What is IELTS
Many time English described as the first global dominant language. The English language now belongs to the world, the reason for improving English spelling is that, it is one of the basic tools in modern global communication along with satellites, radio telecommunication, teleprinting, and the other vast and continual advances in spreading the written word. English is a language with great reach and influence; it is taught all over the world under many different circumstances. IELTS is the International English Language Testing System which tests English proficiency across the globe conducting 1.4 million tests globally, IELTS is the world’s most popular English testing system. IELTS, system is designed to assess the language ability of candidates who need to study or work where English is used as the language of communication. It covers the four language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking.
IELTS has two modules: General Training and Academic. The General Training module is usually taken by people who want to immigrate, and the Academic module is taken by people who want to study abroad. It is essential that you check with the receiving country or institution to find out which module you need to take. It is your responsibility to choose the right module.
PURPOSE OF IELTS
If you are planning to go abroad, to pursue further study, to undertake non-academic training or work experience, to immigrate or if you simply want to test your English ability, then IELTS will be the real test to check the right level of English for your needs. IELTS has two versions – Academic and General Training. The Academic test is for those who want to study at a tertiary level in an English-speaking country. The General Training test is for those who want to do work experience or training programs, secondary school or migrate to an English-speaking country. All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking tests but different Reading and Writing tests.
WHY TAKE IELTS?
Taking an IELTS test will help to open doors to international education and employment all over the globe. Moreover, candidates with high scores are particularly sought after by universities and employers in English-speaking countries.
IELTS tests are guaranteed to show your true ability to communicate in English across all four language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking, in a way that is relevant to the real world.
Over 6,000 institutions, including 2,000 US universities recognise IELTS .The list of US universities includes all Ivy League Colleges.
IELTS is used as proof of your language ability for immigration purposes.The UK Border Agency has announced that skilled workers can use IELTS results for the new UK points-based immigration system. The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, New Zealand Immigration Service and Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools and National Council of State Boards of Nursing USA already recognise or require applicants to hold an IELTS test.
OFFICIAL IELTS PRACTICE MATERIALS
You can buy the Official IELTS Practice Materials. They consist of a booklet and an audio CD and contain a complete test for both the Academic and General Training Modules with an answer key.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR IELTS
You can also purchase How To Prepare for IELTS, a comprehensive book providing advice and practice in the four skills you need to do your best in IELTS. It includes a CD-Rom for additional exercises.
THE ROAD TO IELTS
You can access comprehensive preparation and practice in every aspect of each of the four parts of the IELTS exam on the Road to IELTS CD-ROM. It contains over 120 hours of learning materials.
All the above can be purchased at many British Council IELTS test centres around the world. Please contact your local test centre for current availability.
You will find a list of titles, which are all readily available from bookshops, as well as samples of the different parts of the test on http://www.ielts.org.
Please note that we cannot take responsibility for information provided by publishers.
How to improve your IELTS performance?
Read instructions carefully, don’t just glance at them. They are not always the same as in practice or previous tests. Try and anticipate what the speaker will say. This requires concentration, easy in your own language, but more difficult in English. Remember if you want a high score you should aim to get all questions in parts one and two correct. Don’t make any careless mistakes in the easier sections. Small errors can lead to low scores so be careful with your spelling at all times. Don’t panic if you think the topic is too difficult or the speaker is too fast. Relax and tune in. Read, write and listen at the same time. Tricky, but practice well. Don’t leave blanks
Leave a question if you can’t answer. To spend a long time on one answer is disastrous. Go back later if you have time and guess if you have to.
Don’t panic if you don’t know anything about the subject matter covered in the passage. All the answers are in the passage and you don’t need any specialist knowledge. Remember you have no extra time to transfer your answers, many candidates think because they have extra time in listening they are able to do this in reading too. You can’t. Before the exam, read as widely as possible (e.g. newspapers, magazines, journals). Don’t limit yourself to one type of text and read articles with an academic style where possible. Look at the ways paragraphs are organised. Try and predict content of paragraphs from the opening sentence.
Give every paragraph you read an imaginary heading. Don’t concentrate on words you don’t know. It wastes valuable time. Careless mistakes cost many marks. Copy the answer correctly if it is in the passage.
Check spelling. Only give one answer if that is all that’s needed.
Be careful with singular/plural.
Highlight/circle key words. Clearly divide paragraphs. Don’t repeat ideas in a different way. Stick to the topic. Careful with timing – don’t rush Task Two, it’s longer and is worth more points. Paragraph simply, with one idea in each paragraph. Avoid informal language.
Learn to recognize how long 150 words looks in your handwriting. You don’t really have time to count. Get used to always spending several minutes re-reading and correcting your essays. Don’t memories model answers, they won’t fit the question and you will make more careless mistakes.
It tests your ability to communicate effectively, not just your grammatical accuracy. Don’t learn scripts of prepared answers. The examiner is trained to spot this and will change the question. Develop your answers as much as possible. Speak more than the examiner.
Ask for clarification if necessary. Remember it is not a test of knowledge and there is no single answer, but ensure that you give your opinion. Don’t worry if you feel it is not sophisticated enough. The areas covered are fairly predictable and not infinite so practise at home recording ideas onto a tape recorder.
