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IELTS Last Minute Tips & Advice for the Exam Day

IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System. The British Council runs the standardized test with IDP Education and Cambridge Assessment English. Furthermore, test questions are developed by experts from Australia, Canada, the UK, the USA, and New Zealand. It features different sections like reading, writing, speaking and listening. Some changes were made in the IELTS exam format from 2022 to June 25th and continue to date. However, students will find the 2023 exam pattern similar to the previous one.

Check the Current 2023 IELTS Exam Module Sequences





  1 Hour

Half an hour

1 hour

11 to14 mins

2 sections

4 parts

3 parts

Face-to-face (conducted within 7 days before or after the main test)

Further Explaining the 2023 IELTS Indicator

A fresh IELTS format is introduced for students wanting to take the test from home. The test will evaluate all of the above parameters. The examiner will be present virtually on the opposite side to grade the exam. Candidates having a computer, stable net connection, and the IELTS indicator can access the exam. The IELTS indicator is accessible to students of these below locations. 

Check them out!

  • India
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • Israel
  • Kenya
  • Kuwait
  • Latvia
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Madagascar
  • Bhutan
  • Burundi
  • Cameroon
  • Cote d'Ivoire
  • Cuba
  • Djibouti
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ethiopia
  • Faroe Islands
  • Maldives
  • Mauritania
  • Mauritius
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar
  • Namibia
  • France
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America
  • Afghanistan
  • Argentina
  • Belgium
  • Benin

And a few others.

Respective students must confirm the institutes or universities that accept IELTS indicator scores beforehand.  

Importance of Last-Minute Preparation

Optimal IELTS preparation is paramount for securing excellent scores. However, first-time takers must plan to prepare for the exam 6-8 weeks (or at least 2 months) ahead of the test schedule. It will give them sufficient time to perfect their writing, listening, speaking and reading prowess and gain confidence for the main day.

Additionally, last-minute IELTS preparation is also crucial.

  • It helps you revise all you've learned.
  • It allows you to reassess the exam format and pick your main scoring areas.
  • It enables you to test your English-speaking fluency whenever you interact with someone.
  • It gives you scope to polish and turn weak areas into potential scoring options.
  • It lets to focus and remember newly added words in your vocabulary.
  • It lets you become more organized in time management, thus boosting your morale for the big day.
  • All these significantly affect your inevitable performance on the main IELTS test. 

Know the Exam Format and Guidelines

Familiarise Yourself with the Test Sections

The IELTS test will feature the following test section.

  • Reading – 40 questions
  • Listening – 4 questions
  • Speaking – 3-part questions
  • Writing– 2 task-type questions

Students will be graded on each section. The total of all sections will compile as their overall IELTS test score.

Tips to Familiarise

  • Practice with IELTS sample test papers regularly for 6-8 weeks
  • Solve 2 papers each day under timed conditions
  • Tackle different types of questions for all 4 sections.
  • Find out areas needing improvement and improve on them.
  • Also, take online mock tests and monitor your scores. Aim to score more on every attempt.

SPEAK TO US for more tips to familiarise yourself and prepare for the 2023 IELTS test.

Understand the Timing and Allocation for Each Section





60 minutes

30 minutes

60 minutes

11-14 minutes

It will comprise 2 task-type questions.

It will feature 4 different recordings.

A total of 40 questions will feature.

It will comprise 3 parts – Introduction and interview, Long turn and Discussion.

Review the Test Rules and Regulations

  • Arrive on time. You won't be permitted to sit for the test if you are late.
  • Leave all personal belongings behind once you enter the cloakroom (except valid National ID/passport, see-thru water bottle, pencil, eraser and sharpener)
  • Mobile phones or smart devices are not permitted inside the exam room.
  • Get seated in your allocated exam room soon after the test starts.
  • Carefully pay attention to the proctor when they convey the test-day instructions.
  • Place the ID card on the desk.
  • Once the exam begins, don't speak or communicate anything with anyone. If you have a query/concern, raise your hand to let the invigilator know.
  • Stop writing once the invigilator says so. Not following instructions will lead to test termination.
  • Leave all test materials on the desk once you are finished. It means question papers, answer sheets, rough-work sheets, speaking booklet.

