Am I Ready for the IELTS Test in 2020?

Am I Ready for the IELTS Test in 2020?


8 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Booking your IELTS Test

When the time comes to take the IELTS test, you will probably ask yourself a very important question: “Am I ready to take the IELTS test?”

Am I ready for IELTS is a crucial question, because if you are not ready, you will pay hundreds of dollars or pounds for the official IELTS test that does not provide you with any feedback on your English language mistakes. Sure, taking the IELTS test will give you an idea of how the IELTS test works. But most importantly, if you’re going to invest money, time and effort in taking the test, you must be prepared with your best English and an understanding of the test strategies, in order to avoid disappointment.

If you think you are ready, think again because you need to answer some more questions. Here are the 8  Questions to Ask Yourself Before Booking your IELTS in 2020.

1. What is my English level?

If you speak English in your daily life, or if you’ve studied a formal English course before, you may feel that you have good English. In fact, you might feel quite proud of all the expressions you know and the enjoyment you gain from speaking effective English. However, IELTS requires much more than daily chatting with friends and colleagues. In addition, it is common that people tend to overestimate their ability in another language (mainly because they don’t recognise their own mistakes). Therefore, to be successful at IELTS, you need to be accurate with your English grammar and have a strong vocabulary base. One way to see your English level is to take a quick English level test.


2. What does the English level test mean?

The free online English level test takes about 10 minutes and shows the level of your understanding when it comes to grammar, vocabulary and language structures. Students who score above 38/40 on the test have an advanced level of English and can expect to score approximately 8 – 9 on IELTS. On the other hand, students who score around 17 – 22 on the level test can be classified as Pre-Intermediate English learners. A Pre-Intermediate level student would be expected to score around 3 – 4 on IELTS. Therefore, this level test is a great way for you to find out your approximate English level and IELTS equivalent, so you don’t waste your time and money taking the test when you’re clearly not ready. See the free ClickStudies English Level Test for an approximate guide. The following chart shows how you can measure your score.

3. What IELTS score do I need?

When you ask “Am I ready for the IELTS test”, you need to think about your purpose for taking the IELTS test. If you are migrating to a new country it will be different, depending on the number of points you require. For example, to migrate to Australia, you may get 10 or 20 points towards migration, depending on your needs. To join a college to do a certificate course, you will most likely need a lower score than if you join a university degree course. See EasyMigrate for specific details on IELTS score requirements.


4. What version of IELTS do you need? Academic or General?

Normally, if you’re applying for entry to college or university course, you’ll need to take the Academic version of the IELTS test. If you plan on migrating to a new country, you will probably require the General IELTS test. You should remember, the General and Academic IELTS test have the same structure and content for the listening and speaking sections. In contrast, the reading and writing parts of the test are different for the General and Academic versions of the test. Most people find the Academic version slightly harder than the General version.

5. Should I do the paper-based IELTS test or the computer delivered IELTS test?

For over twenty years, the IELTS test has been paper-based. This changed recently when IELTS became available via computer. If you know the structure of the IELTS test, the good news is that the computer delivered IELTS test follows the same test structure as the traditional paper-based test. In more good news for test-takers, the computer delivered IELTS test has so far been well-received by candidates anwho say the computer platform works well. However, the computer delivered IELTS test is not available in all countries yet. If you are worried about your ability to write neatly and quickly by hand, you will be happy to hear about the changes. See this video about the computer delivered test for information.


6. Where can I get help with the vocabulary I need?

This is a great question because the IELTS test is built on high level vocabulary that you may not use in your daily life. For example, you should not use the word ‘thing’ when you are speaking or writing IELTS. This is despite the fact that the word ‘thing’ is very common is everyday English. Instead you should use the word ‘aspect’. As soon as you start using powerful vocabulary such as ‘aspect’ correctly, your score on the speaking and writing sections of the test will rise. For a great free resource that will help you find and practice the most common 570 words used in academic English and IELTS, check out the RMIT Learning Lab for excellent vocabulary word lists, resources, games, and practice.



7. How should I start my IELTS training?

You have a few choices here. For example, you can study strategies for reading, listening, writing and speaking with videos such as these. You can also purchase a textbook that can help you prepare. Or you can join an IELTS course. There are many options for face-to-face courses although you will be limited by your location.



