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Read this before you start preparing for IELTS

You should read this before you start spending time and money getting ready for the IELTS test or taking IELTS classes.

The first thing you need to do is be realise that IELTS is a language test. That means, in general, the better your English is, the better you will do in the exam. This is especially true for the listening and speaking test. However, most people prepare for the Academic Module rather than the General Module, which means the kind of language you need to be good at to do well is a little different.

Here, I have answered some common questions I have received about preparing for IELTS over the last 7 or so years.

1. Is my language good enough?

Generally, you should not even think about IELTS practice until you are at least Intermediate (IELTS 4.5 or 5). If you are this low, you will have trouble controlling the different word forms (e.g. pollute, pollution, polluter, polluted), and you will struggle to understand the listenings and readings.

Another way of thinking about this is the words you know. You should know the first 2000 common words from the General Service List, and then you should start developing your academic vocabulary. Read the post What IELTS Reading vocabulary do I need?

2. Do I need lots of complex grammar and vocabulary to do well in the IELTS exam?

This all depends on your goals. If you need a 7, you need to understand complicated language, but you should focus on producing natural language, which is a bit different. Here, on IELTS7.guru we focus on getting you to learn common native-sounding phrases and linking techniques to improve your speaking and writing. Also, remember, in both speaking and writing, you need to say and write many 100% sentences. If you only use complicated language, you will probably make lots of mistakes.

3. Can I prepare for IELTS by myself?

To a certain extent you can. You can build your listening and reading by doing lots of both. You can improve your writing by focusing on producing correct simple sentence patterns. However, in my experience, if you are a little low and you learn by yourself, most learners get stuck at around IELTS 5 or 6. They may have lots of words, but they don’t have the skills, and language range and accuracy to to move towards a 7 in speaking and writing. If you are already around a 6 or so, you can probably improve to a 6.5 by yourself, but most people still need some additional help.

Some other FAQ posts.

Have more questions about preparing for IELTS?

I Hope this helps! People always have lots of IELTS questions. If you have a question that isn’t covered above, I can help.

The best thing to do is to join our IELTS7.guru newsletter below. I regularly receive and answer questions about IELTS through the newsletter. Also, if someone has questions through facebook, or youtube I also usually answer them in the newsletter too.

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2 Comments on “Preparing for IELTS – FAQ”

  1. Excellent approach to make it clear and easier to understand. I just saw your video for writing tips task 2. Well I took my ielts and got overall band 7.5 but I need to score more so taking again. Do you have reading question type tips?? I couldn’t find any.

    1. Hi there. I’m really happy that you found the video useful. There are some reading question strategies on this site too, but I am in the middle of reorganizing.

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