IELTS Preparation


Hi Rakesh,
Great score. Congratulations. You should get your iTA in next draw. Mine is scheduled on Aug 2nd. How many True, False, Not Given questions did you have? Interestingly in two of GT Cambridge practice tests for reading, I came across 3 sections with those questions in 2 of the tests. Also any tips on how to better deal with Multiple Choice on Listening section? While practicing on my own I sometimes miss out on some and end up freaking out. Did you make notes for Multiple Choice or you just tried to mark the right answer while listening? Many times the Multiple Choice are long sentences and to be thats distracting while trying to directly mark the answer.


Hi @rjtbansal ,

Please see my below post, also in this thread there are others who have detailed answers and points on how to get the maximum. Hope it helps


@rjtbansal Thanks. I got true/false/not given in only one section around 6 questions I think. I too came across many practice tests with more than one section of true false questions which had made me kinda nervous but I think they try to prepare you for the worst case. I followed this guy’s technique for true/false questions which helped me.

Listening multiple choice questions gave me a hard time too during practice runs and I would miss a whole bunch of questions especially when the answer choices were long. Taking notes worked for me!
Here’s my technique: first, during the time allowed before the audio playback read all the questions (not choices) and underline keywords/phrases in the question that will help you identify what is actually being asked, then when the audio starts take heavy notes of anything and everything relevant to the underlined keywords/phrases during the playback - don’t even look at the choices yet - be aware of the signpost words that signal the speaker’s jump to the next question and continue taking notes beside the corresponding question, at the end after the final section audio is over, go back and read the questions choices and quickly answer them with the help of the notes. Now I know, some people advise to read options and mark as you listen but it didn’t work for me, but taking notes worked like a charm for me and I got all multiple choice questions right in my final practice runs and most likely in the actual test also. This applies to the match the titles as well. Initially my note taking speed didn’t match the speed of the audio because who in the hell writes with a pencil that fast anyway? at least I don’t! but then, I learned to take shorthand notes.Even though sometimes the notes would be jumbled up, but just the fact that I took notes was enough for my brain to recollect the audio’s narrative and helped me mark the right answer.


Thanks @rsms and @kapilchandra for your respective responses. I will definitely try the approach you mentioned regarding MCQs in the next tests I practice. It makes a lot of sense.


@rjtbansal Good luck to you! You may already know this,but only at some locations headsets are given for listening, whereas at others the audio is played out of a common speaker in the hall. Mine was the latter. Ask your testing center in advance and be prepared.


Thanks @rsms. And thank you for bringing this up. Until now I was practicing assuming there wont be headsets but thanks to you I didnt realize I could email test center and ask such a question. And they said that they do provide headsets to all candidates. So starting today I will start wearing my earphones and practice. I wont lie when I say Im still anxious for the exam but listening tips from you will certainly help.


@rjtbansal That’s great! headsets are so much more convenient than speakers. At my testing center the speaker was of mediocre quality and occasionally there was vibration and some words weren’t clear and it was quite aggravating. I asked the invigilator about it and I was told that other test takers had issue with it too. Glad you find my tips helpful; feel free to ask if you come across any other questions. Just another thing, at my testing center they gave two pencils per person. They had kept two mechanical pencils with no rubber grip on my desk, but then they soon ran out of mechanical pencils so they offered regular wood pencils to some which I personally don’t prefer. I did, however, see somebody carry their own pencil with the rubber grip and all - I wish I had carried mine as it is so much more comfortable than the ones they provided. So you might as well carry your own pencil that you are comfortable with and it is likely they may allow you to use it. A bad pencil is the last thing you need on test day.


Thanks so much my friend. Just got the online score: L:8.5, R:8, W:8.5, S:8.5
I still cant believe speaking and writing score. But its all because I knew I did well in listening following your technique MCQs. Thanks a lot to this lovely community as well. I know this is just a small step in this long but meritorious process


That’s an awesome score! Good job and glad it all worked out for you :blush:


Just my 2 cents as we already have good detailed tips from others.

  • Practice is the key. I cant emphasize that enough. Make sure you print out the question papers and answer sheets and practice accordingly with timer running. Try to finish each section with atleast 5 mins to spare so that you can go through the answers and change them if needed.

