How to Prepare For IELTS : A Comprehensive Guide

Preparing for a test is one of the most daunting experiences most of us dread. For many reasons, it brings a feeling of stress and anxiety to whoever will be taking it. Even the smartest and brightest person feels the same. Taking the IELTS is no different, and we can’t blame you. After all, this is the test that will dictate your fate. Will you be able to study in Canada? Will you be able to work in the United Kingdom and bring your family there?

We are with you in your journey, and we want to help you the best way we can. Here is a comprehensive guide on how you can prepare for IELTS. This article will boost your chance of acing your test and attaining an above-average IELTS band score. We have written down everything you might need while preparing for IELTS. We’ve got you covered —  a thorough understanding of the IELTS test format, tips, and tricks on what to do before, during, and after the test. 

Understanding the IELTS Exam Format

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a set of tests designed to assist you in working, studying, or migrating to a country where English is the primary language. This includes Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It has four sections: 

  • Speaking
  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Writing. 

International teams of experts prepare the test content for IELTS. The test undergoes comprehensive research to guarantee that it remains fair and unbiased for all candidates regardless of their nationality, background, gender, lifestyle, or location. 

Having a thorough understanding of the IELTS test format is the first way to prepare for IELTS. As a candidate, you have to be familiar with how the test looks. This will help you identify the approach that you need to employ while preparing before the test. 

IELTS has two modules:  

  • IELTS Academic: This module is for a student or a professional who intends to study or work in the mentioned countries. It determines whether you are prepared to begin studying English or work in an academic setting. 
  • IELTS General Training: This module is for those who wish to study or train below degree level. It evaluates your English proficiency in work and social environments. 

IELTS is an English language proficiency test and aims to evaluate your command of the four fundamental language skills. Hence, it has four sections: Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing. Both the IELTS General and IELTS Academic Training have four test sections.

  • IELTS Reading section
    • There are three reading passages and 40 questions to answer. 
    • Passages in the Academic module are factual, descriptive, analytical, and discursive texts.
    • Passages in the General Training are excerpts from books, magazines, newspapers, advertisements, and company handbooks. 
  • IELTS Writing section
    • There are two writing tasks that must be completed
    • Topics in the Academic module are of general interest and are appropriate for students starting undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and those seeking professional registration.
    • Topics in the General Training module include a scenario to respond to, such as drafting a letter requesting information or explaining a problem. 
  • IELTS Listening section
    • The Listening section is the same for the Academic and General Training sections. 
    • There are four parts with ten questions each. 
  • IELTS Speaking section
    • Like the Listening section, the Speaking section is also the same for the Academic and General Training modules. 
    • There are three parts (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3) that cover questions ranging from everyday topics and common experiences. 

Having a clear idea of how long each section takes will also give you a better understanding of managing your time while preparing for IELTS and when you finally have to take the test. 

  • Reading – 60 minutes
  • Writing – 60 minutes 
  • Listening – 30 minutes 
  • Speaking – 11 to 14 minutes 

Understanding the Scoring Criteria for the IELTS Exam

In IELTS, there are no such things as Pass or Fail. The IELTS band scores are provided on a 9-band scale, with band 9 highest and band 1 lowest. The Listening and Reading sections are scored differently than the Speaking and Writing sections.

Both the Listening and Reading sections have 40 questions, where a correct answer is awarded one mark. Your total score is converted using the IELTS 9-band scale. 

The results of IELTS for all four sections – Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking, are presented separately. Usually, an average of 6.5, with a band score above or equal to 6 in each of the four sections, is enough for you to enter the countries mentioned earlier. 

Below is a sample set of scores of a candidate for you to have an idea of how your overall band score will be computed:

ReadingWritingListeningSpeakingOverall Band
6.57.5787.5


How to Prepare for IELTS Listening?

The material in the Listening section will be in the form of audio recordings. They will be played only once. There are four parts presented in order of increasing difficulty. The first two parts focus on general interest. The first part will be in the form of a dialogue, while the second part will be a monologue. The third and four parts will focus on education or training topics. Audio recordings of a discussion between two to four people will be played. 

You should write down your answers on the question booklet as you listen. You will have ten minutes to write down your answers on the answer sheet at the end of the recorded material. Make sure you transfer your answers accurately. 

Listening Task: Selecting Topics

In this task, you will be presented with different topics, three recap parts of the audio recording. The other topics are not discussed and mentioned in the audio recordings, and you have to decide which three topics are discussed and mentioned. 

Tick the THREE items that are discussed:

  • Causes of migration 
  • Hospital negligence cases
  • Best life insurance to avail
  • Lead causes of death in Singapore
  • Professionalism of doctors and nurses
  • Advantages of being a city-state country 
  • Safety issues during fire and earthquake drills
  • Retirement benefits for senior citizens in Singapore

Listening Task: Summary Completion

The answers to this task will be a summary of all or a part of the audio recording. It contains a number of gaps. All the details, in summary, will be mentioned in the audio recordings, but at times, the words used may not be the same. Your task is to complete the summary by writing not more than three words for each gap. 

Complete the summary below by writing not more than three words in the space provided. 

Paul Lee, a/an __________ from __________, arrived in __________ about twenty years ago. He is working in a company that __________. He will be __________ this year and is planning to retire soon so he could __________ .


Listening Task: Multiple Choice

In this task, you will be presented with a ‘stem’ which can either be an incomplete sentence (Questions 1 and 3 below) or a question (Question 2 below). You will be given options to choose from where only one option will be correct. The other options might seem plausible but are, in fact, wrong and are just distractors. 

In this task, it is a must that you read the stem carefully. Some candidates commit careless mistakes here and thus, choose the wrong answer.  

Choose the best answer: A, B, C, or D. 

  1. The September Celebration Day is held…

A. on the park’s important birthday

B. for the residents to get together

C. to remember the history of the park 

D. four times a year to honor the founder of the city 

  1. When was the park first built?

A. 1955

B. 1979

C. the 1900s

D. the 1800s

  1. The park still uses…

A. a petting zoo

B. a children’s play area

C. two of the early rides

D. its first water fountain 


Listening Task: Form Completion

In this task, you will be presented with an incomplete form that includes information from the audio recording. Your task is to complete the gaps in not more than three words. 


