IELTS Study Tips and Skills



Hello yogesh,

It's not really possible for us to answer your question without knowing more about your level of English, but my impression is that many people who prepare for the IELTS do more preparation than what we provide here at LearnEnglish.

Please note that there is no limited set of grammatical points or speaking points that are tested on the exam - you complete the tasks as best you can, and you are given a mark based on your performance. To learn more about the IELTS and to access further materials, I'd recommend taking a look at TakeIELTS. I'm afraid that we don't have any preparation materials for the TOEFL, but I'm sure you can find many online by doing an internet search for them.

In addition to this, I'd recommend that you find out about IELTS preparation classes where you live and consider taking one. You should also find out from the universities that interest what minimum TOEFL and/or IELTS marks they require for new students. That will help you set a useful goal for yourself.

I hope this helps you. Good luck!

Best wishes,

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Kirk,
I humbly request you to answer a couple of queries.
Yesterday,while I was reading your reply about IELTS, I came across my own doubts .
These are regarding the text written by you and it is mentioned below.

  1. You have used the dash in the second paragraph . Could you please tell me why you have used it and what it expresses there ? what it is linked to?
  2. In the third paragraph , you begin the last sentence with " that" . Would you please explain what "that" is referring to .

As you know , I am an ESL learner . If you could clarify my doubts , I would be very grateful to you.
Best wishes,

Hello Livon,

The dash is a form of punctuation used to add new thoughts, particularly paraphrases or clarifications of what was said in the previous part of the sentence.  Here, Kirk is clarifying what he said before the dash.

The 'that' in the third paragraph refers to the idea expressed in the previous sentence (finding out about IELTS preparation classes).

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much Peter.
Please keep up the good work.
Best wishes,

I Am using Android for my samsung note 8. 

Hi Peter,
I did my registration on the site right now. My English is very basic and need some guidance on how to start and what to follow to achieve my goal. 've Gotta note 7 Ielts in the four modalities and would like to know the best way to start to achieve that goal more quickly and correctly. I want to push myself very hard and dedicate myself completely in this study. Thank you for your attention and await your response.
André Amorim

Hello André,

The best way to improve is to practise, especially when it comes to exams.  Have you tested your current level of English so you can see how close you are at the moment to your desired score?  You can use the mock papers on this page to do so, and that will give you an idea how close you are, and also which areas you most need to work on in order to reach your goal.

Once you know this, you need to work on your weaker areas and practise them, without forgetting to practise the other areas, of course.  A very useful site for you, I think, will be the British Council's Take IELTS site.  There you can find information about the exam, practice papers, practice resources, tips and guides for each paper and so on.  It will enable you to practise what you need and also give you the information about the exam which is necessary to ensure that your result truly reflects your ability - information about the rules of the exam, how it is marked and so on.

I hope that is helpful for you.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Hi to all,
I am much bewildered to recognize some of the effective strategies for IELTS reading section. Some people believe that strategies like Skimming and Scanning are highly regarded;whereas, others claim that critical thinking, which is asking wh-question such as what, why,how about the reading task, is paramount for understanding the reading text at a broad. I would love to hear some professional recommendations regarding these two different reading techniques. Keeping in mind which reading technique is abundantly practiced by many with maximum ease. I am extremely obliged for your kind enlightenment.

Hello Inquisitive786,

I don't think these are mutually exclusive strategies.  Research suggests that proficient readers use a range of different reading strategies depending on the particular text they are reading, their purpose, the situation and numerous other variables.  Most importantly, we use these strategies in conjunction with one another, so we may take a newspaper and first skim it to get a general idea of what the contents are, then read in detail one or more particular stories, then scan for some specific information such as the next day's weather, and then read with a focus on inference because we wish to identify the newspaper's (unstated) political standpoint on a particular issue.  A skilful reader has all of these tools at his or her disposal, and applies them intelligently to the texts her or she encounters.

As an aside, I would suggest that critical thinking is less about the questions themselves than what we do with the answers!  Gathering information effectively is only one aspect of critical thinking, in my opinion.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you , your comments are indeed thoughtful. I was just trying to focus on the validity of particular reading skill effectively used for IELTS reading test. There will be so many reading tactics for various different reading tasks, but I am afraid you can not practice them in the IELTS reading task, simply because of the time constraints.Therefore, there should be one substantial reading tactic which can accomplish the job in a minimum time frame. As I haven't discovered such techniques as yet, that's why I want someone who knows this valuable knowledge and share with us for the rest of inquisitors.