  • Circle the questions in reading section which you are unsure about and move on. Typically True/false/not given will be such a section. Once done then as stated in previous point, spend time on those questions. It really helped me finishing earlier as I ended up changing 3 answers.

  • For speaking just treat as if its a normal conversation. If its an unfamiliar topic make things up. In part 2 of speaking I was asked to talk about a recent construction in my current locality and how has it benefited. I seriously had no idea about this but I made up a story talking about a new recreation park in my area :smiley:

  • Key is to get a great start in listening section. Ensure there is no distraction and practice listening a lot. If you have that nailed down rest of the sections will go well as your start is good.

  • For listening and reading, its safer to write answers in all caps.

  • For writing section no need to go crazy on 20-40 deadline. Just take your time and make sure you are satisfied with letter writing. Once that goes well second section will definitely go well. Try to finish it 10 mins before the time so that you have enough time to make any corrections. I ended up finishing 20 mins before scheduled time and this helped me to correct spelling errors.

  • Dont go crazy on practicing full length tests. Keep it 2-3 full length tests a week before the exam just to be able to sit at one place for 3 hrs. Focus practicing on individual sections instead especially the ones you think you need improvement.

All the best future test takers.


I appreciate the support and help provided for the future test takers. I have 2 weeks to prepare and juggling with writing part, don’t know how to check and estimate band for my writing. Any advice for the writing task and self evaluation?


It will be hard to self evaluate. I would recommend getting a professional evaluation. Here is one resource where you can get it done.

I used it and it helped me in improving my writing skills and getting an estimate on how much I can score.


Thanks for the quick response…heard about this through a friend too but didn’t get satisfactory feedback about the service. You got the band score as required after availing this correction service?


It certainly helped me in getting an estimate of the score range. They don’t help much on actually addressing the issues in your writing but getting to know the range actually helped in improving the areas that needed improvement.
I was usually getting around 7 range scale score and eventually ended up getting a 7.5 in the actual exam.


Are we allowed to write special characters ? I was solving a listening section from ielts handbook. The answer to one question was a date which was given as 25(th) in the answer key and I wrote ’ twenty fifth’. Is my answer wrong ?


Actually u won’t need to write special characters anywhere. Firstly u should read the instructions thoroughly. If it says answer in words, the answer will be twenty fifth and if you answer in numerals, u will lose a mark. On the other hand, if it says answer in numbers, then words will lose u mark. Sometimes the instruction would also be to answer in words/numbers. The instruction also tells u how many words to be answered in. So u should answer strictly as per the instruction. The answer for your question should be 25 or twenty fifth as per the instruction.


Correct. But the answer was given as 25(th) so I guess both 25 and 25th are correct answers. How lenient are the test checkers. I mean if I write GOLD FISH which has space instead of GOLDFISH, will I be penalised ??


Yes u will be, irrespective of the mood or thinking of the correction team. If the instruction says single word then no space should be there. If the instruction says 2 words then besides goldfish there definitely will be another word in the answer. There definitely will be only a single answer for any question. The remaining optionals like ‘th’ in ur answer won’t really matter.

Also you should go by the accurate meaning wrt the context. Goldfish is a type of fish whereas gold fish is a fish, gold in color. So you should catch tht meaning. This is how presence of mind will also be tested in IELTS.


I took the test in September. Although I had a lot of time to prepare, as usual, I was only able to dedicate a few hours to it.

One tip I’d like to give, especially regarding writing the essay is to do this- me and my friends memorized few fancy words and used it in our essay. So make sure you use hard words, but also make sure that they fit in the context. Also, I suggest writing the essay as an article(see a few web articles) rather than an answer. Letter writing is easy, but make sure to write in detail covering all the points mentioned and no less than the minimum words required.

Reading is easy. If possible do a few sections from the academic cambrdige guide as it is tougher and will better prepare you.

Speaking- practice different and lots of practice question(very imp). Focus on the grammar. Don’t try hard to display wide range of vocabulary when you don’t have it. But throw in a couple of words here and there if possible. Again, grammar and fluency is the key.

Listening- always read the questions once or twice before they play the script. Try practicing listening 10 sections at least as it is easy to lose concentration and miss the answer.

My scores:
L-8 R-8.5 S-8.5 W-8.5



When does the speaking test usually happen ? Before or after the Ielts test.
When will I get the notification about my speaking test? My ielts is on 1 dec