IELTS preparation

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Preparation

(CRICOS Course Code 066401D)

Levels:          Intermediate – Upper Intermediate

Duration:         Full time – 20 hours per week / 12 Weeks

Just like EAP, NSW International English’s IELTS Preparation course is an example of a group of English courses called English for Specific Purposes (ESP). ESP courses are designed because students are studying them for a ‘specific’ reason – that means they the course is designed to meet the requirements of the English learners. Students are not learning English just to be good at it; instead they study the ESP course because of some need. So what are the needs of students who decide to study an IELTS Preparation course?

If you wish to take an IELTS Preparation course at NSW International English, then you will probably know that IELTS stands for the International English Language Testing System Examination. This examination can be taken in over 100 different countries around the world. It usually used to assess the English language proficiency of students who wish to study or further or higher education courses held in English at college or university. Many education providers want to see evidence that a future student has completed an IELTS examination and has achieved minimum scores before the student will be offered a place in a course. This means that the student will not have learning difficulties because of his/ her English language ability.

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has a minimum English language proficiency requirement to ensure that  ‘overseas workers are able to respond to occupational health and safety risks, raise any concerns about their welfare with appropriate authorities and benefit Australia by sharing their skills with other workers’. Different occupations have higher minimum English requirements. The most widely accepted form of English proficiency accept by DHA is the IELTS examination. People wishing to migrate to Australia and need to show evidence of English proficiency may choose to do an IELTS preparation course. Completion of this course can significantly improve a candidate’s chances of increasing their IELTS score in the formal examination.

Entry requirements for IELTS Preparation Course 

As this course prepares students for IELTS exam, it requires students to have at least Intermediate level of English.

Course Objectives

The IELTS course aims to prepare students for the IELTS exam by improving their English in the areas of Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking.  The course will enable the students to practice exam skills and techniques to a level required by the IELTS examination.


NSW International English’s IELTS Preparation programs

NSW International English’s IELTS Preparation Course is designed to prepare international students, from a range of backgrounds and nationalities, for the Academic Training Module of the IELTS test.

If you enrol in this course, you will have as your specific study objective the need to reach a result in an internationally recognised certificate of English language proficiency which will either provide you with a pathway for migration purposes or completion of a tertiary level course in a mainstream Australian tertiary institution.  This may include the full range of tertiary courses available in the Australian context, universities, both private and public, private colleges

The IELTS Preparation course will  be a 12 week course. Preparation for the IELTS Examination is achieved by introducing you to the same kinds of types of texts and tasks which the real IELTS examination uses.   The course is not only designed to help you to practise examination techniques, but it will also help you to develop the necessary skills required to pass the IELTS Examination.   You will be exposed to a wide variety of materials covering a number of different academic disciplines and will learn, through this exposure, how the task requirements of the IELTS Examination reflect the English Language requirements of tertiary study.

In addition to the compulsory 20 hours of the programme, NSW International English offers and encourages you to avail of the valuable opportunity to attend a guided individual learning session at the end of each formal teaching day. You will have access to computers, resources, books and audio-visual materials to work on essays, research assignment material, etc. A teacher will be made available to you to assist you with any areas which require further development. As the IELTS Preparation Course is strongly focused on providing the necessary techniques and skills required to undertake the examination, independent learning further facilitates the need to develop strong learning habits and study management.

The IELTS test is an internationally recognised tertiary entry English language qualification. A score of 5 on the IELTS test (alongside a range of alternative qualifications) is a prerequisite for entry to many Vocational Courses. If you have been accepted into a vocational course but have not yet reached your required English score, NSW International English’s IELTS Preparation Course will be open to you.

The course also welcomes you if you have received a place in a range of institutions or if you are making an application. Remember, however, that you must achieve the required level in the IELTS test as stated by your education provider in order to join your chosen course of study.

Many VET and higher education providers allow students direct entry to their courses when they have successfully completed an IELTS Preparation course and without having to complete the formal IELTS examination. NSW International English is working hard to develop relationships with a range of different providers so that students can gain automatic entry to a range of further education courses.

 What will you learn at NSW International English’s IELTS Preparation Course?

At the end of the course, you will:

  • be familiar with the structure of the IELTS test
  • be familiar with and able to successfully complete the main task types in each of the four test modules (as demonstrated by performance results on Practice Tests) – see Key Skills and Sub skills below.
  • give an accurate written description (at least 150 words in 20 minutes) of information presented in table, or graph form, highlighting trends, comparing and contrasting where necessary; write a formal essay (at least 250 words in 40 minutes) – including introduction, body and conclusion – expressing an opinion supported by personal experience, knowledge and relevant evidence
  • speak on familiar topics in short question and answer form; one topic in the form of a two-minute speech; and more abstractly develop the same topic in the form of a discussion
  • successfully identify and listen for keywords, specific information, main points (gist) in the context of semi-formal and academic listening tasks; in a conversation identify the key participants and their relationships, the location and purpose of the interaction; predict and interpret information from a given context
  • skim and scan texts for specific information; summarize texts identifying main and supporting ideas; separate essential from non-essential information based on what questions are asking; distinguish between argument and fact
  • have a sufficient working knowledge of the five IELTS key topics (as demonstrated by performance results on each Topic Test)
  • be able to aim for the equivalent of at least a 5 band score on a full IELTS Test (as demonstrated by performance results on the final full test) which pre-supposes that they are able to:
  • communicate reasonably fluently, clearly and interestingly in speaking and writing tasks using appropriate cohesive devices; accurate grammar and sentence structure; and appropriate vocabulary and register
  • answer the question concisely without irrelevant divergences
  • be competent in communication tasks representative of those necessary to function in an English-speaking tertiary study environment (as demonstrated by overall performance results, including the above, and also participation using Focus on  IELTS

