If you are planning to study abroad, you need to take an English language proficiency test. This is mandated by universities and visa authorities in countries where English is the primary language of communication. Your test score will indicate how comfortable you are in using the language. When you move to a foreign land to pursue higher studies or seek employment opportunities, you need to know the local language to be successful. So, if you are planning to move to an English-speaking country like Canada, UK, or Australia, your  English language speaking, reading, writing, and listening skills have to up to the mark.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an exam you need to undertake to prove your language skills. IELTS score is accepted by all universities and employers in the UK and Australia, and a majority of them in Canada. The USA also recognizes IELTS and so do many other English- speaking nations around the world.

Australia
To study in an Australian university, you need to sit for IELTS. | Source: pixabay.com

If you need to take IELTS and are unsure about doing well in the test, there is no reason to worry. From language training courses to online exam preparatory materials for test-takers, you can find ample aid to make you capable of rising to this challenge! Going ahead, some of the ways by which you can increase your IETLS score have been discussed.

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Important Facts About IELTS

To ensure that you fetch a high score in your IELTS, you need to know the format of the exam thoroughly. Though there isn't a limit to the number of times you can sit for the exam, your aim should be to hit the bullseye on the first go. Firstly you need to know which IELTS test you will take. IELTS Academic is mostly meant for students who wish to pursue higher studies in foreign universities, while IELTS General Training is for immigration and job purposes.

Once you've decided which IELTS to take based on your need, you must know the pattern of the exam. The IELTS assesses competence in 4 areas: Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. The tests for the first 3 sections are held on the same day while the Speaking test can be taken anytime in the week before or after the date for the other tests. The total duration of the exam is 2 hours 45 minutes.

If you are planning to pursue higher studies in a foreign university, you first need to know the minimum IELTS score that the educational institution is looking for. This is the score you must have to become eligible for admission. Higher the score, the better your chances of getting admission to your university of choice. IELTS scores are also demanded by overseas employers in English-speaking countries to gauge the language proficiency of candidates hailing from counties where the first language is different.

IELTS
Plan an early start to your IELTS preparation to ensure high scores in the test. | Source: pixabay.com

There are 2 ways in which you can take the test: IELTS on Computer and IELTS on Paper. The results of the first are declared within 3 to 5 days of the exam while the results of the latter are made available 13 days after the exam. You need to book your seat in one of the authorized testing centers which you can find from the IELTS official website. The fee for the test is Rs. 14,700.

Ways to Improve Your IELTS Score

There are two types of IELTS scores - Overall Band Scores and Sectional Band Scores. Sectional band scores are the scores obtained by a test-taker per section, and the Overall Band Score is the average of all the sectional band scores. Test-takers are marked from 1 to 9 for both overall and sectional scores. You can improve your overall score by doing well in each of the 4 sections. Here are some useful tips to improve your skills in these areas.

IELTS Reading

Reading is an essential skill for performing well. To achieve high scores in this section, you need to practice reading. If you are taking the IELTS Academic test, practice reading from books, journals, magazines, and newspapers. IELTS General Training test-takers need to read Newspapers, Advertisements, Handbooks, and Notices to improve their skills. The reading test aims to evaluate a variety of reading skills through a set of 40 questions. These include:

  • Reading for gist
  • Reading for main ideas
  • Reading for detail
  • Skimming
  • Understanding logical argument
  • Recognizing writers' opinions, attitudes, and purpose

So, the more you read the better you will get at comprehending passages. Try to read at least for thirty minutes a day. Doing this on a regular basis will increase your level of concentration and your ability to read quickly at the same time.

IELTS Writing

For the writing section, candidates are allotted 2 types of tasks. The first task of IELTS Academic requires candidates to analyze a data or process and write a report describing the same in 150 words. The first task of IELTS General Training requires candidates to respond to a given problem with a letter requesting information or explaining a situation. For the second task in both cases, candidates will be presented with a topic and then tested on their ability to respond by giving and justifying an opinion, discussing the topic, summarizing details, outlining problems, identifying possible solutions, etc.

For your writing test, your grammar and spelling have to be correct. So while you practice at home, make sure that you are very careful. The more you work on perfecting them, the better your chances of scoring high in the section.

Reading
Improve your reading skills by devoting time to reading quality content every day. | Source: pixabay.com

IELTS Listening

In this section, test takers have to listen to 4 audio recordings and answer questions based on the content of the audio. To ace in this section subject yourself to listening to podcasts or English watching movies without using subtitles. This will make your listening skills and improve your ability to comprehend dialogs in real-time.

IELTS Speaking

The best way to ensure a high band score for this section is to actually converse as much as possible in English in your daily life. It will help to build confidence and make you less conscious when you meet the examiner on the final day. IELTS Speaking is a face-to-face, informal discussion with an IELTS examiner, and is the same for both Academic and General Training. The test is divided into 3 parts and is designed to test your pronunciation, fluency, grammar, and vocabulary.

Tips for IELTS Practice

Seek Professional Help

A lot of practice materials are available online. But if doing everything on your own without any guidance feels overwhelming, you should reach out for assistance. The British Council offers preparatory courses for IELTS aspirants. You can take these classes to improve your preparation. If you want personal lessons, you can find IELTS coaching near me on Superprof, an online portal that connects students with experienced teachers across the country.

Use Official Preparatory Resources

The official IELTS website has plenty of learning resources. There are also sample question papers, solving which will help you to become familiar with the pattern of the test paper. They are designed to give students an authentic feel of the exam. Time management is crucial for performing well in IELTS. While solving these papers, stick to the time that you will be allotted on the day of the actual test. This will help you to improve your performance.

teacher
Guidance from an experienced IELTS teacher can help you achieve a high score on the test. | Source: pixabay.com

Take the IELTS Progress Check

This is paid online service available on the official IELTS website. It is a great way to evaluate where you stand with your preparation. So, before booking the test date, take the IELTS practice tests to help you decide whether you should go ahead with your plan.

Start Preparing Early

Once you've made up your mind about taking IELTS, immediately start preparing for it. The more time you devote to practice and preparation, the higher your chances are of getting your desired scores in the exam.

There's no substitute for hard work. Daily practice is the only way to ensure success in IELTS. Work on your reading, listening, writing, and speaking skills. Devote a few hours every day to prepare for the exam. Once you are confident, book your seat at an official testing center near you through the IELTS website. The test is scheduled up to 4 times a month. So you can choose a date based on your convenience.

A top-notch score in IELTS will open up many opportunities for you. Since it's accepted by most universities and employers all over the world, there's no end to the kind of exciting possibilities that can come your way. So, without delay, get going with your IELTS preparation.

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Shreyanjana

Shreyanjana is an archaeologist who ironically finds the written word to be the most powerful means of storytelling. A travel buff and a photography enthusiast, she has been writing and sharing stories of all sorts ever since she can remember.