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IELTS- What, Why and How?

IELTS is a globally accepted test. Anyone needs to qualify IELTS in order to migrate to a foreign country specially to get admission in foreign academic institutions. IELTS stands for ‘International English Language Testing System’ used to assess English proficiency of candidates. The test is conducted by British Council, University of Cambridge ESOL examinations and IDP: ISLETS Australia. The test has nine-band scoring scale to assess the performance – English proficiency of the candidate.

IELTS test has two versions:

  • General training Test – This test is conducted for people who are seeking employment or work in international setups.
  • Academic Test – This one is conducted for the students who are seeking education in international institutions.

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Format of the test:

  • Reading section
  • Writing section
  • Listening section
  • Speaking section
  1. Reading test– The reading test contains three sections with the time limit of 60 minutes. This section includes the passages which need very careful reading to answer the questions that follow.
  2. Writing test– This test contains two tasks with again 60 minutes of time. This test is designed to assess how you write a response appropriately, organize ideas and use a range of vocabulary and grammar accurately to present your knowledge.
  3. Listening test- The IELTS listening section is divided into four sections and the sections get increasingly difficult. You only get to hear each section just one time. The time for the test is 40 minutes. This test gives 30 minutes to the student and additional 10 minutes to write the answers on the sheet provided.
  4. Speaking test- In the speaking test, you have a discussion with the examiner. The test takes 11 to 14 minutes comprising of three parts. You are asked varied questions based on random topics which are mostly related to real life situations.

Quick points to remember:

  1. Reading test
  • Develop your speed of reading
  • Develop vocabulary and paraphrasing limitation
  • Focus on the key words and use them precisely
  • Skim and scam the key information
  1. Writing test
  • Write down 3-4 paragraphs with 250 words
  • Replace the words with their synonyms as much possible
  • Remember that spelling and punctuation count towards accuracy
  • Make grammatically correct sentences
  • Change noun and adjective phrases into verbs and adverbs to create a range of expressions
  1. Listening test
  • Improve your general listening skills
  • Pay complete attention
  • Don’t leave any blank answers
  • Be careful with your spellings
  • Write down answers on the paper first
  1. Speaking test
  • Speak as much as possible
  • Don’t pre learn your answers
  • Avoid yes/no answers
  • Correct yourself if you make a mistake
  • Make sure your intonation is not flat

 The reading, writing and listening tests are conducted on the same day but speaking test is conducted on a different day in the same week.

Give attention to specific information such as definitions, dates or quoted assumptions. These are the areas that are mostly addressed in the questions.

If you find some question very complicated, leave that question to be solved in the end, as a thumb rule for taking examinations.  Sticking onto only one question- you might end up wasting a lot of your time.

Read the instructions carefully as the instructions refer to attempting the questions according to specific directions.