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How to prepare for the IELTS exam

Updated: Apr 2, 2022

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a standardized English language test taken by applicants around the world. IELTS is accepted worldwide by numerous universities, schools, employers, and immigration bodies around the world and hence is the world’s most popular and credible English test.

Importance of IELTS

As an international medical graduate (IMG) in the UK, the primary language you will use is English, most often in hospital settings, social settings or anywhere else. Being able to speak English is very crucial when it comes to working as a doctor in the UK as patient-doctor communication should be good in order to treat the patient effectively.

If you are preparing for your IELTS or OET exam, TrewLink has an extremely helpful 2-hour FREE recording from a recent master class on tips to pass your OET and IELTS writing exams the first time. The recording is available for you on the website

Test Structure

The IELTS exam consists of 4 sections which are Listening (30 minutes and 4 recordings), Reading (60 minutes), Speaking (11-14 minutes) and Writing (60 minutes). A minimum of 7 in each section with an overall band of 7.5 is required by the GMC. Please read more here


1) Books - Cambridge test series are the most well-sought books available for IELTS preparation. These books contain multiple tests that help you understand each section and improve your language skills and get an understanding. Barron’s writing for IELTS is also a great book source for writing. You can also use the book that will be sent to you by the British council as soon as you book your test. This book like the Cambridge series comes with a CD which contains many listening sections with different accents, various reading passages and several writing tasks. Reading any book, in general, will also help a lot.

2) Solve Practice test and Sample questions- Many resources are available online for mock exams. The official IELTS website has sample questions for the applicants to get familiarized with the test pattern. They also have Practice tests that the applicants can take before their examination to assess know where they stand and fill some knowledge gaps if necessary. These Practice tests are marked by qualified IELTS markers. You can also solve sample questions on other websites to expand your horizon. A simple Google search will show a lot of websites offering the sample questions.

3) Consider a preparation course- If you would like assistance with test preparation, IELTS centres and language schools around the world offer IELTS preparation courses. You don’t have to attend a preparation course mandatorily, but many candidates find that doing so helps them improve their performance. It is a very subjective choice to make.

4) YouTube channels- ‘IELTS Liz’ is a well-appreciated channel that has helped numerous applicants to grasp what is expected from this examination. Another great way to use YouTube to your advantage to prepare for this exam would be to watch mock exams of the speaking section. Many academies have uploaded their candidates giving mock exams. This gives you a sense of how to greet the examiner, the way the examiner grades the candidate and how you can get the maximum points.

5) TV- A small change the candidates can make would be to integrate watching English TV shows or movies. It is fun as well as fruitful for the examination. Watching different movies and TV shows in English helps the candidates to familiarize themselves with different accents of English.

6) Exposing yourself to as much English as possible in general is also very crucial. So, socializing with people who speak English can also be very helpful. Listen to native speakers having a conversation and maybe join in. Always remember, that self-learning is possible as long as you are committed and have someone to give honest feedback for you to improve in certain areas.

Before booking the date, plan your preparation priorly and stick to the plan. Be aware of the exam time constraints and try practising speaking fluently and coherently. Not overcomplicating the sentences too much and keeping it simple is the key.


Having questions?

1. You can always ask TrewLInk experts for advice here. The guidance is free.

2. Read the full guide on IELTS requirements from the GMC here.

Written by

Siddharth Sunil,

Final Year Medical Student

Charles University,

Czech Republic

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