Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

One of the best ways to stay motivated for IELTS is to study with a friend!

You may know someone who is also studying for IELTS.

If not, you need to find a study partner!

There are tons of IELTS Facebook groups where you can find one.

Our 3 Keys IELTS Facebook group is the best place to find a study partner.

You know students in our course are motivated and on track!

Once you have a study partner, you can form a plan and hold each other accountable.

Today we’ll share the best ways to study with a partner for IELTS.

Why do you need a study partner?

Accountability and motivation!

You have all experienced that moment or that day when you’re lacking motivation.

Possibly you had a couple hours to study, but found yourself putting it off.

If you have a study partner and a plan with that partner, you will stay motivated!

You’ll be accountable to someone else to reach your goals!

Because this other person is depending on you, you’re much more likely to stick with it!

#1: Act as an Examiner

One of the best things a study partner can do for you is play the role of IELTS Examiner.

It needs to feel very normal and natural to speak to someone else face-to-face.

There’s a world of difference between regular conversation and the question/answer formula of IELTS Speaking.

You have to get used to what it feels like to answer IELTS Speaking questions.

Beat anxiety and increase confidence!

Many students get so nervous and admit it’s the first time they’ve ever talked face-to-face to someone in English.

You must practice this before test day!

This will also give you a positive environment and positive associations with the Speaking exam.

You’ll then be able to speak to the Examiner like a friend on test day.

This improves fluency and pronunciation.

It also improves vocabulary because you’re relaxed and can recall all the high level vocab you know.

#2: Practice spontaneity and natural responses

Google conversation starters.

There are so many lists of question prompts.

These are perfect for Part 1 questions and off-the-wall Part 3 questions.

This will lead to very interesting conversations!

It will also build your confidence!

With each question, you’ll see yourself improving.

It will also show you what you need to work on.

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How to practice with a non-native

We know many of you think you shouldn’t practice with non-natives.

You feel like they can’t teach you anything.

The goal of this is not to teach each other anything!

Rather, they will help you improve your performance.

  • Fluency
  • Spontaneity
  • Opportunity to speak English out loud

Ask them to listen for specific things.

  • Linking phrases
  • Vocabulary repetition
  • Expressive intonation

They can tell you if you sound without emotion and monotonous.

Don’t focus on grammar

The biggest problem for students is they’re focused too much on grammar.

If you find yourself thinking this won’t help you with your grammar, change your focus!

This isn’t to improve your grammar.

It’s to improve the 3 other scoring sections.

All 3 of these can be improved by working with anyone who is also learning English!

#3: Writing: Read each other’s essays

Ask them to read your answer to see if they understand your ideas.

Often, your ideas are not clear and direct.

This might be because you don’t understand how to use examples and details.

Ask your study partner the following questions:

  • Did I prove this reason to you?
  • Do you feel like my opinion is clear?
  • Do you think I have strong ideas in my essay?

They can also circle repeated vocabulary.

Spelling corrections can also be pointed out by a study partner!

#4: Reading: Do practice exams together

This is much more fun to do with a friend!

Work backwards together on any questions you missed.

Find out why the answer was the answer.

Together, find the tricks and traps the test writer used to trick you.

Discuss these tricks so you don’t fall for them next time!

Once you open the conversation about a difficult question, you start to understand what to look for.

Test writers use the same tricks over and over!

With a study partner, get used to these so you’re ready for test day!

#5: Listening: Complete listening practice together

Do one section at a time together.

Then, go over any incorrect answers.

Figure out why you made the mistake.

Discuss together what tripped you up!

Work backwards on these questions as well.

#6: Intentionally distract each other

We’ve had students get lower scores because a student next to them was tapping a pencil or bouncing their leg.

You can prepare for this with a study partner.

Do Listening audio together and intentionally distract each other.

Pay attention to how much of the audio you miss, and how long it took you to get back on track.

Practice focusing on the audio in spite of distractions.

Practice getting back on track as fast as possible.

#7: Make quizzes for each other

When you make your own questions, you get inside the mind of the test creator.

You’re putting in the parallel expressions.

You’re using the same tricks and traps they use.

This has 2 advantages.

  • You learn by creating questions
  • You learn by completing questions made by your partner

You can then go over them together, discussing the traps in each question.

#8: Watch movies together

Watch the same movie or TV show with a study partner.

Pause it and chat about what’s happening.

Make predictions!

After, discuss the plot and the conclusion.

What do you wish happened differently?

If you don’t live near your study partner, you can chat over Skype or Zoom.


There are a myriad of ways to study for IELTS with a friend!

Don’t focus on correcting or teaching.

Instead, use today’s activities to improve fluency, spontaneity and improve your scores.

This is a great way to keep up motivation!

Hold yourself and your friend accountable by setting goals and following up.

For more strategies, sign up for 3 Keys IELTS!

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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