How to get good score in IELTS

Are you planning to study abroad? Or is it that you are planning to immigrate? A good IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score may be a prerequisite for you to work or settle in one of the countries of your dreams. A great score in IELTS requires a good comprehension skill and consistent preparation.

The preparation for the IELTS examination can seem like an uphill task from the moment you decide to take the test. The examination itself consists of numerous parts and sections you must study and prepare in advance. (source)

The IELTS exam is much more than just a series of tips and tricks to get a high score. This is one of those examinations that help you study or work in a foreign country. You must check the countries that accept IELTS as a valid evidence of your proficiency in English language. It’s also about the urge to improve your English skills and abilities. Therefore, to get the best band score on your IELTS exam, you need to start with a solid foundation in English. (source)

What is IELTS?

The International English Language Testing System, or IELTS, is a standardized test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers. IELTS that stands for International English Language Testing System, is one of the most popular English Language tests. This primarily checks your proficiency pertaining to 4 common skills- Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. Those of you planning to acquire a Master’s Degree or an MBA must aim for a considerably high score. (source)

IELTS was introduced in 1989. The test has meticulously built its reputation all over the world, reaching a growth of 3.5 million in 2018. IELTS is a combination of secure reliable testing backed by extensive research. This helps it to meet the expectations or requirements of its users.

Individuals who appear for this test every year range from a wider range of sectors like higher education institutions, government departments, healthcare regulators and employers. IELTS is owned and run jointly by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English. (source)

There are two types of IELTS tests. Depending on the organisation you are applying to, you can appear for IELTS academic or IELTS general training. Scores are acceptable in more than 9,000 organisations worldwide. If you aspire to study at a university, then you should opt for the IELTS Academic test.

An IELTS test result exhibits not just a passive knowledge of English, but also the ability to use the language efficiently in a variety of real-world contexts, and the language skills needed for success in higher education, professional contexts and everyday life in English-speaking countries. (source) (source)

Its reach

The test is offered in more than 130 countries at over 1,100 locations, including over 50 in the USA. 48 test dates are made accessible to the users each year for a paper-based test and the computer-based test is conducted almost daily in India. IELTS plays a vital role in international higher education. It is recognized for entrance to universities and colleges across the English-speaking countries. This includes all the universities in Australia and the United Kingdom.

More than 3,400 institutions in the United States, as well as hundreds of institutions in many other countries globally, recognize IELTS. It is also the most widely used test for visa and citizenship purposes in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. You should also note the global presence of IELTS at over 1200 test centres in more than 140 countries and territories. The accessibility increased last year with the global roll-out of computer-delivered IELTS. (source)

International English Language testing system
International English Language testing system

IELTS Score and Skill Level

It is good to note that each band score symbolises your proficiency. Following this may help you to evaluate where you stand and how well you can prepare. We have compiled a chart that helps you to understand this better- (source)

Band Score Skill Level Description
9 Expert user Has complete command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete comprehension skills
8 Very good user Has full command of the language with only occasional inaccuracies Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well.
7 Good user Has operational command of the language, though with frequent errors, and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning too.
6 Competent user Has effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings. Can use and understand moderately complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
5 Modest user Has partial command of the language, coping with overall meaning in most situations, though is likely to make too many mistakes. Should be able to handle basic communication.
4 Limited user Basic competence is restricted to familiar situations. Has occasional problems in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language.
3 Extremely limited user Conveys and understands the only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent errors in communication occur.
2 Intermittent user No real communication is possible except for the most basic information using single words or short sentences in familiar situations. Has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.
1 Non-user Essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.
0 Did not attempt the test No accessible information provided.

How to obtain a high IELTS score?

