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IELTS in 30 minutes a day

Published on November 8, 2017

Are you like everyone else these days and are crazy-busy? Where can you possibly find time to prep for the IELTS? Below are six half-hour IELTS workouts you hopefully can fit into your schedule. Maybe you’ll be able to find time to prep after all!

1. The Copycat

Knowledge is power , the saying goes. So, how do people get scores of 8s and 9s? What’s the secret? This 30-minute exercise requires two things. First, you’ll need to find some test samples. Check out example tests of speaking interviews and writing tasks . Try to find ones that are perfect 9s. After that, you’ll want to download the Public Bands . I suggest printing them. The bands tell you how IELTS markers give you your score. You can find a copy on pages 11-13 of this awesome support toolkit. Click here to get it ! Finally, read the bands carefully and compare the system to the speaking and writing examples. If you do one speaking or one writing, it’ll take you 30 minutes.

2. The Interrupter

This half-hour challenge will really push you to improve your speaking score. First, go to our IELTS Essentials YouTube channel and find some videos of IELTS speaking tests. Then, play the video. The next step is the important part. Every time the examiner asks a question, pause the video. At this point , YOU answer the questions. This will give you some excellent test-style speaking practice. You can follow-up with comparing your answers to the speaker in the video.

3. One Minute Flash Card Relays

This is an excellent challenge for speaking. It works best with a partner, but you can also do it alone. First, you’ll want to go online and find about 50 example speaking questions. There are lots out there! Then write them on cards- one question per card. Once that’s done, which will also be a good prep activity, shuffle them. Whatever question you get, talk about it for a full minute. Don’t cheat, go the full 60 seconds. If you’re with a friend, get him/her to ask the question, then switch.

4. Get Your Blog on!

As you obviously know, IDP IELTS publishes lots of great blog articles to help you get familiar and prepare for the test. So why not get your reading practice by using the blogs. You’ll not only learn some great ideas for the test, but you’ll improve your English. So, each blog article is about 800 words. This is also the length of 1/3 or one section of the reading test. Here is your 30-minute challenge. Read two blogs, then answer this set of questions for each.

  • What’s the main idea of the blog?
  • What are some specific points that the blogger mentions?
  • What are three new/useful words in the blog?
  • How can this blog help me improve my IELTS score?
  • If I could ask this blogger a question, what would it be?

5. The 8-Day IELTS Week

This workout is more of a way to plan. It’s a way to organize yourself and make sure you’re covering all the skills needed for the test. It’s also a way to break down the key areas day by day. Basically, cover one skill at 30 minutes each day. Day 1 – 6 are the key skills. Day 7 is reviewing some key components of the test by using the toolkit . Then, Day 8 is a full practice test. What you’ll need is either some practice tests or ideally an IELTS workbook. Give 100% focus to one skill area per day. Plan your eight days as follows.

Every day is an IELTS day!


Speaking test practice


Writing Task 1


Writing Task 2


Listening test


Reading Section 1


Reading Section 2


IELTS Toolkit Review

Full test

Conduct a full practice test

6. The Outliner

If you don’t already know, making an outline both speeds up the essay writing and makes it more organized. These are important skills to have for your IELTS Task 2!

To keep it simple, here’s what you do. First, find a bunch of IELTS Task 2 prompts . Second, using the outline here, fill it in. Try and do two essay question outlines in 30- minutes.

Test tip! Don’t forget to paraphrase the language from the question. Copying words from the instruction book can hurt your score.



Informal adjective meaning really busy


Shortened slang version of ‘prepare’

Knowledge is power

Common saying which means the more you know, the better you will do

Public Bands

The grading system used by IELTS markers for speaking and writing

At this point



To mix things- often used with cards


A person who writes blogs


the questions in the IELTS tests