IELTS tips for success – A to Z

IELTS tips for exam success!

Know the A to Z IELTS tips that will help you set up your prep the right way to attain your desired IELTS band score!


A: Ask

In your IELTS speaking task if you are not sure of the question, ASK. Avoid answering question/s without understanding it. 

B: Band

The whole purpose of taking the IELTS is to get desires band, you need to know your target score and prepare for it accordingly.

C: Comma

Using Comma’s in the right place is extremely important and can impact your score significantly. A few simple tricks to keep in mind are:

Use a Comma before any conjunction (and, but, or, yet, for).

Example: I went swimming, and I saw birds. (Note: If the second I, was not part of the sentence the comma would not be required).

Use Comma’s to separate different items in a sentence.

Example: I saw a bird, bicycle, cop.

Use Comma to sperate items in an address.

Example: My pool is located in 4th Cross, 5th Main, Bangalore, 560000.

Use comma if the first word is a Yes or a No.

Example: Yes, I saw birds.

D: Divide

Divide your time efficiently while planning an IELTS writing task. Ideally devise this strategy when taking the mock tests.

E: Early

Arrive at the IELTS test centre early and ensure you know the route well in advance. It’s always good to be early and relaxed.

F: Food

A lot of IELTS test takers ignore this crucial aspect, IELTS is a long test and you will need every ounce of energy to perform to your optimal level so do plan your meal for the test day and carry a few snacks for post-test hunger!

G: Grammar

Grammar is probably the most obvious thing you should work on, it’s not easy to develop right grammar habits in a short-time, however, it’s possible to do so with correct guidance and techniques.

Read: 5 more grammar rules you need to know.

H: Handwriting

Not everyone is blessed with good handwriting and it’s almost impossible to change it after a certain age, but with the IELTS test this can either make or break your attempt. Imagine a scenario where the evaluator doesn’t understand what you have written. So, what’s the solution?

For one, there is always an option to take the Computer based IELTS which is blessing for all those with poor handwriting or you could also try and practice writing on a worksheet and try to make your writing legible.

 I: Italics

This is one of the most discussed topics by IELTS test takers, should you use Italics or not?

As a thumb rule, Italics is not mandatory. However, if used correctly it can make your sentences lucid and exhibit a good range of the language skills. Italics can be used to indicate a full body of work such as book names, titles, movie names etc.

J: Jackpot!!!

Here’s a jackpot for you, it’s an access to our Free Advanced Vocabulary Course!

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K: Keep safe

Most IELTS test centres, if not all have a facility of keep safe’s (lockers) to keep your belongings like mobile phones, bags or other items. 

L: Listening 

IELTS listening is about 30 minutes and will have 4 parts with a total of 40 questions.

Set-1: Conversation between 2 people in a regular daily context.

Set-2:  A monologue in a social context. e.g.: Person A speaking about Weather / Traffic / Facilities etc.

Set-3: A group conversation (3-4+ people) discussing in an academic context.

Set-4: Academic Lecture 

M: Mock Tests

It’s no secret that mock tests contribute to higher scores, it is proven over and over again that sufficient practice helps students get a higher band, irrespective of how good your language skills maybe it is imperative you take multiple IELTS mock tests to be prepared for the D-Day. This by far is the move important IELTS tips!

You can also asses your current ability here: English Language Test 

N: Numbers

Numbers are one of the most frequent items on the IELTS test. And, a lot of IELTS test takers get confused between similar sounding numbers such as 15/50, 13/30 in the listening section so it’s important to concentrate to get this right. Also, w.r.t writing the numbers ensure you use the right format and correct punctuations.

O: Options

Having options to choose from can be very helpful in the IELTS Speaking and Writing task, for example if you are asked “which is your favourite book?” and if you forget the one you practiced for you’ll be in trouble, so it’s important to keep your options open and have at least 2-3 prospective answers for common questions.

P: Passport

Passport is a key document for the IELTS test and in many countries, it is a proof of identification for appearing to the test. While booking the test ensure your passport is valid and book the test as per the name on the passport.

Q: Question Types

IELTS is one of the few tests which has multiple question types and if not familiar with all the question types it will be extremely hard to perform well on the real test.

Some of the common question types on IELTS are:

  1. Match the headings
  2. True, Falls, Not Given
  3. Multiple choice
  4. Sentence Completion
  5. Label Completion
  6. Summarize
  7. Cue Cards

R: Reading

IELTS Reading is different for IELTS General and IELTS Academic tests. 

IELTS General reading format:

60 Minutes, 40 Questions, 3 sections

Section-1: Multiple Choice, 2-3 short texts and requires the test taker to choose the best answer

Section-2: Identifying Information, 2 texts and requires the test taker to identify the accurate information based on the text in a False, True or Not Given format

Section-3: Identifying Views/ claims, 1 long text and requires test taker to identify the vew of the author

IELTS Academic reading format:

60 Minutes, 40 Questions, 3 passages

Sections are similar to General reading but the content varies and it would contain content from academic sources, newspapers, journals and similar sources. Text may also have graphs and diagrams.

S: Speaking

The IELTS speaking happens on a separate day and involves an evaluator (face-face), normally the section takes around 10-15 minutes and has 3 parts.

Part-1: General Conversation based on the topic asked by the examiner such as introduction, background, interests, work etc…

Part-2: Cue Card based topics in which you the topic is based on the subject in the card and you are required to speak for 2 minutes on the topic. The evaluator will also ask you a few follow-up questions.

Part-3: Continuation of part-2, here you have an opportunity to elaborate your ideas and converse for about 4-5 minutes.

T: Time

Time is everything with the IELTS exam, do note the time allotted for each task is very strict and not being able to manage time will lead to lower band, hence being on top of the time is crucial to succeed in the IELTS journey.

U: Understand

Like all language tests, the IELTS test is about your ability to understand the language both in terms of context and utility. Understanding the context of the speech or text is critical, it is also important to understand how the test is scored. 

You can make use of a free demo with Plusprep to gain a better understanding of the test:

FREE IELTS mock test

V: Vocabulary 

Vocabulary is the central piece of any language and having a wide range of vocabulary will most certainly contribute to a 7+ band on IELTS exam. Feel free to make use of the free vocabulary course as listed above.

W: Writing

IELTS writing has 2 types which are different for Academic IELTS and General IELTS.

Academic IELTS Writing:

60 Minutes, 2 tasks

Task-1: 20 Minutes to describe a graph/ diagram / chart / table in 150 words.

Task-2: 40 Minutes to respond to a point of view or argument in 250 words.

X: Xenophobia

Never display xenophobic / racial / prejudiced views in the IELTS test either in the writing task or speaking task.

Y: Yes, No, Not given

One of the most difficult question types in IELTS is Yes / No / Not given and True/ False / Not given.

For these types of questions, it is important to identify keywords and read the statement clearly and carefully and also focus just on the information in front of you, without mixing it up with your knowledge about the topic. 

Z: Zzz

We’ve observed over the years many IELTS test takers getting drowsy while reading long paragraphs the key is to enjoy the process and be motivated for the right reasons.

Beyond IELTS Tips: Learn how to improve your Motivation to Learn

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