Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

Many language schools and private universities offer test preparation courses.

They are usually quite intense schedules, with many hours packed into a short amount of time, and sometimes they follow similar formats to regular ESL classes.

Additionally, there are many tutors online, and in real life, who market themselves as “test prep specialists.”

With so many options available, how can you make sure you choose the course that will get you results?

We’ll show you how in today’s article.

Why is “test prep specialist” a myth?

Firstly, allow me to dispel the myth of an instructor or private tutor as being a “test prep specialist.”

This is impossible.

In order to truly prepare another person for an exam, the teacher has to be intimately familiar with the test format, question types, scoring systems and examiner expectations.

Knowing this much information about a variety of tests would require decades of experience with each exam, which, if you are not studying with someone who is 100 years old, is impossible.

Personally speaking, I’ve been working with IELTS for over a decade, and it took me at least half that long to really develop the appropriate systems and strategies for my students to use on the exam.

I can’t imagine reaching my level of knowledge about the IELTS exam AND TOEFL AND TOEIC AND SAT AND GRE, etc.

There are, to be certain, some test taking strategies that are applicable to some if not all exams; however, each exam has a very unique set of expectations and guidelines that have to be followed in order to reach your target score, and move beyond it to the dreams you want to achieve in your life.

Basically, when faced with the numerous options available in IELTS preparation, you have to choose a course and teacher that is ONLY IELTS.

The class cannot also prepare your for TOEFL, for example.

The test-taking strategies, question types and format vary significantly between these two high-level exams, and one class teaching both tests will not prepare you fully for either one.

You can save yourself a lot of money and time if you choose the right course. Follow these three steps to do it.

Step 1) Make sure your teacher knows IELTS

Secondly, do not be afraid to ask questions about the person teaching the class.

She or he must be an IELTS professional and know what the examiner is looking for.

For instance, she or he must be able to answer these questions:

  • How is a 6 for grammar different from a 7?
  • How can I ensure a 7 or higher for vocabulary on the Speaking exam?
  • What does the examiner want to see in Writing Task 1?
  • How can I plan my Writing Task 1 answer in less than 3 minutes, in order to definitely hit the scoring criteria for a 7 or an 8?

If the teacher cannot answer these questions in a simple, clear, direct way that is immediately understandable to you, do not trust this person to prepare you for the test.

Step 2) Get success stories

Also, try to find students who have previously been through this course and subsequently achieved their target score, and thus were able to immigrate or attend a reputable university and obtain their degree.

On our website, for example, you can see student testimonials from candidates who enrolled in our system, diligently followed our 30 day study plan, and achieved 7.5s and 8s.

Most courses, in traditional classrooms and online, will not be able to offer you this proof of success, let alone the guarantee of a score increase, as 3 Keys IELTS Success System our course, does.

Step 3) Invest in your own success

In short, you realize that you have to invest in your future.

You cannot prepare for IELTS on your own.

Nevertheless, you do not want to waste your money and time on lessons that simply will not prepare you for success.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and spend time researching before you choose.

Just because the course comes with a recognizable name and a high price tag does not mean it works.

What questions do you have from this article?

Have you made the mistake of hiring the wrong IELTS teacher?

What lessons did you learn from this mistake? Let us know in the comments.

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