The information in the form will be given in the same order as the information you hear. It means that you will hear the answer to question one before the answer to question two. Hence, it is very critical that you spend the time given to look at the question booklet. This will provide you with the idea to work out the order when you hear the needed information. 

Complete the table below. 

Write not more than three words/numbers for each answer.

DayTimeEventVenueTicket Price
Monday and Tuesday7:30 p.m.‘The Marriage of Figaro’ (opera by Mozart)__________from $8
Wednesday8:00 p.m.__________ (Canadian Film)Cinema 3__________
Saturday and Sunday11 a.m. – 10 p.m.__________(Art exhibition)Gallery 1Free

Listening Task: Sentence Completion

In this task, you will be presented with incomplete statements that you need to complete using the information from the audio recording. Usually, you have to complete the statements in not more than three words, but to be sure, you must confirm this with the given instructions.

The questions will be given in the same order as the answers in the audio recording. Therefore, you will hear the answer to Question 1 before you hear the answer to Question 2

Complete the sentences below. 

Write not more than two words for each answer. 

1. Studying in the university demanded a great deal of __________.

2. Studying while working at the same time improved Bella’s __________.

3. It gave her an advantage that the course was structured in __________.

4. She enjoyed meeting other students __________. 


The Listening Task: Short Answer Questions 

In this task, you will be presented with questions that you need to answer. Just like in the sentence completion task, this task normally requires answers in not more than three words, but to be sure, double-check this in the instructions given. 

Answer the following questions using no more than three words. 

1. How many days did the scientist stay in the cave?

2. Where’s the cave located?

3. What’s the name of the laboratory?

4. What did Rob do after the study? 


How to Prepare for IELTS Speaking?

The IELTS speaking test is conducted in the form of an interview and lasts about 15 minutes. The interview will most likely be light and friendly chit-chat where you will be asked about your past, present, and future circumstances. The interviewer will guide the conversation by asking questions that are primarily focused on you and your viewpoints.

The interview is divided into four sections: some questions about yourself in general; a discussion of broad interest topics, role-playing; a conclusion, and a discussion of your future plans. 

You must relax and speak as confidently as possible. Candidates who struggle in this conversation may not get their desired band score simply because they could not produce a great degree of conversation.

The Interview: Part 1

This section, Part 1 or Task 1, begins with an introduction, during which the interviewer will ask you some general questions about yourself. The questions are frequently (but not always) based on the CV (curriculum vitae) you completed before the test. The purpose of this section of the interview is to feel like a pleasant conversation in which the interviewer throws you a series of simple questions to get to know you and make you relaxed.

This is how the first section of the test goes:

  • The interviewer extends a warm welcome and introduces themself to you. 
  • The interviewer asks you to state your name clearly for the cassette. 
  • The interviewer asks you to show your passport and CV form. 

Examples:

  • Your CV states that you are interested in… Could you explain why you appreciate it so much?
  • How frequently do you…?
  • Who are you going to be with? Where?
  • What kind of house do you have?
  • What do you like about living there?
  • What type of house would you want to live in in the future? 
  • What do the people in your community do for a living?

You should be extremely cautious about what you write on your CV, as it may serve as the basis for discussion in this section of the test and may also influence the interviewer’s choice of topics for the second portion of the test. Keep in mind that one of the goals of this segment is to get you talking freely so the interviewer can assess your English skills. The interviewer expects you to talk about something that you find interesting to provide your finest performance. It is the reason why you are asked to write down some personal information that the interviewer can use as a starting point for questioning.

One of the questions on the CV requires you to include your hobbies and interests. Make sure you are ready to talk about the hobbies and interests you have listed. For example, if triathlon is one of your hobbies, make sure you know the terminology related to it as you will need to talk about it. If possible, double-check the pronunciation with an English native speaker. You are strongly advised also not to prepare a scripted speech. Once the interviewer notices this, the subject will immediately be shifted. 


The Interview: Part 2

The interviewer will move on to one or more issues of general interest in this part, Task 2 or Part 2. You may need to speak longer than in the previous section, and you may need to describe or explain anything. In this task, a topic card will be handed to you. You will prepare for 1 minute and speak for 1 to 2 minutes. It is advised that you begin preparing the moment you see the topic on the card. Talk as long as you can. Remember that the topics are stories about yourself. 

It is not possible to foretell the topics that might be discussed at this point in the interview; however, the most common ones revolve around the following: 

  • Daily Routines 
  • Work and studies 
  • Traditions and beliefs 
  • Celebrations and Events 
  • Lifestyle and employment 
  • Landmarks and tourist attractions 

Topic/Question:

“Describe an occasion when someone visited your home.”

Guidelines to answer this question :

  • Who the person was
  • What the occasion was
  • What you did during the visit
  • Explain how you felt about the visit 

Topic/Question:

Describe an interesting speech you heard recently

Guidelines to answer this question :

  • Where you heard it
  • Who the speaker was 
  • What the talk or speech was about
  • Why do you think it’s interesting 

Topic/Question:

Describe a place that you visited and particular recently

Guidelines to answer this question :

  • When you visited there
  • Who you went with
  • Why it was memorable 
  • Explain what you enjoyed the most in this place  

The following are the key points that will be assessed during this part of the interview:

  • Your ability to speak longer in a conversation
  • Your ability to expand and elaborate your answers
  • Your ability to give detailed information by describing and explaining 

Consider everything you know about each of the topics listed above. Think about all the possible questions someone who is getting to know you will ask you. List them down and rehearse what your answers can be. Make an effort to form an opinion on matters that are of importance. 


The Interview: Part 3

This section (Part 3 or Task 3) will have the interviewer ask you a broader range of questions related to the topic you had in the second part. The questions are more difficult and are abstract in nature. You will be required to elaborate and expand your responses further by giving examples and in-depth explanations. Bear in mind that the examiner will be controlling the time in this part. 

Topic:

Relationship Between Parents and Children

Sample questions:

  • In your country, how much time do children spend with their parents? Do you believe that’s enough?
  • How crucial do you believe it is for parents and children to spend quality time together?
  • Have parents’ and children’s interactions evolved in recent years? What makes you think that?