Don't Do these During The IELTS

  • Don't disturb or crack jokes with other candidates.
  • Don't lend or borrow anything during the exam.
  • Eating is not allowed inside the test room. So, don't.
  • Don't leave your sitting position without asking the proctor's permission.
  • Don't take any exam materials with you.
  • Don't even think about engaging in any (*) nefarious practice that could ruin the integrity of the IELTS test and your reputation. 

(**) Unethical Practices May Include the Following –

  • Cheating from a candidate or any other medium
  • Assisting another to cheat
  • Impersonating another to take the test on their behalf
  • Disturbing the testing environment in any way

Revise Key Language Skills

Perfecting English language skills is imperative for IELTS success. Of course, for your 1st attempt, being nervous is alright. The key language skills tested via IELTS include – Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. Fortunately, improving these key skills isn't that difficult.

Follow the tips mentioned below.

Focus on Vocabulary Enhancement

You must focus on enhancing your vocabulary stock. For that, you must read many books and list new terms with their meaning used in sentences or when speaking. You can also learn new words by reading English dictionaries and thesauri. Note down and grasp their meaning. Also, know its synonyms and antonyms. With extensive reading, you can increase your vocabulary and use it fluently in speaking and writing.

Practice Grammar and Sentence Structure

Several grammar practice texts are available online and offline. Procure some and start working with them regularly. Ask your parents, sibling, or close friend to accompany you during practice sessions. You can also hire a private tutor to improve your grammar and sentence construction.

Improve Listening and Reading Comprehension Skills

  • Read the comprehension carefully and understand its deeper meaning.
  • Work with comprehension-solving exercises from sample papers.
  • Refine English pronunciations to improve reading and listening skills.
  • Avoid distractions and focus on active listening or reading.
  • Have English interactions as much as possible.
  • Evaluate your progress consistently.
  • Learn idioms, long-spelling terms, metaphors, and similes.
  • Make a habit of taking notes.
  • Also, practice listening to audiobooks.
  • Read questions first and then the comprehension.
  • Watch English shows without subtitles to polish your listening competence.

Enhance Writing Techniques

  • Use correct words
  • Write in active voice
  • Keep sentences short (8-12 words).
  • Write short stanzas (3-4 lines).
  • Use appropriate transition words.
  • Practice essay writing or comprehension solving.
  • Adopt a conversational and natural tone.
  • Revise your writing
  • Avoid spelling mistakes, grammar or punctuation errors.
  • Read notable books to learn polished writing techniques.
  • Ask someone to review your writing and suggest improvements.

Refine Speaking Skills

  • Listen properly before speaking
  • Don't use an unnatural accent when speaking. Talk normally.
  • Read books or watch English shows with subtitles to understand how to speak correctly and convincingly.
  • Practice speaking with your friends, parents, tutor, sibling, etc.
  • Understand word grouping and word families
  • Grasp idioms, metaphors and other literary elements to refine speaking skills.

Need help to improve your overall English skills? AbroAdvice is here to assist you in your endeavors.

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Time Management Tips

IELTS is time-sensitive. So, like every standardized test, you must improve your time management. 

Below are some strategies to help you accomplish it.

Create a Study Schedule

Set a fixed study time for IELTS. Ideally, you must solve to 2 or at least 1 sample paper daily. Soo, it equates to 3-4 hours each day for IELTS preparation. Don't slack off during weekends. Time is of the essence. Every minute wasted is potentially a new thing you could have learned. So, include Saturdays and Sundays into your study schedule. Some prefer focusing on one aspect of the IELTS per week.

Take, for example –
  • Week 1 for writing
  • Week 2 for listening
  • Week 3 for reading
  • Week 4 for speaking

Others like preparing for IELTS sections by merging 2 sections in a week.

For instance –

  • Week 1 – Writing and speaking general skill development
  • Week 2 – Reading and listening general skill development
  • Week 3 – Writing + speaking + solving 1 full sample paper
  • Week 4 – Reading + listening + solving 1 full sample paper

Then for week 5 onwards, mix it up and solve as many online mock tests and sample papers as feasible.

