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  • Writer's pictureGetrude Orodo

IELTS: The Sections

Two weeks ago, I shared the general tips for fastidiously and sufficiently preparing for IELTS. If you missed it, check it out here.

Today, I will focus on what you need to know for each of the four sections:


The exam is based on an audio recording that contains answers to the questions that will be in front of you on the exam day, either in soft or hard copy. The golden trick with listening is concentration.

Let your mind focus on nothing else but the recording. The audio is in British accent, which may be quite challenging ( I still struggle to date) but you will be able to answer the questions only if your concentrate.

In case you miss to hear a word or a section, don't focus on what is gone, just move on to the rest of the recording. There is no negative mark for wrong answers. This means at the end of the exam you can fill up any blanks you left by guessing.

2. Reading

Reading is quite challenging, especially with regard to time. The exam consist of three passages that you should read and answer questions to within the hour. The passages are extremely boring and you will find no pleasure in reading them.

My tips are that, skim through the passage as quickly as you can on the first reading. Believe me, your brain will capture bits and pieces of information. After this, read through the questions. At this point you'll have a clue of where some of the answer may be.

Start answering the questions, referring to the passages as needed. Speed is of essence with reading because the 60 minutes will fly by. I cannot overemphasize the need for practice with reading.

3. Writing

In writing, it is important to understand the different question formats and how to answer them. However, the general principals of writing still apply. The same ones we used when we wrote compositions in primary and secondary school.

For instance, good handwriting, neatness, good paragraphing, logical flow of ideas and so on. Also building your vocabulary will be helpful with both writing and speaking.

4. Speaking

Speaking is the easiest of the IELTS section, only if you can tame your nerves on the exam day. The beauty of Speaking is that you can practice by talking in English every opportunity you get including at work and at home.

I must also point out that while with Listening and Reading you can practice alone, with Writing and Speaking you will require someone to give you feedback. This is where a school or teacher will come in handy.

However if you are studying individually, find sample essays and study them to understand what is expected. Some of the reliable resources can be found on this website.

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So encouraging and thank you for the information



Wonderful piece. Am preparing for an interview with IELTS.

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