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Comprehensive IELTS Preparation Guide

What is IELTS

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is one of the most widely recognized English proficiency tests system worldwide among many others like PTE (Pearson Test of English), TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), DET (Duolingo English Test), OOPT (Oxford Online Placement Test) etc. Most often a good IELTS score is a prerequisite if you are planning to study abroad, migrate for better opportunities or work in an English-speaking country.

This article will guide you through your journey of IELTS with tips from experts, strategies of success, preparation insights to crack this test and will explain all ins and outs of IELTS like selection of IELTS version, format of the test, band score, marking criteria, what are reading, writing, listening and speaking modules, study plan and many more to help you achieve your desired score.

Choose the Right IELTS Test Version

Before describing the preparation process, it will be crucially apt to understand the IELTS exam test versions. IELTS is available in two versions. Academic Version and General Training Version. The Academic version is typically necessary for educational purposes like university admissions, on the other hand General Training Version is more common for immigration, visit and work-related applicants.

Both formats of IELTS consist of four modules i.e. Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking having varied difficulty level for each version. Each module assesses your different language skills and it evaluates your ability to communicate effectively in English.

Understanding the IELTS Exam Format

The first step for preparing the IELTS is to understand the exam format and requirements. IELTS exam is divided into four modules: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Let’s discuss every module in detail.


This section consists of four recorded conversations, each with 10 questions. The recordings include a range of accents and situations, from casual conversations to academic lectures. Questions comprise of multiple-choice questions, completion of sentences, matching or labelling plans, maps, diagrams etc. You will have 30 minutes to complete this section. This module will test your abilities of listening and understanding English language. It is worthy to note that difficulty level increases as the test progresses.

Listening is same for both Academic and General Training modules as for as format is concerned but difficulty level is easier in GT than that of Academic module.


This section consists of three academic reading passages of round about 700 to 1000 words each, each with 10 to 14 questions. You will have 60 minutes to complete this section. These reading passages render multiple-choice questions, fill in the blanks, identify information or writer's views, short answers to open question, completion of sentences, summaries, notes, tables, flow-charts or diagram labels, matching information, sentences, or headings to content. Reading module id considered the toughest module of IELTS with perplexing and confusing questions.

Reading is same for both Academic and General Training modules as for as format is concerned but difficulty level is easier in GT than that of Academic module.

what is ielts test

what is ielts test


This section consists of two writing tasks. Task 1 a descriptive task which offers you some kind of bar chart, pie chart etc. and usually you have to write a report for university lecture in 150 words in 20 minutes, and task 2 is an essay on a random topic for which you have to write 250 words in 40 minutes. You will have total 60 minutes complete this section.

Writing is not same for both Academic and General Training modules. In GT you will write a letter instead of an essay but task 1 is same for both modules.


This module consists of a face-to-face interview an examiner. You will have 11-14 minutes complete this module. In this module there are three section 1st is generally introduction where you will introduce yourself. Second section is with the cue card where you will be provided with some information on any topic and you will explain that information and this will be one-way discussion.

In the third section there will two-way discussion with examiner on some random topic. Whole speaking module is recorded by the exam taking body for the sake of marking.

Understanding the Band Scores

The IELTS band score measures your English language proficiency on the international level. The test is scaled on 0 to 9 , with 9 being the highest possible score.

You have to obtain score from every module e.g. listening, reading, writing and speaking individually on the band scale. The overall band score is calculated by averaging the four individual scores. For example, if you get 6 from listening, 7 from writing, 6 from reading and 7 from speaking. These are individual scores then by adding them together it will become 26 and by dividing 26 with 4 it will be 6.5 overall band score.

The following table shows the IELTS band score scale and a general description of the English language skills at each level.

Band Score Description
9 Expert
8 Good
7 Very Good
6 Competent
5 Modest
4 Limited
3 Extremely Limited
2 Intermittent
1 Non-user
0 Did not attempt the test
Marking Criteria for IELTS Exam

To prepare for the IELTS exam, it is very important to have complete knowledge of marking criteria, only then yon can hit the arrow on the right spot and you will prepare each module according to prescribed criteria. Marking criterion is different for each module

General Criteria of Marking for all Four Modules

The IELTS marking criteria are based on four key areas:

  • Task response: This assesses how well you have completed the task and answered the question. It includes factors such as the relevance and completeness of your answer, as well as your understanding of the topic.
  • Coherence and cohesion: This assesses how well your writing is organized and structured. It includes factors such as the use of logical connectors, paragraphing, and topic sentences.
  • Lexical resource: This assesses your range and accuracy of vocabulary. It includes factors such as the use of appropriate and varied vocabulary, as well as the avoidance of repetition.
  • Grammatical range and accuracy: This assesses your range and accuracy of grammar. It includes factors such as the use of correct grammar structures and the avoidance of grammatical errors.

