There is no such thing as one IELTS course or school that is perfect for everyone. Therefore, you must find out what kind of tuition suits YOUR individual needs.
In this video, I’ll share the positives and negatives for offline schools, free online courses and paid online IELTS courses so you can decide which type of IELTS course is right for you.
Paid Online IELTS Courses
The most effective way of scoring a Band 7, 8 or 9 is to get help from an experienced IELTS expert or ex-examiner. The easiest and most popular way of doing this is by joining a paid online IELTS course.
The biggest downfall of paid online IELTS courses is obvious – the best ones available are expensive. However, there is usually a good reason for this: expensive products normally provide a better service.
When it comes to IELTS preparation, you will always get what you pay for. So if you’re tempted to join a cheap online IELTS course – ask yourself WHY it is cheap.
Will you get videos that are not available on YouTube? And will you get help from real IELTS teachers? Will they provide feedback on your work? Is the feedback personalised?
If the answer to any of these questions is ‘NO’, you should consider investing in yourself more and getting the support you deserve.
- Personalised feedback.
Your ability to get feedback on your work is CRUCIAL to getting the score you need. Feedback from an expert tells you:
1. Why you aren’t at your required level.
2. How to get to your required level.
For example, my VIP students all get detailed video corrections on their IELTS essays and full-length 1-on-1 mock speaking tests. This feedback allows them to continually develop their IELTS skills until they are ready to get the score they need.
- Individual support.
You can’t put a price on the ability to email a question and get a reply from an experienced IELTS teacher or ex-examiner. This is the fastest and most reliable way of getting clear and trustworthy advice.
For example, the Academic Team on our VIP Course consists of IELTS experts and ex-examiners who have years of experience teaching IELTS. This means they can answer all your questions, send you the advice you need and tell you when you’re ready to book your test.
- Expert advice.
Paid courses give you the chance to get advice from the best IELTS experts in the world. (As opposed to offline IELTS schools, who usually hire the best teachers that are available in their local area. More on this below).
- Tailored syllabus.
Unlike offline schools or free courses, the best paid IELTS courses will create a custom-made syllabus and personalised study plan just for you. This means you can focus on the content that will improve your weak areas and IGNORE the things that won’t.
You Should Attend a Paid Online IELTS Course If…
- You have failed IELTS multiple times.
If you’ve failed IELTS several times and don’t know why, a paid online course with real IELTS experts will show you where you’re going wrong and how to improve.
- You’ve tried other options but your score hasn’t changed.
Offline schools and free online courses aren’t suitable for everyone. If you’ve tried these options and haven’t made any progress, it’s time to invest in yourself and get the level of support you really need.
- It’s important that you pass.
Most people take the IELTS exam because it’s a requirement for starting a new life in a different country.
A paid online IELTS course is ideal for those that urgently need to pass IELTS. Don’t waste your chance at starting a new future because you didn’t get the help you deserve.
For example, many of our VIP students are medical professionals, engineers, lawyers and students who need to pass IELTS to meet a Visa deadline or accept a job or scholarship offer overseas.
At first, they might have believed the VIP course was expensive… But now, they will all agree that joining was the best decision they ever made! You can see for yourself by watching our IELTS success stories here.
Free Online IELTS Courses
There are many free IELTS courses available on the internet. However, some are more helpful than others.
- You must learn on your own from a general course syllabus.
Most free online IELTS courses work in the same way YouTube does: you get access to a number of videos with no expert guidance or support.
- No feedback on your work.
You can’t get feedback from an IELTS professional on a free course – if you want expert help, you need to pay for their time.
Free courses can be useful, but they still require you to assess your own work, identify your own weak areas and figure out how to improve them on your own.
- No academic support.
If you have a question or area of confusion, you won’t be able to get the answers from an IELTS teacher. You also won’t have anyone to tell you when you’re ready to book your test and get the score you need.
- (Mostly) Marketing.
Most free online courses are used to pitch a paid product or service. As Chris says in the video above, if you aren’t paying for a product – YOU are the product!
