How to prepare for an IELTS exam

How to prepare for an IELTS exam

At IH Valladolid we have teachers with many years of experience of teaching IELTS. Our teachers have prepared students from all over the world for this exam and we have had fantastic success in getting people ready for the exam. We would therefore like to share some ideas with you on how to prepare for the IELTS exam, either with a school, or by yourself.

  1. Set yourself a realistic objective. When you know what level you want to  have (be realistic) you can start to target your preparation around that level. If you need a level 7.0 then you need to be learning and demonstrating correct use of vocabulary and grammar points connected with level 7.0. If you are not sure what level you have then contact IH Valladolid and we will arrange a FREE level test for you at one of our centers.


  1. Make a study plan and stick to it. You should think about how many words you are going to try and learn every day and record those words. You should think about when and how you are going to improve your ability in terms of reading, writing, listening and speaking for the exam. In our experience, students who plan and take responsibility for their own learning usually do much better on the exam than those who do not.


  1. If you do not practice the exam several times before you take it you may encounter a surprise in the exam. No one likes surprises in an exam!


  1. Monitor your progress and adjust your learning plan if you need to. If you are getting better at the listening part of the exam but your reading scores are not improving for example, you may need to change your approach. A teacher can help you with this.


  1. Keep calm and persevere! To persevere means to continue to work hard for something even when it is difficult. This is very important for ANY exam. Some days it may feel like the exam is too difficult and you are not making progress, these are the days when it is most important to practice your English.

Top tips for listening (general English)

Top Tips for Practising Listening Skills

  1. Practice little and often

Try to listen to something short in English three times a week – maybe a short video clip on YouTube or a news website. Even a text of 3-4 minutes is better than nothing.

  1. Keep a listening diary

Make a note of new words you learn when you are listening. Make sure you record the meaning too, then you can test yourself later.

  1. Choose topics that interest you

If the topic of the listening text is boring for you, you won’t be motivated and will find it harder to pay attention. Spend some time finding podcasts or radio programmes that you enjoy and you will be more motivated to return to them later.

  1. Listen while you’re doing something else

Put on a podcast in English while you’re doing the housework or getting ready for work or school. Download podcasts to listen to on the bus, or put English radio on in the car – you won’t notice that you’re practicing English!

  1. Listen for fun, not only for study

It is important to record new vocabulary and understand texts thoroughly, but it’s not very relaxing. Try to enjoy your listening practice sometimes and don’t worry about understanding every single word. Watch your favourite American series in original version (with English or Spanish subtitles), listen to your favourite English language pop songs on repeat, or re-watch a film you know well in original version.

Good luck and happy listening!