Get a 7+ Band in IELTS with Just a Week’s Preparation or Less!

My own personal preparation guide

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A little back story:

IELTS is an English Proficiency test accepted in almost all countries worldwide as an entry requirement for graduate school for non-native English speaking population. Other alternatives for this test can be TOEFL, PTE, etc. TOEFL and IELTS are mostly preferred in almost all countries none superior to the other. I chose IELTS as I had an offline center for the same in my city.

This blog is a guide for people who are thinking to start preparing for IELTS but are confused about the right way and resources to start the preparation.

I prepared for IELTS last year and got a 7+ band score (which is basically the maximum cutoff a university gives for the students as per my research). I didn’t take any course in particular but did some focused preparation from a few resources. The preparation time was a week for me. But it may be even less or more based on your comfort. But one week is quite a standard time.

My final scores were:

Listening-9; Reading-7; Writing-7; Speaking-7.5 (Overall-7.5)

  • Try to maintain a 6.5+ in each module as sometimes universities also give the module cutoffs. It is often not recommended to have a score below 6 in any module.
  • It is mostly the selection based on the qualifying mark or band (mostly in STEM), so do not get intimidated if you do not get a 9 or 8.5. It is absolutely fine.

Tips for preparing for your IELTS:

General Tips:

  • Know your weakness by giving some mock papers. It is not necessary to take a full test rather focus on identifying your weakness. For example, you might not be comfortable speaking fluently or you don’t have that required amount of focus for listening tasks, etc.
  • If you are not comfortable in English or you have not received your formal education in English, you must take more time to prepare. Keep at least a month in such a case as a safe limit.

Listening Tips:

  • Listening Tasks can be in any English accent. It can be British English or even American English. But they follow a standard WPM rate and extreme clarity in pronunciation.
  • You can take some practice tests here to diagnose your area of difficulty.
  • For the offline test, you can use a pencil and eraser to jot down answers while listening. You are given around 10 extra mins towards the end of the listening test to write the final answers on the given sheets.
  • So, if you understand the accent well and can jot down each answer on time you are good to go.
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Reading Tips:

  • This is the part of my test which I underestimated. The reading passages follow a certain level of difficulty. It is mostly an analytical task, hence if you are not comfortable reading complex sentences with intermediate-level vocabulary, practice this section more than the rest.
  • Unlike the listening test, you are not given extra time to jot down your answers on the answer sheet so write the answers as you read the passage. I missed a few answers due to this.
  • The reading test is the section to partially check your vocabulary, so if you have time do check the common vocabulary (maybe from the Magoosh flashcards or Barron’s 3000 lists). This step is not mandatory but it will surely help you get a better reading score. I skipped this step, underestimating the overall difficulty.
  • Practice more and more for this part.
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Writing Tips:

  • Practice two or three full-length writing tests. It will also help you increase your speed and handwriting, which are equally important.
  • Read the prompts very carefully. You have to answer within a few words so it is very important that you directly write to the point and do not bit around the bushes for this task. Diverting from the prompt can lead to a deduction of the score.
  • You can refer to some templates available in the free preparation guides and show your vocabulary skills for this task. The pattern of the prompts is somewhat similar so you can do some prior preparation or memorization for this task.
  • Write in good handwriting and neatly (use a pencil if you are comfortable with that).
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Speaking Tips:

  • I watched the mock speaking interviews which helped me figure out how to introduce myself properly, how fluent should I be while interacting, etc. It also gives you an idea about how each band’s scores are given or how much you need to work upon yourself to get the target band. Link: AcademicEnglishHelp, IELTS Advantage
  • The most effective way of preparing was IELTS Speaking PRO: Full Tests & Cue Cards — Apps on Google Play. This android app has tons of questions and sample answers for the IELTS speaking module. I practiced the questions from this app with my friend who was also preparing with me. We took mock interviews of each other with the help of the model tests in this app and this helped us the most out of all to do well on D-day.
  • Exhibit your vocabulary skills only when required to make it a more natural conversation during your test.
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For the final test day, just be relaxed. The questions on the final day are mostly general and easier than the tests so be relaxed and answer comfortably.

It is simply a language Test so also do not get disheartened if you score less than 9, but try to score as high as possible.

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