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IELTS test tips

Practical tips for your exam day

The IELTS test can be a bit challenging if you are not prepared enough. Also, to score well, it is important that you start your preparation well in time. It is a three hour test that evaluates you on all four language skills - Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.

Here are some pointers to help you score well in your IELTS exam:

IELTS Listening test tips

  • Most important : check if your headphones are working, if not, raise your hand
  • Utilize the time allotted to prepare the questions. Read through them before the recording starts
  • Listen to the recording attentively and focus more on answers than understanding everything. Remember that the recording is played only once
  • Take notes on your question paper when listening to the recording
  • Write within the given word limit for each question
  • Revise and proofread for spelling and grammar errors before submission
  • Try to use all capital letters for your answers

IELTS Reading test tips

  • Examine every detail of the figures, graphs or images in the question paper to be precise while answering.
  • If you can’t understand a question, don’t waste time on it. Rather move onto the next, you can always come back later to finish this.
  • Don’t waste time writing on question paper. There is a time limit and you will get no extra time to transfer answers later on.
  • Understand the questions carefully and focus on finding answers from the passage.
  • Be precise, grammatically-correct and to-the-point. Proofread before submission.
  • Try to use all capital letters for your answers.

 The General and Academic Training Reading tests are usually graded to the same level. However, the texts mentioned in the Academic Reading Test can be more challenging as compared to those mentioned in the General Training Test.

IELTS Writing test tips

  • Perform a thorough analysis of assigned tasks and quickly prepare the answers mentally.
  • Divide your time smartly, 20 minutes for task 1, and 40 minutes for task (as it is lengthier and carries more marks).
  • Try to write over 150 words for task 1 and over 250 for task 2.
  • Avoid repetition of ideas, phrases and words.
  • Ensure that you write a conclusion for task 2.
  • Write precise, relevant answers. Avoid writing long paragraphs and sentences.
  • Use active voice. Avoid writing in passive voice.
  • Do not submit without a thorough revision and proofreading.

IELTS Speaking test tips

  • Speak clearly (slow and fluently).
  • Listen to the questions asked carefully, and answer directly.
  • You can add more information to the answers, ensure the answers remain relevant.
  • If required, ask the examiner to repeat the question.
  • Be confident as you speak.
  • Don’t take long pauses.
  • Focus on vocabulary, range of tenses, grammar and sentence structure equally.

Enhance your English language skills

Improving on a language takes time, and so it is important that you start working on your skills ahead in time. Make use of these handy tips:

  • Read, write and speak in English as much as possible. Make it a part of your daily life.
  • Create a group of friends and practice speaking in English.
  • Read English newspapers and listen to English news channels or radio.
  • Try listening to a variety of English accents – British, Australian, American, British, New Zealand and Canadian.
  • Watch English movies with English subtitles.
  • Read extensively to develop your reading speed.
  • Learn to understand context to be able to scan the available content for answers.
  • Start paying attention to your grammar, spelling and vocabulary.
  • Learn to be precise, relevant and within the required word count.

Stay calm before the test day

Refresh all test rules and IELTS format to ensure you haven’t missed anything out. Have proper meals and sleep well before the test to stay fresh and active during the test. Also, leave a little early to avoid any traffic on the way to your test center.

Quick tips for the test day

  • Ensure that you carry your relevant ID proofs. Carry the same identification document as used at the time of test application.
  • Double check test location, date and time. Keep enough travel time so as to avoid getting late.
  • No watches are allowed in the exam room, there will be a wall clock in the examination room to refer.
  • Be attentive when the supervisor is giving instructions, ask again if you have any doubts.
  • Try to attempt all questions as there is no negative marking.
  • Do not try to cheat or copy any other student’s work.
  • Leave your belongings outside the examination hall, as directed by the supervisor.
  • Do not take back the question paper or answer sheet with you.
  • Seek your supervisor’s permission before leaving the room.


Feel free to contact the IDP Indonesia team for any further assistance on IELTS test preparation.

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