This is a question many IELTS candidates ask and the answer is: “It all depends”. In fact, of course, there is no one answer, just more questions about:
l Your current English level
l How many hours of study per day
l If you study alone or not
Language skills and IELTS
The international standard Common European Framework of Reference ( CEFR) language levels and their corresponding IELTS band scores show that a B2 CEFR English language user would score somewhere between 5.5 and 6.5 in IELTS, whereas a C1 user would get an overall band score of 6.5 to 8.0. A C2 would be guaranteed 8.0 to 9.0 but if your level is judged to be B1, then you’ll get a final IELTS band score of 4.0 to 5.5. For more on this, go to : https://www.ielts.org/ielts-for-organisations/common-european-framework.
This should make it clear that before we start talking about how much time it might take to prepare for IELTS, one of the first steps you must take is:
Know your level
How? Without worrying too much about bands and CEFR levels, it is likely that you have a good idea of how good your English language skills are but there are many short online tests that will give you some idea. For example: https://www.cambridgeenglish.org/test-your-english/
Exam skills and IELTS preparation
IELTS study means knowing the IELTS exam. It’s a matter of exam skills, not just language skills. You need to know:
l The IELTS format
l The skills tested in reading, listening, writing and speaking
l The range of strategies to use
The best way to find out is by:
l Taking a practice test
Can I prepare for IELTS by myself?
Yes. If you have IELTS practice materials and you feel comfortable studying alone, no problem. But most IELTS candidates, including those whose English language skills place them at a good C1 or even C2 level, seek and benefit from professional help.
The IELTS exam expert can help you to:
l Identify your strengths
l Identify your weaknesses
l Work on skills and strategies to best use your strengths
l Work on skills and strategies that will eradicate your weaknesses
In terms of time, between you and the expert, it would mean:
l Establishing a study plan (hours daily/weekly; content)
l Exchanging information (detailed feedback and continuous assessment of progress)
l With your study plan, work out a routine and always stick to it.
l This means organising your time to best suit you. Do you study better in the morning or at night, for example.
l Your plan should be as detailed as possible with a daily and hourly breakdown of your schedule. For example: Speaking practice: record myself on phone speaking for 2 minutes on IELTS Part 2 Speaking topic. Give 60 seconds for preparation. Abores ea ped eat ut latius