IELTS Exam Preparation 2021 – All You Need to Know

IELTS exam preparation
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IELTS exam preparation consists of a clear and complete understanding of the pattern of examination, how it is marked as well as a well-defined plan to achieve the targeted goal. To do this effectively, it is of immense importance to improve your English, practice a lot and join a course for IELTS exam preparation 2021.

So, what are we waiting for? Let’s jump into the preparation for IELTS exam and crack it at one go.

Table Of Contents

1. What is IELTS?

International English Language Testing System or IELTS is a mandatory exam which the international candidates belonging to non-English speaking countries need to take who wish to study or work in a foreign countries where English is the main communicative language. This exam tests the proficiency of the candidates in the basics of English language in terms of the following:-

  1. Listening
  2. Reading
  3. Speaking
  4. Writing

2. Why IELTS exam is Difficult?

IELTS is undoubtedly one of the most difficult exams since it tests the proficiency of the candidates in English language at an international level. Here we have listed a few major reasons why candidates find IELTS so difficult.

  • The listening test is of duration is 30 minutes and candidates find it difficult to concentrate for continuous 30 minutes without stopping.
  • Many candidates complain that they are unable to think of a good idea to say during the speaking test or write during the writing test.
  • Some complain about insufficient time to finish the writing test.
  • There are a number of difficult words in the reading section that are difficult to understand.
  • Nervousness happens to a major problem among the test takers which is quite difficult to deal with.
  • In the listening test, the speakers speak too fast and test takers can hear them only once.

In addition to the reasons mentioned above, there are several other problems faced that varies from candidates to candidates which make the IELTS exam difficult. With a solid preparation, regular practice, and positive attitude even this difficult exam can be tamed down with ease but candidates’ determination should be firm.

3. Types of IELTS Exams

IELTS exams are of two different types :

  1. IELTS academic test – It is taken by the candidates who apply for higher education abroad or for professional registration.
  2. IELTS general test – It is taken by the candidates who wish to go for higher education in the English speaking countries like USA, UK, Canada and Australia. The test is mandatory for the ones who wish to take admission in any of the secondary education courses, training programs, or to gain work experience in any of the countries of the world where English is major communicative language.

4. IELTS Exam Format 2021

IELTS exam format 2021 comprises of 4 sections as listed below.

  • Listening – Listening is the first section of the IELTS exam that is common for both academic and general test to test the listening skills of the candidates. The listening section consists of two monologues and two conversations. The candidates are required to listed very carefully and answer the questions that follow. It is to be kept in mind that the candidates can hear only once.
  • Reading – This section is designed to test the reading and comprehending skills of the candidates. In IELTS Academic Test, reading section consists of three passages which the candidates are required to read, comprehend, and answer all questions that follows. On the other hand, in IELTS General Test, there are three sections where section 1 contains two, three, or many shorter texts, section 2 has two texts and the third section has one long text. The candidates are required to read, comprehend, and answer all questions that follow.
  • Writing – The writing section is designed to check the writing abilities of candidates. For IELTS Academic Test, there are two writing tasks. First task includes a table, chart, graph or a diagram where the candidates need to explain or summarise the entire information in their own words. The second task asks the candidates to write an essay on a given topic, point of view, argument, or problem. For IELTS General Test, the candidates also get two writing tasks. The first task presents the candidates a situation where they need to write a letter to request information or describing the situation. The second task in this is the same as in IELTS Academic Test.
  • Speaking – The speaking section assesses the speaking skills of the candidates and it is the same for both the academic and general test. The first task in this section involves a face to face interview on varied general topics lasting for about four to five minutes. In the second task, the candidates are given a card that consists of a topic regarding which they need to speak. Preparation time for the topic is one minute and speaking time is two minutes. Then the examiner asks a few questions on the same topic which the candidates are required to answer. Final task involves further questions on the second task which the candidates need to answer the examiner.

If you are in search of a professional IELTS training center in Kollam, no other option would be as good as Lizz Academy

Here is a chart depicting the total number of questions in each section and the time duration:

SectionsTotal Questions (IELTS Academic Test)Time DurationTotal Questions (IELTS General Test)Time Duration
Listening4030 minutes4030 minutes
Reading4060 minutes4060 minutes
Writing260 minutes260 minutes
SpeakingVariable11 to 14 minutesVariable11 to 14 minutes

5. How IELTS Score is Calculated?

All IELTS scores are between 0 and 9 where 9 indicates an expert. The candidates can also get a .5 score like 7.5, 8.5, etc. There is a band score of each of the four sections that are listening, reading, writing, and speaking along with an overall band score. The overall band score is the average score of all the sections combined. The band scores and overall test results are calculated by rounding off to the nearest 0.5 or whole score. For example, if the score is 7.1, it will go down to 7 and if the score is 7.9, it will go up to 8. Also, if the score is 6.4 or 6.5, the score would be 6.5.

