12th Nov 2022
Afia Azmi

10 Useful Tips From Experts For Study Abroad Exams | IELTS | TOEFL

To qualify for courses abroad, students must adhere to or meet several conditions related to the overseas education process. The English Proficiency Test is one such prerequisite**. The international English Language Testing System (IELTS) and the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)** are the most widely used examinations worldwide.

Understanding the structure of the test is the first step to passing these aptitude tests. To sum up, there are slight differences in how the tests are administered, even though they have the same objective.

The TOEFL has four sections -

  • Speaking Section is of 17 minutes and comprises 4 sections
  • Writing Section is of 50 minutes duration and comprises 4 sections
  • Listening Section is of 41-57 minutes and comprises 28 to 59 questions
  • Reading Section is of 54 minutes and comprises 30 to 40 questions

The IELTS exam, however, consists of three sections -

  • Listening (40 questions, 30 minutes)
  • Reading (40 questions, 60 minutes)
  • Writing (40 questions, 90 minutes)

It typically takes** 2 hours and 45 minutes** to complete the three portions of the speaking test, which last between 11 and 14 minutes each.

Target a Score

You need to meet the English proficiency requirements to get admission to schools abroad. Consequently, the standard varies between universities and courses. Students should decide on their desired score and endeavour to achieve it.

The level of performance obtained determines the TOEFL score. There are roughly 4–5 levels of proficiency for each test section -


  • Advanced (24–30)
  • High Intermediate (18-23)
  • Low Intermediate (4-17)
  • Below Low-Intermediate (0-3)


  • Advanced (22-30)
  • High Intermediate (17-21)
  • Low Intermediate (9-16)
  • Below Low-Intermediate (0-8)


  • Advanced (25-30)
  • High Intermediate (20-24)
  • Low Intermediate (16-19)
  • Basic (10-15)
  • Below Basic (0-9)


  • Advanced (24-30)
  • High Intermediate (17-23)
  • Low Intermediate (13-16)
  • Basic (7-12)
  • Below Basic (0-6)

In IELTS, sections are scored cumulatively, and the total score ranges from 1 to 9, with each scale corresponding to a particular level of English proficiency -

  • 0- Did not attempt the test
  • 1 - Non-User
  • 2 - Intermittent User
  • 3 - Extremely Limited User
  • 4 - Limited User
  • 5 - Modest User
  • 6 - Competent User
  • 7 - Good User
  • 8 - Very Good User
  • 9 - Expert User

Make a Study Schedule in Advance

Preparation is the key to success on Proficiency Tests like IELTS and TOEFL. Before the test, preparation is essential. Therefore, students must develop a study plan to cover as much of the curriculum to ace the test because it measures one's proficiency in English.

Work on developing your skills in this area by working on each section separately. For instance, it is strongly recommended to practise writing in preparation for the written part, for which there is a time limit.

Practice speaking English independently to prepare for the Speaking and Reading parts. As a result, you can learn to listen to yourself and can identify areas for improvement. Students can also communicate with native English speakers to improve their vocabulary and conversational abilities.

Leverage Azent's Centres to hone your English skills and ace your IELTS test. IELTS coaching has never been more accessible with our online and offline coaching options!

Use Practice Tests to Improve

Practice makes perfect. Taking mock tests will help you understand where you stand regarding your learning. Study aids, such as Timed Writing and Grammar Evaluation, can also measure progress. One can evaluate errors and attempt to improve using these suggestions. The student may retake the mock test a few weeks later and compare both results to see if they have improved.

Stretch your Eardrums by Listening to Podcasts

Are you a fan of feminist movements from the 1960s and 1970s or criminal thrillers? Are you as "into leather" as the young girl with the glasses in Annie Hall? With more than a million free online podcasts on websites like iTunes and the BBC as well as Spotify, there should be something available for you, whatever your interests! Make it a routine to tune into an English-language podcast every day at a specific time, such as before bed or during your commute.

Some Interesting Spotify Podcasts -

Read English-language Periodicals and Newspapers

A great indicator of fluency is the capacity to read news in a foreign language.  For instance, read magazines and newspapers in English and look up any words you don't understand. To avoid confusion with spelling and idioms, use the English variety used in your English language test (US, UK, or Australian).

Work on your Weaknesses

You must identify your areas of weakness and spend more time practising for this section than you would for the others. Plan appropriately and make sure you put in the necessary effort to avoid losing any exam points.

Hone your Typing Abilities

Given that the TOEFL IBT is a computer-based exam, your proficiency with the keyboard will be necessary, particularly when it comes to typing the essay. Try taking practice exams on several computers because some students have trouble typing on unfamiliar keyboards.

Tips for Listening

Practice diligently to hone your note-taking abilities for the listening segment. Avoid playing the CD more than once while you are practising. You will only have one opportunity to listen to the passage during the test.

Reading Advice

You'll get much further on the TOEFL if you learn how to skim the text. You must be able to summarize the main ideas of the passage as you scan it and get a sense of its overall subject matter. After you've finished skimming, read the text. You'll be able to maximize the time available if you practice reading from this perspective.

Writing Advice

Explain your writing style in plain, simple terms. For instance, find a format that works for you and use it consistently throughout the essay, if that helps. Use this format consistently. Keep a detailed outline of the essay's structure.

Improve your Logical Thinking Skills 

Whether you take the reading or listening section, you must answer multiple questions, including multiple-choice, cloze and short answers. The best course of action is to guess if you cannot find the solution. You won't lose anything by giving incorrect answers, but you might be able to get the answer correct. You can gain some points by using logical reasoning. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q.1) Which exam is best for abroad studies?

IELTS score can open doors to international academic and professional opportunities at many institutions and places worldwide where English is spoken. In addition, the TOEFL exam is the world's most widely recognized English exam in many countries, including the USA. 

Q.2) Why is IELTS important for abroad studies?

English proficiency requirements are precise and must be met to be admitted to courses abroad. The standard varies between universities and courses. Students should decide on their desired score and endeavour to achieve it.

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