Some Do’s and Don’ts for your IELTS test 


1. Don’t just glance at instructions; read them carefully. They can vary considerably. 

2. It often happens that the speaker will say something that sounds like the answer, but then go on to say something else. So keep listening, and don’t always put the first thing you hear.

3. Try to anticipate what the speaker will say. You can do this by looking at the questions and predicting before the recording begins.

4. Practise by doing past versions of the test. There are many books that offer these, including the official Cambridge series.

5. Small errors can lead to a low score: spelling mistakes, omitting plural 's' or incomplete time indications. 

6. Don’t panic if you think the topic is too difficult or the speaker is too fast. Take a deep breath, relax and keep going. 

7. Read, write and listen at the same time. Tricky, but worth practicing! 

8. Don’t leave blanks - you will not be penalised for wrong answers so you might as well guess! 


1. IELTS tests your ability to communicate effectively, and not just your grammatical accuracy. 

2. Don’t learn chunks of answers. The examiner is trained to spot this. They are testing your ability to communicate naturally and effectively.

3. Develop your answers as much as possible by expanding and giving detail.

4. Don’t worry about saying too much. The examiner will tell you when to stop and you won’t lose marks for this. 

5. Before the exam, think in English and speak English if possible, so you don’t go into the exam cold.

6. Practise very often, with a partner, or even by yourself. You can record your answers on a smart phone and tablet and listen back to yourself.

7. If you didn’t hear something clearly, or don’t understand, ask the examiner to repeat it. 

8. Remember, this is not a test of your knowledge but of your language abilities. It is not a case of one answer being the correct one and all others being wrong. Try to express your opinion.