International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
IELTS is one the pioneer in English language assessments and is accepted by more than 10,000 organizations globally. It is a standardized test to assess English language proficiency and is taken by over three million people globally every year. Jointly owned by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English, IELTS is globally recognized by educational institutions, companies, professional bodies and government organizations in more than 140 countries including the UK,USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, Europe etc.
Why Should You Take IELTS?
- Why Should You Take IELTS? IELTS is globally recognized by individuals and organizations as a reliable assessment for testing the English language skills.
- Global Acceptance by Universities. The most reputed universities in the UK and across the world uses IELTS test score to determine the eligibility of international students seeking admissions in their institutions.
- Fair and Reliable. IELTS is recognised to be fair to all test takers irrespective of their nationality, cultural background, gender or special needs. It also has high reliability scores compared to other assessments.
- Valid and Accurate. It provides a valid and accurate assessment of the four language skills: listening, reading, writing, and speaking.
- Practical Communication Skills. Helps in assessing practical communication ability , especially for students who would pursue academics in an environment where English is the only medium of instruction.
- Secure and Consistent. The IELTS Test delivery is secure and consistent.
- Fair Assessment. Highest quality controls, stringent security procedures and integrity?management practices are applied while assessing the tests.
- Open to All. The IELTS test is open to everyone who wishes to study or work in an English speaking country , irrespective of age, gender and nationality.
- Unlimited retakes. The test can be taken as many times, till the required score is achieved.
IELTS Grading and Score
IELTS is graded on a scale of 1- 9. With 1.0 being the lowest score implying that the test taker does not have any English language fluency, a score of 9.0 suggests expert English fluency.
Your IELTS score requirements might vary depending upon the university you have applied for. A higher score, however, reflects a better ability to understand and communicate in English.
The IELTS certificate validity is for 2 years only, so students must secure admission within 2 years from the date of their IELTS exam result.
Types of IELTS
There are two types of IELTS Test, based on your criteria for visa application.
- Academic – IELTS Academic test is specifically designed to assess the English language fluency of students who aspire to pursue their higher education in an English-speaking country like the UK. It measures whether you have the required English language ability to undertake academics imparted in an English speaking environment.
- General Training – For job and immigration purpose.
IELTS Test Format
Listening, Reading, and Writing are conducted on the same day.
Speaking tests can be taken on paper or on a computer.
On paper, the test dates are given and are usually notified a week in advance. If you are taking your Speaking test on a computer, then you can choose test dates based on your convenience.
The duration for the three sections - Listening, Reading and Writing is 2 hours and 45 minutes.
The Speaking section lasts for 11-14 minutes.
Once the IELTS test is booked, it is conducted in one of the 67 official British Council IELTS test centre.
Brief Overview of the Skills
The Listening section of the IELTS test is designed to determine your expertise in understanding and comprehending English language spoken in a range of accents, including British, Australian, New Zealand, American and Canadian.
This section consists of four parts and 40 questions, with each part containing ten questions each. The recordings are heard only once.
Test time: 40 minutes
Tips for IELTS Listening Test
- It is important to undertake sufficient listening practice tests to familiarize yourself with different accents.
- Concentration is the key to listening and grasping the information.
The Reading section of the IELTS is designed to test a wide range of reading skills, along with your ability to understand logical arguments, opinions, attitudes, and purposes outlined in the text.
This section consists of three sections and a total of 40 questions.
Test time: 60 minutes
- Tips for IELTS Reading Test
- Ensure to read the paragraphs a few times before attempting to answer the questions.
- Try to comprehend the meanings of unfamiliar words by reading them in context of the paragraph.
This Writing section involves testing the descriptive, analytical, discursive and factual writing skills of the test taker.
This consists of two tasks.
Test time: 60 minutes
- Tips for IELTS Writing Test
- Plan your answer.
- Focus on the quality of your writing.
- Stick to the word limit. Your band score might be reduced if you write too much or too little.
- Appropriate use of tense, punctuations, idioms and phrases.
- Carefully study the graph or table structure.
- Practice writing essays within the strict time limit: 20 minutes for Task 1 and 40 minutes for Task 2.
The Speaking section assess your ability to fluently engage in oral English communication.
It consists of three parts involving questions around general topics and discussion around abstract ideas.
It lasts around 11 – 14 mins and consists of three sections, including speaking with the examiner.
- Tips for IELTS Speaking Test
- Ensure that you speak clearly and confidently.
- Use clear and crisp vocabulary to articulate your thoughts and ideas.
- Ensure to cover all relevant points within the specific time given for speaking.
*Some popular books for IELTS preparation include Cambridge Series 1-13, Cambridge IELTS trainer, Official IELTS Practice Materials
Strategy for Scoring High Band in IELTS
Ensue that you start your preparation early and consistently monitor your progress.
Brush up your Grammar essentials
It’s time to revisit your grammar lessons again! Ensure you have a strong grammatical foundation.
Practice, practice and practice!
Speaking in English at home/ college, listening to English radio and TV programs and reading English books/ newspapers regularly can improve your grasp over the language. Fluency is not achieved overnight and requires consistent effort. Ensure to complete your IELTS mock tests within the time limit.
It is recommended to undertake as many mock tests as possible before you undertake the IELTS Test. Most of these tests are free, however, and helps you estimate your fluency in English.
Books, tutorials, and other resources are freely available online and can help in your preparation.
English language proficiency tests were developed around a standard framework that assess the test taker’s proficiency in English. It tests specific skills, primarily listening, speaking, reading and writing. So, if you are willing to pursue your higher education in an English-speaking country like the UK, then the demonstration of your English language proficiency is one of the primary requirements.
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