Students aiming to study abroad are well-aware of the International English Language Testing System, more commonly known as IELTS. Most international universities make it mandatory to clear IELTS exam to apply for admissions and different scholarships.
However, IELTS isn’t only for students. People planning to move abroad for work or who are looking to migrate permanently also often need to clear IELTS before they can do so.
Even if your English level is good, we suggest you make a proper study plan for IELTS because familiarity with the content and structure of the questions will help you manage the time and pressure of the exam and get you a great score.
Below is a comprehensive guide on how to prepare for IELTS.
IELTS Preparation Guide
If you are planning to prepare for IELTS, the internet is your best friend.
While some may argue that its good to pay a little extra fee for IELTS preparation at some renowned academies, I personally feel that you can prepare extremely well for the test from the comfort of your home. All you need is an internet connection and plenty of determination to score a high band.
Below are some of the most important things that you need to understand before attempting to take the IELTS exam.
AEO vs British Council IELTS
IELTS is considered one of the most reliable tests for English language proficiency and if you are planning to get your English language skills tested in Pakistan, there are two testing provider options: Australian Education Office (AEO) and British Council IELTS.
Most of the aspirants often spend time wondering whether to go with AEO or British Council for IELTS but both testing authorities are equally reliable and administer the same tests.
The only difference between the two is the number of testing centers, dates of tests, how you book and communication methods. Scores from both AEO and British Council IELTS are acceptable worldwide.
British Council has a number of test centers across Pakistan including Islamabad, Abbottabad, Gujrat, Peshawar, Karachi, Hyderabad, Quetta, Lahore, Multan, Bahawalpur, Mirpur, Faisalabad, Sargodha, and Sialkot. The authority conducts three to four tests per month in Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad and one test per month at the rest of test centers.
AEO Pakistan, on the other hand, runs only three test centers in Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi, offering three to four tests per month. Candidates from other areas need to contact their nearby centers to book their tests i.e. candidates from Peshawar must contact AEO Islamabad for booking their tests.
You can book your IELTS test online in Pakistan with both testing authorities.
General vs Academic IELTS
There are two types of IELTS tests: Academic and General Training.
As the name suggests, the IELTS Academic is for students wishing to study abroad for higher education whereas IELTS General Training is for people migrating to UK, Australia or Canada or applying for work experience in countries where English is the first language.
IELTS test is based on four modules including Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. All your English skills are assessed in a series of tests which take a total of less than 3 hours.
While the Reading and Writing portions of IELTS Academic and General Training differ, the Speaking and Listening tests are the same.
The Listening, Reading and Writing tests are conducted on the same day and the Speaking portion is usually scheduled for a separate day.
The candidates are required to answer a series of 40 questions based on four recordings. The test takes 30 minutes and assesses the ability to understand the main ideas, factual information etc.
Each question carries 1 mark and can be of the following types:
- multiple choice
- plan/map/diagram labelling
- form/note/table/flow-chart/summary completion
- sentence completion
In this part, you are required to answer 40 questions based on different texts which can be analytical, descriptive, discursive or factual for IELTS Academic. For IELTS General Training, the texts are taken from books, magazines, company guidelines, notices, advertisements, and newspapers. The questions are designed to test a range of reading skills.
The test duration is one hour and carries 60 marks.
The Writing portion takes 60 minutes wherein the candidates are required to complete two writing tasks.
In the Academic test, task 1 is about writing 150 words to describe visual information in 20 minutes. The second task is to respond to a point of view or argument in 250 words in 40 minutes.
In the General Training test, you are required to write a letter in the first portion and an essay in the second.
The Speaking test lasts for 11-14 minutes and consists of three parts.
The first part is the introduction where you will be asked various questions. The second and third part revolve around a topic about which you will speak, followed by questions.
One of the most important questions that we all ask about is the IELTS registration fee. It must be noted that IELTS score is valid for 2 years.
IELTS Registration Fee in Pakistan for British Council
|Islamabad & Gujrat||KPK
|IELTS Test registration fee||29,464||29,464||25,400||28,702||25,400|
IELTS Registration Fee in Pakistan for AEO
AEO Lahore, Sialkot, Multan, Faisalabad
|AEO Islamabad||AEO Karachi||AEO Peshawar and Abbottabad||AEO Mirpur|
|Computer-Delivered IELTS REGISTRATION FEE (Bank Draft, Pay Order)||32,480||32,480||31,640||–|
|IELTS REGISTRATION FEE (Bank Draft, Pay Order)||31,320||31,320||30,510||31,050||27,000|
Once you are confident of your IELTS preparation, you are advised to register for IELTS through your favored testing agency at the desired testing center. You can choose from a number of options when it comes to testing dates and test centers.
The best thing is that you can easily register online regardless of whether it is the British Council IELTS or AEO IELTS.
Applying for IELTS is very easy as you have to follow a few steps and pay the registration fee. Follow these steps:
- Go to IELTS Online Registration System
- Choose your country/territory
- Specify test date, city, and type of IELTS
- Check test availability and click ‘Apply’
- Sign the declaration form
- Fill out the candidate details and ‘Continue’
- Pay the registration fee once you receive the email regarding seat reservation
You can either download the application form or reserve your seat online through AEO’s test booking portal.
- Fill out the application form properly
- Submit the required documents including a copy of CNIC or passport, along with the bank draft/pay order and duly filled form
- You can either submit the documents personally or mail via courier services
In case of online seat reservation:
- Select desired testing city and module
- Click ‘Registration’ for the desired test
- Check for seat availability and click continue – this covers all test portions except speaking
- Choose the timings for your speaking appointment
- The browser will prompt you to enter the login details or create a new profile
- Enter the candidate details and click ‘Register’
Once your application is submitted, you are required to submit the printed email showing the booking details, bank draft/pay order and a copy of passport or CNIC within 5 days.
IELTS scores range from Band 1 to Band 9. The overall band score is calculated based on the average of individual band scores of the four test components. The band score is rounded off to the nearest whole or half band.
The complete IELTS Band scale is as follows:
|Band Score||Skill Level|
|0||Did not attempt the test|
|3||Extremely limited user|
|8||Very good user|
Minimum Recommended Scores for Different Countries
While the admission criteria differ across universities as well as countries, experts are of the opinion that the applicant must have a minimum of 6 Bands when it comes to English language proficiency.