Complete IELTS Preparation Guide at Home 2022

If you want a complete IELTS preparation guide at home in 2022, we’ve got you covered. This lengthy blog post will serve as your guide through the preparation stages before you take the exam. It’s pretty long, as we have included as much information as possible. Be sure to bookmark it and share it with your friends if you find it useful.

This blog post can be used as a guide for our upcoming Free 7-Day IELTS Challenge – Pass The Exam With An Expert starting at 12 pm (GMT) on the 18th March 2022. Sign up by clicking on the link above to secure your seat and receive free live training, which walks you through each section!

To make it easier, we have broken down the IELTS Exam into 5 Areas:

  1. IELTS Listening Walkthrough and Mock Exam
  2. IELTS Reading Walkthrough and Mock Exam
  3. IELTS Writing Walkthrough and Mock Exam
  4. IELTS Speaking Walkthrough and Mock Exam
  5. Further Preparation Advice

Firstly, if you’re new to the IELTS exam, read this from start to finish; however, if you want to just brush up on your skills, fast forward to the relevant section by clicking the links above, which will have explanations, examples and further practice for each section of the exam.

Ready to jump in and start planning your travels abroad? Let’s go…

What is the IELTS Exam in 2022?

The IELTS is an acronym, and it stands for the International English Language Testing System, and it’s the world’s most popular English language test for study, work, and migration in 2022. Check out the top reasons to choose IELTS this year…

IELTS Test Taker

The IELTS is accepted worldwide, and it is the preferred choice for British, Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand Universities and immigration applications. Over 3 million people take it every year, so it really is the most encompassing and will open the most doors… 

The exam is approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes long, and it covers four sections: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. It is graded on a scale of one to nine. This can be converted to the standard Common European Framework, from A1 to C2. The highest scores are B2, C1, and C2, and these are the scores you need before you even prepare for the IELTS exam…

The IELTS is a challenging exam, and you need to be realistic about where you think you are and where you want to be. It is all about knowing your score and the score you will need to study or work abroad. Before starting,  you must know your starting point and your goal, enabling you to set measurable and achievable targets to achieve high scores and hasten your application for University or travel abroad. Planning is crucial because you need to know how long you have to travel when starting a race. Thus, you need to train in every section to get your desired high score.

Two Main Types of IELTS Exam

There are two types of IELTS exams, and they both assess your ability in the same four sections, but they are specific to the reason you are studying for the IELTS exam. Below we have listed both of them and the relevant reasons:

IELTS General: The test is for individuals who want to migrate from one country to another.

IELTS Academic; If you want to study abroad, this option is best for you, and most universities require 6.5 and above.

Hence, you need to understand what your goals are and your motivations.

Look on your potential universities’ websites. It will give you advice and guidelines on what they accept or the minimum IELTS  entry requirements. A safe solution? Prepare for both. Learn how to build arguments productively and efficiently and apply these skills to work and study. 

The Four Sections of the Exam

This section is for 30 minutes plus 10 minutes answer transfer time. You will listen to various recordings and answer 40 questions about them. You only get to listen to the recording ONCE! It would help if you got used to listening to different audios, whether watching a T.V. program, an interview or listening to a lecture of various accents and dialects.

Listening Section


This section is 60 minutes long, and it will comprise at least three different texts for you to read, and you need to answer 40 questions about them. So, reading beforehand is fundamental to success! Many sources are used, such as how-to guides, articles and book excerpts.

Reading Section

The writing section lasts for 60 minutes and will ask you to write different text styles, such as writing a letter or evaluating a graph. In part 2, however, you will be required to write an essay. Whether you take the General or Academic test, only section 1 will differ as described.

Writing Section

writing blog

This section is 11-14 minutes long, and you will have an interview-style exam with a real-life IELTS examiner. There are three sections, and each section will ask you to discuss a range of topics, including your work, life, hobbies and interests.

Speaking Section

ielts speaking interview

How do they score you?

When looking at the grading, if you have taken any English classes before or have ever taken English tests online, even the free ones, they will estimate where you are, based on these levels. The IELTS score is from zero to nine, and we can translate these to the common European Framework of Levels. The minimum entry requirement for most universities is around a 6 to apply for your work or study, but the most reputable universities require 6.5 or even 7!

Therefore, you will require a high C1 to be proficient enough to get high scores in every section. You can find more information on the IELTS website and download their fun chart, which is super helpful!

You can even try our Free Score Indicator Test to know your score within 30 minutes or less! >> Click here to sign up <<

How do you pass the IELTS exam?

The IELTS test is a complicated exam. There needs to be a level of commitment there from you, and, from there, we can help give you the tools to succeed. We do our absolute best to keep you motivated every step of the way, but you need to have that core motivation.

