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IELTS Preparation: Understanding the task types

IELTS Preparation: Understanding the task types


There is clear evidence that learning the various task types in IELTS is the quickest and most effective way of improving your band score. We recently conducted research on over 100,000 British Council candidates using Road to IELTS (our official IELTS preparation product) to do just this. We found that after using the program for just six hours, candidates’ scores in the Reading module activities improved by, on average, 64%.

Clearly, in six hours there can be no significant change in their level of English; their improvement came from learning how to answer the questions. This can be achieved in a relatively short period of time.

How do I know if I understand the task types?

First, let me ask you some questions:

  • Do you really understand the difference between “Yes”, “No” and “Not Given” in the Reading test?
  • Do you know the kind of questions you should expect in Part 3 of the Speaking test? And do you know how to answer them to gain the maximum number of marks?
  • Do you know which tenses to use when you are describing a graph (Academic), or writing a letter (General Training)?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no”, then you are not yet properly prepared for your IELTS test.

What can I do?

If you do nothing else, you really must understand how the test works. This means becoming familiar with the question types and task types in each of the four skill tests. It will take the stress out of the experience. It will save you time in the test, and give you the best possible chance of achieving the band score you need.

And my advice to you? Start your preparation with Road to IELTS, which describes all the task types and gives you a lot of practice. If you register for IELTS with the British Council, you will get a Last Minute version free of charge. You should also consider subscribing to the full version here. It could make all the difference to your band score.


  1. M.Ashifur Rahman says:

    My problem is in reading section. Within one hour I can solve 18 question out of 40,my band is 5.5 in reading,6.5 listening,6.5 in speaking,6.0 in writing my speed is not increasing. what can i do?

  2. aditi says:

    Very nice article and the quality of content are amazing. Looking forward to more articles with such a unique view. Great work! Keep it up!

  3. Tim James says:

    They are interesting statistics regarding the speed of improvement. However, is there a danger that the IELTS brand will become damaged by all of this ‘back chanelling’ from specific courses such as this. In other words are results really going to reflect students ability fairly, if one student with weaker English can outperform another just because they have taken a specific exam prep type course?

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