Preparing for the IELTS exam requires dedication coupled with using the right strategies. In most cases, candidates enrolling for the IELTS exam are working professionals or pursuing a full-time course and as such do not have a lot of time to prepare for the exam. This article will walk you through the nuances of how to prepare for the IELTS exam online and will also provide you with useful tips to take your preparation a notch above the rest!
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Improving English Through Online Tools
Albeit improving your English language skill can get tricky in the beginning and take some time to adopt, consistent practice plays a key role in your IELTS preparation. Incorporating new methods, taking feedback, and improvising to increase your efficiency in the language is of paramount importance. Indeed, it is also essential that you put similar efforts into every four aspects – reading, writing, listening, and speaking.Infusing some new habits can take you a step ahead in your IELTS online preparation and improve your efficiency in the English language. Some of these are:
Speaking in English and testing your skills in day-to-day conversations
Watching English movies, documentaries produced in different parts of the world helps acquaint with different accents.
Reading online newspapers, blogs, books, etc. to improve vocabulary
Listening to podcasts improve your auditory skills in English significantly
There are also several IELTS online tutorials available for skill enhancement
Applications such as Quizlet, Forvo, Lyrics Training, etc., are also useful to upgrade your reading, speaking, and listening skills.
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Decide the test format you want to sit for
Before starting your online IELTS preparation, it is of the utmost importance that you know which IELTS format you are planning to sit for.
IELTS General Training is taken for immigration purposes for working professionals looking to move to an English-speaking country.
IELTS Academic is for students who wish to enrol in full-time courses in Higher Education institutions.
Understanding the exam essentials
It is crucial that you are aware of the exam format, tasks, and questions for each of the four parts.
Is also recommended that you go through the IELTS exam rules and regulations.
Students can find the relevant information in Notice to Candidates and Declaration, attached along with the application form.
Official IELTS practice materials
Studying from the official online guide materials available on the IELTS website and other video platforms helps understand the test formats and types of questions that may come in the exam.
Practice test answer keys, tape scripts, sample writing, and reading answers, along with examiner comments, are also helpful for your online IELTS preparation.
There are several online courses that help students build on the basics of the English language and help them improve their language skills. This helps students to work on their mistakes and assess their weaknesses as well.
Moreover, students can also take assistance from several mobile applications to develop their speaking skills.
Reading newspapers and articles is a good source where they can come across new words.
Watching news channels and English shows also help students understand the contexts and use-cases of unique words.
Learning their meanings and implementing them while you are writing or speaking.
It is also useful to remember that enhancing vocabulary is not always about writing complex words. Rather, it is about using the best-suited words to maximise impact.
Practice and practice
IELTS checks all four language proficiency skill tests, including Speaking, Writing, Reading, and Writing. The importance of practising every day with the help of online papers and mock tests is paramount.
You can kickstart your preparation with general English writing tasks that are common in IELTS exams.
Performing speaking tasks in front of a mirror also help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, and you can work accordingly.
IELTS Progress Check
If you are looking to get a professional outlook on your preparation, you can sit for an IELTS Progress Check. Your responses are graded by IELTS-trained and authorised professionals.
You can take a timed or untimed test, and will receive an overall band score. Further, you will also get individual scores for each section, helping you plan and understand your areas of focus.
Following the questions and not getting lost in the conversation is crucial to completing the tasks in the listening section.
Further, you also require to understand the information you need to provide depending on the question. This is why practising such situations and getting proficient in multitasking is another aspect of IELTS online preparation.
How to start preparing for IELTS at home?
Preparing for IELTS reading onlineThe Reading section of IELTS comes with 40 questions in 3 sections. The time allotted to answer these questions is 60 minutes. Understanding the nuances of time management is crucial for this part.
Work on reading sections by timing your trail tests during practice
The 1st and 2nd section is relatively tougher than the 3rd section. That is why it is wise to complete the first two sections in as little time as possible. This will help you have maximum time for the last section.
