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

Are you wondering how to choose an IELTS course?

Today we’ll give you our top 6 tips for choosing a great course that will help you get to your goal!

#1) Think about your priorities:  What is important to you? What do you need? What are you looking for? Do you want to save money? Are you willing to spend more money to get quality? Are you willing to drive across your city to a school? Do you have time to do homework? If traffic is terrible in your city then consider an online course.

#2) Consider both online and offline options: The possibilities with online learning are enormous. The goal of an online course is usually to save your time and the goal of an offline course is to fill your time. Which makes more sense?  A teacher in an in-person course might waste your time. They may fill the time with activities that aren’t related to the test because they have teaching hours to fill. We like the fact that online courses give you control over the content. You can go at your own pace. You can listen to a lecture more than once to make sure you understand it. It’s important to know yourself. If you study online there is more responsibility so make sure that you are self motivated and committed to your course if you choose the online option.

#3) Find a clear study system with simple steps to follow:

  • Strategies: You must have clear and simple strategies to approach the test.
  • Step by step plan: The course should give you a step-by-step plan. It should be organized into the sections of the test. The writing module should be dense. You need a lot of skills for that part of the test and it should have examples for all of the different types of writing questions. If you rely only on free materials you will not get this step-by-step strategy system and you will get on the wrong track. When you invest in a course, you are investing in a clear system.
  • Created by an IELTS specialist: Make sure the people who create the course know the test.  There are a lot of people out there who say they know IELTS but they don’t. They can’t know IELTS if they also know TOEFL, TOEIC, etc. You need an IELTS specialist.  IELTS is complicated. The teacher needs to know strategies, timing, what the examiner is looking for. There is a lot to know before you can teach it. Don’t hire the wrong teacher. It will be reflected in your score.
  • Balanced practice: Be willing to spend money and invest in a good course that offers balanced practice. This means that the course should assign you work that helps you build your general English as well as your test strategies and knowledge.
  • Daily learning plan: The course should tell you exactly what to do each day to get the practice and preparation that you need.

#4) The course should have documented results or a guarantee: Do they stand behind their material by offering a score increase guarantee if you do all of the work? Are there testimonials of people who have taken the course before and have achieved their target score? Look for social proof! Talk to people who have taken it.

#5) Make sure there is a community of test takers: This can be online or offline. For an online course it’s great to have a private Facebook group where you can ask questions, share your target score, and get support from other test takers. Be careful with the large textbook publishers who put their courses online. They aren’t adding the extras that you need when you are online like the community. In many cases they are just taking their textbook content and putting it online. They are selling you the download without much support.

#6) Make sure there is good support: Some of the bigger names are test- taking factories. If you email someone for support you won’t talk to a teacher. You will talk to a customer service person who won’t give you a personalized answer and the person will not know IELTS. They will just refer you back to a part of the course. Is there someone you can go to personally and ask for advice. Don’t get fooled by the big brand names! They don’t always offer the support that you need.

What courses are you currently considering?

What questions do you have about our tips today?

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