Blog May 20, 2015 by

St Giles

Preparing to do an IELTS Course – Lower Level Students

Preparing for your IELTS test? Here are some great tips from David, an IELTS teacher at St Giles Eastbourne!

IELTS measures your reading, writing, listening and speaking skills, and assesses your ability to communicate for work, study or life in an English-speaking country.

It is a very good idea to prepare yourself before you begin an IELTS course. This is what you can do:


  • You can find lots of reading material on the internet. Find articles on subjects that you are interested in, for example sport, the media or technology, and read about them in English.
  • This will be more interesting for you and also help you to improve your reading ability and build vocabulary, which is really important.
  • Try to read something every day, for about 10 minutes. Record new words and their meaning.
  • The BBC news website has lots of interesting articles every day.


  • Practise writing short essays, about 150 words, for example:
  1. Describe the positives and negatives of your city – for example, transport, parks, population, housing, things to do.
  2. Describe the positives and negatives of social media – for example, communication, information, sharing pictures.
  3. What can we do to save energy resources?
  • Organise your writing into paragraphs. When you have a new idea, start a new paragraph. When you give an opinion, try to think of a good example so that the reader can understand you easily.


  •  It is better to listen to conversations between speakers, either on talk radio like BBC Radio 4 or the BBC World Service. Watching movies is not as useful because people speak really quickly and there is normally a lot of background noise.
  • Try watching TED Talks is an excellent way to build your understanding of academic English.

1. There are many subjects to choose from.

2. There is only 1 speaker giving a presentation. Each talk is for about 10-20 minutes – perfect.

3. I would recommend watching each video 3 times. The first time with the subtitles of your language, for example Arabic, Korean. This will help you to fully understand the topic. The second time with English subtitles – this will help you to understand some of the more difficult words the speaker uses. The third time without any subtitles.

4. A great thing about TED Talks is that there are about 2000 presentations to choose from. You can always find something interesting. The presenters are excellent English speakers, but not always native English speakers.

5. As you watch and listen, you will clearly hear the rhythm of the English language, so that you can follow the way the speaker’s voice goes up and then down, helping you to become used to the way English is really spoken.

  • You can practise your listening while you relax, do your homework or play a game. Surround yourself with the sound of English and your listening will improve quickly.


  • Practise reading aloud. Try to focus on sounding clear. Practise making main verbs, adverbs and nouns a little clearer when you speak, so that you sound more natural.
  • If you find some words difficult to pronounce, get help from your teacher or another student.
  • Choose something simple, maybe from your course book or the internet. Record yourself speaking. Ask a friend to listen to the recording and get feedback from them. Record yourself again with the same reading and you will notice improvement.
  • Use pronunciation apps like Macmillan education, which has a range of specific IELTS exam apps.

General advice

Good luck!

Find more English language learning tips and how to study English with St Giles!

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