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Tips for Getting Started with IELTS!

Right, so you're going to take the #IELTS test.

Do you know which IELTS exam you need to take?

Should I take the Academic IELTS or the General IELTS exam?

Usually your organization, university or Immigration officer would tell you which one to take but in case they didn't, here is some important information for you to know.

The Academic IELTS exam is taken by people who want to

  • Study in an English Speaking University

  • Work in an English Speaking Country (in their profession)

The General IELTS exam is taken by people who want to

  • Study in an English Speaking country below degree level, such as at a college or training courses

  • Immigrate to an English Speaking Country

  • Do General Work when they immigrate to an English Speaking Country

Please note, certain professions such as doctors or teachers or psychologists require an Academic IELTS instead of a General IELTS. It is important to check with your organisation to make sure that you are taking the right test.

You can also check here to see if your organization is listed.

What's next?

What's the first thing that you should do?

Something I cannot stress enough is.....take a MOCK test.

You don't really know what the exam is about,

You don't really know what your level is,

You haven't studied anything,

You haven't looked at how the exam is structured,

So, really. The best thing for you to do is take the mock test!

This is a perfect way for you to get familiar with how the test is set up, what your level is and exactly where you need to begin once you've got your results.

What was most difficult after taking the mock?

Was the test structure confusing? Did you run out of time?

Were a lot of reading question answers wrong and you're not sure why?

By taking a mock, you're already helping yourself prepare for the real thing!

Where can I find a mock exam?

I would suggest to take this one, although I know there are plenty of others on the internet. If you want to be more sure, you can take a few more to see if your score averages out. What I like about this website is, there are plenty of practice tests available with the answers available and they don't require you to sign up to anything.

What about Writing and Speaking?

Now, it is possible to check your own scores for the Reading and Listening Sections of the exam, but for Writing and Speaking it is difficult to do that.

For Writing, you have the option to do a writing task which gets marked through this Cambridge Website,, which is a really helpful tool to have. Just remember, it is a computer that marks your writing so sometimes it gives suggestions that aren't correct.

Alternatively, you can contact me and I will mark your writing and assess your speaking. With both, you can expect the following:

- error corrections

- better word suggestions

- discussing weaknesses in speaking/writing

- giving tips to improve your speaking/writing

- grading speaking/writing with potential scores

- strategy for passing the exam

Good luck!

Be sure to check out some of my other blogs about the exam, where I go into more detail about each section of the exam and each question.

If you haven't done so yet, I would suggest to sign up to my IELTS Vocabulary Booster Course, a 6-8 week course that is designed to make you familiar with 20 different topics, with over 1200 new words and tons of practice questions and sample answers. This is a self study course, but with great online tools that make learning fun, quick and easy.

Happy Studying,

Ciske & the Effective IELTS Team


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