IELTS Preparation – The Ultimate Guide

Unlike the preparation of other exams, IELTS preparation is very much action oriented. You cannot sit for hours with a textbook and...

Indulekha Prabha Written by Indulekha Prabha · 3 min read >

Unlike the preparation of other exams, IELTS preparation is very much action oriented. You cannot sit for hours with a textbook and expect to get a high score in IELTS. IELTS does not test your knowledge it is a very well structured exam that assesses your English Language skills; your listening skills, speaking skills, writing skills and comprehension skills.

We are here with our Ultimate IELTS preparation guide to make your preparation easy and effective:

IELTS Format:

Any exam is half conquered when you are well versed with its format, question patterns and marking criteria. 

  • Listening:

You will listen to four recordings of native English speakers and then write your answers to a series of questions.

Recording 1 – a conversation between two people set in an everyday social context.

Recording 2 – a monologue set in an everyday social context, e.g. a speech about local facilities.

Recording 3 – a conversation between up to four people set in an educational or training context, e.g. a university tutor and a student discussing an assignment.

Recording 4 – a monologue on an academic subject, e.g. a university lecture.

The examiners will be looking for evidence of your ability to understand the main ideas and detailed factual information, the opinions and attitudes of speakers, the purpose of an utterance and evidence of your ability to follow the development of ideas.

  • Reading.

The Reading section consists of 40 questions, designed to test a wide range of reading skills. These include reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical argument and recognising writers’ opinions, attitudes and purpose.

IELTS General Training test – this includes extracts from books, magazines, newspapers, notices, advertisements, company handbooks and guidelines. These are materials you are likely to encounter on a daily basis in an English-speaking environment.

  • Writing.

Topics are of general interest. There are two tasks:

Task 1 – you will be presented with 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 2 – you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The essay can be fairly personal in style.

  • Speaking

The speaking section assesses your use of spoken English where every test is recorded.

Part 1 – the examiner will ask you general questions about yourself and a range of familiar topics, such as home, family, work, studies and interests. This part lasts between four and five minutes.

Part 2 – you will be given a card which asks you to talk about a particular topic. You 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.

Part 3 – you will be asked further questions about the topic in Part 2. These will give you the opportunity to discuss more abstract ideas and issues. This part of the test lasts between four and five minutes.

Registration and Exam Dates:

IELTS is offered by both British Council and IDP. You can register with either of these two and be sure that your procedure will go just fine. There are both online and offline registration facilities; you can either walk in to your nearest British Council or IDP office and get yourself registered or register online.

The requirements are same in both cases: you need your valid passport at the time of registration and pay 13,250 INR. After that you can choose the date of the exam and wait for the confirmation. Once your registration is confirmed all that is left to do is, just take the exam.

A very common misconception is that British Council and IDP functions differently when it comes to IELTS. This is total myth and is not supported by any reason whatsoever. You can register with which is nearest to your location. After all, you do not want to tax yourself by travelling on the exam day.

Keep Realistic Goals:

When you decide to take IELTS, it is natural that you will expect to hit the highest score. However, we recommend you to keep it realistic. For example, if you are in Band 3 or 4 and need to take IELTS after a month, you will be too ambitious to think that you can score a Band 8.

If your initial level is below Band 6 you will need more time to prepare yourself for a Band 8. IELTS is not about how much you know, it is about how well you know.

How to Prepare for IELTS?

Preparation for IELTS needs dedicated hours of practice. Whether you study by yourself or practice with a partner, you should have proper resources and a routine. Another important aspect of IELTS preparation is getting a personal trainer. Since IELTS assesses your skills more than knowledge, a trainer can help you overcome your mistakes and help you get better.

We have listed out three kinds of preparation aides for IELTS:


You will find plenty of books in the market that promises to guide you for IELTS. Sadly, most of them are not deep enough. Here is a list of some books that are created by experts and are trusted by many students all over the world.

Mobile apps:

Mobile Apps are also gaining grounds these days in the field of IELTS preparation. In the play store or app store there are some engaging and informative IELTS apps avaiable that can actually help you practice on the go!

Personal Trainer:

When it comes to IELTS preparation nothing can beat the wisdom of an experienced mentor. Consider getting a personal mentor who can guide you with the latest tips and tricks; give you valuable feedbacks on your practice and evaluate your essays.


IELTS is not a difficult exam per se, so there is nothing to worry about it. It is a greatly detailed language testing system and in order to nail it, you need to dive deep into the subject. Remember that, you are not tested for how much English you know but you are tested on how skilled you are at English. In order to conquer IELTS all you need is a strategy and some quality guidance.

Written by Indulekha Prabha
My name is Indulekha Prabha. I am an English teacher and a content writer by profession. When I'm not working you can find me writing fiction, reading poetry and painting. Profile

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