IELTS prep is ultimately all about exam results; getting that qualifying score is always the end goal. So, let’s look at five very important things you should know about your IELTS results.
1. With IELTS Listening and IELTS Reading, What You See is What You Get
When you practise IELTS Listening and Reading question sets, you can easily figure out your band score. You just need to look at the number of questions you got right. In other words, there are no secret adjustments to your IELTS band after you complete the test. For each section, the number of correct answers you get out of 40 is your score, and this will be converted directly into an official IELTS Band ranging from 1 to 9.
So, you can take your IELTS Listening and Reading results at face value. But you don’t need to just take our word for it. The official IELTS website itself has published a table where you can convert your raw score – the number of answers correct – into a band score. Take a look at the official conversion tables for IELTS Listening and Reading (these are found in the “Component Band Scores” section of the page).
As long as you’re able to maintain good skill and accuracy in these sections, you can be confident that you’ll get the score you need. For more information about how to get top Listening and Reading results, check out this guide to the IELTS Listening test and these IELTS Reading tips.
2. The IELTS Speaking Test Brings You Face-to-Face with the Person Who Will Calculate Your Results
Yes, the person who conducts your IELTS Speaking interview is the very same person who will rate your speaking and assign it an IELTS band score. Don’t let this make you nervous, though. Talking directly with your IELTS scorer actually gives you a unique opportunity you don’t have in other parts of the exam.
You can pay close attention to how your interviewer reacts to what you say and adjust your speech accordingly. Does your scorer seem confused? You can slow your speech or focus more on your pronunciation. And if the reviewer seems able to understand you and is engaged in what you’re saying, keep doing more of what you’re doing.
Of course, if you want the best IELTS Speaking result, it’s good to prepare in advance of meeting your scorer. How can you prepare to really wow your IELTS Speaking interviewer? Well, this complete guide to IELTS Speaking is a great place to start.
3. In IELTS Writing, Content is More Important than Word Count
If you want good results in the IELTS Writing section, what you say is far more important than how much you say. However, Writing Task 1 has a minimum word count of 150, Writing Task 2 has a minimum word count of 250, and both of these word minimum limits must be met to get a top score. But as long as you’re at the minimum, you can stop worrying about word count.
What you really need to focus on is well organised, clearly written ideas. An IELTS general training letter that is, say, 155 words long and very well written will always get a better score than a 200 or 3300-word letter that is confusing or disorganised. And a nice 300-word Task 2 essay can still get a pretty bad score if it fails to answer a key part of the essay question.
Putting together good, organised content can be especially challenging for the first IELTS Academic Writing essay. There, you need to summarise and organise very detailed information from a chart or table. To rise to this challenge and get good results on test day, use this tutorial on IELTS Academic Writing Task 1.
The second IELTS Writing Task, which is the same on both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training, can be a real challenge too. Be sure to go through some good prep materials to the second task, including this helpful article all about IELTS Writing Task 2.
4. Good IELTS Prep = Good IELTS Results
As a general rule, your results are as good as the preparation you put in. And IELTS preparation isn’t just about taking time and working hard. You also need to plan your time well and work with the right kinds of IELTS study material. This sample IELTS preparation schedule is a good model for how to prepare for the IELTS. Check it out. You can use it as it is, or let the study schedule be a model for a personal IELTS study plan you make for yourself.
5. A Well-Chosen Practice Test Can Help You Predict Your IELTS Results
A practice test is perhaps the best way to predict what your real IELTS test results might be. But remember, practice tests are only effective in predicting scores if such exams are high-quality. You’ll want to take tests that resemble the real exam. You can purchase some very well-made and realistic practice tests from Cambridge, the official maker of the IELTS. You can also buy good practice tests from reputable unofficial IELTS prep companies such as Magoosh.
But don’t reach for your wallet just yet. You can get your hands on some good, high-quality IELTS without spending a dime. There are free official exams on IELTS.org and the British Council website. Magoosh has also published a free IELTS practice test to its IELTS Blog.
Special thanks to David Recine for providing us with this article. David is a test prep expert at Magoosh. He has a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has been teaching K-12, University, and adult education classes since 2007 and has worked with students from every continent.