Home » Study Abroad Exams » IELTS Exam » IELTS Knowledge Preparation Tips

IELTSKnowledge Preparation Tips

IELTS, abbreviated as International English Language Testing System is most popular English language test in world. More than two million IELTS tests are taken each year.

Candidates who take IELTS may get chance to live, study and work around the world. It is estimated that more than 9,000 organisations in 140 countries accept IELTS, including government, academic and employment institutions. IELTS is the only English language test accepted for immigration purposes by all countries that require one.

Key attributes of IELTS Academic and General Training:

  • IELTS tests the ability to listen, read, write and speak in English.
  • The speaking module is major component of IELTS. It is conducted in the form of a one-to-one interview with an examiner. The assessor evaluates the test taker as he or she is speaking. The speaking session is also recorded for monitoring and for re-marking in case of an appeal against the score given.
  • A variety of accents and writing styles have been presented in test materials in order to minimise linguistic bias.
  • IELTS is developed by professionals at Cambridge English Language Assessment with input from item writers from around the world. Teams are located in the USA, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and other English-speaking nations.
  • Band scores are used for each language sub-skill (Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking). The Band Scale ranges from 0 ("Did not attempt the test") to 9 ("Expert User").

IELTS syllabus 2016:

Both IELTS formats in IELTS syllabus- IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training are composed of four compulsory sections:

  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking.

IELTS test is designed to mirror real life use of English at study, at work, and at play and results are graded on a unique IELTS 9-band scale.

Listening section:

The Listening section has four sub-sections.

The first is a conversation between two people set in an everyday social context.

Second is a monologue or a speech.

Third section is a conversation between a maximum of four people set in an academic setting.

Fourth is a monologue on an academic subject, for instance an academic lecture. Each section is heard only once.

IELTS Reading section:

As per the IELTS syllabus 2016, the Reading section appraises the test taker’s skill in reading as she/he answers the questions (multiple choice, sentence completion, summary writing, matching information, short-answers etc.) after reading one long text in each of the sections.

The Reading component consists of 40 questions. A variety of question types like reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical argument, recognising writers' opinions, attitudes and purpose are used in order to test a wide range of reading skills.

IELTS Academic:

The Academic version of the syllabus of IELTS includes three long texts which range from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical. The texts are authentic and are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers. These have been selected for a non-specialist audience but are appropriate for candidates entering university courses or seeking professional registration.

IELTS General Training:

According to the IELTS 2016 Syllabus, the General Training version requires candidates to read extracts from books, magazines, newspapers, notices, advertisements, company handbooks and guidelines. These are materials which candidates encounter on a daily basis in an English speaking environment

IELTS writing section:

The IELTS writing section varies for the two versions. In each version, the section consists of two tasks:

IELTS Academic: The writing component of IELTS Academic includes two tasks. Topics are of general interest and suitable for candidates entering undergraduate and postgraduate studies or seeking professional registration.

Task 1

Candidates will be presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram and asked to describe, summarise or explain the information in own words. They may be asked to describe and explain data, describe the stages of a process, how something works or describe an object or event.

Task 2

Candidates will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. Responses to both tasks must be in a formal style.IELTS General Training: The writing component of IELTS General Training includes two tasks which are based on topics of general interest.

Task 3

Candidates will be given a situation and asked to write a letter requesting information or explaining the situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal or formal in style

Task 4

Candidates will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The essay can be slightly more personal in style than the Academic Writing Task 2 essay.

IELTS Speaking section:

The IELTS Speaking test which is in recorded form consists of three parts that simulate a face-to-face oral interview with an examiner. The Speaking component assesses candidate’s use of spoken English, and takes between 11 and 14 minutes to complete. Every test is recorded. The Speaking component is delivered in such a way that it does not allow candidates to rehearse set responses beforehand

Part 1

The Examiner will ask Candidates general questions about their personalities and a range of familiar topics, such as home, family, work, studies and interests. This part lasts between four and five minutes.

Part 2

Candidates will be given a card which asks them to talk about a particular topic. Candidates will have one minute to prepare before speaking for up to two minutes. The examiner will then ask one or two questions on the same topic to finish this part of the test.

Part 3

Candidates will be asked further questions connected to the topic in Part 2. These questions will give them the opportunity to discuss more abstract ideas and issue. The part of the test lasts between four and five minutes.

Major tips for IELTS preparation:

Candidates must develop communication skills in English to get success in IELTS test. Experts stated that effective way to prepare for IELTS is to learn good general English. Language is a skill. Skills need practice, but they also need to be practised in the right way and that means quality, not quantity.


It is recommended to read the instructions and questions carefully before listening.

Try to get an idea of the situation. Who are the speakers? Where are they? Why are they speaking?

Remember, candidates will only hear the audio once. They will need to read, write and listen all at the same time.

Listen for 'signpost words' such as however, although and finally. They help candidates to anticipate what the speaker will say


Scan through each text to try to get a basic understanding of what it is about. What is the text about? Who was it written for? Instructor advice that candidates must carefully read the title and any sub-heading.

What is the main point of each paragraph? Each paragraph contains a single main idea. The questions will focus on these main ideas. Remember questions appear in the same order as the answers in the text.

In Academic Reading, initiate by going quickly through each passage to identify features such as the topic, the style, the likely source, the writer’s purpose and the intended reader.

In Academic Writing, candidates must always keep to the topic set. Never try to prepare sections of text before the exam.

It is important to finish both pieces of writing, but the way to do this is not necessarily starting to write immediately. If candidates do that, they may get half way through the writing and realise you cannot finish it. It is also important for candidates to start writing when they know how to finish.

It is important to check writing for grammatical errors. Candidates need to have a checklist before they enter the exam.

Another effective tip is to improve vocabulary for any IELTS candidate. Learning vocabulary takes time and it can be a mistake to force the process. Spend time to learn vocabulary. Spelling does matter in IELTS. It is also recommended to learn right words.

Candidates must practice sample questions and check the assessment criteria used for IELTS.

They need to record their speaking English or doing practice IELTS speaking tests. Then listen back to check when they hesitate,

when they repeat words, when they make grammatical errors and when they might be speaking quickly.

Underline the key words in the questions during the Listening, Reading and Writing tests, be sure they know exactly what needs to be included in answer. Make a plan for writing answers before they start as well.

It is necessary to learn and identify synonyms. Often in the Listening or Reading tests, candidates will notice a key word in the question, then see/hear a different word with the same meaning in the text. They need to make these connections. Using synonyms is also useful in the Speaking and Writing to show the variety of vocabulary.

Candidates must check answers carefully in the Listening and Reading sections, ensure they have followed the instructions, otherwise they may lose marks.

It is also imperative to concentrate on time management. Make a revision timetable as this can help to keep things in perspective. Over time they can see real progress and concentrate on the areas that are difficult.

Have positive approach.

IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training are intended to cover the full range of ability from non-user to expert user. The Academic version is for test takers who want to study at tertiary level in an English-speaking country or seek professional registration. The General Training version is for test takers who want to work, train, study at a secondary school or migrate to an English-speaking country.

Briefly, IELTS is highly beneficial for candidates who have ambition to study and work in overseas countries. To get success, candidates must concentrate on reading and vocabulary sections. Also, Make sure that they are familiar with the test format, so you know exactly what to expect and avoid any strange situation.