The 30-Minute IELTS Workout

November 1, 2017 by Tony Rusinak Tony Rusinak

If you’re like most IELTS test-takers, you are hard-working, ambitious, and really really BUSY! So, how can you find time to prepare with such a crammed schedule? Check out these six 30-minute IELTS workouts below. Maybe you’ll be able to find time to prep after all.

The Bandwagon

Knowing is half the battle,
the saying goes. One way to surely get some good ideas on how to improve is to see what people who get 9s are doing. Do a google search for ‘IELTS Speaking Exams’ and ‘IELTS Writing Exams’ examples. Once you find a few, you can follow along with the public band scores and see what they are doing to score high. The public bands show you how the speaking and writing are graded. They’re a good thing to familiarize yourself with before the test.

❷ The Interrupter

If you google search ‘IELTS Speaking test video’ you’ll find a lot of examples, as you did in the previous workout. One interesting challenge you can do with the videos is to imagine that you are the candidate. So, here’s what you do. Play the video. Then, every time the examiner asks a question, press pause and answer the question aloud. It’s like you're talking with the video. After that, you can compare your answer to what the candidate in the video says. This will get you in the rhythm of the test and give you some questions to answer on the spot

❸  60-second Interview Relays

This is a great 30-minute activity whether you are alone or with a partner. From online or from an IELTS preparation book, write down 50+ questions onto flash cards.  Shuffle the cards. Put them face down on the table. Flip the cards and answer the questions. Challenge each other to talk for one minute while answering each question. If you can’t talk for a minute, the other player gets a point.

❹  The Blogger Blast

As you know, IDP regularly puts up blogs to help you guys prepare and get familiar with the test. The blogs here are usually about 800 words. This is a similar length to many texts on the IELTS reading test. So, why not kill two birds with one stone? This great way to practice reading and learn the ins and outs of IELTS. To make this 30-minute workout more effective, here is what you can do. First read the blog, after that answer the below questions. This follow-up will not only help you remember the ideas better but will help you think more carefully and critically about what you’re reading- a key IELTS skill.

  • What’s the main idea of the blog?
  • What are some specific points that the blogger mentions?
  • What are three new/useful words in the blog?
  • How can this blog help me improve my IELTS score?
  • If I could ask this blogger a question, what would it be?


❺ 8 Days a Week

Sometimes it’s easiest just to do activities that are already there. Fortunately, for test-takers, there are plenty of practice tests available. If you only have 30 minutes a day, plan your schedule out to do just one skill from the test per day. And make sure you check out the Tips link too. It’s awesome. Download some practice tests here.

❻  The Outliner

If you’ve ever learned how to write an essay, you’ll know that one of the first and most important skills is to make an outline. And, of course, essay writing is required in Part 2 of the writing. In this 30 minute workout, you can practice outlining essays from random prompts.

Step one, from IDP, a google search or preparation book, collect some IELTS essay questions. Step two, brainstorm outlines. Spend about 10 minutes on each test question making outlines. Try to do three outlines in your 30-minute workout. If you want, use the outline template you see here.

Test tip! Don’t forget to paraphrase the language from the question. Copying words from the instruction book can hurt your score.



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