8. How can I prepare 24/7 using a 100% online IELTS course?

If you are interested in taking a fully online course that covers all aspects and skills required in the IELTS test, as well as practice activities that you can download and weekly office hours with the instructor, you should check out IELTS in 21 Days. This fully online course is for students who want the complete preparation package in an easy-to-understand framework that covers all four skills of reading, listening, writing and speaking. For more information on the 100% online course IELTS Target 7, email


So that’s it. If you need to ask “Am I ready for the IELTS test in 2020?”, then these are the questions you need to ask yourself before committing big money to book an IELTS test. If you have any questions, please feel free to drop a comment below or email the address above for more info.

Top 10 Budgeting Tips for International Students

Top 10 Budgeting Tips for International Students

If you’re planning on studying overseas, then it’s worth taking the time to understand the impact of currency costs

Most students are on a tight budget; for international students, there are the added complications of currency conversions and unfamiliar surroundings. Here are some top tips for keeping on top of your money when you’re studying overseas.

1. Make a budget

Calculate all your known costs, such as tuition fees and rent, and research online what you can expect to pay for groceries or utilities.

2. Book your travel as early as possible

You can often get better deals if you’re booking flights and rail travel in advance. Find out your term dates as early as possible to give yourself time to get the best deals.

3. Get a local bank account

Avoid transaction fees at ATMs and when paying by card by opening a local bank account and depositing currency for your living costs.

4. Get a local SIM card

Make sure you don’t get stung with high mobile costs by getting a local SIM card once you arrive to avoid getting a nasty surprise on your next bill.

5. Use online chat services

If you want to catch up with family or friends, use online chat services like Skype or WhatsApp which allow you to talk as much as you want where you have an internet connection.

6. Become a tourist

You’re likely to find a lot to see in your new home, and walking around a city can give you a great perspective and insight into its heritage – and best of all, it’s completely free.

7. Shop around

You may have to speak to some local students to find out where to get the best deals, which may not be at a major supermarket. Some of the best bargains may come from smaller markets selling local produce and delicacies.

8. Pick your luxuries

You can’t do everything on a student budget but you don’t have to miss out on what really matters to you. If your true passion is the theatre, for example, make sure you allow for that in your budget and perhaps cut down in other areas, such as socialising in bars, to afford it.

9. Get an International Student Identity Card (ISIC)

From just AUD30, an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) will give you access to discounts and sometimes even free entry to museums, galleries and attractions all over the world.

10. Work with a foreign exchange specialist

A currency specialist can provide guidance on how you can manage your currency transactions and give you access to a secure online platform so you can keep track of your money and payments.

Thanks to our partners at MoneyCorp for providing this article.

Study in California

Study in California

California attracts people from all over the world, which makes California a very easy place for international students to feel at home.  In this article we look at some of the most common reasons why you might choose to study in California.

California is home to four of the world’s top 20 universities: Stanford, California Institute of California Institute of Technology, Berkeley and UCLA. In addition, California has dozens of other excellent universities, large and small. Whatever study abroad experience you are looking for, there is a school in California to fit your need.

Key Facts about Study in California

California is in the United States, so see our Studying in the U.S page for general U.S. facts.

But what makes California different from other U.S. destinations?

  • Californians are a very diverse people who come from all over the world, particularly Asia and Latin America. In big cities like Los Angeles, more than half of the people speak a language other than English at home.
  • As home to Silicon Valley and Hollywood, California is the world leader in technology and filmmaking. California universities are on the leading edge of business, technology, and the visual arts.
  • It’s worth mentioning the California sunshine. It’s never too hot, too cold, or too humid, which allows international students to go outside and really experience America all year round.

The downside of studying in California is that it is generally more expensive than other places in the United States. The cost of living in San Francisco or Los Angeles is comparable to other major world cities like London, Tokyo, or New York. If you are concerned about cost, find the location of your desired university and look for nearby apartments using a web tool like Trulia that shows you photos and prices of apartments and their exact locations in the city.

College Life in California

Everything that attracts international students to study in California is also attractive to Americans from the other 49 states. California universities, large and small, have many students who are not from the local area. They live in local apartments or dormitories with other students. This is nice for international students, as student social groups are more open and it is easy to make friends.

