I cleared IELTS from British Council in July 2004. I got 8 in Speaking & Reading and 7 in Listening & Writing with an overall band score of 7.5.
IELTS assesses your English Language skills & it's upto you how much you polish your skills using your brains.
Wherever you stand with whatever English Language skills, if you intend to appear in IELTS, you need to know whether your English is good enough to take you through the test or not.
In this regard, IELTS Practice Tests' Books are available in the market. I read "Cambridge Series" & "101 Tips For IELTS". In the Cambridge Series, there is a book called "Insight into IELTS" which has all the tips.....and there are 3 more books which have the practice tests. In "101 Tips for IELTS" also, there are both tips as well as practice tests. Many more books are available in the market.
Please remember that these books do not significantly improve your English. Thay are only to:
1: Aquaint you to the test pattern.
2: Make you utilize your English Language skills to attain the best possible results in IELTS.
3: To slip you into a rhythm of giving IELTS test.
There are four categories in the IELTS Test: Listening, Reading, Writing & Speaking. Minimum passing band-scores for listening, reading & writing is 6 and that for speaking is 7. Whereas the minimum overall band-score required by a doctor is 7.
HOW TO PRACTICE?
Initially, choose any one category....lets say Listening. Now read all the tips about Listening from wherever you can..be it books like "Cambridge Series" & "101 Tips For IELTS" or any other books or be it internet.
Once you have read all the tips, then you move on to the practice tests. Do a few practice tests. If you come good in the practice tests.....means your listening skills are upto the mark where you can clear this section of the IELTS test.
Likewise, do for other categories......that is, first read the tips......and then do practice tests & assess yourself.
Now, as I said, if you are doing good in practice tests, well & fair. But if you are not able to get the required band score in any/all of the categories, then you need to improve on that category. Since the IELTS books do not improve your English, you'll have to do this from other respects.
You can improve your listening skills by listening to BBC or other English news channels or movies. In doing so, try to focus hard and understand as much as what the speaker is saying.
Reading can be improved by reading English newspapers, novels and also medical research papers. Try to increase your speed and try to understand and memorize as much as you can when reading a certain passage.
Writing can be improved by writing more and more.........and same is with speaking i.e. you speak with your family and friends as much as you can.
But apart from this, you should also consult a grammer book like WREN & MARTIN ENGLISH GRAMMER & COMPOSITION.
Once you feel you have improved the particular categories well enough, again start doing practice tests for that category and assess yourself.
If you do well.....good. But if still you fail to take the required band score, then you should again try and improve your English by the methods already mentioned above.
Well, this is a general pattern to prepare for IELTS test.
InshaAllah, I'll very soon write about tips and tricks about individual categories as well.
Dr Ali Asghar
Note: Originally Posted at http://www.rxpgonline.com/postt28640.html