Topic:

Education

Sample questions:

  • How do today’s educational techniques differ from those of the past?
  • How do you feel about how languages are taught in schools?
  • What changes do you think classrooms will see in the future?

Topic:

Customs and Traditions

Sample questions:

  • Do you enjoy giving and receiving presents? Why or why not?
  • In your country, when do people normally give presents? 
  • Do you think giving presents is different now than it was in the past? Why do you think that is? 

The following are the key points that will be assessed during this part of the interview:

  • Your ability to explain and defend your points of view
  • Your ability to provide detailed responses to queries
  • Your ability to defend your ideas, thoughts, and reasons 
  • Your ability to analyze, discuss, and speculate on issues 

Since this part of the test focuses on the topics you have already discussed in the previous parts, do not mention ideas you have already discussed. This is your chance to show the interviewer that you can discuss general topics and give opinions on concepts being discussed.  


How to Prepare for IELTS Writing?

It takes an hour to complete the IELTS writing test. There are two tasks, and both must be completed. 

The first task is to write a report of at least 150 words based on the graphic information on the question paper. With few exceptions, graphic data will be presented in one of five formats: 

  • a line graph
  •  bar graph
  • pie chart
  • table
  • process diagram 

You should be able to describe the information or the procedure. Remember that you are not asked for your opinions in this task; you are asked to state facts. Do not give and express your viewpoints. 

In the second task, you will be required to write an essay of at least 250 words based on the theme or topic given. This task has more weight, so it is advised that you spend more time on this task. It is also important to remember that unreadable handwriting will affect your final grade.

The following guidelines will help you determine if what you have written in Writing Task 1 is good enough:

  • Is the structure of the paper appropriate?
  • Does it use connective words to keep the writing in sentences and paragraphs together?
  • Is there a wide range of vocabulary? 
  • Does it employ a variety of sentence structures?
  • Does it adhere to the word count restrictions (at least 150 words)?
  • Does it sufficiently convey the entire graph/chart/diagram?
  • Does it concentrate on the key trends given in the graph/chart/diagram?

On the other hand, here are the guidelines that will help you determine if what you have written in Writing Task 2 is good enough:

  • Does it pay attention to all the questions in the essay?
  • Does it write about these issues aside from just the general topic?
  • Does it address the essay questions with pertinent main points? 
  • Is there a wide range of vocabulary?
  • Does it adhere to the word count restrictions (at least 250 words)?

Writing Task 1: Single-Line Graph

You will be presented with a single-line graph to work with. You need to write a 150-word report that describes the data in the graph. 

The following are the key points that will be assessed during this part of the test:

  • Your ability to describe the information presented to you objectively without expressing an opinion
  • Your ability to report on a topic using appropriate terminology
  • Your ability to illustrate the graph

Writing Task 1: Double Line Graph

You will be presented with a graph with two lines. You need to write a 150-word report that describes the data in the graph. 

The following are the key points that will be assessed during this part of the test:

  • Your ability to objectively explain the facts you have been provided
  • Your ability to compare and contrast a report on an impersonal issue without expressing your opinion
  • Your ability to employ graph descriptive language 

Writing Task 1: Bar Graphs

You will be presented with one or more bar graphs. You need to write a 150-word report that describes the data in the graph. 

The following are the key points that will be assessed during this part of the test:

  • Your ability to present facts objectively
  • Your ability to compare and contrast a report on an impersonal issue without expressing your opinion
  • Your ability to employ graph descriptive language 

Writing Task 1: Pie Charts

You will be presented with one or more pie charts. You need to describe the data given in the chart by writing a 150-word report. 

The following are the key points that will be assessed during this part of the test:

  • Your ability to present facts objectively
  • Your ability to compare and contrast a report on an impersonal issue without expressing your opinion
  • Your ability to employ graph descriptive language 

Writing Task 1: Tables

You will be presented with one table of data. You need to describe the data given in the graph by writing a 150-word report.

The following are the key points that will be assessed during this part of the test:

  • Your ability to present facts objectively
  • Your ability to compare and contrast a report on an impersonal issue without expressing your opinion

Writing Task 1: Processes 

You will be presented with a diagram of a process. You need to describe the data given in the diagram by writing a 150-word report. 

The following are the key points that will be assessed during this part of the test:

  • Your ability to describe each critical phase of the process 
  • Your ability to link your descriptions of each phase 
  • Your ability to use the simple present passive structures of sentences 

Writing Task Two 

You will be presented with a discussion topic. You need to write a 250-word essay about that topic.

The following are the key points that will be assessed during this part of the test:

  • Your ability to present a convincing argument for your point of view
  • Your ability to contest an alternate point of view
  • Your ability to concentrate on the topic and avoid unrelated ideas
  •  Your ability to communicate in a consistent and easy-to-understand manner 
  • Your ability to use correct and suitable English 

Examples: 

You should spend 40 minutes on this task. Write at least 250 words.

Write about the following topic: 

Nowadays, it appears that a person’s worth is determined by social status and material assets. Honor, kindness, and trust, for example, no longer seem to be of importance. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion? Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own experience.

Write about the following topic:

A lot of highly qualified graduates are currently unemployed in many countries today. In your opinion, what reasons may have caused this, and what can/should be done about it? Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own experience.


How to Prepare for IELTS Reading?

It takes an hour to complete the IELTS reading test. You must read three texts ranging in length from 500 to 900 words each throughout this period. The questions will increase in difficulty as you progress. 

Some candidates come out of the reading test with the impression that they did not have enough time to complete the exam paper. Hence, we encourage you to take a number of timed reading practices before the exam to hone your skimming and scanning skills, as well as other time-saving tactics.

Sample Reading Text 

The World of Science 

A Chronobiology may sound future – like something out of a science fiction novel, perhaps – but it is actually a branch of research that focuses on one of the planet’s oldest processes: short-term time rhythms and their impact on flora and wildlife.

B This can take many different shapes. Marine life is affected by tidal patterns, for example. Animals are active or inactive depending on the position of the sun or moon. Many species, including humans, are diurnal, meaning they prefer to be out during daylight hours. For example, bats and possums are nocturnal animals that prefer to forage at night. Crepuscular animals thrive in the dark light of dawn and dusk but are dormant during the day.

