Thu. Jan 23rd, 2020

Roadtripping Juans

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Tips on preparing for the IELTS

5 min read
Preparing for the IELTS

This post deals with some tips on preparing for the IELTS and is a part of a series of posts called “Our Canada Immigration Journey“. We will be releasing a number of posts under this series in the next weeks.

We hope that this series will help guide you in your own journey of achieving that dream of living your life in Canada.

Fortune favors the prepared mind.

Louis Pasteur

Although the IELTS may seem like a simple English test, it is highly recommended that you prepare for it. After all, your CRS Score is at stake AND this test is NOT cheap!

Below are some suggestions on how to prepare for your IELTS.

Before anything else, remember that this test is designed to determine your English Language proficiency. Be mindful of your grammar, your tenses and your sentence structure.

In case you have not yet booked your slot for the IELTS exam, we have an article that details how you can go about scheduling your exam.


Know the Test Structure

The IELTS is comprised of 4 modules: listening, reading, writing and speaking.  The listening, reading and writing modules are taken in one go and is administered similar to any academic test that one has taken in school. The speaking module is set up like an interview (usually held the day before the other 3 modules).

Preparing for the IELTS: Speaking Module

Get someone to listen to you talk about random topics. Have them decide what topics to ask you and make sure they are simple and common. Some examples are:

  • What is your favourite hobby?
  • Describe your dream vacation.
  • Tell me about a time when you helped someone.

I would start with a general statement and work my way down to the details. Try to say at least 5 sentences about the topic so that the person listening to you can ask follow-up questions and have a conversation with you about what you just said.

Example: Describe your house to me.

I live in a 3-bedroom bungalow in the city. The house is around 2000 square feet in size. It is made of wood and concrete. Inside, you will see an open concept design with no walls dividing the living, kitchen, and dining areas. It has a large front yard, a porch and a 2-car garage.

Preparing for the IELTS: Listening, Reading and Writing Modules

There are some countries wherein IELTS offers official practice materials for a fee. If you don’t want to spend, there are a lot of FREE online reviewers that you can take. Some sample links below:



Go through as much of these as you can. Familiarize yourself with the format of each test. Again, the more you practice, the more comfortable you will be during the actual test.

For the Listening Test, practice taking down notes. Trust me. This works.


Speaking Test

Tip #1: Stay calm. It’s ok to be nervous but remember, there are no right or wrong answers here. The goal is for the interviewer to understand you and to be able to have a good conversation with you.

Tip #2: Keep your sentences short and simple. No need for big, complicated words. Your responses will have a time limit so you don’t want to ramble on and end up saying a lot of unnecessary things that will complicate your message.

Tip #3: Before answering a question, allow yourself 3 to 5 seconds to think about your answer. Let your brain go ahead of your mouth.

Tip #4: In the off-chance that you don’t have an answer to the question, be honest and say so. This is going to be unlikely because the questions you will be asked will be very general. But in case this happens, apologize, say you have no answer to the question, and ask if you can move on to the next topic. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers.

Listening Test

Tip #1: Take down notes! You will be given extra paper so write down much information as you can while listening. Draw a mind map or even jot down important points as you hear them. This way, when you need to answer the questions, you will have information in front of you and you won’t have to rely on memory.

Personal Note: This worked really well for me and this was my highest score among the 4 modules. 😊

Reading Test

Tip #1: Read the questions carefully. There are some questions that are made to confuse you. So make sure you understand the question before answering.

Writing Test

Tip #1: Like in the Speaking Test, keep your sentences and paragraphs simple. You are being tested on how clearly you can translate your thoughts into writing. This is not the time to entertain the reader with your humour (Trust me, I learned this the hard way and this was my lowest!) Remember that you are not writing for a blog.

Tip #2: Start with a general topic as your first sentence and then follow it up with details in the succeeding sentences. And end with a conclusion by summarizing everything that you said in the paragraph.

Tip #3: Mind your capitalizations and punctuations.

Tip #4: No need to count what you write word for word. After writing 2 lines, get the # of words for the 2 lines, get the average and that’s how many lines you need to write to hit the target number of words for the essay.

I hope the above gave you some insights and help you in preparing for the IELTS.


This post deals with some exam preparation tips for IELTS and is a part of a series of posts called “Our Canada Immigration Journey“. Check often with us here in Roadtripping Juans for more on this series.

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