For most of us it’s difficult to find time to do the things we like to do. We would often abandon learning a new skill due to the lack of time. Let this not be the case with you when you are preparing for IELTS. The day you book your slot and register for the exam, you must gear up for preparing.
"We recommend that students spend a minimum of 6-8 weeks or 30 days preparing for the IELTS exam, focusing on grammar, reading, writing, listening & speaking. We also recommend test takers to spend about 3 to 4 hours every day improving their speed, test strategies and skills. "
If you let your guard down, and wait for a month to begin preparing for IELTS, chances are you’ll be missing some really important stuff. In this blog, we tell you all about preparing for IELTS. The idea IELTS preparation time you should spend in each of the 4 modules, and what should be your test-taking strategy.
As a test-taker, you must give yourself sufficient time to prepare for IELTS. And if you want to score a band of 7 and above, then your IELTS preparation time should be more. Again this varies depending on the learner. If you have decent English skills, then you have to invest 6 to 8 weeks in preparing for IELTS.
But, if you have advanced English skills, then you may not need a long prep time. The IELTS preparation time includes studying on weekends, and ideally 3 to 4 hours of time should be spent every day.
What should be the IELTS preparation time?
According to the internal survey conducted by Kanan International among its 117 IELTS trainers, to help students in IELTS preparation, we found the following interesting patterns.
- 77% of IELTS trainers feel that ideal IELTS preparation time should be around 6 to 8 weeks or 30 days.
- 65% of IELTS trainers recommend test takers to spend about 3 to 4 hours every day preparing for IELTS.
- Around 21% of respondents advise test takers to spend time during both weekdays and weekends to prepare for the IELTS exam.
One of the common mistakes that most IELTS test-takers make is not thinking enough to prepare well before the exam. Whether you appear for the IELTS academic or general test, you must have a strategy. The strategy will include studying some great books, such as the Cambridge series of IELTS books and online resources like Road to IELTS.
As you know, there are 4 modules in an IELTS test - reading, writing, speaking, and listening. And each module will need different preparation strategies as the pattern of the IELTS exam changes for each module. Below we have tried to give some idea on how you should go about preparing:
1 . Preparation time for listening section
In IELTS listening, you’ll find 40 questions, that is 4 sections with 10 questions in each. The level of listening difficulty increases with each section. The entire test lasts for about 40 minutes.
- In section1, you’ll listen to a dialogue between 2 people, on any general topic.
- In section 2, you’ll listen to a monologue on any general event. Here you need to focus on factual information.
- In section 3, you’ll hear 2 or more people talking about academic subjects or events. Here you must note the speakers’ opinions and the factual information.
- In section 4, you’ll hear a lecture or a talk by a speaker on any academic topic. Here, you need to listen to the main ideas in the talk.
To prep for IELTS listening, you’ll have to spend a lot of time listening to the mocks. Most test-takers struggle in the listening section since there’s no replay option in the final test. Once you lose focus, you’ll miss answering some questions. So you need to be very attentive!
“Ideally, 1 week is enough to prep for IELTS listening, but you can take more time if you need to”.
If you’re someone who isn’t aware of different accents, then it could look difficult to you initially.
Tips to prepare for IELTS listening
- Listen to a lot of English language audio series, such as book recordings, plays, English news, podcasts, etc.
- Try to grasp the differences between American and British accents.
- When you practice, try to follow the same environment that you would be in at the test centre.
2 . preparation time for writing section
- The writing section has 2 different text types, and the test lasts for 60 minutes.
- The first writing section requires you to understand some pictorial information and write in 150 words what you understand from observing it.
- The second writing task is longer and difficult than the first. Here you need to write your ideas down about a topic, in 250 words. You must present your points clearly with plenty of examples.
It’s generally advised that a test-taker must spend at least 40 minutes on the second task, and 20 minutes on task one. In general IELTS, the tasks are slightly different. Writing task 1 is a letter, and writing task 2 is an essay based on a topic.
“Ideally, a week’s time is enough to prepare for IELTS writing. Not everyone is good at writing so some of you may need more time
But the general rule is to write in simple English, and try not to use too many flowery languages.
Tips to prepare for IELTS writing
- Write every day and get it proofread by someone who can improve your skills.
- Understand how to structure your writing.
- Get the IELTS materials on writing and study them.
3 .Preparation time for reading section
The reading section comes with 40 questions, and it takes 1 hour to complete the test. Although for both general and academic training, you get similar question types, the text topics vary. You can check the IELTS Academic and General exam syllabus here.
- The IELTS general training syllabus mainly covers everyday English usage. To prepare for general training, you need to go through newspapers, handbooks, and advertisements.
- To prepare for the academic IELTS, you’ll need to study books, journals, magazines, newspapers, etc.
- Both general and academic tests cover questions like MCQs, short-answer questions, matching headings and matching information, sentence completion, and so on.
|“The IELTS reading preparation time will vary depending on the test-taker’s ability to understand the fundamentals of the syllabus”.
