Once you've completed your secondary education, you've probably imagined about life as a university student.

What kind of adventure will you experience if you get the chance to study overseas one day?

We're pretty sure the following scenes will begin to unfold in your mind.

While carrying your backpack, you're walking alongside your friends toward the main campus while passing by the green field.

As you enter the lecture hall, you gather with your coursemates who hail from different countries.

You get the picture. 

Before you start a series of googling and packing for your overseas tertiary education, we hate to break this news but there's one more test you may have to go through.

If you plan to study in an English-speaking country, you probably need to sit for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic paper as proof of your English language proficiency.

That's why in this article, we will have an overview of the IELTS Academic Test and some practical tips and resources to ace the various components of the test.

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How To Know If You Need To Sit For The IELTS Academic Test?

Let's be honest.

Preparing for another test may seem a hassle especially after you've completed your SPM, IGCSE or pre-university exams. It's after all another investment of your time and money.

We totally understand that you may feel unsure and sceptical about this decision in the beginning.

Fret not, here are three important reasons to help you decide if you should register for the IELTS Academic test.

Key 1: You intend to study at a local branch campus/private university but your SPM/IGCSE/Pre-University English results do not fulfil the English language requirement

Branch campuses like Monash University, University of Nottingham and Swinburne University have specific English language requirements for their programmes. For example, if you intend to study Psychology at the University of Nottingham, you need to score at least A- for your SPM English or have an IELTS Academic band of 6.5 (with no less than 6.0 in each element).

Do remember that either one of these results will be taken into account. This means if you did not score A- for your SPM English, you can sit for IELTS and aim to score Band 6.5 to fulfil your English language requirement for this programme.

You can check the official websites of the private universities in Malaysia to review their English language requirements as they may differ according to the programme specializations.

Key 2: You plan to further your studies overseas (undergraduate and postgraduate)

It's a no-brainer that many Malaysian students are eager to further their studies abroad. More than 70,000 students were reportedly studying overseas in countries like the United Kingdom, Ireland, Taiwan and many more in a study conducted by the Ministry of Higher Education in 2019.

ielts academic test tips
Many Malaysian students are in favour of studying abroad.
Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

Suppose you have decided to study for an undergraduate or postgraduate programme abroad. In that case, it's best to check their latest English language requirement and start preparing early so that your university and visa application can be smooth sailing. For example, if the intake that you plan to enrol in is in September, you have to make sure that you are done with your IELTS test by May so that you don't have to rush through the application process.

Important tip: Your IELTS results are only valid for 2 years so be sure to register at the right time. 

Key 3: You want to be officially registered at a professional body (accounting, health science related)

When it comes to the above-mentioned industries where English is the main medium of instruction, having an IELTS certificate will assure your future employers that you are competent in this language.

That being said, IELTS is a globally recognized language proficiency test. This means the band that you achieve will be acknowledged by both local and international professional bodies and organizations that you intend to register.

You can find out about the IELTS General Training Paper here. 

How Much Should You Prepare If You Have Decided To Sit For The IELTS Academic Test?

If you have just said yes to one of the three keys mentioned above, it's now time to look at what you should prepare for the next step.

#In terms of your finance

Whether you are sitting for the regular IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training test, you need to pay RM795. If you plan to sit for the IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training test for UK Visas and Immigration, the registration fee is RM895.

#Revision and lessons

We highly recommend you to sit for an IELTS mock test to see your current level and see where you really stand. You can talk to an English tutor or attempt some sample questions online to discuss your concerns and work on your weaker components.

For example, after taking a mock test and talking to an English tutor, you may realise that you need extra lessons to be more equipped for the test to achieve your desired IELTS Academic test band. Depending on your current level, some English tutors might advise you to have a 30 to 40-hour lesson before you sit for the test.

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What Are Some Things That You Should Work On To Improve Your Overall IELTS Band?

As you prepare the right resources to study for your IELTS exam, remember to work on these three elements to have a good score for all the tested components: Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. 

1. Grammar and Vocabulary

Make sure to master all the basic grammar (tenses, sentence structures, verbs etc) and expand your vocabulary through consistent reading and writing.

2. Pronunciation

Don't strive to sound like your favourite American singer. Instead, focus on pronouncing your words clearly and confidently when you are practising for your IELTS Speaking Test. Listen to the English news on the TV or the radio to be familiar with how different words are spoken in different settings and contexts.

study ielts acaedmic tests
Reading and listening to English news will help you as you prepare your IELTS Academic papers.
Photo by Obi - @pixel6propix on Unsplash

3. Time Management

Last but not the least, be sure to time yourself when you're doing sample questions on your own. It is after all a test and you have to make sure you answer all of the given questions without missing anything.

  • Listening Test: 30 minutes 
  • Speaking Test: 11 to 14 minutes
  • Reading Test: 60 minutes 
  • Writing Test: 60 minutes 

Gain a comprehensive view of the experience of sitting for the IELTS paper in Malaysia.

What Are Some Reliable Reference Books That You Can Buy For Your IELTS Academic Tests?

You can't escape from these revision resources if you want a high score for your IELTS Academic papers.

Here are two book recommendations that you can get to have an effective revision session.

1. Practice Tests for IELTS 1 & 2 (Collins English for IELTS) with CD by Peter Travis, Louis Harrison and Chia Suan Chong

This series is a comprehensive IELTS guidebook that provides readers with an overview of the IELTS examination and offers specific strategies to do well for all four tested components.

You can find 8 model tests for the components with complete model answers and elaborations in this series.

2. IELTS Practice Tests with Key by Peter May

In another practice workbook that is complete with the latest IELTS syllabus, you can attempt a variety of sample IELTS Academic questions for each component. What sets this book apart from the rest is the explanatory key feature and sample writing answers to help you see why particular answers are correct.

This is especially useful for students to see the comments that are made by an experienced IELTS examiner. You will eventually master the grading scheme of the IELTS Academic papers.

You can get these books at Book Depository or your local bookstores.

Practising with the above-mentioned reference books will give you a good headstart to master the format and commonly asked questions for your IELTS papers. 

Why Should You Invest In An IELTS English Tutor?

You're almost set for your IELTS Academic exam preparation route. Only one thing is missing. An experienced tutor to guide you in this journey.

We highly recommend you hire an IELTS English tutor from Superprof to have the best learning experience.

With guidance from a professional and reliable Superprof English tutor, you can enjoy the following benefits.

1. Familiarize yourself with the format and scope of questions

Your English tutor will guide you from the beginning to the end when it comes to the format, syllabus and scope of questions of your IELTS Academic components. You will have a solid foundation before you proceed to do the sample questions because you already have an idea of what to expect.

2. Know where your strengths and weaknesses lie

Having a Superprof tutor will help you identify the components that you fare well and the components that you need to work on more. From there, you can receive constructive feedback to improve accordingly and your tutor can also offer you a personalised learning plan to have consistent progress.

superprof english tutor ielts
Having an English tutor will help you to prepare better for your IELTS Academic test.
Source: Xframe

3. Have a clear goal to work on within the timeline

When you are revising with your Superprof English tutor, you don't have to worry about being left behind or being unmotivated. Your tutor will ensure that you are well equipped for all the components before you sit for the actual exam.

Don't wait any longer! Head to the Superprof Malaysia homepage to start finding an English tutor!

You can also gather more information on the marking scheme of IELTS through this article.

We hope you have found this guide to do well for your IELTS Academic test useful and achieve your dreams of studying overseas!

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An avid reader and writer, Joycelyn loves the art of communication and is passionate about all kinds of media.