California universities are also very welcoming to international students. They all have centers to offer support to international students with finding housing, academic support, and any difficulties students may have. At some universities like the University of Southern California, more than one out of every four students is international.

California – North and South

If you have decided that you want to study in California, you should know the difference between north and south.

Southern California is where you find the iconic Southern California beach and movie culture. Universities like Pepperdine, UC Santa UC Santa Barbara and UC San Diego are all just minutes away from fun and beautiful beaches. UCLA and USC are deeply connected to the movie industry, and have buildings named after George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. Arnold Schwarzenegger is even part of the faculty at USC!

IELTS Reading Overview and Strategies

IELTS Reading Overview and Strategies

The reading section of the test takes about 60 minutes to complete, including transfer time. The structure of the test is different for the Academic and General versions of the exam.

The IELTS reading test is a race against the clock.  With 60 minutes to read 5 passages and answer 40 questions about them, you must work fast.  You have approximately one-and-a-half minutes per question.  The biggest problem that candidates face is not having enough time to finish the reading completely.

The key to success is to develop fast reading skills, including skimming (to understand the main idea), scanning (to find the location of the answer) and detailed reading (to understand the information well enough to answer the question correctly).

If you were taught in school to read every text slowly and carefully until you understand every word, you must break this habit!

Here are a few videos that we recently put together on IELTS reading.

Do not start by reading the whole text. This will waste valuable time. Instead, you should start by skimming the text to get a general feel for its structure and main ideas. By doing this step, you will save yourself time when finding the location of each answer after you read the questions.

Read with your pen and work quickly.  You should spend no more than 1-2 minutes on this.  Read the first paragraph for an introduction to the topic, and then quickly underline the first sentence in each paragraph.  Don’t be tempted to read further in detail! If you can, quickly write a note in the margin next to each paragraph to help remind you later what’s in the paragraph (eg. you might write ‘causes’ or ‘history’).

Remember, when viewing the text quickly you need to see the main words and phrases rather than all the individual words.

By making this road map, you will get a good feel for where things are in the text – which paragraph is about health effects, which paragraph is about solutions, etc.  You don’t yet need to know what the health effects are, or what the solutions are – just where they are! This is an important time-saver when you move on to look at each question and have to scan quickly find the section of the text which contains the answer.

Important! This is not a natural skill for many readers. It takes lots of practice, but you can practice on almost any text.  Make it a habit!

Top 5 Accommodation Tips for Students Moving to London

Top 5 Accommodation Tips for Students Moving to London

London was ranked top city for students in 2018, so it’s no surprise you’ve made the exciting decision to study here! You’re in for an incredible time, but before you start planning all the fun things you’re going to do, you need to find some student accommodation in London. To help make this process less daunting, here are some tips to help you on your quest:

1. Halls of residence

A great first port of call is to go to your chosen institution’s website and search for ‘accommodation services’. Most universities and some colleges have halls of residence (student apartments either on or close to campus). I recommend doing this as soon as possible after your acceptance as halls can often fill up quickly. If staying in halls isn’t an option for you, the accommodation services webpage usually has advice on how to go about finding private accommodation or contact information for staff who can assist you.

2. Think logistics

When picking an area to live, find out what the most direct transport links to your college or uni are from there. Use Transport for London’s journey planner or the Citymapper app to see what your journey looks like from your accommodation to your place of study. Citymapper is fantastic as it tells you the price, duration and any delays for different journey options. My biggest advice is to be sure to factor in your daily travel costs when house hunting as you may think you’ll save money living further away from your college or university only to end up being stung with high travel fares. It’s useful to know that buses are cheaper than the tube and overground trains. London’s tube/train network is divided into travel zones; the more zones you travel across, the more expensive your journey will be. For example, traveling from zone 5-1 costs around £4.70 at peak times. But don’t despair! The good news is that students can get an 18+ Student Oyster Card which will get you discounted travel.

3. Flat-share

(In case you’re wondering what on earth a ‘flat’ is, it’s the British word for apartment.) Once you’ve settled on a location, websites like and are great for finding a room to rent in a share-house/flat with other people. This set up is very common in London. You can filter your search on these sites, say if you only want to live with flatmates of the same gender or non-smokers etc. Another pro is that often the rent for your room will include bills too. Click here for more information on flat sharing and this is a great link on how to flat-share safely.