Let’s say you’re planning to study for 4 weeks for your IELTS exams, then you may want to keep 1 week aside just for the reading section.
However, if you feel you can do fairly well in reading with less preparation, then you may want to invest more time in one of the other 3 sections which you find difficult.
Tips to prepare for IELTS reading
- Check out what kind of study materials will be more useful to you.
- Be updated with the latest reading syllabus.
- Figure out if you want to self-study or go with an IELTS trainer.
- Ask yourself where you stand with your reading ability. If you need more time to prep, start early.
- Practice mocks on IELTS reading, as much as possible.
Preparation time for speaking section
IELTS speaking lasts for 15 minutes and consists of an interview between the test-taker and the IELTS trainer. It is divided into three parts.
- In the first part, a range of questions are asked to a test-taker, about family, work, study, experience, interests, etc.
- In the second part, the test-taker is given a task card, and then is allowed to choose to talk about a topic for 2 minutes. The examiner then asks questions on one or two topics to complete the second task.
- In the third and last part, the test-taker has to answer questions connected to part 2, and present them in a more abstract way. The last part lasts for 5 minutes.
Now that you know what the different sections are in IELTS speaking, it should be easier for you to make a study plan. Although the speaking section lasts for a few minutes, you shouldn’t confuse the exam time with prep time. It doesn’t mean that you need to spend less time preparing for it.
“In a 4-week preparation time period, at least 1 week can be kept aside just for the speaking section”.
But if you feel confident about your communication skills, then perhaps just a few days should be enough for you.
Tips to prepare for IELTS speaking
- Practise speaking with a partner - could be a friend or anyone in the family.
- Read out loud and read good quality materials.
- Speak with a neutral accent.
- Try to avoid using any fillers when you talk.
How much time should you spend every day to prepare for IELTS?
As mentioned above, daily 3 to 4 hours of time should be invested in preparing for the IELTS - be it general or academic test. You must include weekends too when you plan for your preparation.
One thumb rule that you can follow is if your test day is close enough, you must study for more hours. But if you have enough time in your hand, then you can spend roughly 4 hours each day. Also, the prep time will be more for people who are at a beginner level.
For someone at an advanced level of English, a 15-day prep duration with roughly 3 hours each day should work.
What’s the minimum time required for IELTS preparation?
The minimum time required to prepare for IELTS is 4 months. For some test-takers, it may be 6 months. There’s no official rule about the minimum time you must give yourself for IELTS preparation.
Some test-takers feel 15 days of preparation is enough for them, while others may take longer. This is simply based on the level of skills and knowledge that a test-taker has.
A test-taker with a decent level of English skills may want to work on a 5 month long plan for his or her IELTS. On the other hand, a test-taker with a highly advanced level of English may need just a month or two to prep for the exam.
Is one month enough for IELTS prep?
As we said above, there’s no right or wrong answer to this. There’s no rule whether 1 month or 6 months of time is enough to prepare for IELTS. A student may spend a considerable amount of time and not learn anything at all about IELTS.On the other hand, someone who is much sharper may grasp the IELTS basics within a few weeks.
It totally depends on the level of understanding that you have. Since there are 4 modules in any IELTS that you choose, you should know at least the basics of each.
Join an IELTS prep course
If you are running short of time or if you feel you need a hand to help you prepare for IELTS, then the best way to go about it is to enroll yourself with any IELTS coaching centre near you. IELTS training centres of British Council and IDP are spread across all major Indian cities.
Kanan International is yet another reputable IELTS training centre and overseas educational consultancy, located across major cities like Vadodara, Vapi, Ahmedabad, and Chennai. Kanan’s IELTS trainers are certified English language specialists. They have managed over 500 batches for IELTS so far across India.
You can enroll for a Free demo session with Kanan’s IELTS trainers. In our IELTS training, you get to understand the different question patterns and the test-taking strategy that you must follow. Our trainers help you create a study plan and also organize numerous mock sessions and doubt-clearing sessions, for your benefit.
What’re the advantages of a customized IELTS study plan?
Advantages are many when it comes to creating a customized study plan for IELTS. To start with, a study plan customized according to your schedule can go a long way in keeping you focused and organized.
When you enroll with Kanan, you get a customized lesson plan for your IELTS training from our trainers. This helps you spend less time trying to figure out what to study and when to. The lesson plan covers the number of days and weeks you must devote to each module.
However, it can be fine tuned based on your areas of weakness. Following are the benefits of studying with a lesson plan for IELTS:
- You know where to start from
- You spend less time worrying about each module
- You time yourself to practice mocks
- You get an idea about your pace
- You understand which section you are weak at
- You also identify which section you are good at
Time required for practice tests on IELTS writing
The IELTS writing exam lasts for an hour. This is a crucial section out of all the remaining 4. The examiner will assess you based on your level of articulation, use of vocabulary, presentation of ideas, and communication ability.
