Be Your Own Teacher: IELTS Materials & Resources
So you’ve decided to take the IELTS test and prepare on your own. Good for you! But now you’re feeling overwhelmed. Possibly you’re trying to find reliable IELTS resources to help you prepare. Or maybe you’re still trying to decide on how and where to start. Keep calm, take a deep breath. If you’re reading this, you’ve taken the first step in the right direction.
When it comes to preparing for IELTS, there's a wide variety of materials and resources available. It can be difficult to decide on which materials are right for you and how to use them to achieve the results you want. The good news is, we’re here to help you explore your options. This post will present you with a number of different high-quality online resources, many of which you can access for free, and will focus on the best ways to use those materials when preparing for the IELTS test.
A look at free online resources
When we talk about IELTS resources, we mean information for candidates, practice tests, tips and strategies, online presentations (also known as webinars), anything that can help you succeed in IELTS. To make it easier for you to look at all of the different types of materials available on the Internet, we have compiled a list of free online resources that you can use to help you prepare:
• Information for candidates
If you don’t know much more beyond the name of the test and the band score you want to achieve, let me suggest looking through the information for candidates’ brochure, which includes an overview of the test format. This can be very helpful in giving you a clear picture of the test and what you’re aiming for.
• IELTS scoring
Understanding how your English skills are scored in the IELTS test is also important. This IELTS scoring guide provides you with scoring details on each of the components of the test (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking), as well as on the overall band score.
• Practice tests
Practice tests can help you prepare for the experience of reading, writing, listening and speaking under exam conditions, and help you get used to following IELTS test procedures. Try to make your practice testing as similar to the real IELTS testing as possible: complete the tests in a quiet space without interruptions, stick to time limits and transfer your answers to an answer sheet (for Reading and Listening). Practice tests also offer you the opportunity to review your answers and compare them with model answers (for Writing and Speaking).
• Tips & strategies
This resource will allow you to view top tips and strategies provided by IELTS experts for each module of the test. These tools will help you better prepare for the IELTS test and do your best on the day.
• IELTS Webinars
IELTS Webinars are live, 90-minute presentations led by IELTS experts and they're a great opportunity to learn more about the exam and ask any questions you may have. They are available to all test-takers in Canada and Latin America.
Other useful online resources
There are also some great IELTS resources that are either available once you have registered for the exam, or that offer you a more personalized assistance at a low cost:
• 30-day free online IELTS preparation
When you register for your IELTS test at select centres across Canada, you get free access to a comprehensive online preparation course for 30 days. This will allow you to work on a particular module (Reading, Writing, Listening or Speaking) for up to 25 hours. It also offers a practice test in your chosen module, along with detailed feedback and model answers for all tasks. You can also have access to other modules for $49.00 CAD.
• Writing and Reading Assist
With Writing and Reading Assist, you get to try sample writing and reading tasks similar to those in the IELTS test. Your answers are then reviewed by an IELTS expert, who will provide you with a personalized report with details on how you can improve. You can have access to this helpful tool for only $35.00 AUD.
Developing good study habits
Now that you know where to find reliable IELTS resources, it’s time to take the next step: prepare for your IELTS test! Developing good study habits is essential when it comes to preparing for the exam. Here are some tips that can help you get organized and focused when preparing for IELTS:
• develop a plan of study
• find a quiet place to study where you can concentrate
• monitor your own use of English (identify and correct your mistakes)
• learn to use reference materials such as dictionaries and grammar reference books properly
• organize any practice files you may have and review your work regularly
• keep a learning record or diary
And remember, steady commitment is a much more certain guarantee of success than inconsistent bursts of activity. Spend regular time preparing for the test, practice, and use English as much as possible!
By Andrea Castro