If you have come here it is because you need to certify your English through the IELTS exam.
Quiet, you are neither the only nor the first, and in this post I will try to lend a hand to you to approve it with the maximum possible note.
About the IELTS Review
For the newly grounded, the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) exam is as its name suggests an international system of recognition of the level of English. Its main characteristic is that it evaluates the level of international English, with no preference for British or American English.
If you want to study at a university or get a work visa in England, Australia, New Zealand, the United States or Canada, you surely need to introduce yourself to IELTS and prove that you have a good level of English.
The IELTS exam is jointly managed by the British Council, the University of Cambridge and the Australian Department of Education. In this website you can see the more than 9,000 organizations around the world that recognize this certificate.
Despite having the same structure, there are two versions of the IELTS exam:
IELTS Academic: The questions have academic content. It is required when you are going to study at an English-speaking university or institution.
IELTS General Training: The questions are more focused on real life. It is required when you apply for a visa to an English speaking country.
Both can be done on paper (based based) or computer based, but both the structure and the times are exactly the same.
In the IELTS there is not a test for each level like the Cambridge exams, but here is a single exam in which you can get a score from 0 to 9 that corresponds to a different level of English. For example a score of 5.5 corresponds to level B2 (First Certificate). Later we will see equivalences between the IELTS grade and the different levels of English.
The IELTS exam has the following structure:
- Listening: 30 minutes
- Reading: 60 minutes
- Writing: 60 minutes
- Speaking: 11 – 14 minutes
The IELTS certificate does not expire, but the most usual thing is that you are required to have this certificate with a maximum of seniority, which is usually 2 years.
Prepare IELTS in an Academy?
Language academies are one more resource for learning English, and not always the most appropriate.
Most of them base their method on following a textbook. The student will perform at home as a “duties” the corresponding pages or unit, which will be corrected on the next day of class.
Therefore, the teacher is only responsible for repeating on the board the lesson contained in the unit of the book and to verify that the students have performed the practical exercises of the previous day.
I understand that there are people who need to have someone behind to “force” themselves to study, just as there are people who need to pay a personal trainer to commit to going to the gym.
So perhaps, going to a language school is not the method you need. Is not it better to buy the best books with your answers? In this way we will save time, money, flexibility and above all the desire to learn English, because going to an academy to correct exercises is nothing motivating.
How to Prepare for the IELTS Exam on Your Own
As we have discussed, the IELTS is an examination that is not approved or suspended. Simply, depending on the grade you get, you are awarded one level of English or another.
Therefore, you must be clear which is the note that you demand in that institution. It is also common to require a global grade with a minimum grade in each of the parts.
In a test that is scored from 0 to 9, each point is crucial. From a point up or a point down depends on getting the note you need. Therefore we must prepare the IELTS with the aim of getting the maximum possible score.
What is good? That in this exam we will not find surprises. It always has the same structure and type of exercises. That is why the key is to practice as much as possible.
What we have to do is to learn to take the exam in the required way: duration of each part, maximum length of each exercise, type of questions, etc.
If you succeed in mastering the exam, you will have no problem successfully passing it. After practicing and practicing with the books you will see below, once you get to the exam, they will only be “one more exercise of the many that you have already done at home”.
Formula of success: suitable books + effort + constancy = good result guaranteed
The way of working is as follows: make a unit of the book and then look at the answers to correct it. In each unit then you can make a scheme to have everything well clear, and if you continue to look lazy, you will always be able to erase the answers and do the exercises again to practice.
It is not possible to make a general curriculum that everyone can follow, since the good thing about this method is that you choose when you study and how much time you devote. The more hours you spend a week, the sooner you can take the exam.
You may think they are boring books, but on the contrary, they are very well made and fun books specially designed for students who choose to work with them independently.
It is true that the books are not very cheap, but because they are of very good quality and they come with all your answers and with the CDs and DVDs necessary to prepare each part of the exam. Also the price of the three is much cheaper than a single month of gym.