The exam has 2 writing tasks, that is task 1 and 2. This means, when you practice IELTS writing, you must time yourself accordingly. This is done to help you mimic the pattern. You become familiar with the strategy.
This way, you also avoid missing any question. It’s better to give yourself 60 minutes while practising. This helps in maintaining the test format.
Time spent on collecting study materials
A good amount of time should be spent on collecting study materials for IELTS. There are so many IELTS books and periodicals available that it’s easy to get confused. It’s important to pick and choose the right material so that you don’t muddle your thoughts with too many references.
The entire series of Cambridge IELTS is the go-to resource for IELTS prep. In addition, the free test materials available with British Council are excellent to start with. Try to gather good-quality resources, which will be useful for you.
Some books may be difficult for you to consume. Select the one that suits you and also fits your budget.
IELTS preparation timetable
Here is a one-week lesson plan on how and what to study for IELTS. This is just a template, and it can be customized and extended according to your needs:
9 am to 10:45 am
11 am to 12:45 pm
1 pm to 2:30 pm
3 pm to 4:45 pm
||Reading books and novels
||Practice essay writing
||Get to know different IELTS questions
||Listening to podcasts or audio books
||Research language specific topics
||Build your vocab - reading
||Online lessons on speaking
||Practice writing tasks
||Practice reading tasks
||Read on general topics
||Listen to different types of audio content
||Practice speaking with a partner
||Read general texts
||Take up some writing lessons
||Practice writing tasks
||Read online materials
||Work on grammar basics and vocab. Take help
||Study more about IELTS speaking
||Revision of texts
||Revision of texts
Please note that you are free to add and delete what you don’t need to study further. This template is just to help you give an idea on how you should structure a typical week for IELTS prep.
If you are one of those test-takers who is wondering if you can pass IELTS without any coaching, then this timetable will be useful. But for those who are enrolled at IELTS coaching centres, such as Kanan, a customized timetable will be given to you by your trainers.
IELTS prep time for retake
If your first IELTS score is not what you expected, you need to apply for IELTS retake. There won’t be any change in the question patterns when you reapply for IELTS. Everything remains the same!
If you had scored below 6 in your last IELTS, which means you didn’t qualify, try to find out your loopholes. Before you proceed with an IELTS retake ask the following questions:
- What did you do wrong in the last exam?
- From which modules did you lose your focus on?
- What was your overall strategy? Was there any?
- Did you practice mocks?
- Did you take care of the time?
You need to figure out what was the biggest mistake that you made, which made you score less in the last exam. Retaking IELTS is easy, but to plan and retake could be tough.
Please remember that you’ll be spending the same amount of money in terms of IELTS exam fees when you retake. So make sure your attempts are not wasted again.
FAQs on IELTS preparation time
1. Is one month enough for IELTS?
There’s no defined time limit for IELTS preparation. You can take either 1 month or 4 months to become ready. Since different test-takers come with different abilities, the preparation time will vary. If you are someone who needs little help in IELTS preparation, then chances are you can be ready for the exam within a month.
2. Can I prepare for the IELTS in 10 days?
Yes, there are test-takers who find it easy to crack IELTS within 10 days. But there are many angles to it. A test-taker who has already attempted IELTS several times earlier may find it easier later to prepare for it. A test-taker who has a high level of English skills may also find it a lot easier to prepare for IELTS later.
But someone who isn’t aware of the IELTS fundamentals can never crack it within 10 days. So you see, there’s no one perfect answer to the question.
3 .Can I prepare for the IELTS in 15 days [ in 2 weeks’ time]?
We have seen many students doing that. It’s possible to crack IELTS in 15 days provided you are already at a better level with your English skills. In a 15-day timeframe, the first week can be spent in each module, and the remaining week can be spent in solving practice papers.
A 15-day time period for IELTS preparation is good enough if you have someone to assist you or coach you. It can also help if you have access to high-quality study materials.
At Kanan, some of our students have made it to IELTS within 15 days. They not only scored well, but also got admissions abroad at their preferred destination.
4 .How much time will it take for my IELTS results?
- If you attempt a paper-based IELTS, you’ll get your results within 13 days after the test.
- If you attempt a computer-based test, you’ll get the results within 5 days.
- If you’re not happy with your scores, and want to go for a remark, it will take at least 21 days for the new test report to be generated.
5. How to manage time during the IELTS reading test?
The most effective way to manage time during the IELTS reading test is -
- To focus on how much score you need; trying to get all answers right may not be the right approach.
- Read the questions clearly; 75% of IELTS trainers say read the questions first, and then the texts.
- Practise a lot so that nothing seems new to you.
- Build your vocab so that you can use them effectively.
- Time yourself during IELTS reading mock tests.
The IELTS preparation time is key when you make a test strategy. If something goes wrong here, the entire test would be futile. Time yourself and, most importantly, use your time wisely on each module. Use the timetable given above to fine tune your priorities.
If you are in need of assistance, speak to our IELTS trainers. You’ll receive the best tips and tricks on IELTS from them. Good luck with your test!