IELTS preparation

In order to get your Australian student visa and set yourself up for a successful study abroad experience, you’re going to need to demonstrate some English language competency. This is where the importance of IELTS preparation comes in!

What is IELTS?


 The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a standardised test used to measure the language proficiency of people who want to study in English speaking countries.

There are two different types of IELTS test: Academic English and General English, depending on the level of course you want to study.

In Australia, you must pass this test if you want to get a student visa. Plus, Australian universities usually ask to see your IELTS certificate during the enrolment process.

 That might sound scary, but don’t panic. Thousands of students pass the IELTS every year, and with a few little tips and access to some valuable resources, you’ll be prepared in no time.

Here are our top tips and resources to manage your IELTS preparation like a pro:

Understand the test format and structure


The IELTS is a test that has to be done in person, at an institution that provides this service. It can’t be completed online, because it involves speaking and listening assessments.

When you show up for your test, you want to know exactly what’s going to happen. You can find out more about the test format and content in detail on the IELTS website, but here’s a brief overview.

  • The test assesses your abilities in four different categories: listening, speaking, reading and writing.
  • Listening and speaking are the same for General and Academic English, but writing and reading are different.
  • You will complete the listening, reading and writing sections on the same day, without breaks in between.
  • Speaking can be completed a week before or after the other tests.
IELTS preparation

Do practice tests online


Doing practice tests online will help you improve your English and get a sense of your level of understanding. Plus, it will also help you to prepare mentally for the test environment. That way when it comes to the actual test, you’ll be calm and confident.

Here are links to some of the best practice tests online:

Try some of these practice books at home:

Because the IELTS is such a common exam, there are some great study resources available to equip you with strategies, tips and tools for success. Here’s our pick of the three best options:

  1. Barron’s IELTS Superpack

Baron’s Superpack combines text and audio together to cover every aspect of the IELTS exam.

  1. The Cambridge Official Guide to IELTS

This guide caters to General and Academic English and offers tips and tricks to succeed based on students’ past experiences. It comes with video and audio accessories on DVD.

  1. The Official IELTS Practice Materials

Written by the IELTS partners (including Cambridge ESOL examiners and material writers), this book shows how each of the tests is assessed and provides some valuable tips.

Take your study with you wherever you go 


One of the keys to language learning is consistency. If you download some IELTS learning apps, you’ll be able to casually study while on the bus or waiting for a train. That’s particularly helpful when you’re trying to memorise vocabulary, and it makes learning enjoyable.

IELTS preparation

Here are the top five IELTS preparation apps out on the market right now, according to user reviews:

  1. IELTS Word Power: vocabulary practice app offered by the British Council with over 100 questions to test your word power.
  2. Complete IELTS: available for free and comes with a rating of 4.6 out of 5 from 13,000 users.
  3. IELTS Vocabulary: specifically to help with vocabulary learning.
  4. IELTS Listening: provides three levels of IELTS learning with 34 lessons each, and tests across all areas, not just listening.
  5. IELTS Exam Preparation Flashcards: flashcards designed to help you study, featuring words that often come up in the exam.

Do an official course


Of course, it’s important to study on your own. But sometimes, we need some extra motivation and structure to get going.

Have you considered enrolling in an IELTS course before beginning your studies, so you can have a fully immersive language experience?

Kaplan International English offer a range of different options for IELTS preparation across Australia: in Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide or Brisbane. Colleges are also located across the UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Canada, too! During the IELTS Preparation Intensive Course, you’ll receive English language training across general and academic levels, plus specific training in how to successfully complete your IELTS exam.

Once you have your IELTS, there are many avenues to get into the degree you want in Australia.

If you want to improve your English language skills further before beginning tertiary study, the University of Adelaide College offers a General Academic English course. You can then continue your pathway with a Foundation Studies, Degree Transfer or Pre-Master’s Program.

When you successfully complete these preparation courses, you’re guaranteed a pathway into the University of Adelaide degree of your choice! Check out our University Pathway Guide here.