If you’re someone who’s keen to study or work abroad, you must know that your English proficiency is very important. The reason why your English proficiency is important is that, in English-speaking countries, you must know more than just the elementary knowledge, you must be a regular user of the language and know how to converse properly. I’m not stating that you must be an expert of the language, but you must have a clear understanding of how to conduct a productive conversation, be it for the need of education or work purpose.
Hence for that, the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), jointly managed by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English was established in 1989, is conducted globally for non-native English speakers who are opting for higher education or migration to English-speaking countries. There are over 3 million tests taken throughout the year and is one of the most reliable systems to check your knowledge of the language.
Depending upon your agenda, you may take the Academic or the General IELTS test. Academic IELTS is suited for individuals who want to study their bachelors, masters PhDs abroad, strictly limited to educational purposes. Whereas General Training is used by people who wish to migrate to these countries. Major countries accepting IELTS are the UK, USA, Netherlands, Australia, Asia, France, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, Malaysia, Singapore and many others.
The fundamental of IELTS is to ascertain your communication skill and measure your proficiency in English. For non-native English users, this is ascertained by checking your skills in a very practical way.
For this, the four dominant sensory skills are used,
The listening skill is a crucial and often most underestimated. The listening skills checks how well you can percept what the other person is trying to communicate. In terms of Academic IELTS, the Listening test is conducted for around 40 minutes, whereby four recordings (wherein speaker or speakers speak in accents like North American English, British, American, Australian and New Zealand English) of 30 minutes are played. 10 minutes is allotted to test takers to transfer their answers onto a sheet that is provided by the IELTS test centres. The listening test is played only once and test-takers are to answer the questions according to the format stated in the question. Normally, we are asked to choose the correct option from MCQs, fill in with one, two or three words or just tick the correct answer.
The Reading module ascertain how good you are at reading texts and skimming and scanning for question-specific answers.
The test runs for about 1 hour, whereby you are given 3 passages with 40 questions.
The writing module ascertain how well can you write on a given topic. For this, 2 topics are given one is report writing which is strictly formal and the other topic is opinionated. The writing module aims to understand how well you are able to convey your thoughts and viewpoints coherently, logically and properly.
The speaking module is a one-on-one interview with an IELTS representative. It is roughly 20-25 minutes interview whereby the interviewer first asks general information about us and then gives a certain topic upon which we are required to speak for a certain amount of time.
What’s special about IELTS is that the aim is to get as many possible answers right. No negative marking or incorrect or unattempted answers. Though it is very expensive, it’s a good investment to ascertain your English proficiency as it’s widely accepted in over 10,000 universities, agencies and organizations.
Your IELTS score is assessed by the number of answers that are right. Band score 9 means you’re an expert user of English whereas band 4 means you’re a limited user and need to improve your skills.
In case you’re appearing for IELTS Academic, consider consulting Cambridge IELTS 12 Academic Student’s Book with Answers: Authentic Examination Papers (IELTS Practice Tests) which is a good investment to help you achieve your target band score.
Hope you have got a fairly decent overview about IELTS.
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If you have any question, leave a comment below and I’ll try my best to answer it.
Until next, 🙂