Listening, writing, reading and speaking modules are checked and judged according to above stated metrics and you should prepare yourself accordingly.

Your English skills: A Key to Success

After collecting pros and cons of IELTS test versions, format of the test, band score and marking criteria now its time to assess your English skills. To prepare for IELTS your English skills are foundation stone on which whole of your IELTS test success depends. If you have good and strong knowledge of English grammar, good essay writing skills, good speaking power and in depth understanding of English written text in your previous studies before starting IELTS preparations then you’re favorite to achieve the score you desire

But if you have a faulty language, spelling mistakes, punctuation errors, wrong grammatical structures, speaking with pauses or wrong pronunciation and low or normal understanding of written English text then it will be a painful and painstaking journey for you. You have to work very hard and for a bit long period to improve your skills and to get pass this test

First Perfect Your English Skills

Practice all the modules of IELTS test with resource materials. There are many online resources available to help you prepare for IELTS. These resources include practice tests, lessons, and tips from experts. You should focus on all the four aspects of language e.g. reading, writing, listening, and speaking to prepare for IELTS. Practice all of your modules daily.

For reading skill read widely and often. Read a variety of texts, including newspapers, magazines, books, and websites. Pay attention to vocabulary and grammar structures. Read the text with full concentration and understanding, enrich your vocabulary and analyze grammatical structures and try to extract the theme of the text what the writer wants to say in the text.

For writing skill write regularly. Improve your grammatical structures, learn sentence building, make your writing coherent, use your vocabulary appropriately and try to build long sentences using markers and conjunctions as long sentences get full reward in IELTS marking criteria. Keep a journal, write essays, or start a blog. Ask a friend or teacher to proofread your work.

For listening skill watch English-language movies and TV shows and news bulletins. Listen to English-language podcasts and audiobooks for hours. In the beginning it will tease you as listening feels difficult but with passage of time it will get better. Pay attention to the pronunciation of words and phrases. Listening is considered the easiest module in IELTS test.

For speaking skill find opportunities to speak English with native speakers. You can join an English conversation group or take an online English class. Your speaking must be fluent, without pauses, without grammatical mistakes and with right pronunciations. If some how you build native English-speaking accent it will add more value to your speaking test and you get good grades in this test.

Improve Your Vocabulary

To prepare for IELTS vocabulary is one of the most vital elements for success. Read a variety of materials in English, including newspapers, magazines, books, and websites. Pay attention to the new words, learn synonyms and antonyms and write down new words in your diary. If you start learning ten words by heart daily it will not work, only the words you read within the text or sentences stay long in your memory. In IELTS test marking criteria vocabulary is given more importance than any other element of the language and it is equally present in all the four modules of IELTS exam.

Make English a habit

To mark a great success in IELTS test you should make English a habit in your daily life. In non-English speaking countries it is very difficult to find an English-speaking environment. To find a study partner will be very helpful, whom you can engage and spend lot of your time in long English spoken discussions. Studying with a partner can help you stay motivated and on track. You can practice listening together, and you can give each other feedback on your writing.

Create a Study Schedule and Set Goal

It will be better to create a study plan and it will make your effort of IELTS preparation systematic. By setting a target you will remain motivated. Decide how much time you can commit to studying each week and create a schedule. Be sure to include time for all four aspects of the exam: reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

Join a coaching class, training institute or Take a preparation course

If you need more intensive preparation, you can take an IELTS preparation course. These courses are offered by a variety of institutions, including universities, language schools, and online providers. Mentorship of a teacher pays you a lot especially it will save your time and guide you through your studies accurately.

Stay Motivated

As to study is always, for some people, a boring and hectic work so during your preparation for IELTS you can also get exhausted and sometime failure in learning some difficult concepts can discourage you. In this preparing for IELTS can be challenging, but it is important to stay motivated. Set realistic goals for yourself and track your progress. Reward yourself for your accomplishments.

If you are struggling to stay motivated, talk to a friend, family member, or teacher. They can provide you with support and encouragement.


Preparing for the IELTS exam is a journey that requires dedication, focus, and consistent effort. By understanding the exam format, marking criteria, setting clear goals, creating a structured study plan, and practicing regularly, you can significantly increase your chances of achieving your target score. Remember that proficiency in English is a valuable skill that extends beyond the test, opening doors to various opportunities in education, employment, and immigration. So, embark on your IELTS preparation journey with confidence, and with the right approach, success will be within your reach. Good luck!