Unlike the preparation for other exams, IELTS preparation needs a different approach. That being said, it is a vastly different exam than anything you have ever come across.
Most of the exams that we have been through most of our lives were knowledge testing systems that checked how much we know. IELTS on the other hand, measures how skilled you are in English. Let us now see how a 45 days preparation plan works!
IELTS Exam Format
Knowing the format of any exam gives you an additional advantage because in that way you would already know what to expect. The IELTS exam format is fairly straightforward. Here is what it looks like:
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 judge 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.
The Reading 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.
You will be given extracts from books, magazines, newspapers, notices, advertisements, company handbooks and guidelines- materials that you are likely to encounter on a daily basis in an English-speaking environment.
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.
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.
How to Determine the Time of Preparation?
Before you embark on a 45-day preparation program, it is important that you know which level you are in. A student who starts off with Band 6, for instance, will score higher after 45 days, than someone who starts off with Band 3-4.
One of the most important considerations for IELTS preparation is how realistic you are about setting your goals. If your level of English is below average then you will naturally need more time to prepare and score a high band. Therefore, you must find out your level and plan accordingly.
45 days is a standard time of preparation for a candidate whose English level is average (i.e Band 5). Let us now move on to it.
The 45-Days IELTS Preparation plan
The first thing you have to do is mark out 2 hours every day for your IELTS preparation. 45 days is 7 weeks in total. You can keep 4 weeks for 4 components and the remaining three weeks for additional grammar, vocabulary exercises.
On the first day of the first week, you must have an overview of the test format, questions patterns and go through the band descriptors. You can check them here.
Once you are familiar with the technicalities, it is time for you to focus on the real practice. Make sure you read 2000 words every day to build your vocabulary and enhance your reading skills. You must also catch hold of past papers and have a go at the reading section. As you practice you must be sure to time yourself. In this way after the first week you will be quite ahead in the reading section.
You can start the second week with the listening section. Check this for some great apps and podcasts that will help sharpen your listening skills. You can practice listening and answering questions just like you would do at the exam. It gives you a very authentic experience. Also make sure you do not stop reading 2000 words every day and continue building your vocabulary. This stays constant in every week.
This is a biggie. By the end of the second week you must’ve upped your vocabulary game so it is time to bring out the essays. That’s right. Week 3 should be all about writing. We would suggest you go through the detailed rubrics of the writing section here so that you know what skills you need to nail this section. Make sure you write at least one essay every day and work on your grammar, syntax and other stylistic elements.
Week 4: The last of the sections of IELTS is speaking. Now this is a component that you can’t prepare without a partner. You can find out a friend or acquaintance who is preparing for IELTS and practice with him.
Week 5 to 7
This should be dedicated to polishing your grammar, vocabulary, writing style, pronunciation and every other skill that are tested in IELTS.
You must also know that studying for IELTS all by yourself will not help you much. It is very important that you take a personal trainer, who can assist you in every step, evaluate your practice and monitor your progress. Speaking and Writing, specifically, needs constant guidance. Therefore, the bottom line is, no matter how strategically you plan, your preparation will get lot more effective if you invest in a personal mentor, who will guide you through all the 45 days.
Preparing for ILETS in 45 days depends on some parameters. Your level of English, amount of time you spend each day etc. It is also advised that to get the best out of the 45 days, you must appoint a personal trainer who will not only help you practice but will also help you improve. After all, scoring a high band in IELTS is all about how much you have improved from your initial level.