Let us see an example score for better understanding.

IELTS overall score

Now, let us understand the band score descriptions in detail.

Band ScoreEnglish LevelDescriptionKey Pointers
9ExpertExpert Is an expert in English language and has accurate, appropriate understanding. Completely flexible, fluent and total understanding.High accuracy, complete understanding
8Very GoodHas a complete grip of the language with only rare occasional errors or inappropriate words. Effectively deals with complex situations with rare errors in complex situations but has the ability to deal with detailed argumentation.Rare occasional errors, makes well use of complex language
7GoodHas a good grip of English language with occasional inaccuracies. Makes well use of complex language and understands detailed argumentation quite well.Only occasional errors, makes use of complex language well in most situations
6CompetentPossesses an effective grip over the language but has some errors, inappropriate words, and misunderstandings in some situations. Can use complex language well but best usage in in familiar situations.Some errors, good use of complex language but mostly in familiar situations
5ModestHas a partial grip of the language and deals with the overall meaning. Errors are frequent and has better English in common situations. Not able to deal with complex language properly.Errors are frequent, difficulties in dealing with complex language

6. IELTS Exam Preparation Tips

Only hard work would not be sufficient to crack the IELTS exam. At the same time, smart work is also immensely important. It is precisely the situation where some IELTS exam tips and tricks come to the rescue of the test takers. So, let us understand a few tips and tricks for each section differently to get a good score in each.

a). IELTS Listening Tips

Follow these IELTS tips and tricks for listening for a better approach to the section to get a good score.

  • At the beginning of each section, there are a few questions that need to be read very carefully before the recording starts. This, in turn, would be of great help for the candidates to follow the recording as well as identify the answers in an appropriate way.
  • Next, it is needed to concentrate on the introduction of every section which will provide the candidates useful information about the situations as well as the speakers.
  • It is recommended to listen very carefully for the clues that indicate which stage of the recording the candidates are listening to.
  • Finally, the answers need to be written with proper clarity without any kind of grammatical mistakes, punctuation errors, and others since these mistakes will result in awarding no marks at all.

b). IELTS Reading Tips

Here are a few IELTS tips and tricks for reading that would help candidates achieve a good score.

  • Start with concentrating on each of the items appropriately as they may pass very fast. Thus, it is to be made sure that too much time is not spent on any question or text.
  • It is always recommended to start from the beginning of the exam. Even if the candidates are unable to answer, there is no need to panic and waste time on any question and move on to the next one. They can revisit the question later if there is some time left at the end.
  • All instructions should be read with great care and the focus should be more on the title of text subtitles as well as the illustrations to get a quick idea about the text.
  • Finally, every candidate should make sure not to make any grammar mistakes or other errors. All words should be copied accurately so that there are no spelling mistakes.

c). IELTS Reading Tips

To make IELTS preparation easier for students, here we have listed some IELTS tips and tricks for writing section that would prove to be beneficial in scoring well.

  • Each of the candidates should make sure that the ideas are relevant to the questions. Most importantly, the last paragraph should be a conclusion that is perfectly consistent with all the arguments that have been included in the essay.
  • All sorts of spelling, grammar, punctuation, as well as other mistakes, should be avoided and writing should be as clear as possible.
  • Each of the paragraphs should be appropriately organized and linked logically also make sure to have language used is in an academic style.
  • Avoid the use of bullet points and write the required number of words.

d). IELTS Speaking Tips

IELTS tips and tricks for speaking come in handy for the students while they are preparing for the test and on the day of the exam for scoring well.

  • The candidates should ensure their hundred percent involvement in the conversation and focus on the questions being asked to ensure appropriate answers.
  • It is recommended to answer all the questions in detail for a better score.
  • All opinions should be well supported with good examples to ensure better marks.
  • The candidates should always keep in mind that there are no right or wrong answers in the speaking section test. The assessment is based on how good the answers are and marking is done accordingly.

7. How to Prepare for IELTS at Home?

It is always recommended to begin IELTS exam preparation at home. Most of the candidates tend to do the same before taking up a training course in an institute. Even if a candidate joins a premium training center, constant preparation at home is highly recommended for a better score. Following a few simple IELTS exam tips and tricks at home would undoubtedly be of great help in strengthening the preparation to a great extent.

