what is the best way to study for ielts?, developing your English language skills, improve your pronunciation skills, improve your listening skills, studying English for the first time

What is the best way to study for IELTS?

By Keith Pilkington

In locations where it’s permitted and safe to do so, IELTS testing is going ahead, with additional precautions in place to help protect the health of test takers and staff.

IELTS, which stands for International English Language Testing System, is an exam that measures your English language skills based on four aspects of a language: speaking, reading, writing, and listening. If you are a healthcare professional wanting to work in the UK, you’ll need evidence of your English language abilities as part of your tier 2 visa application, and an IELTS result is acceptable proof of this. We’ve previously answered questions like ‘how much time do you need to prepare for IELTS? ’ and ‘what do I need to bring to my IELTS exam? ’ But, what tips could make this study process simpler, and easier?

Read as much as you can

A good way to ensure you’re sticking to using English words and not reverting back to your own language, is to buy a credible English language dictionary. This will help you to work out the meaning of new words. Also, getting your hands on a few English newspapers if you can is a good way to familarise yourself with the language, or you can check out English blogs online.

Vocabulary is key

When you’re studying English for the first time, it’s often a good idea for learners to put English words into the proper context as soon, and as much, as possible. A helpful way to do this is to read English as frequently as you can. The more words you’re exposed to, the better your vocabulary will be. First, you should try to work out a word’s meaning from its supporting context, then look up the word in an English dictionary to check if you were right. Once you learn a new word, continue to practice it again and again, until you have it memorised.


The IELTS speaking section is split into three parts. Areas include a structured interview, a short talk, and a free interview, with the whole section taking 3-4 minutes in total. Remember - pronunciation really is a very important aspect of spoken English. During the speaking section, the examiner will assess how well you use different pronunciation features such as individual sounds, stress, and intonation. Here are some handy ways to improve your pronunciation skills.

Listen, listen, listen!

Thankfully, there are lots of ways to improve your listening skills when it comes to understanding, and then developing your English language skills. Why not listen to BBC Sounds online? Here you can find a diverse collection of English news shows, podcasts, and interviews to really broaden your English language listening experience.

For more information about overseas worker requirements, read our collection of blogs.