic journals, magazines, books, and newspapers.
While on the General test, you will be given a mixture of long and short texts of a much more general nature and some related to work or social situations. The readings are taken from notices, flyers, timetables, documents, newspapers, instructions, and manuals.
In a nutshell, the IELTS General Training exam evaluates your English proficiency in everyday situations. You will need this test for emigration or work in an English-speaking country, or even in the process of obtaining citizenship in specific countries, like Canada. IELTS Academic assesses whether your English level is appropriate for an academic environment.
FAQs On How To Prepare For IELTS
Students should spend at least 6-8 weeks preparing for the IELTS exam, focusing on basic grammar, reading speed, test strategies, and writing skills.
IELTS is not difficult to pass. All it takes is studying and practicing to score high on the test.
Reading is much easier in IELTS general training than in IELTS academic
Yes, IELTS can be taken from the home. The conducting body, IDP, rolled out IELTS Online early in 2022. The format includes a real-time face-to-face Speaking Test and has the same pattern as the pen and paper-based and Computer-delivered IELTS test. However, aspirants need to confirm if the universities will accept the test’s home e
In times like this, when it feels like all you need to do is to write the IELTS and score high, keep your head high and stay positive. Lest I forget, nothing beats a positive mindset.