If you want to study in an English-speaking country like the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and sometimes the USA, you must take an English test called the IELTS (International English Language Testing System).. This good level exam requires serious preparation.
Step 1. Start by searching for information on the net
You will find useful information on the nature of the different tests and on the types of recurring exercises.
Step 2. Contact the British Council closest to you (in Paris, Lyon or Marseille)
These centers offer preparation courses as well as useful material to train you to take the IELTS tests.
Step 3. Target your weak spots and immediately start consolidating them
For example, if you have a real problem with writing, prioritize it and you'll end up not dreading it so much. If you are the most afraid of speaking, get into the habit of speaking and thinking in English at all times, this is the most effective way to progress. Making the effort to think in English will help you express yourself more fluently and naturally.
Step 4. Read everything you can find in English:
newspapers, magazines or articles. The IELTS tests, both written and oral, are based on political and economic news, so it is important to keep up to date with what is happening in the world and to acquire the vocabulary used in English to talk about. Do not hesitate to call on your friends to discuss all these topics in English to practice.
Step 5. Listen to the radio in English and watch the BBC or CNN
Get English movies, shows or music to train your ear. If you are not already bilingual, plan to spend 30 minutes a day watching or listening to the BBC.
Step 6. Give yourself a realistic goal to achieve
The IELTS has four tests for which you get a score from 0 to 9 and each point corresponds to a different level. Read up on the value of these levels before deciding what overall score you can expect to achieve and how much work it will take. Some university programs require an overall score of 7 and above, other programs are less demanding.
Step 7. Practice as much as possible
You must set yourself to work every day, it is up to you to see how many hours you can devote to preparing for the four IELTS tests. Don't just focus on your weaknesses. Lean into each of the four events daily, giving yourself a break in between. The golden rule is to progress little by little, but regularly and day after day. Do not take the official test without having worked at least a little each day until the day of the tests.
Step 8. Improve your speed
The IELTS tests take place in a limited time and this is one of the real difficulties of this exam. Many candidates who are disappointed with their score say they failed the listening test because the recording was too fast for them to be able to note all the answers. They also felt caught up in the time during the reading comprehension test. Don't think that you are going to fail if you do not manage to finish it all in one event. The exam is designed to measure your level of English on a scale of 1 to 9, so you are bound to get a score (0 indicating the person did not try to answer at all). Fully bilingual applicants can expect to score 9 and up. It turns out that even a native speaker might have problems on the oral comprehension test, nor would they necessarily finish the written comprehension test long before the allotted time is up.
In general, the written and oral comprehension tests as well as the written production tests are taken on the same day, in that order and in succession. The cumulative time of the three tests is 2 hours 30 minutes, with a short break after reading comprehension (the oral expression test takes place either later in the day or on another day). You should therefore be able to stay highly focused for a long period of time, so remember to sleep well the night before the exam and eat properly to be at your peak. If you follow the advice in this article correctly, you should have gained some speed before the day of the test. The more effort you put into preparing for the test, the more effective you will be on D-Day
Step 9. Work on your memory
This is useful for the reading test (reading comprehension), because you will be more efficient if you can remember the information in the text well, but you have at least the possibility of rereading it as many times as you want.. On the other hand, you do not have the possibility to listen to the recording for the oral comprehension test again, hence the importance of preparing well for this test. Most of the time, the answers and keywords to find are in the order of the questionnaire, but it can happen that this is not the case. Anyway, the information is linked very quickly, so you must be able to memorize it in the short term and that requires real training.
Step 10. Obtain an IELTS preparation manual that allows you to practice on topics that have already been given, such as “EXAMINATION PAPERS CAMBRIDGE IELTS”
You can find resources on some Facebook pages and some YouTube channels. Follow them and you will get information and tips and tricks. Using social networks has the advantage of being free (unlike textbooks, which are generally very expensive) and of putting you in touch with candidates from all walks of life. You will be able to ask them questions and participate in their conversations, which is a fun and effective way to practice your English.
- The Studyau.com site is a good reference to help you prepare for IELTS.
- Ask your parents and friends to speak English with you to practice.
- Set a goal and plan your exam preparation. If you have three months to prepare, give yourself as much as possible during those three months, without waiting until the last moment to prepare for disaster. As a general rule, you should also allow three months of preparation for this exam.
- If you're shy, practice talking in front of a mirror or ask your English teacher for help.
- Avoid contracted forms and abbreviations. The IELTS is a fairly formal exam.
- There are internships and training courses delivered by specialized teachers. Do not hesitate to sign up.
- Don't put off your work until the next day and don't think that just attending class is enough. Remember that it is you who will take the test and who will go to study abroad, not your teacher.
- It is not at all recommended to prepare the TOEFL at the same time as the IELTS, as these two exams are very different.
- The IELTS is a high level test. Grammar, punctuation and spelling errors are taken into account and penalized.
- The oral comprehension test can involve any accent: American, British, Australian, South African, etc.
- Do not use slang or very oral vocabulary, stick to academic English.