The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is one of the standardized tests of the English language, whose scores are accepted by many universities worldwide, especially universities in Europe. If you plan on higher studies in Europe, you will be required to take this exam to prove your proficiency of the different aspects of English.
QUICK FACTS ABOUT IELTS:
- The test has a time span of 2 hours and 45 minutes and is scored on a scale of 9. These scores are valid for 2 years since the time of taking the test.
- There are two types namely:
- ACADEMIC VERSION TEST - This is designed for candidates seeking admissions for higher education in universities, for experts in various field who want to pursue their jobs in Europe.
- GENERAL TRAINING VERSION TEST - This is designed for candidates seeking non- academic entries and for work experience or immigration reasons.
- The test is usually conducted on Thursdays or Saturdays in a week.
HOW TO ACE THE TEST
1. Understand the Test Format:
a) LISTENING TEST (40 minutes):
- Both the IELTS test types have the 4 sections namely Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking, but they differ in the Reading and Writing Section.
- The Listening, Reading and Writing Tests must be taken on the same day, while the Speaking test can be attempted 7 days before or after the 3 tests.
b) READING TEST (60 minutes):
- There are a total of 40 questions split into 4 sections of increasing competence
beginning with a monologue or dialogue that acquaints the candidate with the speakers
and their environment.
- Each section can be heard only once with the questions provided towards the end of it.
c) WRITING TEST (60 minutes):
- It contains 40 questions split into 3 sections.
- The Academic Test comprises of 3 long texts in the 3 sections with questions provided
towards the end of each text.
- The General Test comprises of 5 short texts in the 3 sections with questions provided
towards the end of each text.
d) SPEAKING TEST (11-14 minutes):
- It comprises of two tasks of 150 and 250 words respectively.
- In the Academic Test, Task 1 requires description of the given figure whereas Task 2
requires a retort to the presented argument.
- In the General Test, Task 1 requires writing a letter describing the scene at hand or
requesting information whereas Task 2 requires writing an essay regarding a viewpoint
or an argument.
2. TIPS FOR EACH SECTION:
I. READING SECTION:
- It is a face to face oral exam divided into three sections.
- The first section is an interview where the candidate may be asked to introduce himself
along with questions ranging from his hobbies to general topics.
- The second section provides the candidate with a topic and 1 minute preparation time to speak about it.
- The third section involves a conversation between the candidate and the examiner relating to the topic in the second section.
II. WRITING SECTION:
- Improving your Vocabulary is a good place to start. Focus on complex words, break them to fit in to your understanding and commit them to memory.
- Reading the newspaper and books increases the speed of reading which is essential to crack this section.
- Preparative materials, online forums, flashcards and practice questions give an idea about what type of questions to expect and help improving Reading skills.
III. LISTENING SECTION:
- Vocabulary not only plays a role in improving Reading skills but also writing skills.
- The more you write, the more errors will be discovered and your writing skills and grammatical competency can be perfected.
IV. SPEAKING SECTION:
- A good listener is a successful person. Listening skills can be improved through various online sample questions available.
- For people with trouble in understanding the English accent, a large number of movies can be watched to improve listening skills.
3. THE FINAL TOUCH:
- Communication is the most important pre requisite to qualify for any type of education.
- Communication can be improved by speaking to a lot of people. This will help in expanding the Vocabulary and speaking fluency by picking their brains.
- Practice and more practice speaking in English is the only way to ace this section.
- The only way to improve your English skills is through Practice and dedication.
- Many Practice tests are available online for a continuous and strenuous workout which helps in shaping your English to the desired effect.
- Official IELTS Practice Material Volume I and II come with elaborate explanations on every section with abundant sample questions and practice tests in the CDs accompanying the books.
Getting good sleep the night before the test and maintaining a calm demeanor always
Hard work never fails, with the above points in mind, acing the IELTS should be easy.