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A candidates perspective on success

Published on January 3, 2018


“Practice, practice, practice.” - Abdulmalik

“Practicing with focus on what you need to improve your IELTS score is my crucial tip because practicing allows you to know your common mistakes and allows you to improve every time you practice the exam.” - Rawan

“Practice is important because you will be more familiar with the type of questions on the IELTS exams and the more you practice, the better score you can get.” - Seba

“Beside enhancing your English level through reading books, having conversations, and watching movies, I advise you as an IELTS student to practice and keep doing exam models with focusing on what is required from you [sic], specifically to get the score you want.” - Rawan

The most crucial advice you can get for the IELTS test is practice, which can come in different forms. Watching movies and joining a conversation club is great everyday practice and helps with your fluency and accuracy while doing practice IELTS tests is more focused practice, which helps you become familiar with the test and the questions that most commonly appear. Identifying your weaknesses so you can practice improving those areas is also very important. This allows you to shift your focus away from areas where you are already strong.

Time Management

“Timing yourself is very important.” - Maha

“Always have a timer when practicing because one of the biggest reasons why people do not perform well is that the time is too short for them to manage their writing in a well-organized way.” - Christina

“Managing time is very important for me because time is a major issue in IELTS, especially in reading and writing.” - Seba

Practicing and time management are important and related. You should always be timing yourself when doing mock IELTS tests in order to assess yourself in the same manner as the actual test. Your time is not accurate if you allow yourself extra time while practicing on any section of the test. This may also be harmful and a potential cause for careless mistakes. Someone who has good time management in each section will know how better to pace themselves and write the best test possible, without running out of time.

During the actual test, you are not allowed to go over time. You will be asked to stop and you may not receive a test report if you try to write past the allotted time, which means you will not receive a score. Therefore time management on the IELTS test is crucial.

The Testing Environment

“Practice in a quiet area yet is full of people as this atmosphere is similar to the real test.” - Maha

Simulating the actual testing environment is great advice because getting into the real test situation causes many candidates to get nervous. Simulating real testing situations such as timing and seating arrangement may help reduce nervousness. You may not be developing the concentration skills needed to do well in a live testing environment if you have only ever practiced the test alone in a quiet room.


“From my experience, the best tip to prepare yourself for the test is to take an IELTS preparation course. I read about the test a lot and I did hundreds of online examples but nothing helped me as much as the teachers and the interactive communication.” - Roa

Excellent tools for practicing for the IELTS test are preparation courses. They offer both test and real day situations, exam practice with accurate timing, and much needed feedback for each individual taking the course. Candidates can take courses in person or online and both are beneficial. However, be careful of some websites that offer exam preparation for a fee. It could be costly and the information may be available for free. For the best possible experience, search out accredited institutions that administer the IELTS test.

Being Well-informed

“Considering the assessment criteria and the band score helps you to focus directly on improving what you need and what is required for the improvement. That helps you to focus on the level of English of that determining score, and what key points you need to pay attention when you are practicing and studying IELTS.” - Rawan

The speaking and writing criteria are publicly available for all candidates taking the IELTS exam. They discuss key points that are needed for each band score and reading through these may be useful. You will get a good idea of what is expected of each candidate even though you may not understand all of the information. Addressing some of the points may help you move up to the next level if you are between two band scores.

IELTS Experience

“I think if you have the budget, you should take the test just to see your strengths and weaknesses because everyone has their own.” - Maha

To get a baseline of the test and their own abilities, many candidates like to take the IELTS test without studying. This is great advice, as long as you have the time and money. You can identify your weaknesses after you have taken the test for the first time and focus on improving those areas as you progress.

Hearing from other candidates can be reassuring as taking the IELTS exam can be a challenging task. These candidates have achieved their desired scored and believe these tips are what got them there.