C The circadian rhythm is of particular importance to chronobiologists when it comes to humans. This is the whole cycle that our bodies are designed to go through throughout the course of a 24-hour day. Each cycle includes numerous other elements, including variations in blood pressure, body temperature, night sleep, and awakening during the day. Not everyone’s circadian rhythm is the same. ‘Night folks,’ for example, frequently explain how they struggle to function in the morning but become aware and concentrated in the evening. A chronotype is a type of benign variation in circadian rhythms.

 D Scientists have little ability to alter chronobiological demands in a long-term manner. For example, artificial light machines and melatonin injection are recent medical advances for humans that can reset our circadian rhythms. Still, our bodies can recognize the difference, and our health suffers when we disrupt these natural rhythms for long periods. In this regard, plants appear to be no more malleable; studies show that vegetables grown in season and ripened on the tree contain considerably more vital elements than those cultivated in greenhouses and ripened by laser.

E The understanding of chronobiological trends can have numerous practical ramifications in our daily lives. While modern life may appear to subjugate biology – after all, who needs circadian rhythms when we have caffeinated pills, energy drinks, shift work, and cities that never sleep? – being in tune with our bodies is critical.

F For example, the average city dweller awakens at the alarming hour of 6.04 a.m., which researchers say is far too early. According to one study, even getting up at 7:00 a.m. has negative health consequences unless followed by 30 minutes of exercise. The best time has been narrowed down to 7.22 a.m. when individuals in the study experienced the least muscle aches, headaches, and moodiness.

G What happens after you’ve gotten up and ready to go? Dieticians advise that if you’re attempting to lose weight, you should never skip breakfast. Your circadian cycle is thrown off, and your body goes into hunger mode. Following a hard workout with a carbohydrate-rich breakfast is the suggested course of action; doing it the other way around will result in less weight loss.

H It’s also a good time to get your vitamins in the morning. Although supplement absorption is not time-dependent, naturopath Pam Stone believes that a boost in the morning helps us be ready for the day ahead. Stone recommends taking supplements with a soluble diet and staying away from caffeinated beverages for better absorption. Finally, Stone advises caution while storing supplements; high potency is preferable for absorption, and temperature and humidity are known to diminish a supplement’s strength.

I After-dinner coffee is becoming more of a tradition – we can thank the Italians for that – but we’re better off putting the brakes on caffeine consumption as early as 3 p.m. to prepare for a decent night’s sleep. With a half-life of seven hours, a cup of coffee with 90 mg of caffeine consumed at this hour may still leave 45 mg of caffeine in your neurological system by ten o’clock that evening. It is critical that your body is free of any residues when you are ready to sleep.

J Evenings are vital for slowing down before bed, but dietitian Geraldine Georgeou cautions that an after-five carbohydrate fast is more of a cultural myth than a chronobiological requirement. Your body will be deprived of crucial vitality. However, overburdening your intestines may result in indigestion. Our digestive tracts do not completely shut down at night, but their activity slows to a halt as our bodies prepare for sleep. It should be adequate to consume a small snack.


Reading Task Type: Summary Completion

The answers to this task will be a summary of all or a part of the reading text. There will be some gaps in the summary. The reading text will have all the information needed in the summary, but the language used will be different. You will also be given a list of words to fill in the blanks. The number of words will outnumber the number of gaps. These words were picked in such a way that only one word will be suitable (the answer); even if the others may seem suitable, they are simply distractors.  

The following are the key points that will be assessed during this part of the test:

  • Your ability to paraphrase the original text 
  • Your ability to skim through a text and get information

Complete the summary below.

Choose your answers from the box at the bottom of the page and write them in boxes 1-5 of your answer sheet. 

(Note that there are more words than spaces, so you will not use them all. You may use any of the words more than once.)

Long-term 1. _______________ in chronobiological demands are difficult for scientists to achieve. Artificial light machines and melatonin 2. _______________, for example, are modern medical innovations that help reset our circadian cycles. However, our bodies can 3. _______________ the difference, and our health suffers when we interrupt these natural patterns for 4. _______________ periods of time. Plants appear to be no more 5. _______________ in this regard; studies reveal that vegetables grown in season and ripened on the tree have significantly more important elements than those grown in greenhouses and ripened by laser.

___________________________________________________________________

 adaptable            inventions            advances            lengthy            changes            pliable            explain            tell


Reading Task Type: Matching Headings to Paragraphs

You will be presented with a list of headings in this type of task. Around 4 to 6 paragraphs from the reading text will be indicated in the instructions. You need to pick the most appropriate heading for each paragraph. 

The following are the key point that will be assessed during this part of the test:

  • Your ability to identify the main idea of a paragraph

Choose the heading that best sums up the main idea of paragraphs G, H, I, and J.

Write the appropriate numbers I – X on your answer sheet.

I.              How to lose weight

II.             Importance of exercise

III.            Effective diet for a better sleep

IV.            Medical advances in chronobiology

V.             Best multivitamins to take every day

VI.            Importance of chronobiology to humans

VII.           How circadian rhythm changes as we grow old

VIII.          How marine life is affected by moon cycles

IX.            Lifestyle changes that affect circadian rhythm 

X.             Effects of caffeine on human’s circadian rhythm 

_____________________________________________________________________

  1. Paragraph G         ____________
  2. Paragraph H             ____________
  3. Paragraph I              ____________
  4. Paragraph J             ____________

Reading Task Type: Identifying the Writer’s Views

You will be presented with a lot of statements in this task. You need to assess whether or not these statements support the writer’s viewpoints.

To do an excellent job on this exercise, you will need to recognize the writer’s point of view not just from what is explicitly stated but also from what is suggested. Avoid making educated guesses about the writer’s viewpoints. 

The following are the key points that will be assessed during this part of the test:

  • Your ability to find out what others think and what they feel 
  • Your ability to make inferences

Do the following statements agree with the information given in the Reading Passage?

