How to Prepare for IELTS: Essential Steps

Learn how to start preparing for your IELTS test by following the 15 most important steps. This video lesson will explain exactly what steps you must take before you enter the exam room and how to prepare successfully for your IELTS test.

IELTS Preparation Steps

Learn about the IELTS Test

Academic or General Training Test?

Having Realistic Goals

  • decide which band score you want
  • get your English level assessed
  • check that your level of English is enough for the band score you want
  • if your level is too low, you must work to improve it
  • develop your IELTS skills
  • make sure you have enough time to get the right level of English and strong exam skills

Know the Requirements of Your Band Score

Questions and Topics for IELTS

Practice and Develop

Practice Tests

  • Buy the Cambridge IELTS books 1-9 (use the most recent books 7-9)
  • Practice tests under exam conditions as well as to develop skills


  • Get your speaking and writing assessed by an experienced IELTS teacher
  • Get feedback on technique and language problems

Get Professional Training

  • Either get training online or in an IELTS school
  • All students need to be trained in IELTS to fulfill the requirements of the test

When to Take your Test

  • Take your test when your English level matches your required band score
  • Take your test when you fully understand the IELTS test
  • Take your test when you are frequently scoring your required band score

Get my free lessons by email

Subscribe for free to get my new IELTS lessons sent to your email inbox.


  1. Abhishek Tyagi says

    Hi Liz,
    I got my score around 10 days ago and I forgot to say thanks to you. You are doing a fantastic job and I got L-9, R-8, S-7.5, W-7 just by following your free material available on internet for a month. I think I would have got 4 9s if I bought your courses πŸ˜›
    I will always be grateful to you.

  2. Belen Fournier says

    Hi Liz! I took IELTS GT on May 6th and I’ve just got my band score! S 8 – L 7.5 – R 8 – W 6.5 – Overall 7.5! I’m so happy! I was expecting a band score 7 to certify C1 Level. And this result is thanks to you, I prepared my test in a month following all your content which is so great! Thank you very much πŸ™‚

  3. Tamene T says

    Hey Liz!
    I used your site as a textbook and I have got what I want. I really appreciate your great contribution to those who are in need.

  4. My IELTS exam is on Thursday. I’ve been preparing and I’m quite confident with my Speaking, Listening and Reading. Unfortunately, I have been struggling with Writing and I’m beginning to panic and my exam is in less than two days. How do I cope when I have to write about a topic I know absolutely nothing about? I could really use some help.

  5. Khantil Patel says

    Helpful app . Thank you ❀️

  6. Ugochinyere says

    This is so encouraging
    It’s the best site I’ve seen so far
    I hope this helps extremely 🀎

  7. Sudha says

    Hi Liz, Thanks for creating this awesome resource. I took my IELTS solely based on your teaching and got 8.0 overall band score (L: 8.5, R: 9.0, W: 7.0, S: 7.0) and a week ago, I got selected into the program I wrote IELTS for (Georgia Tech’s Online Master of Science in Computer Science). Thanks again!

  8. Anand Jidagi says

    Hi Liz,
    I would like to take bit information about study materials, as I Am currently working in Shanghai and basically I Am from India, since i want to take my IELTS test here but when i reached out test centre they won’t provide any books/CD’s if i registered, And I Am bit afraid of test instructions might be in Chinese, how do you suggest me.
    Highly appreciated your feedbacks.

    • Visit or contact your local test centre and find out how much is in English. The test itself will all be in English – English instructions etc. However, there might be test procedures that might be in the local language. Talk to them for advice. Good luck!

  9. GOWTHAM says

    Mam, I can’t able to access the reading part can you please check this.
    link –
    Thank You.

    • It’s working fine for me. Try again. Try refreshing your browser or using a different device. Hope you get acccess.

  10. Shen says

    Hi Liz, I came across this wonderful IELTS site of yours and being so grateful for sharing such valuable information freely to everyone. Thank you. I have already started browsing all the contents which are of immense help and no words to explain. I had to book my test immediately since it is required IELTS to be completed as soon as possible to process a work permit. My exam is next Saturday (11th) and have a very limited time to grasp and go through all these valuable information. Please advice me a wayforward as to which things I should cover within this limited time frame. With lots of gratitude…

    • Try doing a full listening and reading test to assess what problems you have. You can find one free authentic test on the BC IELTS website. For writing and speaking open the main sections on this website and start learning. There is no one particular place to start. Just learn as much as you can about the test and then start preparing. Also go to the HOME page of my site and read it all carefully. Good luck!

