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IELTS tests your English proficiency in both receptive skills: listening and reading and productive skills: speaking and writing. Our IELTS test format is therefore divided into four sections – Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing – to measure your receptive and productive English skills. It is common to have a difference of up to two bands between skills. 

IELTS Listening and Speaking skills are related and support one another, as do IELTS Reading and Writing. 

Before you begin preparing for IELTS, determine what your own personal strengths and weaknesses are and design a study plan to improve weaknesses, while still maintaining regular practice of your strongest skills. 

If your weakness is in reading and writing, for example, think about what you can do to improve these two skills together. One simple exercise is to read an article and then write a summary of it every day. 

Don’t neglect your strengths though! Here are some more exercises: 

  • practice writing notes while listening to the news 

  • read the newspaper, then tell a friend or study partner about the main points 

  • find two newspapers and read through with a study partner, then ask each other questions about each of your articles. 

If you don’t know your own strengths and weaknesses or if you’ve never taken an English proficiency test before, start by doing one of our free IELTS practice tests and get started on finding and improving your weaknesses in English.