IELTS means International English Language Testing System and it is a test of English language proficiency. The test is designed to assess the language ability of non-native speakers of English who intend to study or work where English is the language of communication.
Visit the IELTS’s official website to learn more.
What you need for the test
- Your valid International Passport
- 75,000 naira
Some resources for preparation
- Cambridge IELTS Past Questions
- IELTS Made Easy for Writing Task 1 (small textbook)
- IELTS Made Easy for Writing Task 2 (small textbook)
- IELTS LIZ
- 5-day Task 2 writing challenge
- AE English Help
- IELTS Band descriptors
- IELTS writing sample answer sheet
- Good Internet Connectivity (A lot of your lessons will be on Youtube)
Tips for the Listening, Reading and Speaking Tests
The simple trick for the listening and reading tests is to practise Cambridge questions and find a fast method of answering the questions that works for you. This can only be unlocked through constant practice.
It is advised that you revise listening and reading past questions. You should repeatedly revise them under exam conditions (timed) until you begin to comfortably score more than the marks you are aiming for. I recommend repeated practise until your scores are comfortably above 35/40 the sections.
For the speaking part, go through the Cambridge past questions and acquaint yourself with the common questions. Then, proceed to watch Youtube tutorials/ exam simulations and familiarise yourself with how the questions are attempted. Finally, it will do you some good to practise speaking with someone who has written the test before, so they can correct you if need be and build your confidence in the process.
This is the part that needs a lot of strategising, it is notorious for spoiling otherwise good results with a 6. 5. There is a formula to it and I was able to unlock it with the above resources and scored a writing band of 8 at my first try.
Practical writing tips
After going through the different materials and links shared above, these are a few of the practical tips I believe you should learn, amongst others.
NB: They are all hinged on having a good understanding of the writing band descriptors – Task Achievement, Lexical resource, Cohesion and coherence and Grammar – and what they stand for.
- Task Achievement; make sure you answer the question being asked and maintain a clear and concise position through out your answer, do not be ambiguous in your reply
- Lexical resource, this refers to vocabulary. Try to paraphrase the question when replying, do so appropriately and do not make it appear forced and unnatural. Use appropriate lexicon from the particular field you are writing on to increase your marks.
- Cohesion and coherence, this entails the use of paragraphing and appropriate linkers and clauses. Try to write about 4 paragraphs, an introduction 2 main body paragraphs and a concluding paragraph, with the body paragraphs containing a well explained central idea. When writing the essay, leave a line between the paragraphs so they are easily identified.
- Grammar, this refers to your grammatical accuracy, try to limit grammatical errors to as low as possible.
Finally, practice different essays and get a friend who has written the IELTS exam to review them for you. Try to practice under exam conditions using the sample IELTS writing sheet. The more essays you write, the better you become at it.
Some high-yield links
A link to download the Cambridge practice materials (Academic). You should download the recent versions 11-15, as they are more relevant to the exam currently: CLICK HERE
This is a link to a step by step guide on the academic task 1 practice by Chris Pell of IELTS Advantage: CLICK HERE
This is a link to a step by step guide on the writing task 2 (both academic and general) practice by Chris Pell of IELTS Advantage: CLICK HERE
A link to IELTS Liz writing task 1 tips: CLICK HERE
This link will direct you to IELTS Liz writing task 2 tips: CLICK HERE
A link to guide you on writing a formal letter (general writing task 1) by Chris Pell: CLICK HERE
A link to guide you on writing an informal letter (general writing task 1) by Chris Pell: CLICK HERE
A link for a video tutorial on IELTS speaking : CLICK HERE
A link to reading and listening practice tests online under exam conditions: CLICK HERE
Have you read this article that gives a brief overview and syllabus of the exam?
For health professionals who may be having serious difficulties with the IELTS exam (repeatedly unsuccessful with the exam), you should definitely try the Occupational English Test (OET). It has a higher pass rate as the questions are more relatable to the profession and your pattern of English usage.
Cost Implication : 587 AUD ( 150,000 Naira ).
There are a few downsides to it, there is only one centre in Nigeria (as at the time of writing this blog), the International House Trust Assessment, Lagos, and the slots fill very fast so you have to be very proactive in booking, by registering months ahead of the exam date. Again, it is not written as frequently as the IELTS exam for obvious reasons.
All the best in your endeavours.