Try to identify your key motivation by completing the following sentence…

‘I want to study (courses?), in (location?), and they require an IELTS score of (the entry requirement score?)’.

Then, try asking yourself these questions to get started:

  1. What are your motivations for studying for the IELTS exam? – University, work, migration or not sure.
  2. What score is required for your University or VISA application? (Check their website). –band seven or below, 7+ or you don’t know.
  3. When is your application deadline? 1, 2, 3 months or not sure?
  4. What do you find most challenging when learning English? Speaking, listening, reading, and writing.
  5. My dream is… Where do you want to go?

Once you have answered these questions, it will help define your motivation to keep you studying and provide a goal of what is required for you to achieve it.

How To Plan Your Study

1 – First, you’ve read this post to be familiar with the complete exam and what to expect. If you want a summary and guide to how to use the other tools and posts attached to this training, come back here!

2 – Study for the IELTS Listening Exam

3 – Study for the IELTS Reading Exam

4 – Study for the IELTS Writing Exam

5 – Study for the IELTS Speaking Exam

If you wanting a guide through this process with a live teacher, check out our upcoming Free Live 7-Day Challenge where we’ll be walking you through step by step on how to complete each section of the IELTS exam. Click here to enrol!

If you want to continue today, we’re starting with IELTS Listening Paper…

IELTS Listening Study Guide

listening with friends

Whether you are preparing for your IELTS Listening exam today or next month, this guide will be a valuable tool to save your time and advance your skills. Try our Free Course to try it out for yourself, or just read the information below to soak it all in! Good luck, and let us know in the comments what you think!

The IELTS Listening Basics

The IELTS Listening exam lasts approximately 40 minutes, including 30 minutes plus 10 minutes to transfer your answers to the answer sheet.

  • It has four parts.
  • You can’t use a dictionary in the test
  • You only hear the recordings once!
  • Both Academic and General Test Takers sit the same exam

What will you listen to in the exam?

In Part 1, you will listen to a conversation between two people that is transactional. What does transactional mean? It means that the conversation has an exchange. Somebody wants to buy something, ask for information or book something. ‘I need this – I want to know this.’

Part 2 is also transactional, but only one person speaks. This is called a monologue. It will involve an individual providing information. An example of this is a tour guide discussing the museum.

In Part 3, you will listen to a conversation between a teacher and a student or multiple students. You will hear a student/s discussing a project or receiving feedback.

Part 4 will also have an academic focus. You will hear one person give a lecture or speech about an educational topic. You can listen to some fun TED Talks to familiarise yourself with this style.

Who will be speaking?

Remember that you will listen to many different accents such as American, Canadian, the British Isles, Australian and New Zealanders. These can be very different! It is a good idea to get used to listening to a varied range of dialects and accents in preparation for the exam.

If you don’t like listening to TED Talks, you can watch explore Netflix or YouTube and research your interests in English and the various accents…

Identifying The Answer Before You Listen

Before listening to the recording, you can look at the questions to prepare yourself for what information to find. Look at the table below. You can see we can guess what type of answer they are looking for based on the questions.

Course Enrolment Form

What to look for?


Listen for a name, Terry or Sharon…

Date Of Birth:

Listen for a date, a month and a year. 21st May 1990.


Listen for a Course name or title – IELTS Intensive 30-Day Guaranteed


Listen for a number with a currency – $400

Please don’t get too hung up on this, you can’t guess the answer, but you can forecast what they want you to listen out for. This strategy is excellent preparation for any question and is an incredible time-saver for the exam.

Question Order

The questions you receive will appear in the same order as the information is provided in the recording. So, you don’t have to worry about answering question 4 before question 2. Sometimes, however, you will need to select your answers from a list, and in this case, only these items will be in random order.


An essential skill that will be tested in the IELTS Listening is your accuracy in listening, explicitly recognising and recording numbers and letters.

 Therefore, practising numbers and the alphabet is good before the exam…

A few fun exercises to try out:

  1. Can you spell your name?
  2. Can you spell your street name/city/country?
  3. What’s your date of birth?
  4. What is the population of where you live?

Test yourself and see if you can easily say these out loud. If you hesitate, notice where you pause and look up how to say it via YouTube or Google.

How To Plan Your Study

Lesson 1 – First, you’ve read this post to be familiar with the Listening Exam and what to expect. If you want a summary and guidebook to all the other posts attached to this training, come back to this post.

Lesson 2 – Flowcharts, Tables, Notes and Summaries

Lesson 3 – Paraphrasing

Lesson 4 – Maps and Diagrams

Lesson 5 – Plans and Prepositions

Download our Free PDF Guide for a summary of today’s class so you can make notes if you need to!

