How Long Should I Study for the IELTS?

How Long Should I Study for the IELTS - magoosh

In my last post, we looked at how many hours (daily and weekly) you should study for the IELTS. But how long should you study for the IELTS with your IELTS prep in total? For days? Weeks? Months? How much time is enough time to be IELTS ready? The answer to that question really depends on you.

How long should I study for the IELTS? This depends on your current level of English.

If you are highly proficient in English, you just might be able to prepare for the IELTS in a month or less. Highly skilled English users only need to focus their studies on test knowledge and strategy. And you can learn the structure of an exam and the best strategies for the exam pretty quickly.

Language skills, on the other hand, take a lot longer to build. If you are having trouble actually understanding IELTS reading passages or audio tracks, you need to really take the time to boost your comprehension. (You can see how comfortable you are with our vocabulary lesson video below.) And if you don’t speak English very clearly or find writing in English to be hard, you can’t improve these skills overnight. Boosting general language skills takes months, not days or weeks.

Get a higher IELTS score? Start your online IELTS prep today with Magoosh.

Different people learn their second language at different paces. Still, there are ways to guess at how long you might need to study. You can get a good idea of how long you should study by taking a practice IELTS and seeing what band you fall in. If you are one band below your target score, give yourself at least a month of study. So for instance, if you are getting a 7.5 on your practice IELTS tests but you need an 8.5 on test day, give yourself a minimum of a month.

If you  need to raise your score by more than one band, give yourself at least a month per band. that means that if you need an IELTS band 9 but are currently at a 7, you should study for two months or more. And if you must get from a 4.5 to a 7.5, study for a minimum of three months…and so on.

How long should I study for the IELTS? This depends on how much spare time you have for IELTS prep.

Another factor in the length of your IELTS prep period is the amount of hours you can study per day and week. You may have work, school, family obligations, or other responsibilities that take up your time. Or you may be on a break from work or school and have all day to study. These two situations are very different, in terms of how long you should study for the IELTS.

If you only have five hours a week for IELTS study, raising your IELTS score into the next band could take two or even three months of prep. At 10 or 15 hours a week, it still might take a little take more than a month to increase your score by a band. Once you start getting into the 20 plus range, a month per band may be all the time you need as you work to raise your IELTS score.

Now, it’s hard to raise your score by more than one band in a month no matter how much time you have. Prolonged practice is always necessary to improve second language skill. That being said, if you are one of the lucky IELTS preppers who has 40 hours a week to study for the exam, you just might be able to go up a band in less than a month. Likewise, if your language skills are good as is, the test strategy skills that you’ll need to boost your IELTS score could be mastered in three or even two weeks.

By the way, improve your IELTS score with Magoosh!

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11 Responses to How Long Should I Study for the IELTS?

  1. Lucas November 19, 2018 at 5:29 pm #

    Good asnwer. I thoght about 2 months/per score and with hard Works. Bus I timing it’s not só simple

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert November 21, 2018 at 12:34 pm #

      Hi Lucas,

      In general, the longer you study, the higher your final score. However, every student is different, and we definitely can’t make any blanket statements about months of study and projected score increase! Some people can reach high scores with minimal study, and others require more time and support to reach their desired score. I hope this blog posts helps you to think through this process and come up with study plan that will work for you 🙂

  2. Suhasini January 2, 2019 at 10:54 am #

    Thank you for this detailed explanation. I think I have an..okay-ish grammar structure, I could understand everything you said and I guess (if my voice wasn’t so awfully prepubescent) my speaking skills will require some work. I can speak so well and freely among peers but in-front of strangers or a large crowd I stumble and forget pronunciations. Do you have any tip which can help me with that? Thanks from India!

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert January 4, 2019 at 3:39 pm #

      Hi Suhasini,

      The best thing for you to do is practice as much as possible! Luckily, the IELTS speaking test is like a conversation–you can practice with your friends and become more comfortable with it. Try to spend a little bit of time every day speaking aloud in English. This podcast is a good place to start as you think about how to prepare:

    • Sadat January 3, 2021 at 9:20 am #

      I am an advanced learner, studying English Language and Literature ( completed Honours and now doing Masters) . Nevertheless, IELTS gives me a hard time dealing with it. Yes! Knowing English in depth helps to an extent, but let me clue you in: no matter how good are you at English? Still ,IELTS requires a decent amount of consistent practice. For it is a sort of puzzle to be solved, and you are expected to know its rules & holes. Never take it lightly; there are myriad instances of advanced learners being failed scoring good band. Why ? because they think: English is the only requirment to score high; the point that they do miss is: practice is the pivotal key factor determining the good score.

  3. Saugat Malla March 5, 2019 at 5:34 am #

    Sir do we need to study in any institute for preparation of ILETS exam or we can study on our own in home

    • David Recine
      David Recine March 6, 2019 at 7:35 am #

      I’ve definitely seen many students successfully prepare the IELTS largely through self-study. In fact, I’d say that’s the most common approach for successful IELTS test-takers. When test-takers do get extra help, they tend to use 1 on 1 tutoring. Tutoring can be especially useful for Writing and Speaking!

      With that said, some students have gone to preparation institutes and really felt it was a good experience. So don’t rule it out. But don’t treat that as an absolutely necessary step either.

    • Nitin January 26, 2021 at 2:28 am #

      Hello sir I am preparing for ilets general i am going to sit in exam in March current score is 5 band my desired score is 7 band how to get it can you suggest study plain or syllabus step by step to get my score .

      • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
        Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 19, 2021 at 3:48 pm #

        Hi Nitin,

        You can find all of our study schedules here:

        Magoosh IELTS Study Schedules

        Because you’re trying to increase your band score by 2 points, I’d recommend giving yourself at least a month to study. To see whether or not we can help you improve, I’d recommend trying out Magoosh IELTS with a free 7-day trial, if you haven’t already.

  4. Bhavna September 11, 2019 at 11:24 am #

    Hai iam bhavna
    I am not good at English and grammar. Even i make some mistakes in writing. Now i want to prepare for gre i have good and enough time to prepare. So many months it takes me to get 7.0 or 7.5 score in IELTS. Can you please suggest me

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 2, 2020 at 8:59 am #

      Hi Bhavna,

      The answer to this question depends on so many factors, so it’s difficult to say for sure. I recommend taking an IELTS practice exam as well as our Diagnostic Quizzes (there is one for each section) to get a sense of your current level and how much work it would take to prepare.

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