Our Top 10 IELTS Tips

Getting ready for the IELTS exam can be a daunting experience. Whether it is to help you get into university, improve your job prospects or for Visa or migration, our Academic Team has the tips you need to help you succeed. We have put together ten tips that will help you maximise your potential and make this time a little less stressful.

If you're thinking about taking the IELTS exam then now is a great time to book your IELTS course

Our top 10 tips to prepare for your IELTS exam...

1. Use authentic materials whenever possible

Listen to news and podcasts regularly.  You can find a variety of music, culture and current affairs shows on the BBC Podcast site.  Get into the habit of taking notes on interesting stories. Read newspapers like the Economist or the Guardian every week. You'll find they have articles the same length and complexity to those you will be faced with in the test.

2. Make use of model answers

Try copying out model answers from the back of test books in order to solidify your command of vocabulary and sentence and essay structure.

3. Make 'Fair Copies' of your essays

Rewrite essays you've had corrected, following the advice and comments from your teachers. Make sure to correct all the spelling and grammar errors they have pointed out.

4. Practice makes perfect!

Make sure you are familiar with all sections of the exam. Replicating exam conditions at home will help you with time management on the day. That is especially true for the writing exam, where it is very easy to lose track of time. You can prepare for the speaking section in class or get a friend to help you at home. It's also important to make sure you go to class every day and ask your teachers what you need to do to improve.

5. Practice reading in English

Try reading some of these great books for language learners. Or, alternatively, use graded readers (simple versions of classic fiction books) to help improve your reading speed and pick up lots of passive vocabulary.

6. Search for grammar tips online

Pick up useful tips form specialist websites like

7. Practice writing

Watch news videos on Youtube containing graphs and tables and practice writing descriptions of what you've learnt.

8. Record yourself

Record yourself telling stories about your experiences. Listen to the recordings and critique your grammar, accent and pronunciation.

9. Learn what your common mistakes are

Take careful note of mistakes – regularly write down mistakes you keep making (both speaking and writing)

10. Be persistent

Be consistent in your approach. Go to class every day and do your homework. Make sure you regularly ask your teachers what you need to do to improve.

For more ways to improve your English, check out these tips for learning English fast. 

IELTS Student Stories - Eunhwa from Korea

Eunhwa is from Korea took her IELTS course at BSC York. We caught up with her to find out about her experience.

IELTS student in front of BSC York
Eunhwa in front of BSC York

Why are you taking IELTS?

I need IELTS to obtain a university place at the University of York to do a Master’s degree. I have a conditional offer and I need 6.5 at IELTS.

What do you want to do?

I want to do a Master’s in Social Policy.

Which areas have you progressed in?

I feel that my writing has really improved especially my use of academic vocabulary

Do you have any advice or tips for studying IELTS? 

One tip is to listen to a TED Talk every morning. I also listen to Podcasts with a variety of content. I find that Ted Talk radio is good to listen to for an hour a day. Another tip is that IELTS is about continuous study and working hard. It is important to do something every day. I make sure I have a pattern to my studying.

I use a practice reading test every day and do a full mock test with 3 texts. I also do my listening practice or listening test in the morning around about 10.00 because the listening test takes place first. I then do the other tests in the order that they will happen in the actual IELTS exam.

Has the course at BSC York been useful?

IELTS lessons have been very useful because my writing has really improved. Reading and listening IELTS sessions have been useful too but as a student you need to spend time on this in self-study too.

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