      • Shen says

        Hi Liz,

        Thank you for your prompt feedback and reply. I really wish if I’d come across your advices before. Anyhow, thanks again being so grateful in sharing your valuable insights through this, so please keep up the good work. My sincere appreciation on such hard work. I just now purchased your Grammar e-book and it consolidates all the grammar aspects that I have been looking for in once place. This command of English not helps IELTS students but everyone who wanna excell their knowledge in English I believe. Waiting for more and more good news. I’m really motivated to enrich my English now. God Bless You! and Thank you!

        • Thank you so much for your comment. I’m really pleased you find my Grammar E-book so useful. I worked really hard to ensure it covered as much as possible of the grammar that I know many people get stuck on. Thanks again and I wish you luck in your English language development πŸ™‚

  11. Hi Liz, thank you very much for your materials.

    I have heard that Ietls has become a bit
    more difficult, and I wonder if Cambridge would not be enough for practice? Should we practice Ielts plus since it is more difficult compare to Cambridge? I only have two months left, and I want to focus on one material only, but Im confused which one should I pay attention more… Can you please give me some advices please?
    Im appreciated with your answers.
    Thank you.

    • The level of the test has not changed since IELTS started. It is only some people’s personal views that it has.

      • Thank you very much. Im learning different types of reading through your practices and it helps me alot. Im appreciated for your materials and lessons.

  12. Hiruni Peiris says

    Hi Liz,
    Please regard this my essay,
    Social media and technical problems associated with the use of mobile phones.
    The effect of cell phones or wireless telephones have made our lives easier,which was always debatable,has now become more controversial. The substantial influence of these technical problems associated with the use of mobile phones has spread the controversy over the potential impact of this trend on over the years. It can be agreed that phones were important to our life. This essay will elaborate how we are well aware of the fact the device which was supposed to save our precious time eats up all of our time, and how phones were invented to save our time , and thus will lead to logical conclusion. At the outset there numerous social, medical and technical problems associated with the use of mobile phones but the most conspicuous one stem from the fact that people have stopped socializing.
    As an illustration everybody is so much into mobile phones that they forget about the real world.Moreover as soon as working people reach home their hands reach out for their phones. Therefore young people go on a date but instead of interesting with each other keep on checking their phones.

  13. Believe Edagobo says

    Hi Liz, I’ve got two quick questions. When I took the IELTS Test for the first time I didn’t do too well so I had to take it the second time and I did pretty well thanks to your lessons. What I want to know is; does the second score overwrite the first? Secondly, I recently renewed my international passport but then when registering for the test I used the old passport number and IELTS result is meant to last for two years. Does that mean when my old international passport expires my IELTS result becomes invalid or its still valid for the two years it’s meant to last for?


    • If you take the test twice, both test results are valid and you can choose which one you want to use. For your second question, your test results will still be valid, but I recommend you keep your old passport to show with your certificate results for future reference. However, you ought to contact your test center about this and see what they suggest.

      • Daisy says

        Sorry Liz, I want to purchase your e-book of IELTS exam tips, but the e-book is for essay only, not including reading, listening and speaking. Am i correct?

        Thank you for your attention.

        • The tips, lessons etc for Reading, Listening etc (all sections of the test), are FREE. Just go to the HOME PAGE and read it all carefully. You’ll find the links to lessons there. My online store is for Advanced Lessons and the Ideas E-book, all very useful for people who need to push to a higher score. But you can still use all my FREE lessons as well.

  14. Dear Liz,

    I am taking the test in December 2019. I have just started my preparation. I am confident about Reading and Listening sections. I want to improve my speaking and writing.

    I came across your website and felt happy looking at all the positive reviews. Even though I read about the steps to prepare for IELTS, I am getting lost in the website. I really would appreciate if you can guide me on which section I should start preparing.


    • Use the RED MENU BAR to access the section of the test you want to study. Most pages are found that way.

