In this post, you will find all the information you need to prepare for the IELTS English exam. It is one of the most popular English exams, which is one of the reasons why so many organizations validate it to certify knowledge of English at all levels regulated by the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).
If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably gathering information about IELTS or about to start preparing. We are sure that you will get good grades if you follow these tips. Whatever the reason, in this guide we will give you the keys to know what IELTS is, how to decipher its notes, and examples of all the exam exercises.
What is IELTS and what is it for?
The International English Language System (IELTS) is an English exam that certifies English proficiency at certain levels of English accepted by the CEFR. These are A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2. The IELTS English e is a single exam in which you will be assigned a CEFR level depending on the points you obtain in the different exam tests.
Unlike the Cambridge English exams, in which you have to take different exams depending on the CEFR level you want to obtain, at IELTS you take the same exam for the 4 CEFR levels you certify. However, IELTS is an English test taken by the British Council and Cambridge English.
The IELTS is a test that measures the English proficiency of people seeking to study or work in English-speaking countries. It uses a score for bands or stripes from 0 to 9 and each one corresponds to a level of English obtained in the exam. For example, 0 is the minimum, 5 average and 9 is the maximum.
The complexity of the Cambridge English and British Council IELTS exam is the same for all levels. Depending on the level of English you want to certify, you will have to do a specific preparation to get the required grade. For example, for IELTS Academic it will be good for you to get good marks and grades in academic vocabulary exercises.
It has 2 major modalities in which we will go further: IELTS Academic, IELTS General Training. The first of them is aimed at people who want, for example, to pursue higher academic training abroad. For its part, the second modality is used more to meet immigration requirements in countries such as Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
How is IELTS structured?
The IELTS exam, which lasts for 2 hours and 45 minutes, examines you in basic English skills. These are grammar and vocabulary, oral and written comprehension, and oral and written expression. For this, the IELTS of Cambridge English and British Council has the following structure:
- Listening: in which your listening comprehension of English is measured through audios with conversations.
- Reading: in which your reading comprehension is evaluated through different texts in English.
- Writing: in which your ability to write texts in English is measured.
- Speaking: in which your ability to express yourself in English is evaluated.
These sections are the same for both types of Cambridge English and British Council IELTS exam models. However, as we will see later, the Listening Speaking part of both IELTS models are identical, while Reading and Writing are different.
In the didactic part of this post, we will give you all the information and examples of the different exercises of the IELTS English exam model.
IELTS Exam Model
As before, there are 2 types of IELTS exams and each one has its unique characteristics: IELTS Academic and IELTS General. They are different, so you will have to find out which IELTS exam model is best for you. For example, if you are applying to a university in England, you are interested in IELTS Academic.
You can take the 2 types of IELTS exam to help you move around the world, demonstrate your knowledge of English in a job interview. Before booking a place and facing the preparation of the IELTS exam, be sure to check with the organization that you are registering with what type of IELTS they require.
1. IELTS Academic
This IELTS exam model measures your knowledge of English for the academic field of higher education. To do this, this model uses exercises with academic language characteristics and assesses whether you are qualified to undertake higher-level training in an English-speaking centre and get good grades. This IELTS model interests you for example for …
- Enroll in a degree or postgraduate in any country in the world.
- Apply for a level 4 student visa at a university applying for this level within the UK.
- Work in a company in an English-speaking country.
2. IELTS General Training
The IELTS General Training exam model measures your command of English in a practical and everyday environment. What does this mean? that the different exercises of the IELTS General model reflect everyday work and social situations.
Unlike the previous IELTS models, this one is more effective if you decide to move to live in an English-speaking country and obtain prepared to function without problems. This IELTS model interests you for example for …
- Train or study a pre-university academic level in English.
- Work in an English-speaking work environment.
- Emigrate to a country where English is spoken.
- Access a better job in your country.
We recommend applying to the Computer-Based model of the IELTS. Mainly, because these English exams have fewer places available and this helps to create a less stressful environment, which always causes the nerves to shoot up on the exam.
For example, you don’t have to keep tabs on answer sheets in the IELTS Computer-Based model. This is great since you can sneak the odd error on the answer sheet, while on the computer screen you are giving the definitive answers. This minimizes the margin of error.
Besides, Writing is much easier to do if you have a text editor. If you want to make modifications to the IELTS Computer-Based model, you can do it with the keyboard. Otherwise, you will have to erase possible errors that you comment on in the newsroom, for example. If you take the Paper-Based IELTS exam, be sure to write it on a sheet of paper and then clean it up.
Finally, audio is much better understood through headphones than through general loudspeakers for all candidates. You can regulate the volume and generally offers a better listening experience. This is why more and more candidates from the British Council and Cambridge English choose this IELTS Computer Based exam model.
Tips for Exam Day
Read on for the tips you should know for the IELTS exam day. These will be very useful so that the day you have to take the exam you have everything prepared and you only have to worry about getting good grades and marks.
- Arrive on time at the facilities. Whatever the place assigned to you, try to arrive at least 20 minutes in advance. When you receive the confirmation of the candidate for the IELTS model, they will send you the complete schedule and the place.
- Take your current identity documents to the IELTS. Before entering the test, a coordinator from the British Council or Cambridge English will be in charge of seeing your identity document to verify your data. If you forget, it is most likely that you cannot take the exam.
- Try not to bring a mobile phone to the IELTS or try to leave it with a companion. It is completely forbidden to use or carry a mobile phone inside the IELTS exam room. If you get caught with one, chances are you will be disqualified from the exam.
- Go to the IELTS exam room only with what the examiner tells you. Otherwise, you could be disqualified from the test.
- Follow the IELTS examiner’s step-by-step instructions and don’t interrupt. The examiners from the British Council and Cambridge English are very strict and if you try to cheat, they will not hesitate to kick you out of the room.
- You cannot ask absolutely anything or speak to anyone from the moment you enter the IELTS exam room. All exam instructions will be explained aloud and also appear in writing at the beginning of each test.
- Remember that the Reading, Writing, and Listening part of the IELTS are carried out one after the other without rest and that it is not allowed to leave the classroom to go to the service, so avoid consuming too many liquids before the exam.
We insist: Don’t worry, it’s just one more exam of the many you have done at home. If you have done the preparation, you will not need or read the statements since you will recognize which is each type of question and it will be easy to get good marks and notes.