The IELTS incorporates the following features:
A variety of accents and writing styles presented in text materials in order to minimize linguistic bias.
IELTS tests the ability to listen, read, write and speak in English.
Band scores used for each language sub-skill (Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking). The Band Scale ranges from 0 (“Did not attempt the test”) to 9 (“Expert User”).
The speaking module – a key component of IELTS. This is conducted in the form of a one-to-one interview with an examiner. The examiner assesses the candidate as he or she is speaking, but the speaking session is also recorded for monitoring as well as re-marking in case of an appeal against the banding given.
IELTS is developed with input from item writers from around the world. Teams are located in the USA, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and other English speaking nations.
IELTS test structure
All candidates must complete four Modules – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking – to obtain a band score, which is shown on the IELTS Test Report Form (TRF). All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking Modules, while the Reading and Writing Modules differ depending on whether the candidate is taking the Academic or General Training Versions of the Test.
The total test duration is around 2 hours and 45 minutes for Listening, Reading and Writing modules.
Listening: 40 minutes, 30 minutes for which a recording is played centrally and additional 10 minutes for transferring answers onto the OMR answer sheet.
Reading: 60 minutes.
Writing: 60 minutes.
The Speaking test may even take place a day or two later at some centres.
IELTS listening test lasts for about 30 minutes. It consists of four sections, played on cassette tape, in order of increasing difficulty. Each section might be a dialogue or a monologue. The test is played once only, and the questions for each section must be answered while listening, although time is given for students to check their answers.
IELTS Reading test lasts for 60 minutes. Students are given an Academic Reading test, or a General Training Reading test. Both tests consist of three sections, and in both tests the sections are in order of increasing difficulty.
IELTS Writing test also lasts for 60 minutes. Again, students take either an Academic test, or a General Training test. Students must perform two writing tasks, which require different styles of writing. There is no choice of question topics.
IELTS Speaking test consists of a one-to-one interview with a specially trained examiner. The examiner will lead the candidate through the three parts of the test:
An introduction and interview, an individual long turn where the candidate speaks for one or two minutes on a particular topic, and a two-way discussion thematically linked to the individual long turn. This interview will last for approximately 11-14 minutes.
(N.B.: No additional time is given for transfer of answers in Reading and Writing modules)
The first three modules – Listening, Reading and Writing (always in that order) – are completed in one day, and in fact are taken with no break in between. The Speaking Module may be taken, at the discretion of the test centre, in the period seven days before or after the other Modules.
The tests are designed to cover the full range of ability from non-user to expert user.
Accessible and convenient
IELTS is offered up to four times a month in more than 125 countries. Tests are usually on Saturdays or Thursdays. To fi nd out test dates in your area, please contact your nearest IELTS test centre. A list of all IELTS test centres worldwide is available at www.ielts.org
The international test IELTS is internationally focused in its content. For example, a range of native-speaker accents (North American, Australian, New Zealand, and British) is used in the Listening test, and all standard varieties of English are accepted in candidates’ responses in all parts of the test. The test that’s tried and trusted IELTS has been developed by some of the world’s leading experts in language assessment, and is supported by an extensive programme of research, validation and test development. The level of the test IELTS is designed to assess English language skills at all levels. There is no such thing as a pass or fail in IELTS. Results are reported as band scores on a scale from 1 (the lowest) to 9 (the highest).
The IELTS Band Score Scale
9 Expert user
8 Very good user
7 Good user
6 Competent user
5 Modest user
4 Limited user
3 Extremely limited user
2 Intermittent user
1 Non user
0 Did not attempt the test
In order to ensure that the language ability of all candidates is assessed fairly and objectively, IELTS provides a comprehensive service for candidates who have special requirements, including specific learning difficulties, hearing difficulties and visual difficulties. If you require a modified version of the test, for example in Braille, you must give the test centre three months’ notice. This notice period is necessary for the modified test version to be prepared. If your circumstances require only special administrative arrangements to be made, such as extra time, you must give the test centre six weeks’ notice. Please contact your test centre to discuss your requirements.
Read through all the information you receive with the application form carefully. Fill in the application form and either send it or take it to your test centre. You will need to enclose the test fee and two identical passport-sized colour photographs (not more than 6 months old). Make sure you enter the number of your identity document (your passport or national identity card) on the application form. You will also need to attach a photocopy of your identity document to the application form. The document must be valid at the time of registration and on the day of the test.
The test centre will give you written confirmation of the date and time of the test. If your Speaking test is on a different day, the centre will also confirm this.
Your identity will be checked on the day of the test and before the Speaking test. You must present the same identity document that you used when you registered for the test. Your photograph may be taken as an additional security measure. A member of the test centre staff will tell you where and when to go for the test. You will be assigned a desk with a label showing your name.
Results will be issued 13 days after the test. At some test centres candidates can collect their results on the 13th day; at other test centres results are mailed to candidates on the 13th day. Test centres are not permitted to give results out over the phone or by fax or email.
Contact your nearest IELTS test centre to ask for an application form and find out about available test dates and fees. Contact details for all IELTS test centres worldwide can be found at www.ielts.org You can also download the application form from the IELTS website.
825 Colorado Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90041
USA Tel 1 323 255 2771
Fax 1 323 255 1261