  • YES if the statement agrees with the writer’s claims
  • NO if the statement contradicts the writer’s claims
  • NOT GIVEN if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this
  1. The behavior of sea organisms is affected by the rise and fall of sea levels. __________
  2. The majority of animals are active throughout the day. __________
  3. Our circadian rhythms describe how we behave on different days. __________
  4. Even if you are a ‘night person’, you can maintain a healthy circadian rhythm. __________

Reading Task Type: Multiple Choice

In this task, you will be presented a ‘stem,’ which could be an incomplete statement or a question. The stem will be followed by three or four possibilities, one of which will be correct (the answer), while the other three will appear plausible but will be erroneous in some way (the distractors). 

Below is the key point that will be assessed during this part of the test:

  • Your ability to read for gist 
  • Your ability to read for specific details 
  • Your ability to identify facts and opinions in a text

Choose the correct letter, A, B, C, or D. 

Write your answers in boxes 1-2 on your answer sheet.

1.    What should we do to lose weight?

A.   Skip breakfast

B.   Workout after breakfast

C.   Workout before breakfast

D.   Eat a low carbohydrate breakfast

2.    Which does NOT improve supplement absorption?

A.   Taking supplements at breakfast

B.   Storing supplements in a cool, dry place

C.   Avoiding caffeine while taking supplements D.Taking supplements with foods that dissolves them


Reading Task Type: Selecting Factors

You will be presented with a number of statements. You need to demonstrate that you understand what facts the writer did (and did not) mention on a certain topic in this work type.

Below is the key point that will be assessed during this part of the test:

  • Your ability to paraphrase 
  • Your ability to understand the reference 

The writer mentions a number of factors that affect the circadian rhythm of plants, animals, and humans.

Which FOUR of the following factors are mentioned?

______ A.  Diet and lifestyle

______  B. Body temperature

______ C. Surrounding places

______ D. Weather and climate

______  E. Technological advances

______  F. Variations in blood pressure

______  G. Position of the sun and moon

______  H. Vitamins and food supplements


Reading Task Type: Table Completion

You will be presented with an unfinished table that summarizes or paraphrases the material in the reading text. Your task is to fill in the blanks in three words or less.

Below is the key point that will be assessed during this part of the test:

  • Your ability to get the gist of a text
  • your ability to skim over a text looking for specific information

Complete the table below using information from the reading passage.

(Write NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each answer.)

Write your answers in boxes 1-4 on your answer sheet.

 Factors that Affect the Circadian RhythmWrite YES, NO, or DOESN’T SAY.
1. ___________Pesticides and fertilizersDoesn’t say
AnimalsTidal patterns2.  ___________
3. ___________a. Artificial light machines
b. High potency supplements
Yes
4. ___________

Reading Task Type : Matching Causes and Effects

You will be presented with two lists. In most circumstances, one list has a limited number of causes while the other has many consequences. You need to find the effect that corresponds to each cause. 

Below is the key point that will be assessed during this part of the test:

  • Your ability to comprehend the gist and paraphrase
  • Your ability to recognize cause and effect relationships

Match each cause (A-D) in List A with its effect (1-4) in List B. Write your answers (A-D) in boxes 1-4 on your answer sheet.

There are more effects in List B than you will need, so you will not use all of them. You may use any effect more than once if you wish.

List A: Causes

A.   Skipping breakfast while losing weight

B.   Medical advances such as melatonin injections

C.   Variations in everyone’s blood pressure and body temperature

D.   Animals being active or inactive depending on the position of the sun and the moon 

List B: Effects  

1.    Circadian rhythm being thrown off

2.    Having our circadian rhythm being reset

3.    ‘Morning people’ struggling to function well at night4.Many species, including humans preferring to be out during daylight hours


Reading Task Type : Sentence Completion

You will be presented with a number of incomplete sentences. You need to complete the sentences using information from the reading material. 

Below is the key point that will be assessed during this part of the test:

  • Your ability to paraphrase 
  • Your ability to look for general information quickly 

Complete the sentences below using words taken from the reading passage.

Use NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 1-3 on your answer sheet.

  1. Crepuscular creatures are active ______________, but are inactive during the day.
  2. It is recommended to follow a ______________ with a carbohydrate-rich breakfast; doing it the other way around will not aid weight loss.
  3. Our digestive systems ______________ at night, but they do slow down as our bodies prepare for sleep.


Reading Task Type : Short Answer Questions 

You will be presented with a series of questions to which you must respond. In general, your replies should be three words or less, but check the directions to be sure.

The following are the key points that will be assessed during this part of the test:

  • Your ability to paraphrase sentences 
  • Your ability to read on for more information
  • Your ability to determine the question’s focus

Complete the sentences below using words taken from the reading passage.

Use NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 1-3 on your answer sheet.

1.    What recent medical advances can help reset our circadian rhythm?

2.    According to studies, give one advantage of not waking up too early.

3. Why should we stay away from caffeinated drinks when taking supplements?


10 Helpful and Proven Tips to Prepare for IELTS Exam

Every year, more than 3 million people from almost 140 countries take IELTS. Interestingly, only a small fraction of them, roughly 3-4 percent, can get a band score of 8 or higher.

You might be wondering, is it because they are not smart enough? Or is it because they didn’t prepare well enough? Or maybe it’s just because IELTS is that difficult. We will never know. We know that there are ways in how you can achieve the band score you are aiming for. Yes, there are ways to crack the IELTS. 

Here are the best tips we can give you to ace IELTS and get that 8 band score. 

1. Know What You’re Getting Yourself into Before You Sign up 

IELTS is not free, and to be honest, quite expensive. Additionally, signing up for it means not only spending your money but also your time and effort. And not because your friends took it, you need to take it too. Just because your friends get a high band score does not mean you will too. Take the test because you need to and not because others did. Expect that preparing for IELTS will be draining and time-consuming at times, but know that you can ace it, and when you do, it will be worth all the effort and preparation. 

2. Be Prepared 

The first and most important piece of advice we can give you is to be prepared. Start studying as soon as possible before the test. This will provide you with plenty of time to plan out before you start. The more you practice, the more confident you will be on the test day. For your IELTS preparation, only use the best study materials. There are thousands of materials available online but filter and utilize only the reliable ones. If you have the means, a professional counselor will be of help. 

