The IELTS–or International English Language Testing System–is a highly accurate test that assesses the English language skills of people worldwide. If you are considering international study, certification of English skills for employment purposes, or just to have your proficiency in English recorded, you will probably take the IELTS.
What Does the Test Entail?
Basically, the test will cover all areas of language use. When you speak a language you also listen, so speaking and listening are critical areas of the test. To prepare for this part of the IELTS exam, try the following to boost your skills:
• Speak with native English speakers regularly
• Listen to English speaking radio
• Write a speech in English and ask an English speaking friend to critique it
You will also be required to take writing and reading. Here you will have a choice of either a general or academic IELTS exam.
General Training Writing Section–The best preparation for this test is, simply, to write. However, you will need to know that your writing is correct. There are online bulletin board services where you can practice writing. These are acceptable practice forums, but remember you may not be getting correct information from non-native English speakers. Use good judgment.
If they are available, you can take writing courses through community organizations and online. It will cost a little, but it would be worth it to have your writing critiqued by professional writers.
Academic Writing–If you are looking to study abroad, spend some good time in writing classes and pay a tutor if you feel unprepared. There are also online courses available, and many of them are top notch; however, always check the school’s reputation before signing up.
One on one attention is by far the best education in all the IELTS exam categories. There are native English speaking tutors all over the world who have relocated solely for the purpose of teaching English in another country–in other words, they are dedicated and good at what they do. Just make sure you find a native English speaker with training in teaching non-native speakers.
Remember that the test is long–2 hours and 45 minutes–and you must finish it in one take. In addition to good training and practice, be prepared by getting plenty of sleep the night before the test, eating right (always have a good breakfast on test day), and having a good attitude.