How to prepare for the IELTS test

IELTS measures your reading, writing, listening and speaking skills, and assesses your ability to communicate for work, study or life in an English-speaking country.

The first step is to make sure you understand the IELTS test format. You need to know what will be expected of you on test day.

Understand the IELTS test format
  • Study the test format to make sure that you know what to expect.
  • Look carefully at the content of each part of the IELTS test: listening, reading, writing and speaking.
  • Get to know the different types of questions that you may be asked in each part.

Once you are familiar with the IELTS test format, you will need to undertake a number of focused preparation activities.

Recommended preparation activities
  • Buy IELTS self-study books and materials.
  • Listen to English radio and television. You should try to listen to variety of English accents, including American, Australian, British, Canadian and New Zealand.
  • Read English publications such as newspapers and magazines regularly
  • Speak English with your friends and family
  • Take practice tests under timed conditions.
  • Consider taking an IELTS preparation course with CES.
  • Review our IELTS test day advice and tips.

Some native English speakers are surprised to find that they score lower grades than non-native English speakers who have only been studying English for a few years. This can happen if you take IELTS unprepared. If you are a native English speaker and need to take IELTS to emigrate, make sure you prepare for the test!