Go with whichever study schedule you feel comfortable and confident in. Each student has their study process. Figure out your best preparation plan and stick to it for 6-8 weeks of extensive IELTS practice. Keep the last 1-2 days for revision. Ask your parents and siblings to test your English skills. Evaluate your current skills from the initial days. You will see noticeable improvements.

Allocate Time for Each Test Section

The allocated time for each IELTS section is below –





60 minutes

30 minutes

60 minutes

11-14 minutes

  • Thus, set your (own) time duration when practicing with sample papers.

  • Reduce the time for Writing, Listening and Reading sections by 5 minutes.

  • For the speaking section, set the limit to 10 minutes.

  • Aim to finish the paper within the revised duration.

  • Check solving accuracy and overall score compared to your previous attempts.

  • Always keep 3-5 minutes in hand for revising your writing section.

Practice Time-Conscious Strategies

 Refer to the Table below




For Task 1, take 3 mins to plan, 10-15 mins to write and 2 mins to revise.

It features 40 questions in 4 sections. The total time is 30-mins.

It features 40 questions from 3 sections. Each section becomes tougher than the other as the test progresses.

For Task 2 – take 5-7 mins to plan, 25-30 mins to write and 3-5 mins to revise.

Section 1 has 2 speakers. Section 2 has one speaker. Section 3 has 2 speakers. Section 4 has one speaker.

Take 3-5 minutes to find errors for each stanza.

Look to note down the main points for writing in favor or against the presented topic.

Each section provides some time to prepare. So, use the time presented tactfully. Don’t rush. Stay calm.

Use 5-7 minutes to understand the meaning of the passage. Identify the thesis statement in each stanza and note down the summary briefly beside the corresponding paragraph.


Understand the questions and look for blanks. Note down all numbers, names, and milestones.

Also, underline the words. It makes it easier to identify sections containing answers to questions.


Check diagrams, graphs and maps. Focus on headings and key phrases.

Don’t spend more than 30 seconds on a question you don’t have answers for.


Post recording you are only left with 10 mins to answer the script. So, have all details ready by the recording stops and answer confidently using your notes.


Preparing the Night Before the Exam

Finally, the night before the exams have arrived! But hold your horses! Do you still believe your IELTS preparation is not near perfect as you want? Don't worry about it.

Here are some preparation tips on the night before the BIG DAY

Ensure Adequate Rest and Sleep –

Rest through a proper night's sleep is important. So, don't overdo things. Don't get tempted into going out for a casual meeting with friends. Do it the next day with a free mind after you aced your IELTS test.

Eat a Healthy Meal –

Keep your nutritional levels up. That means having a light yet protein-filled meal for dinner. Also, wake up early and have a full-course breakfast. The exam will be close to 3 hours long. So, you must fuel your body with sufficient energy to expend when you sit down for the test. Nuts, broccoli, chicken, fish or eggs are good food intakes the night before or on the morning of the test.

Arrive at the Test Centre Early –

Always arrive at the test location 30-45 minutes before. It will allow you to complete the mandatory IELTS pre-test formalities and get accustomed to the setting. Arriving early also helps you calm your nerves and retain focus before the starting clock strikes.

Stay Calm and Manage Test Anxiety –

Take deep breaths and stay calm. Anxiety can happen. It's natural. However, you must trust your IELTS preparation and honed language skills. Also, look around the exam room and get a feel of the environment. That helps manage anxiety too.

Read and Understand Instructions Carefully –

Read and grasp all paper-based instructions carefully. Pay attention to the proctors' words as they instruct you what to do. Tackle one question at a time. Above all, believe in yourself, your skills and your practice in solving several questions from IELTS sample papers and online mock tests.

Last-Minute Revision Techniques

Review Key Vocabulary Words and Phrases

Carefully review all crucial vocabulary terms and phrases. Check their relevance and usage in writing, reading and speaking. Revise each sentence flow. Check transition inclusion and coherence.

Brush up on Grammar Rules

Revise all necessary grammar rules in writing, speaking and writing fluent English. Work with grammar texts and solving exercises at the end of each chapter. Ask your parent or sibling to review your grammar proficiency through real-time writing, speaking, and reading exercises.

