If you're planning to take the IELTS test but aren't sure where to begin your preparation, keep reading for six simple steps to get your IELTS preparation off to a good start. The IELTS test you must take will be determined by whether you intend to work, study, or migrate to an English-speaking country. If you intend to pursue higher education or professional registration in an English-speaking country, you will almost certainly need to take the IELTS Academic test. Step 1: Take IELTS General Training if you intend to study in higher education, seek vocational training, or migrate to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, or the United Kingdom.And, only in the UK, take IELTS Life Skills if necessary: 1. Apply for a visa for a settled person's family. 2. Apply for a family, spouse, or partner visa extension. 3. Apply for permanent residency or citizenship. 4. In the United Kingdom, you can pursue undergraduate or postgraduate studies. 5. Apply for professional registration in the United Kingdom. 6. Our IELTS Life Skills page explains which IELTS Life Skills test may be appropriate for you based on your circumstances. Step 2: Familiarise yourself with the test. Once you've decided which IELTS test to take, familiarize yourself with it, from the test format to the test parts to the question types to expect. Prepare for test day by taking IELTS practice tests once you've mastered the test format and question types. The IELTS exam is divided into four sections: Speaking, Reading, Listening, and Writing. Each section of the IELTS exam has its own set of tasks. You must first learn what IELTS is, what skills are tested, and what the IELTS results mean. Once you've learned more about IELTS, you should decide whether the Academic or General Training test is best for you. Step 3: Research the various types of questions. The IELTS Academic and General Training tests are divided into four sections: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. The question types in each section of the test differ. Learn about the different types of questions that may appear in each test section, as well as the time allotted to complete the Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking tests. Step 4: Comprehend the band scores. Your IELTS results are reported as band scores, which range from 0 to 9. Each band score represents a level of English proficiency. You will be given an overall band score as well as individual band scores for each test section. Band scores are given in whole and half bands, for example, 7.0, 8.5. It's a good idea to learn what each score means and the marking criteria that examiners use for the Speaking and Writing tests. Step 5: Understand the band scores. Your IELTS results are given as band scores ranging from 0 to 9. Each band score denotes a different level of English proficiency. You will be assigned an overall band score as well as individual band scores for each section of the test. Band scores are given in whole and half bands, such as 7.0 and 8.5. It's a good idea to learn what each score means and what the marking criteria for the Speaking and Writing tests are. Step 6: Make English a habit. Practising English every day can make a big difference. Setting aside as little as 5 minutes a day can go a long way - something as simple as reading English news stories, writing a letter to a friend or watching English-speaking movies can make a big difference. Make a study schedule. Set aside some time each day to practise the four components of the IELTS exam. Make time for tasks that will help you improve, such as: Examine English newspapers, books, magazines, advertisements, and books. Listen to audio books, podcasts, radio, and music in English. Speak English to co-workers, friends, and family. Every day or week, learn a new word and practice using it in a sentence. Step 7: Know what to expect on test day To ease some of those pre-test nerves, get to know what to expect on your test day. Some things to keep in mind for test day: Arrive early to allow time to register and be seated for your test. Check in your personal belongings such as phones, smart watches, books and notes. Bring your personal identification which is needed for the check-in process. Add these 6 steps to your IELTS preparation plan and you will be better prepared to get the IELTS band score you need.