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Last Updated: December 09, 2023

Preparing for IELTS

IELTS is an English proficiency test conducted internationally for both applying for higher education and visa clearance to English-speaking countries. The importance of the test is in recognizing the level of the candidate's language skills through rigorous testing of listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills. Preparing for a language proficiency test can be challenging for even those who are well-versed in the language. Most people may excel in reading and writing skills but still, be weak in listening or speaking. This requires the right kind of grooming before the exam so that one's band score increases above the average of 6 or 7. Here is a list of the best ways to follow in preparing for the IELTS in under a month.

Register for the Test

The first step before preparing for any exam is to register for it. Registering for IELTS gives candidates a deadline to create their perfect study schedule. Candidates can either download an application form and send it along with a photostat of their identity document and a passport-size photograph. Or they can choose the much more efficient online method which lets them both fix a test center and test date without hassle.

While registering through the online mode, candidates will initially be asked to choose a test center. They can either choose this from a scroll list or filter it out by typing their state and clicking search. Candidates will be able to see the number of test centers in their locality and choose one accordingly. After this, they will be asked to choose which test they are taking- Academic or General Training. Then they will be asked to decide which model of the examination they prefer- the paper-based mode or the computer version of the test.

All these choices will contribute to their study plan. Preparation for each of these types of tests is different and has to be chosen accordingly. Ensure that the type of test one takes is the one accepted by the institution of their choice.

Understand the Format

The IELTS exam consists of 4 sections regardless of the type candidates choose. The four sections are Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking where the Reading and Writing sections are different according to the test type.

The Speaking test is often not conducted on the same day as the 3 other sections. It is attempted 7 days before or after the 3 tests.

To sum up the format,
SectionPartsNumber of questionsTime allotment
Listening4 parts40 Questions30 minutes
Reading3 parts40 Questions60 minutes
Writing2 tasks-60 minutes
Speaking3 parts-11-14 minutes
Understanding the format and the time frame lets candidates prepare for the test better according to the test they have chosen. Candidates can learn to type/write content on various topics in the given time frame as a method of practice.

It is suggested that they keep at least 1-2 days off to study the exam format and the grading system so that the exam pattern remains clear in their mind throughout the preparation period.

Focus on Individual Sections

Listening Tips

Speaking Tips

Reading Tips

Writing Tips

Check out Sample Questions

After candidates have focused individually on the sections, it is time for them to check out sample questions available online pertaining to each of these sections individually. These sample questions may be tackled at the end of each section or together after they are done with all of the sections.

Sample questions are necessary to understand if the topics and accents candidates are practicing with are relevant to the test or if they have gone off track during preparation. While preparing with sample questions, candidates needn’t focus on the time constraints. Keep focusing on the language, and the spelling. Pronunciation and other grammatical technicalities. Give this time for preparation and allow oneself to make mistakes.

Once candidates have attempted enough sample questions and feel confident enough to take the test, move on to practice tests, and from then, time themselves according to the exam pattern.

Take Practice Tests

Practice with the Official materials available on the official website for a better idea of what to expect during the official test.

These official practice materials have been designed by the test makers to give candidates an idea of the test and provide them with sample questions. They include a CD and DVD with samples of the Listening test. It also includes sample answers for the Speaking section with which candidates can create speeches about themselves.

There are innumerable sample questions available in the form of books and e-books. But these are the only materials endorsed by the IELTS makers. They can be purchased from the Cambridge University Press or local IELTS Test Centers.

Consider Taking a Prep Course

If candidates are not fluent speakers of the language or preparing by themselves is demanding too much of their time, consider taking online preparation courses. The official site offers guidance and other preparation tips that can be accessed. Apart from them, there are innumerable coaching centers and sites that provide crash courses in a month.

Finding the right preparation course amongst all the available options can seem to be a task in itself. Candidates are recommended to make use of the preparation courses offered in IELTS Centers and language schools available worldwide. They provide training that is as close as it can get to the official test and can help candidates focus their studies in a definite direction.

Understand that a preparation course isn’t necessary unless candidates are struggling immensely with the language or if they are unable to focus without external pressure. It can also help candidates if the stress of risking their future through self-prep is keeping them from the preparation itself.


Mastering a language in under a month can put one under a lot of pressure. Keep a relaxed mind and focus less on the rules and more on communicating their thought whether it be through writing or speaking.

Candidate's scores may vary depending upon their performance on one particular day and it shouldn’t be the mark they rely on. Relaxing before the day of the exam is extremely important for candidates to organize their thoughts and coherently deliver them both in person and on paper.

2024 IELTS Test Dates

IELTS Resources

IELTS Writing

IELTS Listening

IELTS Speaking

IELTS Practice Tests/Reading

IELTS vs Other Test