Dinesh Pandiyan

updated on 04-03-2023


How to Prepare for IELTS ?

How to Prepare for IELTS ?

Before knowing how to prepare for IELTS, you need to clearly understand the IELTS test. IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is an English proficiency test, which is used for determining the English language skills of non-native speakers. It comprises four modules - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. If you want to study, work or migrate to English-speaking countries, you can take the IELTS test.

IELTS scores are essential for universities and visa/immigration authorities as proof of English language proficiency. It is possible to prepare for the IELTS exam without joining coaching/training programs. It takes self-motivation, proper planning, and other important tips, which we have mentioned in the article. 

Table of Contents:

How to prepare for an IELTS exam at home without coaching?

Below, you can find the general tips and techniques to prepare for the IELTS examination. And, the specific tips for preparing each of the four modules. 

General Tips

  • Understand the basics: Check out the official page of IELTS or Download the IELTS students guide. Learn about the general information and four modules of IELTS, which are reading, writing, listening and speaking. Understand all the aspects in detail, such as test format, question types, marking criteria, band descriptors, etc. 
  • Keep Practicing yourself: Practice testing is key to any learning endeavour. Download the IELTS question papers, try to complete it within 2 hours and 45 minutes, and evaluate the answers. Do practice, till you are able to achieve the test within the time limit and get a better score. 
  • Develop your English in multiple ways: Primarily, you have to improve your English skills in all aspects. Read books, articles, magazines, etc. Listen to podcasts, audiobooks, etc. Watch English news channels or youtube videos. Speak to your friends who know English. 
  • Keep in mind the limit of the IELTS exam: As already mentioned, the IELTS exam has a certain duration - 2 hours 45 minutes. And, each module has a time limit. When you are practicing, complete each module within its respective time constraints. 
  • Distraction-free environment: Focus is important when studying or learning anything. Study in your room or library or a place where you are not distracted. Keep mobile phones away from you, which could distract your attention during studying. Schedule your preparation into different slots and take breaks after each slot. It can help you to learn well without burning out.

For more tips: IELTS Preparation tips


  • Improve your reading speed and comprehension: Read the material with a stopwatch and note down your reading duration. And, try to read the same material within a short period of time using the timer. It can improve your reading speed. In an effort of increasing your reading speed, don’t leave the comprehension part. Identify your comprehension level and look for ways to improve it. 
  • Practice skimming and scanning: Skimming technique is employed to grasp the overall understanding of the passage. Scanning is used to identify the specific details in the passage. Skim and scan the passages to sharpen your skills. Use it when you are taking a practice test. It can help you during the actual IELTS reading test.
  • Expand your vocabulary: Having a large vocabulary can help you to understand the passages. In IELTS reading, passages will be rich in vocabulary, technical terms, and academic terms. If you know a wide range of vocabulary, you are able to efficiently answer the questions. 
  • Pay attention to the detail and structure of the text: Download or print out the reading texts of the IELTS exam. Recognize the structure and important details of the text during reading. Practice repeatedly till you get skilled in identifying the structure and important details in the passage/text. 

Get more reading tips: IELTS reading tips


  • Follow the instructions: Write an essay, not below, the mentioned word limit. The word limit for IELTS writing task 1 is 150, and for IELTS writing task 2 is 250. To cover the relevant and required information, you can write above the word limit. 
  • Learn the general topics: Have a general knowledge of the common topics such as education, environment, Science and technology, etc. You can use it in your essays for IELTS. 
  • Use variety of sentence structures: Familiarize with the various types of sentence structures such as simple, compound and complex sentences. Practice writing the same sentence in different sentence structures. It contributes to a good writing band score. 
  • Develop your grammar skills: Understand the basic and advanced grammar structures. Write a lot on different topics. Understand and rectify the grammatical errors. Focus on all the aspects - punctuation, tenses, connectors, etc. 
  • Improve your critical thinking skills: Read or watch the debates and understand how the arguments are developed. It can develop your critical thinking skills. Use critical thinking when you write an essay till it becomes natural. 
  • Read the model answers: Read the model answers of both writing tasks. Note down the points about its structure and content. Find the pattern common to all the high band score essays. And, try to implicate the findings of the pattern in your writing. 

Check out: IELTS writing tips


  • Be focused: Keep all your focus during listening to audio recordings. Train your focusing ability. It can help you to understand the audio content better. 
  • Familiarize yourself with various English accents: Get comfortable with different English accents such as British English, North American English, Australian/New Zealand/South African English. IELTS Listening uses different types of accents in their audio recordings. 
  • Active Listening: Listen to the audio recordings actively by carefully understanding the meaning and intent behind what is said. Practicing active listening can develop your listening skills. 
  • Use the summarization technique: Listen to the audio and summarize the content you heard. Identify how much you have understood. It builds your confidence and improves your comprehension skills in terms of listening.

Also read: IELTS listening tips


  • Talk about various topics: Speak to your friend on various topics. Handling different topics can challenge and improve your articulation skills. 
  • Practice Pronunciation: Watch your pronunciation of several words. And, identify the actual pronunciation. Rectify it, if you found any errors. 
  • Speak with time constraints: In an Individual long term test, you have to talk on a given cue card. It spans around 3-4 minutes. Get a sample cue card and talk within a time constraint. And, remember to cover all the questions within the time limit itself. 
  • Speak at Natural Pace: Don’t try to slow down or increase your speaking speed. Speak at your regular speed. It is important to be comfortable with speaking English. 

For more tips and techniques: IELTS speaking tips

Best Resources for IELTS exam preparation

We have listed out the top resources to prepare for IELTS on your own, below. 

  1. Quizlet: Learn new words and terms using flashcards. You can expand your vocabulary on all the topics relevant to IELTS.
  2. Forvo: The website and app dedicated to improving your pronunciation.
  3. Lang 8: Improve your English with the help of the native speaker's community.
  4. Word Reference: Learn new English words with the help of this dictionary.
  5. Books to prepare for IELTS: Learn English required for excelling in IELTS using books such as Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS, Cambridge Grammar for IELTS, Cambridge Vocabulary for IELTS, and Barron’s IELTS Superpack. 


Use the given tips to prepare for the IELTS examination. And, the resources that we have listed advance your skills further. In coaching programs, you can get the benefits of a proper schedule and training. Still, with self-discipline, you can study on your own. 


How can I start preparing for IELTS at home for beginners?

As a beginner, you have to choose the IELTS exam, which suits your purpose. It can be either academic or general. Prepare each module, step by step. Learn the format, question types, and band descriptors. Set goals and practice each day, without fail. 

Can I score 8 in IELTS without coaching?

Yes, you can achieve the desired band score, if you practice each section consistently, get feedback and improve. 

Which section of IELTS is most difficult?

According to the IELTS experts, the Writing module is considered to be challenging and difficult. It has two tasks and various essay types.

Can I crack IELTS on the first attempt?

Generally, it is difficult to crack the IELTS examination on the first attempt. But, it is still possible to achieve it, if you plan properly, practice consistently and get timely feedback.

Can I prepare for IELTS by myself?

Yes, you can prepare for the IELTS test on your own. You need to combine hard work and smart work to accomplish. Create a better study schedule, implement proper techniques, and study daily.

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