How long does it take to get from zero English to IELTS Band 6.0


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This has got to be the ESL question of all time, how long does it take to master that IELTS exam in order to get your Ban score of 6. Well in a nutshell, with all things being equal, 12 months.

So there I have given you the answer to the question you so often ask, but let me go deeper on this and why it is 12 months.

  1. IELTS is generally an academic test, it asks you to be at a level that they would consider your English to be proficient enough to sit in a university lecture in your first year of university and pretty much understand what is being said. There is of course the IELTS non-academic test which is more related to immigration than university, but that too, though a little easier is some ways, does require the person to maintain a high level of proficiency in English to hold down a job in the western world that requires some form of communication with a native speaker.


  1. To pass IELTS requires you to understand the language almost ‘natively’. The IELTS Band 6 level means that you most probably has taken on some ‘native English’ style terms and can assimilate easily into any conversation in English and use these terms freely. This takes quite a considerable level of immersion into the culture of English. This immersion takes approximately 12 months.


  1. English learning is a journey not a final product. For those who have completed their IELTS Band 6 and are celebrating because of it will all admit that it was not about the information they learned and how they could put it into practice, it was all about the journey they had covered and that there is still a lot more ground to cover yet before they could consider themselves truly proficient.


  1. The hardest months are the first 3 and the last 3. The first three months of learning English make you feel like you are stabbing in the dark and the journey ahead is impossible. The last three months are the most frustrating because this is where you are trying to become more ‘native’ and there are no rules or roadmaps for this, it is all about how well you apply what you have learned. Those last three months are also difficult because you are truly tired of the whole ‘language learning’ routine and are desperate to pass your exam and if you don’t it is devastating.


So when you embark on a journey to tackle the IELTS exam, ask and answer these questions honestly and this may help you on your journey:

  1. Why am I going for the IELTS exam?
  2. How much to I want to pass this exam?
  3. What level of work am I prepared to put into passing this exam?
  4. What will I do if I don’t pass the exam?

The last question is the most telling. This will indicate for you whether you really have what it takes. The final point on IELTS is this – it isn’t easy, but it is incredibly rewarding if you do get it…it is a benchmark exam and you will definitely benefit from it.

All the best.

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