  • Practice, practice, and practice are the three golden words in IELTS exam preparation. Do practice as much as you can for each of the sections for laying a strong foundation in each of them. The more you practice, the better is your preparation, and higher are the chances of scoring high.
  • It would be a very good idea to record yourself while practicing for an IELTS speaking test. Keeping a track of the recordings would show your improvement over a period of time.
  • It is extremely important to keep your general level of English language up. This can be achieved by regular reading both online & offline, listening to English news, speaking in English as much as possible, etc.
  • Take online practice test for IELTS on a regular basis. These tests should include both sectional tests as well as full length mock IELTS tests and keep a track of the performance for self-analysis.
  • Take reference of your old grammar books which might be of great help in strengthening the basics of grammar.
  • Always stay positive since a positive attitude is the essence of cracking any competitive exam like IELTS.

8. How to Enhance Vocabulary for IELTS Exam?

Vocabulary is about 25% of your marks for IELTS writing as well as speaking and also play a vital role in reading & listening. Therefore, IELTS vocabulary is a matter of immense importance when you go for IELTS exam preparation. Without a good vocabulary, it becomes very difficult to crack the exam, and hence an improvement in vocabulary is essential. It would be a very good idea to start looking up for words that you do not know, and make it a habit to add about 10 to 20 words to your vocabulary on a daily basis. This, in turn, would be immensely helpful in your IELTS preparation where you would have a good stock of words till the time you take the exam. Every candidate should keep a record of every word while preparing for IELTS vocabulary.

To help the candidates in improving their vocabulary, here is a list of vocabulary building apps that might be great help.

  • Vocabulary.com
  • Powervocab
  • Magoosh
  • 7 little words

In addition to the ones mentioned above, there are a number of others that help the candidates in bringing about an improvement in their vocabulary while undergoing IELTS exam preparation.

9. Monitor Your Progress

When you prepare for IELTS exam, it is of immense importance to monitor your progress on a regular basis. Regular monitoring is of great help in gauging your progress day by day. It is recommended to focus on preparing each of the sections individually and take as many trial tests as possible and measure the performance of every test. In addition to this, full length mock tests should be taken at regular interval to track performance. With the trial and mock test scores, it becomes easier to understand the weaker areas that need more effort to bring about an improvement. Therefore, if you wish to crack IELTS at one shot, it is quite essential to monitor your progress as you prepare for a clear and complete self-evaluation.

10. FAQs

  • Who Conducts IELTS Exam?

The IELTS exam is jointly conducted and owned by British Council, IDP Education Australia, and Cambridge English Language Assessment.

  • How to Register for IELTS Exam?

IELTS examregistration can be done from official IELTS website, you can also register from British Council or IDP IELTS registration page. 

  • When is IELTS Exam Held?

The computed-based IELTS test dates are available throughout the year. The test is available up to three times per day on all seven days of the week. The candidates need to book the required slot on their preferred date. In addition to this, the paper-based test is also available up to four times a month.

  • How Long is IELTS Score Valid?

IELTS score is valid for two years.

  • Is There Any Age Limit for IELTS Exam?

IELTS is not recommended for candidates under 16 years of age.

  • How Many Times Can IELTS be Taken?

IELTS can be taken any number of times since there is no limit but the applicants have to pay the registration fees every time.

  • I Have Taken IELTS Twice. Which Score Do I Use?

You can use the better score among the two takes as long as the results are valid.

11. Role of Lizz Academy

Lizz Academy is a premier IELTS center in Kollam helping IELTS aspirants to prepare for the IELTS exam by helping them build a strong foundation in the English language in all formats that are reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Lizz Academy plays a significant role in helping IELTS aspirants to transform their dreams of studying in foreign countries majorly the US and UK into reality by making sure that they crack the exam at one go. Here are a few reasons that make Lizz Academy the best IELTS coaching center in Kollam.

  • Highly experienced faculty members, especially Mr. Anil Stancilavose who has over 15 years of experience in coaching candidates for IELTS, thereby assuring every candidate with the best guidance for IELTS exam preparation
  • Every student gets individual attention for a solid understanding of the language
  • Availability of all necessary infrastructure to impart superb training to every student
  • Flexible time slots available for coaching classes that can be booked as per the convenience of the candidates
  • IELTS exam preparation online as well as offline is available and can be chosen as per the preference of the candidates