Next, we’re moving on to the IELTS Reading section. Ready to jump in? Remember, you don’t have to do this all in one go. Actually, we advise you don’t! Use this blog post to come back to and gradually work through the list.

IELTS Reading Guide

This guide will help you pass the IELTS Reading paper if you study independently or at home. We have broken down the steps of what we teach in the IELTS Course at ezIELTS and created a Free Course starting soon and this blogpost so that anybody can pass the IELTS exam.

The IELTS Reading Facts

  • 60 minutes long
  • Three Sections
  • The texts become more difficult
  • General candidates focus on daily life, how-tos, guidebooks etc.
  • Academic candidates concentrate on essays, articles etc.

What Will You Read?

You will read a range of texts depending on taking the general or academic version of the IELTS exam. These texts will represent the type of test you are taking. For example, you will be required to read job postings, guidebooks, and public daily life activity-based reading for general test-takers.

For academic test takers, you will focus on academically focused writing. Typically, you will read an essay or article.

The texts change and can vary from 800-1200 words long each. That’s around 3000 words in total. It’s a lot of words. So, if you’re a slow reader, this might sound like a nightmare to you! Don’t fear… We have created a study plan below to practice yourself and achieve the high score you deserve to secure your place abroad.

How To Plan Your Study

Lesson 1 – First, you’ve read this post to be familiar with the Reading Exam and what to expect. If you want a summary and guidebook to all the other posts attached to this training, come back to this post.

Lesson 2 – Flowcharts, notes, summaries, and tables

Lesson 3 – Short answer and sentence completion questions

Lesson 4 – Matching Questions

Lesson 5 – Multiple Choice

After completing all of the Reading tasks, you should be ready to start practising your writing now you know what it should look like. 

Sometimes it can be difficult to study on your own… If you are unable to join our upcoming Free 7-Day Challenge starting on the 18th March 2022, you can join our Facebook Page and get notified when we go live so you can watch our videos at your convenience and make friends with other students to help you through!

Continue by learning how to write an essay like a pro in the next section…

IELTS Writing Guide

The final section is the writing section. Many people are worried about writing an essay or structuring your answer. Follow the links below to find an in-depth way to advance your writing level for the IELTS exam.

Office writing

 We’ll cover Parts 1 and 2 of the Academic and General papers. Let’s go…

First… the Writing Basics:

  • The IELTS Writing Paper consists of two parts.
  • You will receive a question paper and an answer sheet for each part of the exam.
  • You can make notes on the question paper but remember that only the answers on the answer sheet will be marked.
  • Part 2 is worth twice as many points as Part 1.
  • The test lasts for 60 minutes, so you should spend 20 minutes in Part 1 and 40 minutes on Part 2.
  • General and Academic Candidates take different tests, BUT only Part 1 is different.

What does Part 1 look like?

IELTS General Part 1 – You will have to write a short letter or email of 150 words minimum.

IELTS Academic Part 1 – Students are given a chart, map or diagram and asked to summarise and explain it in 150 words.

What does Part 2 look like?

Students will be required to write an essay of 250 words minimum, demonstrating their ability to convey opinions and ideas about the situation, problem, or question presented within the paper. Remember that Part 2 is the same for both General and Academic Candidates.

How do they mark you?

You will receive a score from 0-9, just like the rest of the test. If you cannot respond to the question with advanced vocabulary and minor mistakes, you will only achieve a maximum of a Level 5. Read below to see how the IELTS examiners mark you and what you can do to study for a higher score…

The examiners are looking for the following four criteria to assess your writing ability in English:

Task Achievement

Are you answering the question? You can always elaborate or go off-topic BUT ONLY when you have responded to the question. Please look at our paraphrasing blog, where we practice paraphrasing the question in your first sentence and answer the question immediately. Then you have room to play by giving examples, sharing opinions, or telling a story.

Coherence and Cohesion

Does it make sense? Does it logically follow an order? Make sure your answer makes logical sense to somebody that doesn’t know the story. Remember, stories mainly follow a logical chronological order, an introduction, the main story, and a conclusion. Don’t tell us the end of the story before you’ve told us what’s happening, who’s there and why you’re telling.

Lexical Resource

Do you have an expansive vocabulary? Hopefully, you have practised your cue cards in our blog post and free eBook. You will be presented with a question that could be about a wide range of subjects. Therefore you need to be ready to have synonyms, collocations, and idioms prepared to go. Don’t sell yourself short. Research things you’re interested in, and then you will have fun building your vocabulary library.

Grammatical Range and Accuracy

Are you using the correct tense when answering the question? Make sure you pay attention to the question. We can often use the tense of the question as a starting point to play with tenses. Remember, it’s not about displaying the most number of tenses; they need to be relevant! Answering the question with a story about your past using present tense will confuse the reader or listener.