We have listed some of the most effective measures to can be used to score well in the IELTS examination- (source)

  • Preparations must begin early. Be consistent, and monitor your progress regularly.
  • Try to ace standard English grammar in a methodical way.
  • Enhance your proficiency in these 4 skills– listening, speaking, reading and writing.
  • Communicate fluently in English, both orally and in writing.
  • Improve your vocabulary. Try to learn 10 new words from different domains every day.
  • Read longer passages that specialize in different subject areas – management, finance, culture, history, sciences, etc.
  • Listen to the news and watch documentaries on various topics in English. Read English newspapers.
  • Practice communication with other English speakers. You may choose topics like your hobbies, interests, everyday life, family, job, dreams and professional aspirations. This will help in identifying mistakes.
  • Join an IELTS tutorial if you need to. This will help you practice methodically. This will also help you to understand whether you are ready to start preparing for the IELTS exam.
  • Take sample tests and get feedback from a professional instructor. This will help you know your level and decide on the subsequent steps.
  • Towards the end of your IELTS preparation, start practising with full-length tests under realistic conditions for several weeks before the test date. (source)

What skills do you need for IELTS?

IELTS tests your basic English skills in the areas of Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. You need not be a native speaker of the language. (source)

What IELTS score is needed for a Master’s Degree or an MBA aspirant?

The overall score on the IELTS ranges between 1 and 9. The scale relates to stated competences in English: 1 = non user; 5 = modest user; 7 = good user; 9 = expert user. You should aim to achieve a band score of 6.5 or above for admission to a Master’s degree programme. Each university and its programmes have different requirements that allow a candidate admission. (source)

The aim of IELTS preparation is to make sure you are really fluent in English and ready for a Master’s or an MBA degree programme taught in English. Universities will expect that you be equally good in all four skills. So preparation to sit the IELTS is not simply about obtaining a high score.

The most important point is to improve your English language skills. Preparation for any exam is a continuous process that requires time and effort. Every practice test you do, every listening, reading and writing activity you complete and every speaking practice you undertake improves your language skills and adds to your confidence during the exam. (source)

Focus on each section (source)

1.Listening (40 minutes)

You can improve your listening skills through various online sample questions. To comprehend the accent of native English speakers, you may watch English news.

There are 40 questions in all. They are split into four sections of increasing competence beginning with a monologue or dialogue that familiarizes the candidate with the speakers and their environment. Each section can be heard only once with the questions provided towards the end of it. (source)

Tips to get a good score in IELTS
Tips to get a good score in IELTS

Some more tips:

Practice as much as you can. In this part of the test, the speed of the person who speaks increases gradually and it is important to Keep pace with the speaker. Cultivating a habit of active listening will help you handle this section well.
Read the instructions and questions before beginning this section. Try to get an idea of the situation- Who are the speakers? Where are they? Why are they speaking? Remember, you are allowed to hear the audio only once. And it is important to know that you will be required to read, write and listen simultaneously. Listen for ‘signpost words’ such as however, although and finally. They help you to anticipate what the speaker will say.

2.Reading (60 minutes)

This section contains 40 questions that are further divided into 3 sub-sections. You may note that the academic test comprises of 3 long texts in three sections with questions provided towards the end of each text whereas the general test comprises of 5 short texts 4 short passages and 1 long passage in three sections with questions provided towards the end of each text. (source)

You can use the following techniques to master this section:

1.Develop skills for every question type

It is essential to develop skills for each type of questions. There are 14 questions in all; consistent practice will help you tackle every question well.

2.Learn to scan and skim

Skim through each text to try to get a basic understanding of what it is about. What is the text about? Who was it written for?

3. Read fast

Skimming is basically to read a passage in not more than 2-3 minutes. Post this, you need to gather a general idea about the entire passage. Most of the questions are given at the end of the passage. This helps you to skim read the passage before answering the questions. You may be able to get tips from books and articles written on how to improve reading speed.

4.Highlight keywords

You must remember to underline or highlight keywords. Take a quick glance at the questions before you read the text when doing this look for specific words like when, where, why, how, whom, how many, which, and so on.

5. Other relevant skills

The only question that you are asked before the passage is matching headings, and do this, you need not have to read the entire passage. The key skill here is the ability to scan and locate important information at the earliest. Carefully read the title and any sub-heading. Every paragraph contains a single main idea. The questions will concentrate on these main ideas. You should have the ability to skim read difficult passages. Hence practice is a must. You may read BBC news, The New Scientist or The Economist.

Some more tips to increase IELTS score:

Enhance your vocabulary to tackle this section in IELTS well. Focus on complex words. Break them to fit into simpler forms for your understanding and memorize. Reading newspapers or/and English books increases the speed of reading which is essential to crack this section. Preparative resources, online platforms, flashcards and sample questionnaires give an idea of what type of questions to expect.

