How To Get a Top Score in IELTS

By The Edge Learning Center

For those of us who are not native English speakers, you may find that an IELTS score is among the requirements for a school application or a job application. If you’re looking for tips on how to get started with your IELTS prep, you’ve come to the right place!

First, Know The Tests

Let’s first make sure that you are taking the right version of IELTS! The IELTS Academic test is the one used for school applications, while the IELTS General test is used for work. This is important because the two tests have some key differences:

 IELTS AcademicIELTS General
ListeningNo differencesNo differences
ReadingTexts with academic topics and general readingTexts to do with everyday life, the workplace, and general reading
Writing Task 1 - Describe visual information in your own words
Task 2 - Write an essay about a point of view or problem
Task 1 - Write a letter related to everyday interactions
Task 2 - Write an essay about a point of view or problem
SpeakingNo differencesNo differences

After determining which version of the test is right for you, we should know the test inside out! This is especially helpful when working on the Writing section. For example, it’s not enough to know about the section’s format:

  1. Do you know the specific question types for Task 2? It could be any of the following:
    • Agree or disagree
    • Advantages or disadvantages
    • Discuss both views
    • Problem/Solution
  2. Do you know the suggested essay structures for each of the above? It will vary according to the question type, but typically you will need:
    • Introduction
    • Body Paragraph x2
    • Conclusion

If you’re planning to take the IELTS test, and you’ve never heard of the above in your life, then that’s your cue to get to know the IELTS test better!

How Are You Approaching The Questions?

IELTS test-takers won’t just spend the whole of the exam writing, listening, or filling in answers. There are also other things we can do. A GREAT example is how we may approach the Listening section. 

In the Listening section, you will often be asked to answer question types like Form Completion, Sentence Completion, Short Tasks, and Matching. For these questions, we suggest that you scan what’s on the test paper already and look for keywords that may be related to the topic of the audio recording. Doing this can help you anticipate what the conversation will cover and when answers to the questions may emerge during the recording.

Furthermore, the Speaking section’s topics include many common ones that have been used over the years. These topics include:

  • Your family
  • Your friends
  • Your work
  • Your school
  • Your hometown or home country

Practicing these topics beforehand can make a big difference to your final Speaking section score!

Integrate English Into Your Everyday Life

When preparing for a language test, don’t forget about all the passive learning that can be done! Apart from formal studying, consider the following:

Real-life practice

Do you have a friend, relative, or colleague who is a fluent English speaker? It might be time to invite him or her to speak only English with you. This may seem a bit strange at first, especially if you and that person have usually conversed in another language in the past, but having a friendly, sympathetic figure to correct your language mistakes and provide suggestions can help you extend your studying into a dynamic real-world setting. You could even consider getting a language partner to ensure that both sides are fully motivated about their language goals.

English media

The world is overflowing with movies, TV shows, music, and podcasts that are not only in English but also feature speakers of its specific variations (US, UK, Australian, etc.). This is one of the great advantages available to English learners – no matter your targets or your interests, you will be able to find the right media to personalise your learning journey and make the language relevant to you!

How We Can Help

Aside from all these tips, don’t forget that we can help too! Whether you’re unsure about how to get started on IELTS, need specific help that’s tailored to you, or are just curious about this test, why not give us a ring to get your learning journey going and to receive a FREE trial lesson?

About The Edge

Established in 2008, The Edge Learning Center has grown into a premier one-stop provider of educational services for Grade 7 through Grade 12, targeting students who intend to pursue overseas education. Our three departments – Academic Tutoring, Test Preparation, and Admissions Consulting – offer a broad range of educational services spanning from SAT and IB Test Prep to colleges and boarding schools application counseling. The Edge Learning Center operates in multiple regions including Hong Kong, China, and Vietnam.