How To Plan Your Study

Lesson 1 – First, you’ve read this post to be familiar with the Writing Exam and what to expect. If you want a summary and guidebook to all the other posts attached to this training, come back to this post.

Lesson 2 – General Part 1

Lesson 3 – Academic Part 1

Lesson 4 – Writing Part 2

After completing all of the Writing tasks, you should be ready to start chatting and putting this vocabulary into practice…

Learn how to speak like a native in the next section.

The IELTS Speaking Section


The speaking test is excellent training and skill for IELTS exam preparations and a real transferable skill to take further in your life.

People often get scared of the speaking test because it entails having a conversation with a person, either the IELTS examiner in front of you, and you want to make a great impression, which is the best way to get started…

Where is Your Destination?

Planning your dream trip is crucial because most applications require a formal interview, whether you want to get that dream job or enrol in your dream university.

Many people hate interviews; they often see it in the wrong way. Interviews are a way to express yourself, meet people, and build connections. It is the most relaxed part of the test. It is the time for the examiner, your manager, or your hiring body to get to know you. They want to hear about your life, profession, dreams, and opinions. They want to see if you can express yourself and make a connection. The IELTS speaking exam or any formal interview will not be an issue if you are confident and prepared.

Your Speaking Ability Grading

The IELTS examiners grade you based on your understanding and response to the question and how you organise and link your ideas, vocabulary, and grammar while speaking on different topics. They want to know how you manage or relate your ideas to make a structured argument. They also want to see if you can chat about complex topics whilst expressing yourself and your opinion. For instance, if you are having a conversation with somebody, do you respond to the question asked and are you understandable? 

What are the Marking Criteria?

Let us look at what the actual examiners use to mark you to set achievable and manageable targets. There are four criteria for the speaking exam:

Lexical Resource: 

What kind of vocabulary do you have? Lexical Resource is precisely that. The IELTS examiners want you to demonstrate a varied language on a wide range of topics. Can you find synonyms or paraphrase the words or sentences? Can you talk about a wide range of issues with ease?


The IELTS examiners will be checking that you are fluent, easy to understand and converse without too many breaks or pauses.

Grammatical Range and Accuracy: 

The IELTS examiners are looking for a range of tenses throughout the test, but they must be used appropriately and correctly. What kind of grammatical devices are you using? Do you know which tense to use?


People get apprehensive about pronunciation and worry that they do not have a British accent. For pronunciation, they want to see that you are understandable. They do not expect you to have a British accent; they embrace diversity and what you bring when using the English language.

Three Parts of the IELTS Speaking Section

Task one is Introduction. You will be doing a noticeably brief introduction with an IELTS examiner; ‘Hi, what is your name? how did you get here?’, and a very informal part of the speaking test. It focuses on your ability to communicate essential opinions and information on everyday topics. When you first meet someone, you need to demonstrate an ability to converse on a primarily basic level and answer questions directly posted to you.

Task two: They test your ability to speak at length on a topic, testing your ability to use appropriate language and organise your ideas coherently. They will provide you with a cue card, a subject, and a few little pointers on what they would like you to include. This section requires you to speak for up to two minutes. You get one minute to prepare, and then they will expect you to talk for up to two minutes on that topic. 

Task three extends task two, and you are going to be asked more significant questions relating to that topic; they want you to go into a little more detail but to surround the same issue that you have previously discussed in section 2. They might ask you about the environment or how much we use technology nowadays. This stage is a little more elaborate and complex; it focuses on drawing your own experiences to give your opinion.

How To Plan Your Study

Lesson 1 – First, you’ve read this post to be familiar with the Speaking Exam and what to expect. If you want a summary and guidebook to all the other posts attached to this training, come back to this post.

Lesson 2 – Part 1

Lesson 3 – Part 2

Lesson 4 – Cue Card – Vocabulary Library

Lesson 5 – Part 3

How are you doing so far? Don’t forget to message us with your suggestions and answers by emailing us at

Well Done for Completing! 

If you would like a teacher to guide you through or need someone to motivate you to get started, join our upcoming Free 7-Day Challenge starting on 18th March 2022 at 12pm GMT. We will be completing a Mock exam day by day so that you can be confident on how to pass! Sign up now to secure your seat as places are limited… Click here to sign up!

We have studied abroad too; please take a look at some of our pictures from around the world. We know the importance of growing, aiming high, and travelling worldwide.

We can help with that, whether it’s advice on the IELTS exam, VISA’s for travelling/working abroad, or just advising the best place to go for a drink nearby. We’ve got you covered…

If you are looking for a guaranteed course to pass your IELTS exam, check out our 90-Day Intensive IELTS Course for personalised tuition. We guarantee results, so stop hesitating; you have nothing to lose and the world to see!

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