What is IELTS?
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a test of English language proficiency intended for non-native speakers who are to study or work in an English-speaking environment. IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System. It is an internationally-recognised system for testing English language skills in listening, reading, writing and speaking. The test measures studentsâ€™ abilities in all four skill categories â€“ listening, reading, writing and speaking. Since its introduction in 1989, IELTS has become one of the most trusted forms of English-language assessment in the World. Unlike certain other tests, IELTS testing methods focus on the candidateâ€™s real, practical ability to use in English in life situations.
You can choose from two types of IELTS test:
Academic: The Academic Version is intended for those who want to enroll in universities and other institutions of higher education and for professionals such as medical doctors and nurses who want to study or practise in an English-speaking country.
General Training:The General Training Version is intended for those planning to undertake non-academic training or to gain work experience, or for immigration purposes.
IELTS is accepted by most Australian, British, Canadian, Irish, New Zealand and South African academic institutions, over 3,000 academic institutions in the United States, and various professional organisations. It is also a requirement for immigration to Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
No minimum score is required to pass the test. An IELTS result or Test Report Form is issued to all candidates with a score from 1 (no knowledge) to 9 (expert user) and each institution sets a different threshold. Institutions are advised not to consider valid a report older than two years, unless the user proves that he has worked to maintain his level
The score is valid for two years.
Why take an IELTS exam?
IELTS is the English language test recommended by most UK universities and can be used to support visa applications. If you want to work or study abroad, an IELTS qualification is essential. You can also study at more basic levels, perfect for travelling or helping your child with their education. If you are hoping to enter a UK University (Also Australian, Canadian, New Zealand or US University), you will need to fulfill an English Language requirement. Most UK Educational Institutions (Universities, Colleges, Language Schools, International Schools, Boarding Schools) typically ask for an IELTS score. IELTS is recognised by more than 7,000 institutions in over 135 countries.
Before planning for IELTS be sure you have the Valid Passport.
IELTS results are graded on the unique IELTS 9-band scale.
All candidates must complete four Modules - Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking - to obtain a band score, which is shown on the IELTS Test Report Form (TRF). All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking Modules, while the Reading and Writing Modules differ depending on whether the candidate is taking the Academic or General Training Versions of the Test.
The listening module comprises four sections. Each section begins with a short introduction telling the candidates about the situation and the speakers. Then they have some time to look through the questions. The first three sections have a break in the middle allowing candidates to look at the remaining questions. Each section is heard only once.
In the academic module the reading test comprises three sections, with 3 texts normally followed by 13 or 14 questions for a total of 40 questions overall. The General test also has 3 sections. However the texts are shorter, so there can be up to 5 texts to read.
In the Academic module, there are two tasks: in Task 1 candidates describe a diagram, graph, process or chart, and in Task 2 they respond to an argument. In the General Training module, there are also two tasks: in Task 1 candidates write a letter or explain a situation, and in Task 2 they write an essay.
The speaking test contains three sections. The first section takes the form of an interview during which candidates may be asked about their hobbies, interests, reasons for taking IELTS exam as well as other general topics such as clothing, free time, computers and the internet or family. In the second section candidates are given a topic card and then have one minute to prepare after which they must speak about the given topic. The third section involves a discussion between the examiner and the candidate, generally on questions relating to the theme which they have already spoken about in part 2. This last section is more abstract, and is usually considered the most difficult.
The total test duration is around 2 hours and 45 minutes for Listening, Reading and Writing modules.
Listening: 40 minutes, 30 minutes for which a recording is played centrally and additional 10 minutes for transferring answers onto the OMR answer sheet.
Reading: 60 minutes.
Writing: 60 minutes.
Speaking: 11â€“14 minutes.
(Note: No additional time is given for transfer of answers in Reading and Writing modules)
IELTS is scored on a nine-band scale, with each band corresponding to a specified competence in English. Overall Band Scores are reported to the nearest half band.
