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As Australia re-opens its borders to visitors after a two-year span, it signals good news for studentsexternal icon aspiring to further their education Down Under. However, it also means there is going to be a great rush of students making their way to the shores of Oz. So, how do you ensure you get a head start? By taking your IELTS test right away!

Step 1: Determine which test to take

The first step is usually to find out whether you have the option between the IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training test. If you’re looking to study in Australia, you’re generally required to take the Academic test.

Step 2: Get to know the test

From test formats to test sections, and even the kind of questions to expect, there are several aspects that make up the typical IELTS test. It calls for gaining a deeper understanding of what IELTS is, what skills are tested and the meaning of the results.

The IELTS test is divided into four sections, each testing a different skill. The four skills tested are Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. Each of them will incorporate a different task related to that specific skill.

Apart from understanding how the IELTS test is laid out, it’s equally important to put it into practice, which is why there are IELTS practice tests available so you can ready yourself for the IELTS exam day.

Step 3: Get to know the question types

While IELTS is designed as a test for English proficiency, it also helps you prepare for the real world.

In addition to testing English language proficiency, it gauges their ability to analyse information, and debate opinions.

Therefore, the IELTS questions range from multiple choice and true or false for the Reading part, to interviews and discussions for the Speaking part. Knowing how to handle each part is key to achieving the best result.

Again, this is where regular practice comes into play. For example, keep a lookout for one-on-one IELTS Speaking Coaching sessions offered by IDP Education.

Step 4: Understand the band scores

Ranging from an IELTS Band 0 to Band 9, band scores correspond to a test taker’s level of competence in English. A test taker will receive a band score for each of the four parts of the test, as well as an overall band score. These are reported in whole and half bands. Read more about the band scores here

It would be good to get an in-depth understanding of IELTS band scores and how they impact an IELTS Examiner’s marking. For example, joining IELTS Masterclass sessions offered by IDP, or booking a one-on-one IELTS Speaking Coaching session, could shed more light on this.

Step 5: Establish a study process

Set up a fixed study plan, and set aside time dedicated to the four parts of IELTS each day. For example, sharpen your English skills daily by listening to English programs or reading English books and publications. Then, consider testing your preparation progress with an Official IELTS Progress Check.

Step 6: Be prepared on test day

Knowing what to expect goes a long way towards easing your worries on your IELTS test day.

Arriving early can take a load of stress off, as it will give you time to register and hand in your personal devices (such as your phone, smartwatch or tablet). Also, be sure to bring your personal ID needed for IELTS Test registration. In some cases only a valid passport is accepted as form of ID, so check with your Test Centre if you’re not sure.

Once you’ve got the planning covered, then all you need to think about is booking your IELTS test. This can be done onlineexternal icon or at your nearest Test Centre.

So, get started at the earliest to avoid a potentially very long IELTS Test queue. And who knows? You could be among the fortunate few to heed Australia’s calling!