IELTS is an English language test for study, migration or work. More than three million people take test every year. IELTS is accepted by more than 11,000 employers, universities, schools and immigration bodies around the world.

Preparing for your test can be daunting and leave you feeling incredibly overwhelmed about where to begin, which is why we have put together a series of useful steps to get you started.

Take a practice test

Guide your preparation, by taking a practice test to begin with and identify your weaknesses.  This is a critical part in your initial preparation that will help establish where your strengths and weaknesses are. Not only is it necessary to improve on your weaknesses, but it is equally essential to build up on your strengths to create a solid foundation for the examination. 

However, if you struggle to refrain from these mistakes or are unable to clearly identify them, you definitely need an expert by your side. Most test-takers consider taking an IELTS preparation course, one of the easiest ways to approach the test, as it focuses solely on getting you exam-ready for IELTS. 

Understand the test format

Before your begin practising, it’s extremely important that you know what to expect of the test format. Familiarise yourself with it by reviewing the content of the test, as well as the question and task types for each section. 

Remember the key to success in any examination and not just IELTS is a sound familiarity with the test pattern and format. 

Develop your English capabilities and IELTS strategies

One of the biggest mistakes students make is to focus only on IELTS. They do lots of IELTS practice tests but they forget to improve their English.

Most Indonesian IELTS learners are unaware of their current English level, which is often Intermediate or below, and do not consider or forget that IELTS is an English proficiency test. As such, your English is expected to be top notch.

Keep in mind that learning IELTS is a process. On average it takes 12 weeks to move up a score band by one point.  

Start preparing for your test at least 3 – 6 months prior. We highly recommend finding an institution which will help you with English development and IELTS strategies. 

Use appropriate and assertive English terms when writing

The writing module is perhaps the one that most people struggle with. Both tasks in the academic training must be written in a formal style.

Task 1 requires that you describe and explain data, which you may be an expert at, this requires significant practice in English. 

Task 2 presents a number of challenges. Often, the topic given can be hard to develop if you are not familiar with it. In addition, the essay must have a proper structure.

You need to be prepared to answer both tasks and understand the requirements of each.

You should use appropriate language to complete Task 1 questions and ensure your practice includes the different types of charts (line graphs, bar charts, pie charts, tables, multiple data sources, processes, diagrams) to ensure you are prepared in the test.

For Task 2 question preparation, familiarise yourself with the structure of an essay, how to develop it, how to write the introduction and  the conclusion.  You must be able to connect your ideas using appropriate English. Additionally, practice writing about topics that are common on the IELTS so you become familiar with them.

A preparation course will you expose to you the different types of essays that commonly come up on IELTS such as: Agree or Disagree, Discuss two Opposing Opinions, Advantages and Disadvantages, Problems and Solutions, Causes and Solutions, Causes and Effects.

Immerse yourself in English

Expose yourself to as much language as you can alongside your test preparation. Read things that interest you in English, online magazines or blogs can be a great place to start. 

Write some English every day, by writing a diary, keeping a blog or communicating with an online community such as people on a Facebook group that share an interest with you 

Listen to native speakers talking to one another and if possible join in. Try the ‘shadowing’ technique. This involves repeating what someone has just said in English.  This will help with pronunciation, intonation and stress. 

Bear in mind self-learning is possible as long as you are committed and find someone who is able to give you feedback.

If you are unable to commit or cannot find a suitable partner, find an institution like a RED Embassay Education Consultants that can guide you and give feedback.

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