New here and wanted to share my experience. I wrote the IELTS very recently.
My wife and I prepared together, however with you contact traveling job I did not get much time to review/study. I did not take the full test either. What I did, was to take up small section tests whether I got time. This included time standing in line before boarding the flight, etc.
The community here has shared a wealth of information, and I can assure you a simple google will find you even more once you have exhausted what has been shared here.
Take time each day to prep. 20 - 30 mins. Take one to two sub sections each day (one section lasts for 20 mins) so easy to spend time for it.
When you are doing each section, time yourself. One portion of the reading section lasts for 20 mins, so try to complete it lets say within 17 - 18 mins. This allows you to go review your answers.
When doing reading, I found it useful to skim through the passage rather than read through the whole passage. Now this might not work for all, but when I skim through I look for the idea/main points that are being discussed. This allows me to return back to the exact section I am looking for answers.
Listening: take plenty of tests to get used to listening for answers. Note, you can take notes on the question booklet during the exam so make sure you are efficient in taking notes or things that you find out while discussing.
Writing - don’t worry about word count. My recommendation is to work on creating outlines. You have total of 60 mins during the exam. 20 for Task 1, and 40 for Task 2. Task 2 is given more importance. So learn to outline properly so that you won’t have to sit and think of ideas or how to structure your passage. This will organize your planning time and allow your passage to have a clear chain of thought.
Speaking - what they are looking for is your clarity in thought and ideas. Fluency is a part of it but the tests is more of a conversation rather than an interview. Make sure you are clear as to what you want to speak about. If you use um, or ahs. Here is a tip, rather than using your um or when you are about to, just pause and clear your chain of thought to avoid the Um, or ah. This will not get rid of it completely, but will reduce it to a certain extent.
Overall, the test was a pleasant experience. Don’t worry too much with the prep. I believe 2 weeks prior to the exam is more than sufficient to prepare for the exam. 20 - 40 mins a day is sufficient to score well.
My IELTS score