IELTS preparation courses | What should you expect?

IELTS exam preparation is something that more than 4 million people do every year all across the globe. There are 900 IELTS test centers in countries worldwide which cater for these IELTS test candidates.

One of the most popular methods of preparation for IELTS is to enroll in an IELTS preparation course organized by a local language school or other provider. There are more IELTS preparation course providers than test centers so you should have plenty of choice, whichever country you’re in. But what should you look for when it comes to high quality IELTS test preparation?

Authentic IELTS practice materials

It’s essential that the course uses authentic IELTS test material so that you can get used to the test format and the difficulty level of the questions. There are many independent IELTS textbooks and study guides which cover essential grammar and vocabulary available but good IELTS preparation courses will use plenty of past IELTS test papers and examples which are authentic.

Preparing for IELTS

An essential part of any good IELTS preparation course will be an initial IELTS preparation test to measure your level of English ability before the start of the course. Most IELTS preparation courses include more than one such simulation test, possibly in the middle and also at the end of the course to measure your progress and see how your IELTS skills have developed.

IELTS preparation and practice

Good IELTS preparation courses will also include an in-depth look at each section of the test and show you how to prepare for IELTS questions in each section of the exam as well as techniques you can use.

So you should expect to see modules or sections of the course dedicated to IELTS listening preparation where you learn all about the format, type and number of questions you will be asked and learn and develop the best strategies for answering in the listening section.

Expect the same for IELTS writing preparation where you should learn about the style and format of the two writing tasks and the writing skills which are necessary to achieve a high IELTS writing band score.

IELTS reading preparation should cover the types and number of texts you will see in either the Academic or General Training reading modules as well as learning about skimming, scanning and other strategies for improving your performance in the IELTS reading section of the test.

IELTS speaking preparation should use lots of examples of authentic IELTS speaking test questions so as to allow you to develop your vocabulary, fluency and confidence to talk about a wide range of different topics with confidence.

Preparation for IELTS exam conditions

Another important aspect of good IELTS preparation courses is teaching you how to control your time during the test. Many test takers lose valuable marks simply because they panic, don’t manage their time well, or think they have more time than they really do. Effective time management is an essential part of doing well in the IELTS test.

Without good and comprehensive preparation IELTS can seem more difficult than it really is. Some of the best IELTS preparation courses are run by the British Council and IDP who both administer the IELTS test with Cambridge University ESOL.