3. Seek Help and Assistance 

Even if you feel like you are the smartest and the most proficient English speaker, IELTS is not the place to prove that. Seek the help and advice of those who have taken IELTS before. Professionals who have been training candidates for IELTS will be a reliable source too. Another option is by enrolling in online courses that specialize in IELTS. This will give you a professional outlook that will help you perform better on the test. 

4. Utilize All the Possible Resources 

Preparing for IELTS has never been more convenient. These days, there are various ways on how you can make yourself ready for IELTS. If you want to do it in the comfort of your homes, you can visit websites that offer free IELTS materials. There are also online courses that you could enroll yourself in. Contrarily, if you find it more convenient to enroll yourself in actual review classes held at centers, you can do so too. There is no more effective way than the other in IELTS, and in the end, it will be your determination and readiness that will dictate your fate. 

5. Do (a lot of) Mock Tests

Practicing will be your ‘golden ticket’ to achieving your desired band score. As cliché as it may sound, practice indeed makes perfect. There is no better way to prepare than experiencing how the test will go. Do multiple mock tests, as many as possible, before you take the test. This will make you familiar with the actual test setting. Stick to the time limit to make this technique more effective. 

Here are some websites that you can visit and explore. They offer free materials for IELTS mock tests:

6. Improve and Enhance Your English Language Skills 

To prepare for IELTS, you need to have good language skills. By this, we don’t just mean vocabulary but grammar as well. These two will play a crucial role in your overall band score. Grammar can be challenging to master as there are specific rules and structures to be followed, but given enough time and preparation, you will learn and acquire what is required of you in the actual test. Be mindful of your punctuation and spelling as these are aspects where examiners are also very keen. You don’t want to lose marks on such minor details. 

7. Check out Blogs and YouTube Channels with IELTS Content

Finding all the possible ways and means to get ready for IELTS is another key factor in cracking IELTS. This tip will only require you to have a decent internet connection. However, be wary of those blogs and contents that claim to be ‘experts. As a candidate, you should be responsible for making it a point to identify which among the thousands of blogs and channels are true experts. 

8. Make a Study Timetable

No matter how far in advance you book your test, days will go by fast and before you know it, the day for you to take the test has arrived. This is where preparing a study timetable is crucial. 

 A game plan is critical to achieving your objectives. Decide on how much time you can devote to studying and schedule it in your calendar. We suggest studying for IELTS for four to five hours per day. You should strive to divide your time across the four sections of the test into nearly equal amounts. After all, each section of IELTS has the same weight as the other three. 

9. Set Realistic Goals

Taking IELTS is just like any other endeavor you will be embarking on. As much as how high your expectations maybe, you have to set realistic and achievable goals. Achieving a band score of 8 or even 9 is not impossible; quite many candidates have done it. Nevertheless, it entails a lot of determination, preparation, and sometimes, luck. 

Aim for a band score that you are capable of achieving. Unconsciously, you will realize the band score that you can achieve during your IELTS preparation. Set your goals and work toward accomplishing them. This is for you to avoid getting disappointed if you will not be able to meet the band score you have set of attaining.

10. Have a Plan on the Day of the Test

A terrifying aspect of any test is that, no matter how much preparation you do ahead of time, it will ultimately come down to how you feel on the day. Make sure to have the right frame of mind on the day of the test. After all, IELTS is not just a ‘test’. It is your future more than anything else.


IELTS Test Day Advice (Before, During, and After)  

Preparing for IELTS is indeed time-consuming. Studying for it could be arduous. No one wants to go through it all over again. And we are certain you do not want your effort wasted. You want to give it everything you’ve got. So we have gathered pieces of advice that will guide and help you on what to take note of before, during, and after you take IELTS. 

Before the Test: 

  • Take the day off: IELTS is not a test of memory. It is a test of skills, your language proficiency, to be exact. We are sure you have been preparing and practicing for weeks. You have worked and studied so hard. Now is the time to rest, relax and unwind. Go to the beach or the park. Whatever it is that relaxes and calms you, do it. As mentioned earlier, you need to be in the right frame of mind on the test day. 
  • Prepare what you need: You will need your ID on the day of the test. This ID should be the same ID that you used when you registered. Bring pencils, erasers, and a water bottle too in case you get thirsty during the test. Candies and other sweets are allowed too. 
  • Know the location: Before the test, make sure that you know where the test center is. Search its exact location in Google. Plan ahead of time and be aware of the traffic flow in that area. Also, keep in mind that the speaking test takes place at a different time and location than the other three. Make sure you double-check everything.
  • Sleep well: Ensure that you are well-rested and have a good sleep. If you can, sleep earlier than you used to, on this day. This will help you to be more relaxed and energized during the test. Do not forget to set your alarm, though. 
  • Be confident and positive: Your attitude will affect how you do in the test. Think and believe that you can do it. This will give you the push and the confidence you need. 

On the Day of the Test:

  • Eat and drink a healthy breakfast: What you eat and drink on the day of the test might dictate the outcome of your performance. The Reading, Listening, and Writing sections take up about 2 hours and 40 minutes. Make sure what you eat will not make you hungry in the next three hours or so. However, drinking too much water is not advised as it will make you want to go to the toilet more frequently and will cause you and, in some cases, other candidates to get distracted and lose focus. 
  • Arrive early at the test center: It takes time to go through security procedures and checks, and many candidates do not consider this. Therefore, make it a point to arrive early to ensure that you have adequate time to spare.
  • Wear comfortable clothes : Clothes are not part of the criteria on how you will be marked in any section of IELTS. Wear clothes that make you comfortable and give you confidence. However, don’t forget to bring an extra layer in case it gets too cold because of the air-conditioning unit.  
  • Use the toilet before entering the testing room: Keeping your focus is extremely difficult when you feel like going to the toilet. It can hinder your performance. So you are strongly advised to use the restroom before the test starts. Drinking less water an hour before the test will help. 
  • Keep your focus on nothing but the test: Taking the IELTS is indeed nerve-wracking. Most candidates get so anxious and nervous that they lose focus on the test. Some questions will be difficult but try to stay calm and relaxed so you can do your best. If you have prepared well and enough, there is no reason to worry.
  • Follow the instructions: Ensure that you pay attention to and follow all of the test’s instructions. Remember that even if you have the correct answers, they will be marked incorrect if you do not follow the instructions. 
  • Skip difficult questions: IELTS is a timed exam. Don’t stop at a single question. We recommend that you skip a question if you don’t know the answer to it. Answer the next questions; if you finish and still have time left, answer the questions you skipped before. Make an educated guess if you genuinely don’t know the answer. You will not be penalized for incorrect answers.
  • Proofread your answers: Ensure that you proofread your answers for any mistakes you might have had. Check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation. These are details you might consider minor and of lesser importance, but they contribute to your overall marks. 