IELTS Key Skills and Sub-skills built upon in the IELTS Preparation program.


  • Phonology




-Stress (accented syllables and words)


-Liaison (linking consonant with vowel sounds)


  • Fluency


  • Speaking on familiar topics
  • Speaking at length (2 minutes)
  • Discussion on a theme


  • Understanding context: Identifying speakers, relationship, location, purpose
  • Keywords: Identifying and locating
  • Filtering: Focusing only on key information
  • Interpreting information: Understanding the deeper meaning
  • Predicting from the context
  • Following signpost words
  • Understanding the difference between fact and opinion


  • Text orientation: headings, subheadings
  • Step-by-step approach: read questions, read text, answer questions
  • Skimming for gist
  • Scanning for specific detail
  • Time management
  • Understanding opinion and attitude


  • Time management
  • Describing and comparing data presented in graph and table form
  • Write an academic essay using an introduction, body and conclusion
  • Argue using supporting knowledge and experiences
  • Write cohesively using appropriate linking ideas
  • Write using a wide range of vocabulary specific to the task

IELTS Key Topics: Subtopics / Keywords

  1. Hometown / Travel, home country, national identity, patriotism, homesickness, culture shock, migration, holidays, (domestic / international) tourism, history, language, culture, architecture / built environment, landmarks, sightseeing, industry, famous products / services
  2. Education / Work, public schools / education, private schools / education, entrance exams, primary schools / education, secondary schools / education, tertiary institutions, business institutes, major subjects, career / employment opportunities, occupations, jobs, part-time work, casual work, full-time work, shift-work, social welfare (benefits)
  3. Free time / Health, sports, indoor sports, outdoor sports, summer sports, winter sports, competitive sports, social sports, live sports, armchair sports, leisure, music, entertainment, eating out / in, movies, home entertainment centres, videos, karaoke, music, collections, collectors, groups, clubs, games, cards, computer games, board games, friends, gambling, drinking / pubs, TV, gyms, exercise, hobbies, reading, books, magazines, ; diet, healthy food, balanced diet, essential food groups, protein, meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, grains, rice, wheat, bread, pulses, soy beans, relaxation, stress avoidance, meditation, fast food, MacDonald’s, KFC, junk food, frozen food, TV dinners, take away food, anorexia, caffeine, tea, coffee, medical conditions, illnesses, sicknesses, cholesterol, obesity, overweight, respiratory problems, depression,  stress, work, overtime, overwork, low job satisfaction, low income, basic wage, poverty level, homelessness, unemployment, redundancy,
  4. Science / Technology, computers,the Internet, online, cyber space, e-mail,internet chatting (ICQ), computer games, computer chips, scanning, barcodes, magnetic tape, closed-circuit television (CCTV); mobile phones, electronic products, compact discs (CD’s), CD burning, DVD, Mini-Disc (MD’s), MP3, television, home cinema; DNA, cloning, stem cell research,
  5. Environment, energy uses, energy sources, gas, oil, nuclear power, coal, electricity, solar energy, wind, wave, hydroelectricity, (non-) renewable energy sources, pollution, air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, noise pollution, rubbish, waste, waste disposal, waste minimisation, re-cycling, green, greenhouse gases, global warming, ozone layer, acid rain, Kyoto protocol, conservation, conservationist, wildlife, nature, overpopulation, wars,  weather, natural disasters, droughts, floods, earthquakes, the Richter scale, earth tremors, aftershocks, tidal waves, tsunami, volcanoes, volcanic eruptions, lava flows, landslides, avalanches, sandstorms, dust storms; four (distinct) seasons, summer, autumn, winter, spring, two seasons, the wet season, the dry season, snow, heavy snow, blizzards, snow storms, bitter cold, freezing weather, sub-zero temperatures, storms, thunderstorms, electrical storms, torrential rain, heavy rain, bushfires, fire-fighters, emergency services (SES)

How many tests will I get?

You will have assessments every week of the twelve weeks of each IELTS course. Assessments will include homework assignments, class work such as oral presentations, tests in any of the IELTS examination tasks, reading writing, speaking and listening and a full trail IELTS test at the beginning, middle and end of your 12 week course.  Teachers will mark and grade your assessment work and will give feedback to you so that you can identify areas where you may need to do additional work or practice. Your teacher will also allow a lot of class time to the review of tasks completed to allow you to ask questions and to get sufficient feedback.