The following rounding convention applies: if the average across the four skills ends in .25, it is rounded up to the next half band, and if it ends in .75, it is rounded up to the next whole band.
The nine bands are described as follows:
9 Expert User Has full operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.
8 Very Good User Has full operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriacies. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well.
7 Good User Has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriateness and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning.
6 Competent User Has generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
5 Modest user Has partial command of the language, coping with overall meaning in most situations, though is likely to make many mistakes. Should be able to handle basic communication in own field.
4 Limited User Basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has frequent problems in using complex language.
3 Extremely Limited User Conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations.
2 Intermittent User No real communication is possible except for the most basic information using isolated words or short formulae in familiar situations and to meet immediate needs.
1 Non User Essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.
0 Did not attempt the test No assessable information provided at all.
A 6.5 IELTS score lies roughly between B2 and C1 levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and >8 scores are C2.
IELTS level required by academic institutions for admission
Just over half (51%) of candidates take the test to enter higher education in a foreign country. The IELTS minimum scores required by academic institutions vary. As a general rule, institutions from English-speaking countries require a higher IELTS band.
The highest IELTS Band required by a university is 8.5, by the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University; the only US institution to require this band.
While Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law is listed as requiring an 8.5 on the IELTS website, the school lists an 8.0
At Saint Louis University, the minimum score is 6.
The highest IELTS Band required is 8,by the Master of Science degree in Marketing at the University of Warwick .
Most IELTS requirements by universities fall between 5.5 and 7.0.
Tips for IELTS:
Read instructions carefully, don't just glance at them. They are not always the same as in practice or previous tests.
Try and anticipate what the speaker will say. This requires concentration, easy in your own language, but more difficult in English.
Remember if you want a high score you should aim to get all questions in parts one and two correct. Don't make any careless mistakes in the easier sections.
Small errors can lead to low scores so be careful with your spelling at all times.
Don't panic if you think the topic is too difficult or the speaker is too fast. Relax and tune in.
Read, write and listen at the same time. Tricky, but practice well.
Don't leave blanks
Leave a question if you can't answer. To spend a long time on one answer is disastrous. Go back later if you have time and guess if you have to.
Don't panic if you don't know anything about the subject matter covered in the passage. All the answers are in the passage and you don't need any specialist knowledge.
Remember you have no extra time to transfer your answers, many candidates think because they have extra time in listening they are able to do this in reading too. You can't.
Before the exam, read as widely as possible (e.g. newspapers, magazines, journals). Don't limit yourself to one type of text and read articles with an academic style where possible.
Look at the ways paragraphs are organised.
Try and predict content of paragraphs from the opening sentence.
Give every paragraph you read an imaginary heading.
Don't concentrate on words you don't know. It wastes valuable time.
Careless mistakes cost many marks. Copy the answer correctly if it is in the passage.
Only give one answer if that is all that's needed.
Be careful with singular/plural.
Highlight/circle key words.
Clearly divide paragraphs.
Don't repeat ideas in a different way.
Stick to the topic.
Careful with timing - don't rush Task Two, it's longer and is worth more points.
Paragraph simply, with one idea in each paragraph.
Avoid informal language.
Learn to recognise how long 150 words looks in your handwriting. You don't really have time to count.
Get used to always spending several minutes re-reading and correcting your essays.
Don't memorise model answers, they won't fit the question and you will make more careless mistakes.
It tests your ability to communicate effectively, not just your grammatical accuracy.
Don't learn scripts of prepared answers. The examiner is trained to spot this and will change the question.
Develop your answers as much as possible.
Speak more than the examiner.
Ask for clarification if necessary.
Remember it is not a test of knowledge and there is no single answer, but ensure that you give your opinion. Don't worry if you feel it is not sophisticated enough.
The areas covered are fairly predictable and not infinite so practise at home recording ideas onto a tape recorder.
Practice, read and talk as much as you can. Try Magazines, English Musics, Movies it works best. Try to use English Everywhere in your daily life.
Remember its a Language test and no institution can teach you Language until you want to learn.