The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a test that measures the language proficiency of people who want to study or work in environments where English is used as a language of communication. IELTS provides an accurate assessment of the four language skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking.


IELTS is a highly regarded test that opens doors around the world for study, work or migration. Here are some tips from past IELTS students:

  • Be on time and punctual for the exam
  • Prepare yourself adequately
  • Don’t be too nervous
  • Have a good sleep the night before

We have put together some advice on how to prepare properly for your listening and reading IELTS examinations.

The listening exam:

Many students think the listening exam is the easiest, but it involves a number of skills, and you have to think quickly. The best way to prepare for a listening exam is to listen to native English speakers.

Find audio and podcasts in English
With the internet you have the chance to listen to a wide range of programmes and this is probably the best thing you can do. There are podcasts available from a range of sources that cover a wide range of topics. Choose a few that you would like to listen to, do not just pick one at random or listen to something you don’t find interesting. Check out podcasts on your smartphone or online and get listening!

You will find a great selection of podcasts in English via the links below:

Podcasts from the BBC
Podcasts from the Guardian
British podcasts selected by Buzzfeed

The reading exam:

Paraphrasing is a very effective way of preparing for an IELTS exam, and this involves rephrasing statements, questions or ideas, and saying them in a different way. This is a very useful skill to have, and will help you sound more natural and less repetitive in real life.

During the examination, it is very important to read the text and manage your time effectively. Focus on the words you know, and try not to use your finger or pen while reading the text as this slows you down. Your aim should be to understand the main ideas of the text you are reading, so don’t get stuck on one sentence or word if you don’t understand it. Once you have read the whole text, you will find it much easier to locate the answers to the questions.

Find out more about the IELTS exam and what it can be used for here:

All about IELTS

IELTS at International House London

IH London is the largest IELTS test centre in the UK, with tests taking place three Saturdays each month throughout the year.

Our language school also offers IELTS preparation courses to help candidates reach the IELTS band they need.

Learn from our experts at IH London

We’d love for you to visit and learn with us. Explore our courses and if you’d like any help choosing a course, just let us know. 

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