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Study abroad : Applying to University

How can I get a better IELTS band score?

If you’re considering going to university in an English-speaking country, you may need to take the IELTS test. Find out all about it here, including how to get a better IELTS score.

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Want to attend an English-speaking university as an international student? You may need to take an English language proficiency test and meet stated score requirements. At first, this can seem confusing, but if the test you intend to take is IELTS, we're here to help. From the basics of what the test is, to the crucial lowdown on how to get the IELTS band score you need, all the info is below.


What is IELTS?


IELTS is the International English Language Testing System. There are two versions of its test, but international students who want to attend university need to take the Academic version. Sometimes it’s called the IELTS test, and sometimes the IELTS exam – they’re both the same thing.


There are four parts to the test: ReadingWritingListening and Speaking. You get a band score for each one and an overall band score. Universities will tell you what score they require from you for each part of the test and the overall score, too.


There are nine bands ranging from 0-9, with 9 being the highest score. Generally, to study at undergraduate level you will need an overall band score of 6.0; it’s a minimum band score of 6.5 for postgraduate study. Of course, there can be exceptions to this, so you should always check universities' individual requirements carefully.


Why is IELTS important?


The reason universities need you to take the test and get a minimum band score is to make sure that you have the correct level of English to do well on your course.


Benefits of taking the IELTS test include:

  • 100% of universities in the UK and Australia accept it 
  • More than 3,400 organisations in the US use it 
  • You can book the test at a centre near you
  • It assesses the academic English you will need at university
  • Employers use IELTS to help them choose the right people


How do you get the IELTS band score you need?


Above all, your general English level needs to be good.


The IELTS test helps organisations understand your level of English. It doesn’t test your general knowledge, or how good you are in a subject. It does test your English reading, writing, listening and speaking abilities in many different areas.


So, how can you improve your IELTS band score?


✅ Read and speak in English every day 

✅ Listen to English every day (TV, radio, news, etc.) 

✅ Learn about the test 

✅ Practise, practise, practise for the test


For more detailed advice, try our tips on the top IELTS mistakes and how to avoid them.


But here's a top tip for now: work on improving your general English and practise for the IELTS test at the same time. It may not be easy, but it will be worth the hard work.


Want more information on how you will be assessed? Read our guide to how IELTS scores are calculated. Then, when you're ready to look at what universities you could attend in more detail, try our simple Course Matcher tool.


Disclaimer: Hotcourses Abroad is part of IDP Connect, an official IELTS partner.

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