How to Prepare for IELTS during COVID-19?

Guide to online IELTS Preparation 

By Gordon Brown

How to Prepare for IELTS during Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic?

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has altered many aspects of our day-to-day lives including IELTS study plans and test dates. If you were planning on taking the IELTS within the next couple of months, you may be concerned about what’s going to happen to your exam date and study plans.

Don’t give up on your study or migration goals, prepare instead.

It might seem like you need to pause your migration and study abroad plans due to national lockdowns and the temporary closure of IELTS Test Centres, but that is not the case. Don’t feel discouraged. Use this time to prepare for IELTS and boost your score.

What if your IELTS test has been postponed?

First, be sure to check with your local testing center (in addition to the Official IELTS webpage) to confirm your suspended test date.

Next, review whether the British Council’s changes to future exam dates affect your testing center. These changes include: larger test venues, increased computer-delivered IELTS test sessions, and double the amount of paper-based test-taker capacity once testing restarts.

What should I do if I’ve gotten off track with my study plan?

First, know that you’re not alone. We’ve heard from many students who are feeling overwhelmed and anxious in the current environment. In general, falling off track is a common study problem–and it’s almost inevitable right now! So, before you dive back into your studies, practice self-empathy by recognizing it’s understandable you’ve put your study plans on pause.

Regardless, don’t feel pressured to get catch up if you feel behind. Remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can and that everyone’s lives have been disrupted in one way or another.

Expose yourself to a wide range of topics - read, watch, listen, write

Use all the extra time you have to read, watch and listen to English content across a wide range of topics.

Read news articles, books, online publications, and blogs. Watch your favourite movies or TV shows. And if you are not too confident, turn on the subtitles for extra support. Podcasts are another great way to improve your English-language skills. Or practice letter writing with friends or family.

The effort you put in now will make a big difference when it comes to taking your IELTS Test. The texts you see in the Reading and Writing parts are taken from real-like scenarios, such as newspapers, articles and work manuals.

What should I do if I need to cut back on my IELTS studying?

Again, you are not alone. Due to changing circumstances and accommodations, many students are editing down their prior IELTS study plans.

Our suggestion is to fit in daily, small practices. This could be just 20-30 minutes a day.

Focus on making your goals manageable and achievable until you are feeling more settled. You will still make progress on your studies and you will build confidence that you can still do great on the test.

What should I do if I have more time for IELTS studying?

Given that many schools and workplaces have closed, this could very well be your current situation.

With more time to study, you have the opportunity to take more full-length IELTS practice tests. Practice tests are the best way to experience real test-like conditions and track your progress. If you have the time, dedicate three hours to taking a practice IELTS test.

How to manage stress and distractions while studying for IELTS?

First of all, take care of yourself and your well-being.

It’s ok if you are feeling anxious, distressed, disappointed, distracted, or lost right now. Be kind to yourself about this, and take some time off of studying if you need to.

You can try simple breathing techniques to help calm your sympathetic nervous system. Try it for 5 minutes any time of day, but it could be particularly helpful when you sit down to study or work. It would be especially helpful right before your IELTS exam! Here’s the exercise:

Breathe in for a count of 4. Hold for a count of 4. Release for a count of 8. Repeat 10 to 20 times.

This simple tip goes a long way.

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