Are you thinking about taking the IELTS test? You’re not alone. With over 3.5 million tests taken in 2018, IELTS is the world’s leading test of English for international higher education and migration. It is recognised by more than 10,000 universities, schools, employers and immigration bodies.
If you’re hoping to maximise your IELTS score to give you a better chance of studying abroad or migrating, then it’s worth investing time in the right test preparation. The British Council provides test-takers with several free and paid resources to help them succeed.
Understanding the test format
First, you need to be familiar with the test format, including how the IELTS test is assessed. The British Council’s Take IELTS website has a whole section specifically on understanding the test format. On this free site, you can also learn useful tips and preparation strategies for the test. Understanding the test format and learning ways to tackle it give you a real advantage. Knowing how the test works helps you utilise your study time well. You will know which question types require more practice and which are the easiest for you. Being prepared also helps you become more confident and relaxed on the exam day. This will in turn help you perform well and get a band score that is in line with your actual abilities.
Identify your current level and areas of improvement
You will also need to have a good idea of your own language level, as ultimately the IELTS test assesses your overall language level. It isn’t possible to achieve higher band scores if your overall language level is poor. To give you an idea of your overall level of English, you could take this free English language level test (available through our free android app). You can get an idea of your level in as little as 30 minutes. As the results are broken down by skill, you can identify which areas you need to work on the most.
Improve your overall language level
Work towards improving your overall English language abilities. You can do this by practising English at home, school, or in the workplace or signing up for a general English course like the myEnglish online courses offered by the British Council.
Take an IELTS preparation course
A structured IELTS preparation course will help you get ready for your test in the most effective way possible. If you are looking help understand the Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking sections, including personalised teacher feedback on your speaking and writing, why not try our popular IELTS Coach online course. This is available at a range of ability levels and is structured to improve your English skills as you prepare for the IELTS exam. It is delivered by expert British Council instructors who specialise in teaching online. They will combine app-based learning with live online classes, offering you top-quality learning which is flexible and convenient.
Learn test day tips
Finally, you must also know what to expect on the actual day of the test itself. Go over the rules and regulations of the test. Go through the list of permitted and non-permitted items and make sure to comply with all of them. You can read more about what to expect on the day of the test in this helpful section of our free IELTS website.