  15. How likely is it that matching heading will come in a general test?

    • They are quite common questions. Most tests will have a matching headings question in one of the passages.

  16. Hi just wanted to find out what is the probability of matching headings coming in a general test?

    • It is the same possibility as in the academic reading test. They are common questions.

  17. Dashwep Domse Biyangshak says

    Thanks for the video. I enjoyed it but the bottlenck is the fact that internet service in my own community is extremely expensive. Hence, I kept
    paying anytime i need to watch. please is there anhway you can make it accessible tk those who have paid for it without internet sercice?

  18. Saurabh Verma says

    Hello Liz,

    I watched your video with 25 tips for listening. In one of the tips for CAPITAL LETTERS, there was a pop up which says “do not use this tip as IELTS doesn’t consider CAPITAL LETTERS. I am a bit confused. Could you please clarify if we can use CAPITAL LETTERS for all answers in listening part of IELTS.

    Thank you.

  19. Bastiaan says

    Hi Liz,

    I used all of your great videos and material and just received a balance score of 8. Thank you very much, your work is much appreciated!


  20. Muhammad Ijaz says

    if i want to writ in lower cases words like..
    garden==is this correct ?


    Garden==is this correct?

    • In listening or reading, IELTS don’t pay attention to capital letters at all. They do count in the writing test.

      • Dear Liz.

        i am agree with your answer but my question is that if i write this word is lower case in listening test then what will be the correct answer like below..

        garden== is this correct ??


        Garden==is this correct??

  21. Hello Liz, could you please have a look at my essay below and grade it?

    Blood sports in general terms means a fight in which animals are involved , and in a few circumstances even results in the death of some. This kind of sporting activity has been there since olden days and has increased greatly with regards to the degree of violence the animals are enduring . In my opinion, such kind of inhumane and uncivilized forms of activities should be prohibited .

    Animals are being used not just as a source of clinical research , but also for the entertainment of a section of the society. There are various kinds of such barbaric acts and to name a few I would say, bull-fights or cock-fights. It has evolved into a huge money minting business. In some countries ,such events are held in a grand manner trying to draw more public attention , and thus indirectly more financial gain. Some sections of the society support their action on religious grounds. I feel whatever might be the purpose behind such gruesome acts, subjecting
    animals to such kinds of both physical and mental violence is barbaric and should be banned at any cost. Most important point to consider here is , some animals actually succumb to the injuries inflicted on them during these fights and are left to die.

    Animal welfare organisations such as the PETA and the Blue Cross are trying their best to put an end to such deadly and horrific sports. Considering all these, I strongly feel that more social awareness is needed to stop this kind of thoughtless and violent activity towards the lesser developed species.

    In conclusion, all I can say is government should put into practice stringent laws prohibiting all such forms of violent activities towards animals.

    Thank you so much Liz , for giving everyone such a good platform.

  22. Mohammed Rashid says

    Dear Liz ..

    Thank you too much …
    your posts very very useful and helping out … would you please give me a site or a link that i can manage all the rule of ILETS ..
    best regards .

  23. darine says

    Hi Liz !

    I’ve just began to prepare for the IELTS test and I’m following your instructions and you your videos , but I’d like to ask you a few questions ? Can take the academic IELTS in two months from now ? Also what should I do in this short time ? What’s the best way to do ? How many hours I need to study a day ? Is the Academic test for those who graduated or it can be for under graduated too ? and my accent is american (north america ) is it okay ?the last one how I pay for the test and get my money back ?

    Thank you !

    • Firstly, after watching the above video, I’m sure you realise how many things you need to learn: question types, skills, each section of the test etc. All this must be learned and practiced before the test. You must plan your own time to cover each type of question in each section and then develop your skills. When you get the score you want in practice tests, it is time to book your real test. The academic test is mostly for people who want to enter university for any course. You must decide which IELTS test is suitable for your requirements – you can find that information on the official BC website or IELTS official site. The test is international which means American English is accepted.
      All the best

      • user0613 says

        Hi Liz,

        Thank you for all your efforts. I studied for my test using your videos and blog posts, and I scored an overall 8 (L 9 R 8.5 W 7 S 7). Without your help, I don’t think it would have been possible. I will be forever grateful for your kindness. Thank you very much πŸ™‚

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