Test Preparation | TOEFL



As TOEFL, IELTS also is required to be taken by non-native students who wish to pursue their studies abroad where the medium of teaching is English. IELTS is accepted by most Australian, British, Canadian, Irish, New Zealand and South African academic institutions, over 2,000 academic institutions in the United States, and various professional organizations. It is also a requirement for immigration to Australia and Canada. IELTS is recognized by more than 6000 institutions across 120 countries.

It is a paper-based test that measures your ability in four key areas of the language -Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. IELTS could be given through British Council and IDP Australia. The IELTS date could be found out through the respective websites but the test dates from both the testing centers are same.

There are two versions of the IELTS: the Academic Version and the General Training Version:

This section evaluates your understanding of spoken English in North America. This section has three parts. You will have 35 minutes to answer 50 questions.

  • The Academic Version is intended for those who want to enroll in universities and other institutions of higher education and for professionals such as medical doctors and nurses who want to study or practice in an English-speaking country.
  • The General Training Version is intended for those planning to undertake non-academic training or to gain work experience, or for immigration purposes.

It is generally acknowledged that the reading and writing tests for the Academic Version are more difficult than those for the General Training Version, due to the differences in the level of intellectual and academic rigor between the two versions.

An IELTS result or Test Report Form is valid for two years.

IELTS test structure

All candidates must complete four Modules - Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking - to obtain a band score, which is shown on the IELTS Test Report Form (TRF). All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking Modules, while the Reading and Writing Modules differ depending on whether the candidate is taking the Academic or General Training Versions of the Test.

The total test duration is around 2 hours and 45 minutes for Listening, Reading and Writing modules.

  • Listening: 40 minutes, 30 minutes for which a recording is played centrally and additional 10 minutes for transferring answers onto the OMR answer sheet.
  • Reading: 60 minutes.
  • Writing: 60 minutes.

(No additional time is given for transfer of answers in Reading and Writing modules)

The first three modules - Listening, Reading and Writing (always in that order) - are completed in one day, and in fact are taken with no break in between. The Speaking Module may be taken, at the discretion of the test centre, in the period seven days before or after the other Modules.

The tests are designed to cover the full range of ability from non-user to expert user.

IELTS is scored on a nine-band scale, with each band corresponding to a specified competence in English. Overall Band Scores are reported to the nearest whole or half band.



  • Read instructions carefully, don't just glance at them. They are not always the same as in practice or previous tests.
  • Try and anticipate what the speaker will say. This requires concentration, easy in your own language, but more difficult in English.
  • Remember if you want a high score you should aim to get all questions in parts one and two correct. Don't make any careless mistakes in the easier sections.
  • Small errors can lead to low scores so be careful with your spelling at all times.
  • Don't panic if you think the topic is too difficult or the speaker is too fast. Relax and tune in.
  • Read, write and listen at the same time. Tricky, but practice well.
  • Don't leave blanks


  • Leave a question if you can't answer. To spend a long time on one answer is disastrous. Go back later if you have time and guess if you have to.
  • Don't panic if you don't know anything about the subject matter covered in the passage. All the answers are in the passage and you don't need any specialist knowledge.
  • Remember you have no extra time to transfer your answers, many candidates think because they have extra time in listening they are able to do this in reading too. You can't.
  • Before the exam, read as widely as possible (e.g. newspapers, magazines, journals). Don't limit yourself to one type of text and read articles with an academic style where possible.
  • Before the exam, read as widely as possible (e.g. newspapers, magazines, journals). Don't limit yourself to one type of text and read articles with an academic style where possible.
  • Look at the ways paragraphs are organised.
  • Try and predict content of paragraphs from the opening sentence.
  • Give every paragraph you read an imaginary heading.
  • Don't concentrate on words you don't know. It wastes valuable time.
  • Careless mistakes cost many marks. Copy the answer correctly if it is in the passage.
  • Check spelling.
  • Only give one answer if that is all that's needed.
  • Be careful with singular/plural.


  • Highlight/circle key words.
  • Clearly divide paragraphs.
  • Don't repeat ideas in a different way.
  • Stick to the topic.
  • Careful with timing - don't rush Task Two, it's longer and is worth more points.
  • Paragraph simply, with one idea in each paragraph.
  • Avoid informal language.
  • Learn to recognise how long 150 words looks in your handwriting. You don't really have time to count.
  • Get used to always spending several minutes re-reading and correcting your essays.
  • Don't memorise model answers, they won't fit the question and you will make more careless mistakes.


  • It tests your ability to communicate effectively, not just your grammatical accuracy.
  • Don't learn scripts of prepared answers. The examiner is trained to spot this and will change the question.
  • Develop your answers as much as possible.
  • Speak more than the examiner.
  • Ask for clarification if necessary.
  • Remember it is not a test of knowledge and there is no single answer, but ensure that you give your opinion. Don't worry if you feel it is not sophisticated enough.
  • The areas covered are fairly predictable and not infinite so practise at home recording ideas onto a tape recorder.