Preparing for IELTS
Steps for Preparing for IELTS
Since IELTS is a test for people whose native language is not English, preparing for this exam seems like a very difficult feat. This difficulty can be easily tackled if we just approach it in a systematic manner. Let us now discuss the various steps you will have to undertake in order to prepare for the test.
Step 1: Familiarising Yourself with the Pattern of the Test:
The first step while preparing for any standardised test is to acquaint yourself with the pattern of the test and the same is the case with this test. You should find out what is the duration of the test (2 hours and 45 minutes) and find out how many sections the test is divided into. The test is divided into 4 sections which are Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. Go to http://ielts.org/test_takers_information/how_do_i_prepare.aspx and download the Information for Candidates Booklet which is available for free. This booklet contains all the information you need to obtain about the test. Do consult the official website of IELTS for more detailed information about the types of questions which come in the exam and then go about preparing by solving those types of questions.
Step 2: Taking a Decision about the Mode of Preparation:
The next step would be to decide whether you want to opt for specialised coaching for the test or study by yourself. If you decide to take classes for your preparation, you will have to further decide if you want to go for regular coaching classes or online training. Whatever be your decision, ask for recommendations on a good coaching centre. If you are opting for self-study, then make sure you acquire the requisite preparation materials and fix a time slot for studying every day.
Step 3: Mock Test:
Before you start preparation, take a mock test in order to know your present level of proficiency in English. Taking a mock test will also help you better understand which section of the test you need to focus on while preparing for the test. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is important so as to structure your preparation accordingly.
Step 4: Acquiring Preparation Materials:
This step is more important for those students who are planning to study by themselves for the test as the right preparation materials can go a long way in helping you achieve a good test score. Official IELTS Practice Materials, Cambridge IELTS Collection (Book 1- 8), IELTS TestBuilder, 404 Essential Tests for IELTS, 101 Helpful Hints for IELTS and Insight into IELTS are some recommended books published by major publishing houses.
Step 5: Starting Actual Preparation:
Now all that is left to do is actually start preparing. Make sure you are regular in your practice and that you focus on all aspects of the test equally. Note that your final score will be an average of your scores in the individual sections. So it would be foolish to focus on just one section. Prepare equally well for all the sections and do not ignore those areas which are your weaknesses.
Tips for the Exam:
- It is important to keep reviewing how far you have come in your preparation by sitting for a mock test every week. You will need to check if you are improving your level of understanding of the English language or you are stuck in the same position.
- Practice as many sample tests as you can, especially for those sections of the test that you are not good at. It is only by practicing that you will gain a better understanding of the exam and gain higher proficiency in the language.
- The most important thing to do is to avoid restricting your preparation to the classroom. Try incorporating the use of the language in your day to day life. Read English newspapers, watch English movies and television programs and try holding all your conversations in English. The more you use the language, the better you will start understanding it.
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