Practice makes a man perfect. The same is true with IELTS (International English Language Testing System). It is a standardized test designed to test your skills at reading, writing, speaking and listening English.It is organized by University of Cambridge ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Examinations, British Council and IDP: IELTS Australia. This test is applicable for students with English as their second language and who wish to join universities in countries like the US, the UK, Australia, Canada etc. It is also a prerequisite for those who wish to enter English speaking countries for jobs. Standardized tests like IELTS need preparation in a standardized way only. A practice test is what you need to complete your preparation. This practice test helps you know the exam pattern, the types of questions asked and the time frame in which you need to answer. A practice test is the best way to know your strengths and weaknesses. This article will give you the sources of IELTS practice tests and explain how to benefit from them.

When to Start Practicing from an IELTS Practice Test

One must be familiar with some of the facts about the test before moving on to solve some mock tests. The purpose of this examination is to check your skills in the expressions of English. This is required if you wish to enter English speaking countries for study or jobs. The aim of this test is to adjust you to an environment where English is used and to adjust with the different accents of English. This ensures that English as a language does not become a hurdle in your studies or work. IELTS comes in two formats i.e. Academic module and General Training module. Academic module is for students and the General Training module is applicable for job seekers and immigrants.

Both the modules have four sections reading, writing, speaking and listening. You need to study the concepts and question formats of all the sections. As soon as you learn a particular topic, you should practice solving the sample questions based on it. When you are finished with almost every topic of all the sections then you should start practicing from practice tests.

Sources of IELTS Practice Tests

Practice questions are available in a variety of forms and at various places. If you have joined a coaching institute for preparation then you are given sample question papers along with study materials. These are for homework as well as for class work. Such test papers are available online also. Online sample tests are available on payment as well as for free. Free practice tests may not cover all the question types in the examination. One may also get a chance to practice through an online course. These practice test papers are also provided along with study guides. The listening section involves listening to a recorded tape; therefore you need to procure such a tape/CD for the listening section.

Benefits of an IELTS Practice Test

A sample test gives you many benefits. It is an acknowledgment for you to have encountered all the possible question types of IELTS. Practicing individual question types in isolation is totally different from solving all the possible question types together. These mock tests prepare your mind set for various sections of the exam.

The reading section gives you passages to read and then answer the questions based on them. With this practice test you will practice reading lengthy passages and understanding the flow of information. The questions asked are also in a sequence as per the passage. Therefore, when you practice such questions you automatically know how to search for the answer.

The writing section requires you to write a passage to develop the given idea.  You can practice by making an outline for the required essay. Once you solve a practice test, you come to know how to collect points for your essay and how to put them in writing to put your idea in the best possible way. You are asked to write a letter in the General Training module. When you practice from an IELTS practice test you get to know the various techniques of letter writing. Letter writing requires you to know the correct format of each type of letter. Letter writing is an art. One is required to put his point in the correct format and in short but appropriate words. You also need to know the tone of every type of letter. With this practice test you can practice solving every possible type of letter.

The listening section is about listening to recorded tapes and answering the questions simultaneously. You need to concentrate on what is being said. You will find different types of English accents in this recorded tape. To answer the questions correctly you need practice for assimilating such recorded speeches. Sample tapes or CDs are available in the market for you to practice for the listening section.

The speaking section is an interview taken by an examiner. At coaching institutes you get an opportunity to do mock practice for interviews. The experienced faculty at such institutes can pinpoint your mistakes in presentation and teach you the techniques for such a test.

All the benefits we have mentioned so far are possible only when you get the sample tests evaluated from experienced people. You must try to improve on your score as you continue taking more and more  practice tests.

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