Planning to study or settle in English-speaking countries? Well, the thought of living, studying or working in an entirely different country is exhilarating. However, you must submit a massive amount of documentation, the majority of which involves submission of proof of English language proficiency. Hence, for this purpose, IDP Australia and British Council jointly conduct standardized English language tests like IELTS.
So, what exactly is the IELTS?
IELTS abbreviation of International English Language Testing System. It is one of the most recognised English language tests for aspirants who wish to live, study or work in English-speaking countries. Every year millions of people all over the world take this test. Many organizations and institutes in countries like the UK, USA, New Zealand, Australia and Canada accept and recognize IELTS scores. It was established in 1989 and jointly managed by the British Council, IDP IELTS Australia, and Cambridge Assessment English.
What is the test format of the IELTS exam?
There are 2 types of IELTS exams – IELTS General Training and IELTS Academic.
- The IELTS General Training exam is for those who wish to work and live in English-speaking countries.
- The IELTS Academic exam is for those who wish to pursue their higher studies in English-speaking countries.
Both IELTS Academic and General Training exam evaluates English language proficiency skills based on 4 sections:
- The IELTS Reading section comprises 3 reading passages. In the Academic exam, all three passages are long, whereas there are several short passages and one long passage in the General Training exam. You are required to answer 40 questions based on the given passages.
- The IELTS Writing section comprises 2 tasks, namely task 1 and task 2. Task 2 is essay writing which is common to both types of IELTS exams. On the other hand, task 1 in the IELTS General Training exam is letter writing, and in IELTS Academic exam, it is report writing. You are required to answer both the tasks with at least 150 and 250 words, respectively.
- The IELTS Listening section consists of 4 recorded conversations and monologues. Based on what you hear, you are expected to answer 40 questions.
- The IELTS Speaking section consists of 3 face-to-face rounds. In the first round the examiner asks you personal questions like about your hobbies, job, college, neighborhood, childhood and so on. The second round is the cue-card round, where you are given a cue-card-based topic and expected to speak for 2-3 minutes on the same topic. The last round is a question-answer round where the examiner asks you questions based on the second round.
The time allotted to completed each section are:
- Reading – 60 minutes
- Writing – 60 minutes
- Listening – 30 minutes (+ extra 10 minutes for transferring answers to answer sheet)
- Speaking – 12-14 minutes
What is the marking criteria of the IELTS exam?
The IELTS exam evaluates your performance based on the 4 parameters mentioned below:
- Task Response (Fluency in Speaking section)
- Grammatical Range and Accuracy
- Lexical Resource
- Coherence and Cohesion
Each marking criteria contributes 25% to each section of the IELTS exam. Each section of the IELTS exam is assigned a separate band score ranging from 0 to 9, with 0 being the lowest and 9 being the highest. The overall score is an aggregate of all four sections.
How to begin preparing for IELTS preparation if you are a beginner?
Evaluate your current knowledge
If you are new to IELTS, the easiest method to figure out where you stand is to take a diagnostic IELTS test. It is necessary to take it from a reliable source. The reason for this is because bogus tests might deceive you and hinder you from comprehending what the actual test is like. IELTSMaterial.com is one such website that provides a free diagnostic test facility to students and provides feedback before registering for the live course with them.
Make a study plan for IELTS Preparation.
After you know your level, you can plan your IELTS preparation. A study plan is essential, as it helps you to stay focused. In addition, it assists you in tracking your progress. Studying for an extended period can be exhausting and requires lots of dedication and effort, so making and following a schedule might help you remain on track.
Enroll in a live learning program
Despite the abundance of IELTS resources available on the internet, the majority of IELTS students might need the help of an IELTS professional at some point in their preparation. The reason for this is that it is almost impossible to assess your own speaking and writing skills and identify the areas where more focus and improvement is required. On the other hand, an IELTS expert can evaluate your current knowledge, provide feedback on your weak spots and help to improve them. IELTSMaterial.com also provides customised live learning sessions and free online resources to help you stay focused and acquire all the knowledge required for the IELTS exam.