How to Ace Your IELTS Exam: 7 Things to Consider

You were just accepted into your dream university, which will undoubtedly put you into your dream career. You have the money and the drive. The only problem is that it is in a predominantly English-speaking country, and they will not accept you without a qualifying IELTS score.

Things to Consider about IELTS Exam

You can cry and sulk, giving up on your life’s dream…or you can be prepared for the IELTS Exam, ace it, and walk into your new opportunity.

Here are seven questions you must ask and seven answers you must know to ace your IELTS Exam.

1. What is the IELTS Exam?

The IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System. It is an exam that measures your ability to listen, read, write, and speak English and is graded on a scale of 1 - 9. Countries such as the UK, the U.S., and Australia use it to test migrant workers or international students.

Test takers who score a 1 cannot use the language except for a few words while test takers who score a 9 are expert users with a strong command and fluency in the language.

Here is a breakdown of the exam.

The test takes a total of two hours and 45 minutes. The first three sections are taken on the same day, but the Speaking Section can be completed a few days before or after the exam.

The Listening Section is 30 minutes and tests one’s ability to listen to a variety of modules, including a monologue, dialogue, lecture, and student discussion. It consists of four sets of 10 questions each. The questions range in style and complexity. There will be multiple choice, short answers, matching, and the like.

The Reading Section is 60 minutes and is formatted differently between the paper and computer-based exams. Both tests ask a total of 40 questions, but the academic test focuses on three academic passages while the general training is usually 5-6 general passages.

The Writing Section is also 60 minutes and requires test takers to answer a prompt with either a short essay (150 words) for the general training exam or a longer one (250 words) for the academic exam.

Finally, the Speaking Section is 11 - 14 minutes and tests the person’s ability to discourse. The section is broken up into three parts with each being progressively more difficult.

2. Who Should Take the IELTS Exam?

People who wish to migrate to predominantly English-speaking countries should take it. Also, English is the third most spoken language in the world, so being fluent in it is beneficial no matter your country of residence.

There are two types of exams: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. The one you choose may depend on whether or not you plan on attending a college or university or plan to hop right into full-time employment.

3. Is the IELTS a Difficult Exam?

This question is almost impossible to answer as it depends on the individual. The test is a fair and accurate assessment of one’s English language proficiency as it was developed by English language specialists from all over the world.

Of course, a person who scored a 1 may state that the exam is difficult while a person who scores a 9 may speak of the test’s ease.

4. What is the IELTS Exam’s Passing Score?

Like many tests and exams that are used for assessment, there is no passing score for the IELTS Exam. However, individuals should strive for a score of 9 to demonstrate their proficiency in the English language. If students do not score high enough for their preference or the particular institution’s preference, they are permitted to retake the exam as many times as they like.

5. How Do You Prepare for the IELTS Exam?

Like the SAT or ACT, one must study before taking the IELTS Exam. There are many study guides available such as videos on or YouTube or you can subscribe to an ultimate guide. Whatever method of studying you choose, make sure the source is knowledgeable and relevant to the types of questions asked on the IELTS Exam. If you have the time and can afford it, coaching classes are also an option.

6. How Do You Register for the IELTS Exam?

Registering for the exam is relatively quick and easy. You can go to the IELTS website or a website like Once there, decide which exam you want to take, the academic or general training, and whether you want to take the paper or computer-based exam. Next, you will look up the available locations, dates, and times, and choose the best one to fit your needs and schedule. After answering a few personal and academic questions, you will be registered.

Note that the paper exam is facilitated by a face-to-face trained examiner, and the computer-based exam is also facilitated by a live examiner, but with it, you have more options and will receive your results sooner.

7. How Much Does the IELTS Exam Cost?

The cost of the IELTS Exam varies based on the type of exam, location, paper or computer-based exam, country of origin, and country of immigration, along with a host of other factors. Please take note that if you cancel or change your test time, you are subject to fees of up to 25% of the original cost. If you are looking to be accepted into a college or university, there are other ways that you can save money without skimping on your English language proficiency. Or, you can learn more about financial aids.

Journeying to a new place to start a new life does not have to be terrifying. You can become the person you always wanted. Prepare for the IELTS Exam, register, and ace it! Hurry! Your dreams are waiting.