SALL English

Less than six months before you plan to take IELTS?

If you are within 3 to 6 months of sitting the IELTS exam, now is the best time to start preparing yourself for the specific skills and format needed for the exam. By familiarizing yourself with the exam format, and practising the skills tested in the exam, you will be able to get the best band score possible for your current English level. Here are some steps you can follow to make the best use of your preparation time.

Become familiarized with the exam format and requirements

Before you start practising for the exam, you need to familiarize yourself with the format, and what is expected of you in the exam. There is basic information on each skill on these pages: speaking, listening, reading, writing. For more detailed information, go to the SALL Resources on the Web IELTS page and browse through the Examination Information sites.

Become familiarized with the specific exam skills tested

On the SALL Resources on the Web IELTS page go to Skills Training and work your way through the programs 'Study Skills Success' or 'NetLanguages'. These will help you understand the specific skills you need for each part of the exam, and will also show you which areas you need to work on more.

Work out a study plan
  Set a study schedule
  Look at your timetable and work out a realistic plan for when and where you will do your IELTS preparation study. A little every day is probably better than several hours once per week, but consider your own study style and what works best for you. Also consider the availability of resources, and where and when the best places are for you to do your study. For more advice on how to set a study plan, go to our Self-Study Skills page.
  (a) Focus on your weak points: Once you have worked your way through these materials, you should have some idea of what your weakest points are, and how you need to spend the rest of your preparation time.
NB: HKBU students' average scores for speaking and writing are around one whole band score lower than for reading and listening. If you are a typical Hong Kong student, then the chances are that you will need to spend more time preparing for the speaking and writing sections, especially for the Writing Task 1 graph description.
  (b) Schedule your time: Divide your available time according to your weak points. For example, if you are weakest in writing, then schedule more time to practise writing, and less on the other skills.
  (c) Find the resources which will help you practise in the area(s) you most need practice on.
    Go to our HKBU IELTS Resources page for specific resoure recommendations.

Do some practice tests

It's important to do some timed tests in the week or month before you take the exam.

  • Other sample tests can be found in the HKBU Library - do a search with keyword IELTS on the Library website.
Quick Summary

If you are sitting IELTS this semester or academic year start preparing specifically for IELTS.

  • Set a study plan.
  • For resources, go to SALL Resources on the Web IELTS page and work through the sections in order
    - Examination Information
    - Skills Training
    - Test Practice
  • Spend more time on your weak areas.

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