3.Writing (60 minutes)

This section has two tasks of 150 and 250 words respectively. In the Academic Test, Task 1 requires a description of a given figure whereas Task 2 requires you to prepare a report on the presented argument. In the General Test, Task 1 wants you to write a letter describing the scene at hand or requesting information whereas Task 2 is about writing an essay regarding a viewpoint or an argument. This depends a lot on your own vocabulary and basic grammar.

Try to incorporate synonyms in case you have to repeat some words. Before attempting writing exercises, it is better to refresh your basic knowledge of things like punctuation. It is good to keep sentences short as it helps to express the ideas more clearly.

Remember not to write too less for task 1. You have to write at least 150 words, and for task 2, 250 words. You should not write less than the given word limit or your band score may get affected. Structure your thoughts in a way you can anticipate the number of words in each line. This way you would have an idea about the overall word limit.

Writing too much will not be helpful as the examiner will look for quality over quantity. You will not necessarily get more marks for writing more, so don’t write more for no reason. Your competence in the English language will determine your performance in this section.

Some more tips for IELTS tests:

Planning for IELTS
Planning for IELTS

1. Planning is important

Plan and check your answers. Use the time, in the beginning, checking your understanding of the given question. Brainstorm. Lastly, spend some time in the end to check your grammar. Spend more time on Task 2 as more marks have been allotted to this. And this task requires 100 more words, so it is advisable to spend 20 minutes on task 1 and 40 minutes on task 2.

2. Be clear

It is essential to write clearly. Though there are no marks for handwriting, the examiner would want your words to be legible.

3. Structure your thoughts

Organize your thought well. You should not present an incomprehensible canvas in front of the examiner.

4. Enhance your vocabulary

A good vocabulary not only plays a vital role in improving your reading skills but also your writing skills as well. The more you write, the more errors you would be able to spot errors. This way, both your writing skills and syntactic competency can be perfected.

5. Speaking (11-14 minutes)

Communication is the most important prerequisite to qualify any examination. Communication can be improved by conversing frequently. This will help in expanding vocabulary. This section is divided into 3 parts.

The first section is an interview where the candidate may be asked to introduce himself along with questions ranging from his hobbies to general topics. The second section provides the candidate with a topic and 1-minute preparation time to speak about it for 1-2 minutes.

The third section involves a conversation between the candidate and the examiner relating to the topic in the second section. Remember to answer the question asked, in order to do this, you need to listen to the examiner carefully. (source)

If you have a friend/acquaintance, who has appeared for the IELTS examination, practice with them. Conduct a role-play wherein your friend/acquaintance can enact the role of the examiner. Speak as normally as you can.

Avoid unnecessary accent or intonations. Use transition words, and remember to use expressions. Be at ease when you speak. And do not fill the gaps with ellipses. Have pertinent fillers, avoid foghorns. You need to be fluent while speaking.

Some more tips for IELTS exam:

1. Do not give incomplete answers.

2. Speak clearly and don’t worry about your accent. Enunciate for better understanding.

3. Use descriptive words, such as thrilled instead of happy, or depressed instead of sad.

4. Don’t use slang – You have 11- 14 minutes to display the best. Choose formal tone rather than an informal one.

5. Keep a steady pace – Don’t speak too fast or too slow.

Conclusion: Final tips & techniques to get good scores in IELTS

  • The only way to improve your English skills is through practice and dedication.
  • Many practice tests are available online for continuous practice. This will help in shaping your English to the desired effect.
  • Official IELTS Practice Material Volume I and II come with elaborate explanations on every section with abundant sample questions and practice tests in the CDs accompanying the books.
  • Getting a sound sleep, the night before the test and maintaining a calm demeanour always helps. (source)

It is vital to understand, to get a good score in IELTS, it requires improving your vocabulary, grammar, speaking abilities, and word order. The recommendation here is to focus more on building a solid English skills foundation. Also, we highly encourage you to take advantage of the vast array of test preparation materials and practice examinations that is available online. You can enquire about it at Mindmine Global. They provide excellent best ielts coaching facilities for students who aspire to score well in IELTS. This will also help in familiarizing you with what to expect on the final day of the IELTS examination. (source)