IELTS Tips for General
Success in the IELTS exam requires a candidate to know the test format and the specific techniques for answering questions. Make sure you are fully equipped with this knowledge. ( Please see Resources on the Internet and Books )
Don’t believe people who tell you that IELTS needs no preparation if your English is good. Even if it is, you still need to learn the right skills for the test. I would suggest a period of two weeks as preparation time, though this would vary depending on your level of familiarity with English. The test fees are high and if you don’t get the band score you need, you have to wait for three months before you can take the test again. Like in all other exams, practice is the key to doing well in the IELTS. Make sure you have plenty of it before you appear for the test. Answer all questions. There is no negative marking for incorrect answers.
Preparing for the test
Start by familiarizing yourself with the test format. Then read the online resources I have suggested. After that you could start with Step Up to IELTS to build the basic skills that you will need to do the test. Lastly, go on to doing the 4 tests in Cambridge IELTS 3 under test conditions. This should get you ready to take on the IELTS. The British Council offers preparatory courses for IELTS. A placement test is held first to assess the candidate’s level of English. This costs Rs 400/-. A four day intensive course is held before the date of the test. This costs Rs 5600/-. If you can afford the fees, the course might be a good idea as it gives you an insight into IELTS along with lots of practice. I think it would not help those whose level is very poor (possibly they would not do well in the placement test itself) or very good (they may not need the course). It would be most useful for those who lie somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.
Make sure you have visited the venue of the test a few days before the test date. Arrive at least half an hour earlier than the reporting time specified. Arriving late could send your tension levels soaring and the exam requires you to be absolutely relaxed and ready to give of your best.
There is no break between the four components of the test. This means that for around 3-3.5 hours, you can’t eat, drink or visit the restroom. However, water was provided in the test hall where I took the exam and students were allowed to visit the restroom, but only while the test was in progress ( not in the period between different modules ). Since time is