What is IELTS & How to Prepare for it?

IELTS booking

The IELTS is the International English Language Testing System, the world’s most proven English language test. It is a test that is to be given if people want to work or study at a place where English is the language of communication. This test is accepted by over 9000 organisations worldwide including universities, employers, and immigration authorities. IELTS does not have a percentile or percentage scoring system like ordinary examinations. There is no pass or fail in the IELTS scoring board, there is a scoring scale from 1 to 9, 1 being the lowest and 9 meaning the person is an expert user of the English language.

IELTS booking can be taken by people who aspire to work in different countries like the UK, Canada, New Zealand, the USA, Australia, and many more countries where the IELTS exam is accepted as their language test qualifier. IELTS booking provides various opportunities around the globe for students and young professionals. The main purpose of IELTS booking for this test is to find out whether a person can survive in an environment where English is the primary spoken language. The reason why the IELTS exam is sought after by so many English-speaking countries is that this test shows whether a person can read, write, understand, and speak in English.

IELTS Exam Structure

There are two types of IELTS exams. These two modules are called IELTS Academics and IELTS General. IELTS Academics is for people who want to enrol in a university and pursue education or higher education. The IELTS General Training module is for people who want to work abroad or for immigration purposes. The IELTS exam has four major modules namely Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. Of these four modules, listening, reading, and writing are completed in one sitting. The speaking test can be done on the same day or a few days before or after the other tests. Both the academic and general training modules are almost the same, the only difference is in the ‘reading’ and ‘writing’ rounds. For the General Training test, the text that is read and written will relate to daily life topics. But for Academic tests, the pattern would be more analytical in nature.

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Preparing for each Round of IELTS

● Listening round

IELTS preparation for the listening round lasts for 40 minutes and has 4 sections, in these sections there will be an everyday conversation, for example, 2 colleagues talking in an office, one person speaking in an everyday situation, an educational situation where a student is speaking to a professor, a talk or a lecture on a general topic.

In the listening round synonyms are important. For example, the question is, ‘How does John travel to work?’ The statement given would be ‘John walks to work’. The multiple choices in the question would be car, bike, on foot, or bus. Here the answer is ‘on foot’. What is heard and what the answer is, might not be the same word-to-word.

Instructions should be carefully read. Not all question types will be the same, they might be in the form of multiple-choice questions, sentence completion (fill in the blanks), match the following, or they might ask to write no more than 2 words, no more than 3 words, etc.

For example, the question asked is ‘What is John’s gaming level?’ for which the multiple choices are beginner, average, good, and league. The voice that follows the question would be like “How do you rate your game? Beginner, league? Oh, no, not league standard. Just middling really. Not bad, not good”. Here the answer would be average.

● Reading round

Reading lasts for 60 minutes and has 3 sections. Reading text is different for the Academic version and the General Training version. For the academic version, the text will come from books, magazines, and newspapers and may include diagrams, graphs, and illustrations.

The general training version also has three sections, section 1 would include simple text from public notices, timetables, and advertisements. Section 2 will be a bit more difficult as it will include text from the workplace environment like job descriptions, contracts, and training material. Section 3 will contain a passage from a book, magazine, or newspaper.

● Writing round

The writing test lasts for 60 minutes and has 2 tasks. For the Academic version there will be a graph, diagram, chart or table, the task will be to describe it in your own words. For the General Training version there will be a letter in response to an everyday situation or problem. Task 2 will be the same for both versions, where there will be a situation, an argument, or a point of view. The task will be to write a short essay in response to it.

For the writing round here are a few important points to remember. In task 1, at least 150 words need to be written. In task 2, at least 250 words need to be written. Task 2 is worth twice as many marks as task 1. So ideally, out of the 60 minutes in hand, 20 minutes must be allocated for task 1 and 40 minutes on task 2. Hence it is important to keep a close track of time and leave enough time, in the end, to review what has been written.

Both tasks must be written in paragraphs. Each paragraph must start with a topic sentence and the rest of the paragraph must support that topic. The examiners are mainly looking for how well thoughts are organised, the vocabulary, and the use of grammar.

● Speaking round

IELTS preparation for the speaking round lasts for 11-14 minutes and is conducted in the form of a one-on-one interview with an examiner. It has three parts of which part 1 is a general introduction. In part 2 there will be a topic card given and one minute to prepare for it. At the end of that minute, it is expected that the person will continuously speak on that topic for 1 to 2 minutes without being interrupted by the examiner. In part 3, the examiner will have a conversation with the candidate based on the topic in part 2. They will ask questions and try to have a discussion.

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As of today, this is the format of the test. But it is always wiser to check the official website of wherever you are booking whether it is the British Council or IDP to know the current format while preparing.


These are a few things that can be done to improve the chances of getting a good score months or weeks before the examination.

  • Read as widely as possible be it newspapers, books or blogs.
  • Practice writing essays and after they are written assess them like an examiner. Check for correct vocabulary, paragraph formation, etc.
  • To improve listening skills, choose a lecture, a talk or watch English YouTube videos.
  • Have conversations with native English speakers, so that it will be easier to understand their accents.

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Professionals and educators at EuroSchool provide students with all the necessary information about IELTS and other competitive examinations within India as well as abroad. EuroSchool makes sure that students are capable of making the best decisions for themselves and their future. We at EuroSchool aspire to cater for the best possibilities of our students.

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