4. Private rental

If you’re not so keen on sharing a place with people you don’t know, there’s always the option of renting a whole property privately. Be warned, this can be expensive in London as you not only need to pay rent, but bills and estate agent fees for them to do a reference check on you, which can cost anywhere from £40-£200 per person. You’ll also need to pay a deposit in advance (usually one month’s rent). However, if you’re sure this is the option for you, contact estate agents in the area you’re interested in and ask to speak to the rental division. Be as specific as possible about your budget, whether you need furnished/unfurnished, and how close you need to be to transport links etc. This will save you wasting time going to viewings that don’t quite suit your needs.

5. Utilise your network

When I first came to London, I contacted all my social media contacts who live here (even if I hadn’t talked to them in years!) to see if they knew anyone who was looking for a flatmate. This was also a great way to connect with people in the city. Do you know anyone who currently studies or has studied in London before? You could reach out to friends of friends, family members or even family friends. You never know who may be looking to flat share or know someone who’s renting a property. It’s also an idea to join social media groups aimed at people from your country, like if you’re Spanish, you could join a Facebook page like ‘the Spanish Community in London’, where you could potentially find people from your country looking for a flatmate.

That’s all from me, I hope this post has been helpful. All the best finding your perfect student accommodation in London.

Studying in Australia FAQ

Studying in Australia FAQ

Starting life in a new country is an exciting and confusing experience. For students who are interested in studying in Australia, the following FAQ questions and answers might help make the transition a little smoother.


Q. Can I bring food to Australia?

No, do not bring any food. Australian airport officials are very strict about food products coming into Australia. Make sure you do not bring any food to Australia otherwise you may face a penalty or fine.


Q. What should I do if my plane is delayed?

First of all, don’t panic. Plane delays are a normal part of air travel. You should speak to the airline company and try to work out the best alternative plan. If you are meeting someone at the airport, try to send them a message via email or phone. You might be able to let your parents know what has happened, so they can be in touch with your contact person.


Q. Where can I stay when I first arrive?

Many students start with homestay as a way to become familiar with Australia. You might also choose to stay in a Youth Hostel or shared accommodation while you settle into Australia. Airbnb is also very common in Australia.


Q. How long before my first classes should I arrive in Australia?

This depends on your own situation. Some people like to be well organized and arrive two to three weeks in advance. This will allow them time to get organized, get to know the city and become familiar with Australia and the Australian accent. Arriving one week in advance is also common. The main thing is that you should not arrive after the semester begins. Some students choose to wait until class actually starts, so they can have a few extra weeks at the end of their visa period.


Q. Is it easy to find a job in Australia?

It is not easy to get a job, but it is certainly possible. You need to have a Curriculum Vitae (CV) which does not contain errors. You can visit shopping centres and restaurants and hand this document to shop managers. Alternatively, you might email this document to the company and if you pass this stage you will normally be asked to attend a job interview. It’s important to consider the ‘hidden job market’. In other words, the jobs that are not advertised. To find these, you need to keep talking to people to let them know that you are interested in finding a job.


What types of jobs are the easiest to get in Australia?

Many students start by working in restaurants and cafes, either as a waiter or waitress. Babysitting, cleaning, and working in retail shopping outlets is also a good option. Keep in mind, many shops are looking for extra workers during the Christmas period – from November to January.


Do I need to go to the first week of classes?

Yes, absolutely. It is very important that you attend the first week of every class you are enrolled in so you can gain all the essential information you need to succeed in the units you are studying. Missing the first weeks is a big mistake.


Should I go to every class?

Again, yes you should. Students who attend every class rarely fail a unit. Even if you are struggling with the unit part of the way through, you should continue, because the unit will be structured in a way that helps you understand more about the topic as you go further into the unit.


Do Australian students live on campus?

Local students don’t tend to live on campus as much as they do in other countries. It depends on the college or university. Often Australian students from the country areas (outside the cities) tend to stay at the student accommodation on campus. International students also make up a large proportion of on-campus students. Local Australian students often share a house or apartment close to campus or live with their parents while they attend university.


What should I do if I’m suffering from Culture Shock?

Culture shock is very normal for international students. In fact, you should expect to feel overwhelmed at times. The good news is that most colleges will have professional councelling staff you can talk to . Make sure you attend a session if you feel it is all too much.