What to expect and how to practice for the IELTS exam

It’s been a great start to 2020 here at Castle School and we’ve seen so many more students needing to study for the IELTS certification.

In previous blogs we have discussed the differences between the IELTS and other Cambridge Exams to help you decide which one to choose. But now you’ve made your decision, what should you expect? And how can you prepare yourself to get the best score possible? Keep reading to find out!

The IELTS exam is divided into FOUR parts:

Listening – a 30 minute test of 4 different recording. You will be asked questions so practice listening to monologues and conversations.

Speaking – lasts between 11-14 minutes and has 3 sections which includes short questions, longer questions and a structured discussion. Prepare by knowing the categories of questions you might be asked such as:

  • Your hometown
  • Work
  • Leisure activities
  • Studies

There are many more categories so look online and find some practice questions to try with your friends and classmates.

Reading – 60 minutes and 3 sections and uses a variety of skills. There are two different versions, Academic and General Training so make sure you practice using the correct types of text for the version you are being tested for. Prepare by doing practice tests.

Writing – 60 minutes and 2 sections. The first task includes writing at least 150 words, and the second task includes writing at least 250 words. As with the reading test, there is an Academic Version and a General Training Version and the best preparation is to practice!


The best way to prepare for the IELTS exam is to complete practice tests. If you study with Castle School, you will be given weekly tests to show you the areas you need to work on to get your desired IELTS score.

Another advantage of using practice tests is they give you an opportunity to time yourself. The IELTS tests are carefully timed, so you should know how long it takes you to prepare your answers. Use practice tests and time yourself; then, if necessary, you can work on improving your timing before you take the test.

Outside of the classroom you can research model answers to IELTS questions available online to help you prepare for your IELTS test. There are IELTS online webinars and seminars with further advice on how to work to improve your IELTS score.

Make the most of your free time to do as much practice for this exam as possible. The average cost for the IELTS exam is £180 so you want to get it right first time! 


At Castle School, our teachers are dedicated to helping students achieve their desired qualifications. If you would like to read more about our IELTS Preparation course click here. or to book an IELTS course with Castle School apply online or contact info@castle-school.co.uk.


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