This blog post is the third part of our IELTS beginners series, tailored to help you effectively prepare for the IELTS exam. This article will direct you towards the best methods you should use to improve your Writing and Speaking skills from home.
If you’re completely new to IELTS, I would recommend reading the first two posts of this series before you proceed with this article:
To do well in the IELTS exam, you must have a solid understanding of the questions that could appear and exactly how you are expected to answer them.
Therefore, you and every IELTS student should choose a single method to follow for each question type. This will allow you to organise your studies without confusion and remove any element of surprise on the day of your exam.
There are two separate IELTS Writing tests depending on whether you are an Academic or General Training candidate. Both exams are divided into two sections and last one hour in total, the only difference being the question type you receive in the first Task of the exam.
You should be aware that Task 1 is worth 1/3 of the marks for the Writing exam and Task 2 carries 2/3 of the marks available. Therefore, all candidates should spend 20 minutes on Task 1 and 40 minutes on Task 2.
You won’t be allowed a watch with you in the exam, so make sure to keep an eye on the clock.
Writing Task 1
The format of this task will depend on whether you take the General Training or Academic IELTS exam: for General Training candidates this will the form or a letter. For Academic test-takers, you must write a report on a data set, map, or process. Regardless of which test you take, you will be required to write 150 words.
If you’re taking the General Training IELTS exam, take a look below for Chris’ strategy on tackling any Writing Task 1 question:
See the links below for some useful articles which will help you tackle Writing Task 1:
Writing Task 2
This task will require you to write an academic essay on a given topic or a quotation about a specific topic. You must write at least 250 words in 40 minutes.
Many of our students will tell you that this task was their biggest area of weakness before they found us. This is because they weren’t getting an honest representation of their ability as they weren’t receiving feedback on their work. If they had, they would have realised that Writing Task 2 isn’t subjective but is marked from a very specific marking scheme.
The following links should help you get a solid understanding of the quality of work required to score well in Writing Task 2:
Once you’re aware of the quality of work required to get the score you need, you should choose a strategy that will help you tick the boxes on the mark scheme. Strategising will help you efficiently give the examiner what they need to award you as many marks as possible. For Writing Task 2, the key to this is answering the question fully.
If you’re a fan of keeping it simple, you can break down the process of fully answering a WT2 question by following these five easy but important steps:
For a more thorough introduction to Writing Task 2, you should try our 5-Day Challenge. This is a free-of-charge interactive course that will help you obtain a Band 7 or above through five video lessons over five days. Click here to join.
IELTS Speaking tests your ability to communicate through spoken English in the form of an interview with an IELTS examiner.
The test will be divided into three sections. Each section lasts for around four minutes and requires a different strategy to get a Band 7 or above.
In this section, the examiner will ask you questions on familiar topics such as your family, likes and dislikes. This will last for around five minutes and should feel like a natural conversation. Browse through the links below for a clear indication of how to prepare:
If you learn more effectively through video lessons, take a look at our video Guide to IELTS Speaking Part One:
This section will require you to talk about a given topic. This topic will be presented to you in a booklet alongside a number of key ideas for you to discuss. You will be given one minute to plan your answer and must speak for 1–2 minutes.
If you would prefer to learn an effective strategy for Speaking Part 2 through a virtual lesson, see our video below:
For the third and final section of IELTS Speaking exam, the examiner will ask you a number of questions. These will be related to the topic you discussed in Part Two. The nature of these questions is typically more general, testing your ability to speak in an abstract manner.
Do you have a sound understanding of Speaking Part 3? If so, then take a look at the video below for some of our most valuable advice for this section:
Learning the methods outlined above will give you an important tool that shouldn’t be underestimated: confidence. This preparation will allow you to focus on the quality of your work and deliver your best exam performance.
If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below or email us at email@example.com