Hello! Hasn’t this mini-series provided wonderful guidance on the SAT, the ACT, the GRE, the GMAT, the LSAT, and TOEFL? We hope you are getting a headstart towards your destination, but let us take this opportunity to conclude this mini-series with yet another test – the IELTS Academic!

Overall IELTS

  1. IELTS can be tricky to score high. Do not be disappointed if your English is good but you still score low. This is because the IELTS assessment criteria are objective and strict. So you must prepare for the test, and not for English, in a way.
  2. The Listening-Reading-Writing test is a 4-hour long exercise and starts at 11 AM. There is no break for lunch so eat well before the test!
  3. Practice only from the official learning material. There is a lot of material available online, but ill-prepared practice content will harm more than help.

Listening

  1. Make sure your headphones are working well.
  2. IELTS audios typically come with a British accent, but other accents can be expected too. So get used to different accents.
  3. Read the questions before the audio starts. The answers will appear in the order of questions; so you can use each question as a milestone.
  4. Some answers are one word, while others are longer. Make sure you read what each question expects in an answer.
  5. Use CAPITAL LETTERS for all your answers. Spellings and punctuation are important.
  6. Don’t rush writing your answers in the answering booklet. You will be given separate time for this.

Reading

  1. Unlike the GRE/GMAT/LSAT passages, IELTS Reading passages are not logic-driven, but rather information-heavy. This means that quickly skimming a passage to know ‘what is where’ is a well-suited strategy for the IELTS.
  2. Take ample notes as you read so you can easily refer to different paragraphs while answering questions.
  3. TRUE/FALSE/NOT GIVEN questions can be tricky. If something is directly stated, then it is TRUE. If something is directly contradicted, then it is FALSE. Otherwise, it is NOT GIVEN.
  4. There is no extra time for copying answers in the answering booklet. You must transfer answers as you go through the passages.
  5. Many IELTS Reading questions are essentially vocabulary questions. So know the subtle meanings of words.

Writing

  1. Task 1 has half the weight of Task 2. So spend your time accordingly – 20 mins for Task 1 and 40 mins for Task 2.
  2. Make sure you follow the recommended word limit of 150 words and 250 words respectively. You don’t have time to count the number of words, so count the number of lines and words per line to estimate.
  3. Make sure you cover all the points asked in the questions. It is a good idea to write one paragraph on each aspect, preceded by an opening paragraph, and followed by a closing/conclusion paragraph. This will automatically give a logical structure to your essay.
  4. You can either use American or British spellings. However, be consistent.
  5. You will be given more paper sheets if you need. But understand that more is not better!

Speaking

  1. The Speaking test is an in-person interview. So make sure you smile and show enthusiasm. If you can add humor, you can nail the test easily.
  2. The more you talk, the easier it is to score high.

E.g.

Question: Do you live in a flat or a house?

Answer 1: A flat.

Answer 2: I reside in a three-bedroom apartment. I have been living there with my family for the last 2 years.

Answer 2 is graded high because it shows versatile vocabulary and a wider range of grammatical usage.

  1. For the Part 2 question, you will be given a minute before you start speaking. Do not use this time to WRITE your answer. Instead, just write bullet points and good vocabulary that can be used in the topic.
  2. In Part 2, to ensure you speak for full 2 minutes, always start with filler speech such as “I am glad you asked this question….” or “Well, I haven’t given it much thought before, but…“, etc.

We hope this clears some concerns you have about IELTS Academic. So log on the IELTS site, register, and start practicing! We will be happy to help you further in case you need. All the best!

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