Practice Writing and Speaking Prompts

Write and speak English with the help of English language texts and IELTS sample papers. Check performance each time. Avoid previous mistakes on fresh attempts. Familiarise with speaking and writing prompts through real-time IELTS sample papers and previous years' exams. Also, record your speaking performance and review it later to find areas to improve further.

Engage in Active Listening and Reading Exercises

Read books and listen to audiobooks or videos. Do it consistently till the last night before the exam. Request your parents or sibling to test you on listening recordings and reading fluency during practice.

Test-Taking Tips for Each Section

Listening Section Strategies

  • Check headphones. If not, then inform the proctor before the exam begins.
  • Prepare questions using the allotted time. Properly read them before the recording begins.
  • Follow the recording closely. Recall the questions and identify answers hidden within the recording. Listen attentively as you only have one chance.
  • Note down while hearing the recording.
  • Finish your answers within the time limit (or slightly before per your revised time during practice).
  • Revise for grammar and spelling errors.
  • Answer all in Capital letters.

Reading Section Strategies

  • Grasp details of the graph, image, and figure in the question before answering.

  • If you can't answer a question, don't sit on it for more than 25-30 seconds. Remember, you can come back and re-attempt later on.

  • Comprehend questions properly and find answers from the presented stanza.

  • Aim to be accurate in grammar, spelling and punctuation. Keep answers short and direct. Proof the answer before submitting.

  • Enter all answers in Capital letters.

Writing Section Strategies

  • Thoroughly analyze all questions and promptly prepare answers in your mind.

  • Use your improved time management (honed through dedicated practice) to segregate the tasks accordingly.

  • Write 150 or more words for task 1 and 250+ for task 2 with a conclusion.

  • Refrain wordiness, repetitions of phrases or ideas.

  • Present to-the-point answers. Write short sentences and keep 3-4 lines in each stanza.

  • Write in active voice.

  • Always edit and proofread before submitting.

Speaking Section Strategies

  • Always speak closely and with correct pronunciations (just like during practice sessions).
  • Hear the question attentively and answer to the point.
  • Ask to repeat the question (if needed). Don't answer wrong unless you've clearly heard and understood the question.
  • Speak confidently and assuredly.
  • Don't pause or stammer when speaking.
  • Use your acquired vocabulary to answer uniquely and flawlessly.

Final Words of Advice

IELTS success requires hard work, long hours of dedicated practice, and the will to succeed. So, remember these 3 Golden Rules of Thumb to Ace the Impending IELTS.

  • Always be confident and have a positive mindset.
  • Trust your dedicated 2-3 months long IELTS preparation
  • Finally, believe in your abilities to help you succeed on the big day.

Wrapping Up

This comprehensive IELTS guide will enable you to prepare and boost your overall test-taking confidence. Refer to the strategies explained for each section. Plus, always practice with IELTS sample papers and mock tests to hone your English skills to the next level. AbroAdvice will be by your side at every step of your IELTS preparation. So, don't get tense whenever you find yourselves in a pickle with your exam planning and preparation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Reschedule/Cancel My Test 1 Day Before the Exam?

You can reschedule before the previous schedule, but only 15 days before the exam. You can't do it a day before the test. If you do it before 34 days of the set test, you don't have to give any reasons.

What Identification Document (ID) Do I Need to Carry with Me on The Day of The Exam?

You will need your National ID or valid passport (preferably the one you used during registration).

Can I Take A Dictionary To The Exam Room?

The venue usually comprises a standard English dictionary to use, except if the paper instructions mention no dictionary use. If there are no such instructions, raise your hand and request permission to use them.

What Should I Do If I Don't Know the Answer to A Question?

Don't give a one-sentence answer. Explain why you can't answer the question, and present opinions linked to the topic. Use appropriate vocabulary. Sound interesting when you speak. Be confident in your tone.

Can I Use Informal Language in The Speaking Section?

The IELTS speaking section is totally informal. Thus, using informal and formal language during the speaking test per the context is alright. But avoid using it in the writing section, as it could lead to low scores.

  • Divyanka
  • August 9,2023
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