After the Day of the Test

  • Relax: There’s simply nothing you can do at this point. The test is done, and you need to pamper yourself for going through such a laborious experience. Relax and unwind. Treat yourself. Go see a movie, dine in at your favorite restaurant, or go shopping. You do not know how you fare in the test but preparing for it and taking the test itself is quite an achievement already. 
  • Accept the result positively: Whatever the result will be, take it positively. If you get your desired band score, prepare and plan for what’s next. Work on the other requirements needed to get closer to your dreams. If you don’t meet the required band score, it is okay. Some candidates have to take the test twice, thrice, and even four times. IELTS is what it is. 

How to Create a Study Plan for IELTS?

Many IELTS candidates are unsure why they should devote time to developing an IELTS study plan. While studying for IELTS, a well-organized study plan will help you save time. All of us have some flaws that set us apart from one another. An IELTS action plan can help you identify your objectives and shortcomings. As a result, when designing a study plan, you can focus more on your weak points.

We have identified an organized and systematic way to prepare the best study plan for IELTS.

  • Seek professional advice: If you are taking the test for the first time, we recommend that you seek professional assistance. Suggestions from someone knowledgeable with the test will assist you in identifying and improving your weak areas.
  • Have a thorough understanding of the test: You will boost your chance of scoring high in IELTS if you clearly understand the purpose, how it works, the criteria used to evaluate it, and how your scores are determined. 
  • Set a realistic time frame: Don’t set unrealistic ambitions, such as studying 20 hours per day, which is unachievable. Assess and calculate your skills and proficiency level and take everything from there. 
  • Set aside a time each day to practice: The English language is a skill for non-native speakers. If you allot enough time every day to acquire and practice this skill, you will be proficient in IELTS by the time you finally have to take the test. 

Below is a sample study plan for IELTS for your reference: 

Day and TimeMorning
8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Afternoon
12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Evening
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
MondayReading newspapers and articles Reading books and novels Practice Reading tests 
TuesdayListening to podcastsListening to radio stations Practice Listening tests 
WednesdayWatching the news Watching movies and documentaries Studying the different test types and questions  
ThursdayWatching vlogs on education, lifestyle, culture, and traditionsWatching vlogs about IELTS Speaking practices
FridayResearching and studying the different kinds of graphs, tables, charts, and diagrams Practicing how to interpret and explain graphs, tables, charts, and diagramsWriting Task 1 practices 
SaturdayResearching on the elements and structure of writingWriting Task 2 practices 
SundayMock Tests 

How to Set Realistic Goals for Your IELTS Test?

Regardless of how optimistic you are, setting a realistic goal is indeed essential in IELTS. This is where your other preparations will be based. Make sure to concentrate on the following items before taking the test.

  • Assess your level of English proficiency: Knowing and understanding your English skills will determine where and how you should start preparing for IELTS. The starting point for beginners is different from those who are at the advanced level. 
  • Consider the amount of your preparation time: Some candidates prepare longer for IELTS. While some take months to prepare, others take only weeks or even days. When you only have a few days to prepare for the IELTS, don’t expect too much. It may not always be the case, but individuals who prepare for IELTS for longer periods of time perform better on the test.
  • Aim only for the band score that you need: As mentioned earlier, there is nothing wrong with aiming for a band score of 8 and 9. However, your attitude and perspective while preparing for IELTS will depend on the band score that you have set for yourself. Aim for the band score you need,about knowledgeable, and if you score higher than that, better. 
  • Stick to your goals: Preparing for IELTS does not end at setting your goals. It is just the beginning. Set up your goals and work on achieving them. Do not lose your focus. Do not reduce the intensity of your preparation until you have come to a point where you are confident and feel like you have reached your objectives. 

Practice Tests and Model Answers (IELTS Writing) 

One of the best advantages while preparing for IELTS is being familiar with the test types and questions. Knowing how and what the actual test looks like will give you an idea of how to best answer the different types of questions in the various sections of the test.

We have gathered a few practice test samples and model answers in IELTS writing for your reference. 

Writing Task 1 Sample 1

IELTS Writing Task 1 Sample 1
source: ielts.org

Sample response

The diagram depicts the several phases involved in the production of matches. First, the matchsticks are chopped, set, and dried before being relocated to a storage location. They are then dipped in a variety of chemicals and dried before being packaged. The first procedure involves rotating a log of wood in a peeler while a flat blade peels a long, thin strip of wood called a veneer from the log’s exterior surface. The veneer is then fed into a chopper, which shreds it into small sticks. These are then immersed in an ammonium phosphate solution.

After that, they are tossed into a big revolving drum. The matches are then dumped into a hopper and blown to the storage room through a metal duct. The sticks are then moved from the storage chamber to a funnel-shaped mechanism, where they are lined up to be placed into holes on a long, continuous, perforated steel belt. The tips of the matches are dipped in a sequence of three tanks as the belt travels along, first in paraffin wax, then in base chemicals, and finally in tip chemicals. The belt then loops up and down in a drying area. Lastly, the matches are packaged as the final step of the procedure.

(207 words)


Writing Task 1 Sample 2

Bar Graph

Sample Response

“The bar graph represents a family’s monthly food, gas, and clothes expenditures in the United States in 2010. Throughout the period, the amount of money spent changed.

To begin, the most significant amount of money was spent on food in January, at around $500 each month.

