3 Ways To Know You Are Ready For IELTS

How know if ready for IELTS?

Find out if you are ready to take the IELTS test before you book and prevent yourself from wasting your time and money. Here is how:

You are ready to take IELTS if you can get the band score you need in three consecutive IELTS practice tests, or if you have taken a CEFR placement test that shows you are already at the desired IELTS level, or if you are already a near fluent speaker of English and you only need a band 6/7. 

Unfortunately, over 50% of IELTS test takers do not use these checking techniques and so they end up having to take the test at least once more. As a former IELTS examiner, please allow me to explain how to make sure you are ready…

Method #1 – The 3 Consecutive Tests Method

This method requires you to take 3 consecutive official IELTS practice tests at home. There are a limited number of tests you can get for free online but you may also need to buy one of the official IELTS books that contain extra practice tests. 

A word of warning though, just because you are doing them at home you must not cheat. This means you have to take the test strictly within the time limits. You cannot allow yourself to have one second more than you will get on test day otherwise your score will be inaccurate so don’t be tempted to cheat yourself.

Getting the papers marked and working out your band score is easily done for the reading and listening sections of the test as the answers are normally provided along with the test, as too are the band score boundaries.

Here are some free tests online for you to use. Be careful to only ever use papers from official websites that are owned by either The British Council, IDP IELTS, or Cambridge English. If you use a paper from elsewhere you cannot guarantee that your band score is accurate.

IDP IELTS practice tests

British Council practice tests

IELTS.org practice tests

Cambridge English practice tests

To get your writing marked accurately and get a reliable band score for it you will need the help of an IELTS teacher from a language school or from an online service. These are the people I recommend for this type of job, they can also grade your speaking as well 

If you don’t want to pay for an online service like that you will have to find a language school, or private IELTS teacher to grade your speaking. Do not skip getting your writing and speaking properly graded. They make up half of your overall band score so it is critical you get an accurate band score for each of them.

Some people make the mistake of thinking that paying for someone to grade their speaking and writing properly is a waste of money when actually it will save you money! It will stop you taking the test, which costs at least $200 per time, before you are ready so look at it as an investment and not an unnecessary expense.

Finally, if you work your way through 3 test papers and each time you get the band score you need, you can be confident that on test day you will also perform similarly. 

Method #2 – The Quick CEFR Check Method

The Common European Framework of Reference or CEFR for short is a levelling system that all English language courses relate to.

Millions of pounds has been spent researching this leveling system and it is trusted by governments around the world. This is the reasons that the UKVI test provides an IELTS certificate with an extra CEFR score on it!

Take a look at the illustration below to see how IELTS and CEFR match together.

How Do You Know If You Are Ready For IELTS?

Why should you care about this? Well, there are free placement test offered by Cambridge English to show you what your CEFR level is, and if you know your CEFR level you can work out what your IELTS level should be.

Of course you still need to do specific IELTS exam preparation but if your CEFR suggests that you are at the IELTS band level you need then you are ready to book your IELTS test. 

Here is a link to Cambridge English’ CEFR placement test. I hope you agree this is a pretty neat way to check your IELTS score! You will see the screen below and you should click the ‘General English’ category.

Are you ready for IELTS?

As you can see from the screenshot below I scored a C2.2 level which equates to a band 9 in IELTS. I am ready to take the test, hooray!

How To Know If You Are Ready For IELTS?

Method #3 – The Mis-match Method

There are a fortunate group of people that are ready to take the IELTS test right away. These people are probably reading this article just trying to seek some confirmation before they book the test. 

So, if you only need a band 6, or 7 and have lived in an English speaking country for a significant length of time AND used English the majority of that time, or if you have worked closely with native English speakers for an extended period of time, or if you were lucky enough to have gone to an international school where all your lessons were in English, then you guys should just go ahead and book your IELTS test right away – you are ready! 

You should still do some exam prep such as making sure you know the format of the test and how fast you need to work in each section but basically you guys are ready, go do it!

So, they are the 3 best ways I know of to find out if you are ready for the IELTS test. However, now I want to share with you one of the biggest problems that prevent people from waiting until they are ready.

How To Know If You Are NOT Ready For The IELTS Test

Incredibly a lot of candidates book their test before they are ready. Why? Because they do not actually sit down and logically think about whether they are ready for the test or not. They do not go through the steps I have outlined above.

Instead, they go ahead and book an IELTS test anyway due to a reason based purely on emotion. This might be because they have either a deadline for something, such as an immigration deadline, university application, or pressure from friends or family, or they suffer from annoyance at wanting to get the test done, or they are simply feeling lucky, or they just want to move onto a better life as soon as possible. 

Here’s the thing people! Booking the test for those reasons which are based on emotion is never a good idea. Emotion is irrational and often leads to failure in any part of life. 

To prevent this, you must force yourself to prove to yourself that you are ready for IELTS otherwise IELTS is a very fast way for you to lose a lot of money. Please do not do that, IELTS have enough money already, please save your money and do not book the IELTS test until you are ready!

If you use logic to decide when you are ready to book the test then you will be being far more honest with yourself about whether you can actually get the band score you need right now or not. You will be thinking about the advice your IELTS teacher gave you, completing practice tests as I outlined earlier, and so on.

So my wonderful readers, please be careful that these emotional reasons are not ‘blinding’ you to the truth that you are not actually ready to do your IELTS test and wait until you are ready, good luck.

Recommended IELTS Study Tools

Thank you for reading this article. I always get lots of questions about how else to get a better band score quickly. So, this is what I recommend:

Complete IELTS Course: Of course, my full course ‘INCREASE YOUR IELTS‘ covers everything you need to need to know to pass IELTS, including practice questions, model answers, grammar work, strategies for every possible reading, writing and listening question type, as well as a complete speaking course too, check it out here.

IELTS Essay and Speaking Feedback: To complete full mock tests and get feedback from IELTS examiners on your IELTS essays or speaking tasks then visit: IELTS Feedback and Mock Tests, here.

Improve your grammar fast by using the Grammarly suggestions to improve your writing. Every IELTS students should have this free grammar improving tool.

Improve all-round English skill with EnglishClass101.com. If you have failed IELTS more than once then you probably need to improve your general level of English. Use the free online lessons and vocabulary building tools here and start improving today! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

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