IELTS is one of the most popular English Language tests in the world and number one in Nigeria. It’s widely accepted as proof of English level proficiency in many institutions, including Academic and Government offices.
It’s used to open doors to immigration and citizenship as it’s recognized by provincial and federal governments. It’s made of four modules and is used to test the candidates’ Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing in English.
All four modules are equally important and challenging, and we’ll be going through the best ways to help you prepare for the exam, providing links to learning materials and giving practical advice for those who want to do extra preparation work on their own.
Before you start, you might want to know what to expect from the exam. The best way to do this is to have a look at our Practice Tests. We suggest that you take a few to gauge your current English level and repeat every now and again to keep track of your progression.
Preparing for the Listening Module.
The Listening Module tests for understanding and concentration. We recommend that you are familiar with hearing spoken English. Listen to the radio, especially talk shows and debates to enhance your ability to follow a discussion spoken by different voices and manners of pronunciation.
Accents are a part of the IELTS Listening module since they are a significant part of the communication you can expect to be part of in the English Speaking parts of the world. Our exam structured to prepare the candidate to speak in any of the main English speaking settings – The UK, US, Canada and Australia. They will be used on test day at random, so you will want to prepare for all four. They’re not all that different, and once you get used to them, it will be a piece of cake!
Here are a few great resources to familiarize yourself with the different accents and dialects of the English language:
- Australian stations
- US stations
The great thing about news channels, is that they offer a great variety of accents and pronunciations even within their countries, allowing you to get used to hearing and understanding them more easily.
The more you’re exposed to spoken language, the better you’ll understand it.
Preparing for the Spoken English Module.
In the Speaking Module you’ll be expected to hold a conversation with an examiner, answering questions and (in the Academic version) refuting an argument. This part of the test is half about listening to the examiner and understanding the questions, and half about forming your thoughts into coherent, grammatically correct sentences.
The key to being prepared is to have enough speaking experience to be relaxed. Try not to be nervous, and if you are not feeling very confident, try not to overextend yourself – stick to simple sentences and short answers.
Unlike native speakers, people who are just learning a new language tend to form their thought in their native tongue and then translate it to English. If you can, try to form your thought in English and this way avoid carrying over non-English grammar into your speech.
For this, try practicing the language with native speakers, in a store, on the bus, and at work. Detaching your speech from previous experience in other languages and repeating native English sentences and grammar patterns helps a great deal in building confidence and skill.
Preparing for the Reading and Writing Modules.
The Reading and Writing Modules engage a similar set of language skills, both involving written text. The key points being:
- Understanding of sentence structure and meaning.
- Ability to form sentences using correct grammar.
- Attention to detail, such as punctuation and capitalization.
Preparing for those is best done by doing a lot of reading and taking the simulation exams we have on our website. Make sure to take the exams using the time limits to properly assess your current level of English.
In addition to this, you can buy IELTS self-study books and extra materials, visit seminars and join one of the many IELTS preparation courses available in Canada.
We’re confident that if you:
- Familiarize yourself with the test structure
- Carefully examine the questions and demands of each IELTS module
- Prepare for each module in advance following our advice
- Take a look and follow our IELTS test day advice
- Take practice tests under timed conditions
You’ll get the best score based on your true abilities.
*The original version of this article appeared on: http://ieltscanadatest.com.