Vocabulary is the key. A honed vocabulary helps you save time when you come across any complicated word, and you can proceed without spending much time figuring out the meaning or context.
You can go through the questions before reading the passage. Keeping in mind the keywords while you read can help you answer better.
Take a mental note of the paragraph and summarise it in brief in your mind as you read the passage.
Preparing for IELTS writing onlineThe writing section consists of 2 sections, task 1 and task 2. The first task involves analysing a situation or a picture or a graph, or even a diagram. You will need to write a long essay on a given topic to complete your second task.
Written essays showcase your language skills. Therefore, it is necessary that you plan and form a structure for your essay before starting to write.
Remember to break your essay into four to five paragraphs, as required. Do not write too long paragraphs as they become monotonous.
Attractive and meaningful introductions and conclusions are keys to great composition.
Using synonyms is a suitable ploy, and repeating words is not ideal
Preparing for IELTS listening onlineListening is one of the easiest among the four sections. You will require listening to four different recordings and answering 40 questions in 30 minutes. In this round, you will need to listen and write the answers simultaneously. This is why the following is recommended:
Practising is key. The more trial exams you take, the higher are your chances of acing this round.
Focusing on the recordings is essential. Missing out even a few seconds can deny you relevant information and bring down your score.
Mastering a diverse range of English accents is a necessity
Listening to English shows, podcasts, news channels, etc., can also help develop your listening skills and familiarise yourself with different accents simultaneously.
Preparing for IELTS speaking onlineThe Speaking test is scheduled either some days before or after the tests of the other three modules are held. This module is allotted around 15 minutes, during which you have to give an introduction, speak on a given topic, and a personal one-on-one between examiner and examinee. Therefore, you need to:
Strategize your online IELTS preparation in such a way that it helps you construct sentences error-free.
Start and end your sentences well during the test
Avoid repeating words or phrases
Practice your speaking skills by talking to your peers and family. You can then take feedback and work on the same as required.
Ensure that your pronunciations are correct
Tips for preparing a study schedule at home
The most important aspect of preparing a study schedule at home for the IELTS exam is sticking to it. Devoting time to prepare for all four modules of IELTS as required is essential. Assessing your weaknesses and allocating more time to overcome the difficulties, and increasing efficiency is ideal. Deliberation and balance must be the cornerstones of your study schedule at home while preparing for IELTS.Practice materials to prepare for IELTS online at homeBesides lectures and assistive video lessons, high quality books and online audio files can also amp up your IELTS online preparation from home. Taking the help of the correct materials and notes is also essential. Some popular books that will help you shoot up your chances of success at IELTS are listed below.
Listening and Speaking Skills by Barry Cusack and Sam McCarter
IELTS General Training & Academic Study Guide
IELTS Preparation and Practice: Reading and Writing Academic Student Book
Success to IELTS: Tips and Techniques
IELTS Reading Tests by Sam McCarter
Check Your English Vocabulary for IELTS by Rawdon Wyatt
Improve Your IELTS Writing by Norman Whitby and Sam McCarter
Cambridge Grammar for IELTS
Ace the IELTS: IELTS General Module – How to Maximize Your Score
You can also take assistance from Leap Scholar for professional help and guidance to crack your IELTS online preparation from home at your convenience. Our professionals will provide you with critical information and study materials along with tips to work on your focus areas to help you excel in your IELTS exam.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How long is an IELTS result valid?
Ans: An IELTS Test Report is valid for two years.
2. How much is the IELTS exam fee?
Ans: Currently, computer-delivered IELTS fees are around Rs. 14,700 for Indian candidates.
3. Can IELTS be taken at home?
Ans: In the wake of the Covid-19 crisis and the shutdowns imposed by the governments, IDP has come up with a home-testing version of the IELTS exam. It is known as the IELTS Indicator test which is marked by official IELTS experts. However, it is only offered for a limited time and not all universities accept its scores. Candidates are advised to check with their prospective institutions for the same.
Experienced IELTS prep trainer and education management industry veteran. Specializes in public speaking, international education, market research, mentoring, and management.