Although food spending increased somewhat the next month, it was the cheapest of all the categories at a little over $300 at the end of the period. The pattern of gas spending appears to be the opposite of that of food spending. It began at around $350 per month, dropped the following month, and increased dramatically to just a little below $600 in April.

Clothing, which cost little over $200 at the start of the period, changed dramatically over time. After peaking near $600 in February, it plummeted in March, then soared to about $700 in the last month. With the exception of a tiny uptick in March, average spending fell slightly across the four months.”

162 words


Writing Task 1 Sample 3

Image/Map

Sample response:

“The map shows designs for two possible shopping mall locations in the city of Brandfield. The two sites under consideration are located to the north and southeast of the town, respectively.

S1, the first probable location for a retail mall, is located immediately north of the city center, over the railway line that runs from the city’s southeast to northwest. If it were developed here, it would be near a major housing estate, allowing residents and convenient access to the city center. It will also be located adjacent to the town’s river.

S2, in the southeast, is also close to the city center and close to the railway line, but it is closer to an industrial estate than to a residential area.

The main route runs across the city and passes close to both sites, allowing for easy access to either location. This region is not available as a site due to a huge golf course and park to the west of town.

163 words


Writing Task 2 Sample 1

You should spend 40 minutes on this task. Write at least 250 words.

Write about the following topic:

A new study found that the more time people spend on the internet, the less time they spend with others. Some argue that rather than viewing the internet as a means of expanding global communication opportunities, we should be concerned about its impact on social interaction. 

How far do you agree with this opinion? Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own experience. 

Sample response:

“It is undeniable that people nowadays spend a significant amount of time on the internet and, as a result, spend less time with one another. I completely agree that, while the internet has dramatically enhanced the variety of communication available, it has also hurt the amount and type of social interaction people have towards one another.

With people being connected worldwide via the internet, its benefits in terms of expanded communication are obvious. Interaction used to be limited to phone calls or even snail mails, which cost a lot of time and money. It also meant remaining in touch with folks you already knew. This has changed tremendously, thanks to the internet.

Email and social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have built worldwide online communities that have enabled connections between people and countries that we would not have imagined achievable in the not-too-distant past.

Nonetheless, I have little doubt that this has had a bad impact on social interaction. People, particularly the younger generation, spend a significant amount of time online, conversing, and participating in forums. While this can be helpful, it is not the same as real-life human interaction and does not require the same abilities. It is critical for youngsters to create and keep genuine friendships to develop their interpersonal abilities further.

Additionally, suppose people spend most of their time conversing online and not interacting with their neighbors. In that case, it can harm local communities, possibly leading to feelings of isolation for those who do not have an ‘actual’ person to turn to in times of need.

To sum up, there is no doubt that the internet has benefited society, but there are valid reasons to be concerned about social interaction in our cultures. As a result, we must balance our online lives and our interactions with real people.”

304 words


Writing Task 2 Sample 2

You should spend 40 minutes on this task. Write at least 250 words.

Write about the following topic: 

Some people think that in today’s world, we are more dependent and reliant on each other. On the other hand, some believe that we have become more independent and self-reliant now more than ever.

Discuss both views and give your opinion. 

 Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own experience. 

Sample response:

“Whether we admit it or not, our lives have always been entwined with the lives of others. Some people believe that interpersonal dependency has increased today, while others believe that people have become more self-reliant.

Our dependence on others to offer a positive image of ourselves is one reason why people believe we are more dependent on each other. Many people feel compelled to use social media sites like Facebook and Instagram to share photos. They rely on others to acquire as many ‘likes’ as possible to ‘validate’ themselves. Furthermore, some families rely on others for support because of their hectic and busy lives, such as grandparents assisting and looking after their grandkids because their parents do not have time.

Despite this, I believe that individuals are becoming increasingly independent. This is proven that many people live apart from their families and have their own lives. Families used to live with and close to each other. However, these days, people live in different towns or countries than their parents and siblings, seeing each other only infrequently in certain situations. Not only that, people in general nowadays desire greater solitude and do not seek assistance from others, as seen by the fact that many neighbors do not know one other or interact at all.

In conclusion, while people are more dependent in some areas, they are overall living more independent lives these days. It will only become clear over time if this is a positive or detrimental development for society.”

249 words


Writing Task 2 Sample 3

You should spend 40 minutes on this task. Write at least 250 words.

Write about the following topic:

A lot of people are choosing to live alone recently. What do you think are the causes of this? Is this beneficial to society, or is it not? 

 Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own experience. 

Sample response:

“Many countries have seen an increase in the number of people of all ages choosing to live alone in recent years. While this may be beneficial to society in some ways, I believe this also has its disadvantages.

Economic factors have a role in this tendency. People are generally financially able today, which means they can afford to live alone, which was not always possible in the past. In addition, there are cultural issues to consider. Previously, there was more pressure to marry early and start a family. On the other hand, people nowadays seek self-fulfillment and will marry later or divorce if their marriage is unhappy. People can also live alone while still feeling connected because of the different advances in communication technologies such as social media.

This trend, I believe, has both beneficial and harmful consequences to society. Young and single people have had a good impact on cities worldwide because they are more likely to live in central places, socialize, spend money, and engage in public life than those who live with others. However, one disadvantage is that some people who live alone and have problems may not have a way to talk about them. This loss of social support may lead to an increase in mental health disorders in the general population, which would require public health care services to address.

To summarize, economic and cultural considerations and changes in communication have resulted in more people living alone, which, although beneficial to society, also has negative consequences.

251 words


Additional FAQs on IELTS Preparation

What is IELTS Preparation So Difficult?

IELTS is a test that pushes your English proficiency to how far it can go. Preparing for it indeed requires hard work, patience, and practice, lots of them. Maintaining your focus and not losing your determination are just some of the difficulties most candidates are facing. Some of them tend to start strong but finish weak. Another challenging aspect of IELTS is choosing the suitable materials to utilize. Thousands of materials are available online, and you have to filter the best ones from the ones that will not help you.

How Will I Know if I am ready for the IELTS Exam?

You will know that you are ready to take IELTS if you get the band score you need in at least three consecutive mock tests. Another indicator that you are fully prepared to take the test are watching movies, reading books, and understanding at least 80 percent of them. 

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