As long as the paid service is legitimate and helpful, there’s nothing wrong with using your free content to advertise your paid content.
However, you should be aware that most free IELTS courses are only designed to help you a very limited amount, so you shouldn’t depend on them if you need a Band 7 or above.
- No clarity on why you failed.
If you fail the IELTS exam, a free course won’t be able to give you the advice or guidance you need to understand where you went wrong.
- Access to the best IELTS teachers.
Online IELTS courses can connect you with some of the best-trained experts in the industry, which is a HUGE benefit that only became an option in recent years.
- No money!
Free online IELTS courses are great for people that simply don’t have the budget to afford help from an IELTS teacher.
They are also perfect for those who want to get an idea of what a teacher’s lessons are like before they sign up to their paid course. Almost like a free trial!
Online IELTS courses are incredibly convenient – you don’t need to travel to a teacher or sit in a classroom with other students. You can begin learning whenever you want and can even skip entire lessons!
However, you MUST pick just one free course or tutor that you trust. Otherwise, you could get confused by all of the conflicting advice and information available.
You Should Attend a Free Online Course If…
- You want to ‘try before you buy’.
Free courses give you the opportunity to see what a teacher’s style is like before you invest in their paid course or services. This allows you to choose the type of teacher that is best suited to your individual learning style!
- You don’t have the budget to pay for a teacher.
Help from an expert is the fastest way to improve your IELTS score, but it simply isn’t an option for everyone. Thousands of people have gotten the scores they need by preparing on their own. If they can do it, you can too.
It IS possible, it’s just not easy!
- You already have a very high level of English.
If you already possess strong English language skills, a free online IELTS course might be just what you need to improve your exam technique and get your required score.
These are traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ schools where one teacher helps a classroom full of students.
- The teachers aren’t IELTS experts.
Offline schools are very limited with the teachers they can hire, which means that you aren’t getting the best tuition available.
Think about it – if Liverpool Football Club could only sign footballers from Liverpool, their team would be terrible! By hiring skilled athletes from all over the globe, they ensure they have some of the best footballers in the world.
- You get taught a general syllabus.
When you’re in a classroom with other students, you will all be taught the exact same syllabus. This means you’ll have to waste your time learning the entire course syllabus instead of focusing on your own specific weak areas.
- You don’t get taught on an individual basis.
Most IELTS classes contain between 15-30 students. With these numbers, it is almost impossible to get the individual attention you deserve. As such, most of your time could be spent learning things that won’t help you to improve.
- Other students can be distractions.
In our experience, most IELTS classrooms only contain a small number of students that are serious about improving their scores. As such, other members of the class can be distracting or demotivating if they don’t want to take part.
- You get taught from a textbook.
Most schools teach from an IELTS textbook in order to maintain some level of consistency in their teaching. However, this form of teaching simply isn’t effective. If it worked, anyone could pass the IELTS exam their first time by purchasing a textbook!
- Social interaction.
Some students enjoy learning by socialising with people in a classroom and find it motivating to have a teacher in front of them.
- Trust in brands.
When you join a large school with a recognisable brand, you can expect to get some level of consistency and education in the material you’ll learn. Many people don’t have the same expectation when it comes to smaller, independent schools.
You Should Attend an Offline IELTS School If…
- You enjoy learning by interacting with a teacher and other students.
However, your #1 goal in school should still be to LEARN.
- You have a lot of money.
Remember: teachers that are good at their jobs are usually NOT cheap.
- You have trust in the brand you’re paying for.
Trust is a crucial part of IELTS preparation – you need to know that your teacher is qualified, experienced and trustworthy.
Before you commit to an offline IELTS course, you must find the answers to these important questions:
- Will the syllabus be general? Or will it be tailored to my specific weak areas?
- How much feedback will I receive?
What happens if I fail? Do I have to pay more money?
Do you have a refund policy?
Doing so will help you ensure that you don’t make a financial commitment with an IELTS school that isn’t suitable for your specific needs.
I hope this post has helped you to decide on the type of IELTS course or school that is right for you. If you have any questions or would like some advice, please feel free to contact our team at [email protected]