How Many Hours Should I Study for the IELTS?

hours study IELTS

So you’ve got an IELTS target score in mind, and some good prep materials. Next, you may ask yourself “How many hours should I study for the IELTS?”

How many hours should I study for the IELTS per week?

As you make an IELTS study plan, it can be helpful to think of your IELTS study hours in terms of weekly time spent. After all, you probably already know how much time you’re spending per week on other activities, such as work and school. Look at your existing weekly time commitments and figure out how much IELTS prep time you can fit in alongside your other responsibilities.

You obviously don’t want to commit yourself to more weekly IELTS hours than you can handle. But you should also make sure that you do enough IELTS study per week. If you have too few hours of study per week, you won’t really stay “in practice.” Very small amounts of English study don’t give you a chance to truly build up your skills. Generally, I recommend a minimum of five hours per week of IELTS study, with 10-15 hours per week being more ideal. The best way to boost language skills is through abundant and regular practice.

And speaking of regular practice, it’s best not to group all of your IELTS study hours into just one or two days of the week. Taking too many days between practice sessions is another way to get out of practice. This brings me to the next “big question” for today…

How many hours should I study for the IELTS per day?

As you saw above, I recommend at least five hours of IELTS study per week. And if you can only do the minimum recommendation of five hours, it’s best to spread that time over four or five days per week and do at least one hour of study a day.

I recommend at least an hour per individual study session because IELTS study sessions always involve some warm up. You may start out a study session at a slower pace, as it can take you 10 minutes or more to really “dive in” to a new skill that you start working on during your study time.

Often, the most productive IELTS study sessions are longer than an hour, ranging from an hour and a half to three hours long. This gives you time to really explore the exam in-depth, with minimal interruption. Of course, studying for 90 minutes or more in a day isn’t an option for everyone. It can be quite difficult to get in that much study if you are attending university or working full time. But you’ll want to make time for these valuable longer study periods regardless. If your regular workday or school day doesn’t leave you time for 90 minutes or more of IELTS study, try to reserve some time for lengthy study on the weekends.

If you do have time for the “ideal” weekly amount of study (10-15 hours per week, as mentioned above), set aside one day where you study a lot. For example, if you can commit to 10 hours a week, you could study an hour a day during the week, and then five hours each on Saturday and Sunday. And at fifteen hours a week, you could study two hours per weekday, and then do five hours of review over the weekend.

The takeway

Many different schedules for weekly or daily study are possible. Some lucky IELTS preppers are able to study for the test at a time when they don’t have work or school, and can commit to even more than 15 hours a week. Regardless of the amount of time you might have, try to keep to the following rules for IELTS study: study at least five hours a week, study at least four days a week, and have one or more study sessions that last at least 1.5 hours. Following these rules will give you the time and the steady pace of work you need in order to stay in practice and improve.

Now that you have a sense of how much time you need to prepare, watch the video to learn how you can put it all together with a study schedule! Magoosh offers both a 1 Month Study Schedule and 1 Week Study Schedule that pair perfectly with our online IELTS prep.

By the way, improve your IELTS score with Magoosh!

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  • David Recine

    David is a Test Prep Expert for Magoosh TOEFL and IELTS. Additionally, he's helped students with TOEIC, PET, FCE, BULATS, Eiken, SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT. David has a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and an MA from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. His work at Magoosh has been cited in many scholarly articles, his Master's Thesis is featured on the Reading with Pictures website, and he's presented at the WITESOL (link to PDF) and NAFSA conferences. David has taught K-12 ESL in South Korea as well as undergraduate English and MBA-level business English at American universities. He has also trained English teachers in America, Italy, and Peru. Come join David and the Magoosh team on Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram, or connect with him via LinkedIn!