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How to prepare for IELTS by yourself

 One of the first questions that arise when you need to take the IELTS exam is how to prepare for it effectively? Especially if you need a high score for admission to universities abroad. The answer depends on factors such as:

  •          How much free time you have
  •          When do you plan to take the test?
  •          Your current English level (CEFR or IELTS)

How good is your current knowledge of English?

Remember that the IELTS exam objectives are for candidates with at least a B1-B2 on the CEFR scale! But if your English level is C1-C2, you should focus on the test taking tips and strategies, not concentrating on your overall English level.

Types of IELTS. The difference between Academic and General

When you register for the exam you need to choose between its types:

  •  Academic - suitable for those who are going to study or work in their specialty. In the exam you are asked to describe tables, graphs or map passages in English.
  • General Training - suitable only for moving to another country and getting visa. General IELTS topics are usually simpler, closer to everyday life.

How quickly can I learn English to the right level?

You may be well prepared for the structure of the exam, and you are good at different types of questions, but if the examiner has difficulty understanding your answers, for example because of poor pronunciation or handwriting, your score will be lowered. Or, for example, you may do well on various types of essay questions and graphs, but if you make a lot of grammar mistakes, again - your score will be low.


Improving your pronunciation and grammar takes quite a bit of time!


So when you're thinking about where to start preparing for IELTS, think about how good your English is overall. You need to train speaking a lot and be ready to speak about different themes fluently. By the way, it’s important to prepare commemorative speech topics. The length of preparation will depend on that as well. You may have to think about private lessons with a teacher so you can focus on your speaking skills and grammar.

Is it possible to prepare for IELTS in four months?

Four months is plenty of time to be fully prepared for the test and to practice all types of questions on the test. You will also have plenty of time to practice writing essays.

In 4 months, you can also improve your overall level of English. To do this, load yourself up as much as you can:

  •  listen to music and podcasts
  •  Watch TV shows and movies with subtitles.
  •  Talk to people in English as much as possible

You don't have to stop at one thing

How is independent training worse than a language course with a teacher? In fact - in general, almost everything.

Working on your English at home is a great complement to a language school course. So you can significantly reduce the time of preparation, and learn the material easier.

But apart self-training is suitable only for those who already have a good level of English (about C1-C2), and a high level of self-organization. The only thing you can use is essay editing service. It will help you to see the common mistakes that you’re doing. 

The advantages of self-preparation to IELTS:

  •  you can combine with the preparation for courses
  •  you make your own schedule and study wherever you want
  •  it's free (unless you want to buy your own textbook)
  •  you can study at your own pace

Here are the cons:

  •  you do not have a plan and methodology of classes
  • you have to find materials for training yourself
  • you have to have willpower and force yourself to practice regularly (and this is not always easy!)
  • You are not familiar with the exam format? Then you need to learn it from scratch
  •  it is hard to evaluate your knowledge yourself
  •  Where to start the preparation for IELTS?

Be realistic with yourself and ask yourself how much time you need to prepare for the exam, especially if your English leaves a lot to be desired. It can take several years to learn the language. That's why it's a good idea to first determine what level of English you have now and what level you want to get.

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