Many people come across English frequently and need to use it in their daily or work lives: after all, it is the most frequently used language on all international platforms. This makes your level of English crucial, especially when you want to study abroad or relocate for work.
There are a total of six different levels of language across beginner, intermediate and advanced categories and these are used to categorize your English language proficiency. Certain tests enable this categorization. TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and IELTS (International English Language Testing System) are the most widely accepted certifications, although there are some local ones in different countries. IELTS is the most commonly accepted and popular one of them all.
So, what is IELTS? Where and how is it used? And most importantly, what are some good tips for IELTS preparation?
What is the IELTS test?
IELTS is a type of test that assesses the language levels of people who want to work or study in English-speaking countries.
This test is conducted according to certain universally accepted standards and there is usually a minimum IELTS test score for acceptance to state or private sector institutions in many countries.
The IELTS test has four sections: reading, writing, listening, and speaking, and your final score indicates your level of English proficiency.
There are some important details you need to know about IELTS since it is the most widely accepted and preferred English language test. Knowing these details could put you in a more advantageous position while applying to and preparing for this test. And the test could bring you closer to achieving your goals.
Sections & Scope
IELTS is divided into two modules: the academic module and general training module. The academic module is for those who would like to study in an English-speaking country. People who would like to study for a bachelors or master’s degree in an English-speaking country apply for this module to get the minimum IELTS score as set by their chosen schools. The general training module is for those who would like to apply for immigration permission and work in English-speaking countries.
Both modules have four sections each: reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
The test takes a total of 2 hours and 45 minutes. However, a certain amount of time is allocated for each section individually. This unfortunately means that you cannot start with whichever section you like and manage the allocated time yourself. In the current test system, you are given 60 minutes for reading, 60 minutes for writing, 30 minutes for listening, and 11-14 minutes for speaking.
Reading, listening, and writing sections are administered consecutively. The speaking section is administered face-to-face on the same day, or three days before or after by a certified IELTS examiner.
People taking the test are graded over a nine-band scale. So, there is no failing or passing IELTS. You get “0” in case of a non-participation, and when you take the test you get a score between 1 and 9: 1 being the lowest and 9 being the highest possible score depending on your level of English. Your final score is determined by calculating your score for each section and then finding the average of your scores from all four sections. Here, what is important is the minimum score required by the institution you are applying to.
The IELTS test is valid in over 140 countries and over 10,000 institutions. It is valid for most universities, immigration agencies, government institutions, and companies in countries like the USA, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, and Canada. The IELTS results are valid for two years. After that, you need to retake the test.
Content & Subjects
Questions and texts are prepared to test your English-language competency and knowledge in four sections at an international level. The academic module has more academic-level questions and vocabulary, whereas the general training module has more daily phrases and dialogues.
Getting Ready for the Test
Let’s say you would like to study at a school abroad or apply to immigrate for a job. Many institutions that you apply to will require a minimum IELTS score. So, what should you do for your IELTS test preparation?
You can take this test no matter your English-language level. What matters is getting the score that your chosen institution requires. Thus, if the institution you are applying to requires a minimum of 6 from IELTS, you can improve your English skills for some areas and make use of your language skills much more efficiently and get that required score.
Keep These Points in Mind During Your IELTS Test Preparation:
Be ready for different accents
The IELTS test usually uses British English. However, since you will encounter different texts in different categories, you need to be ready for different accents. You will get to listen to the listening piece only once. For this reason, you can study for it using audiobooks in English or you can practice your English by watching English-language movies and shows without subtitles. If you have a chance to chat and practice with English speakers, use that opportunity, too.
Read articles in English. A lot of them…
You will have to read a lot of long texts during the test. There are three different texts in the reading section, and you will have to answer questions regarding those texts. For this reason, you should read various articles and pieces on different issues and practice your reading skills. Focus on understanding what you are reading and try to deduce the meaning of words or phrases from the context.
Learn as many words and phrases as possible
You will need an extensive English vocabulary, especially for the reading and writing sections of the IELTS test. While getting ready for the test, set a target number and try to really learn that many new words every day. You will see that this will help you tremendously even for the last section of the test: speaking.
To be able to study, you can purchase books from various publishers, use tests and exercise books specifically designed for IELTS. Other than that, you need to practice so that you can reduce your stress for the actual test and feel ready for this challenge.
Cambly is a great resource that offers a fantastic service for those getting ready for their IELTS test. It allows you to have an online session with a tutor that you can select from a list of native-speaker tutors and work on any topic you desire! From learning grammar to vocabulary-focused practice, or simply practicing for the speaking section, you can learn to get over your anxiety before the test while working on your pronunciation!
You can make an appointment for any day and time and simply make your own schedule! Check out the advantages of Cambly for yourself!