Fundamentals for IELTS Preparation
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS), is an English language proficiency test. Established in 1989, IELTS assess the candidates’ aptitude in English language, who wish to either work or study in an English-speaking environment. It is jointly governed by the British Council, IDP private Ltd and University of Cambridge ESOL examinations.
Importance of the IELTS Test
Why should one prepare for IELTS? IELTS is the world’s proven and the most preferred form of language skills assessment. IELTS is recognized and approved by over 9000 organizations across the globe, including educational institutions/universities, immigration authorities, employers and government agencies.
IELTS is convenient in terms of its accessibility, the test is conducted four times a month in 140 countries. The content of IELTS test is garnered from the publications across the world. There are more than 400 locations worldwide where the tests are taken. It is designed and developed by the world’s foremost professionals in language assessment.
The IELTS test is designed in such a way that you do not pass or fail test. The test is scored on a nine-band scale. Bands scores on a scale from 1 to 9, 1 being the lowest and 9 being the highest. By good IELTS preparation, it is possible to score 9 bands!
The Two Versions
- IELTS Academic
- IELTS General Training
Understanding the test format
In order to carry out fruitful IELTS preparation, it is important to understand the format. The IELTS Academic is officially recognized for immigration purposes. This test aims to measure the everyday English Skills, whereas the IELTS General Training test is for those, planning to study in higher education and for professional registration purposes. Both the test aims to assess the ability of the candidates’ listening, reading, writing and speaking skills in English.
The Difference Between the Two Tests
The reading and writing module is similar in both Academic and General Training versions of the tests, but the speaking and listening modules differ.
Which test module to choose?
Choosing the test module depends on the requirements of the organizations. Each organization has its own so check with them before starting your IELTS prepration. In some cases, both academic and general training may be accepted.
Test Format Details
- Time allowed: 30 minutes + 10 minutes of transfer time
- Task types: There are various tasks that need to be completed by test takers i.e. Multiple choice questions, Matching, map, diagram and labeling, forms completion, note completion, flowchart completion, summary completion, sentence completion and short Answer-Questions.
- Sections: The test consists of four sections.
- Section 1 is linked to the social context. There is a conversation between two people, focused on common situations (i.e. A conversation between a doctor and a patient, etc.)
- Section 2 is a monologue, linked to the social context (e.g. Discussion in the arranging a meeting, etc.)
- Section 3 is linked to the educational and training context. There is a conversation between three or more people. (E.g. A group of students discussing their class projects, etc.)
- Section 4 is a monologue relating to the academic subject. (E.g. lecture on a certain subject, etc.)
- There are a total of 40 questions. Each Section carries 10 questions. Native-speaker accent is used and the recording is played only once.
- In this test, the candidates’ understanding of accurate information and acknowledgment of point of view and the proposition of the speaker is assessed.
- Time allowed: 60 minutes (no extra transfer time)
- Task types: There are various tasks that need to be completed by test takers, including Multiple choice questions, identifying information, identifying writer’s views/claims, matching information, matching features, matching sentence ending, sentence completion, diagram/labeling completion and short Answers-Questions.
- Academic Reading: It has 3 sections with each section comprising of a long text. Texts are sourced from the magazines, books and newspapers, which are written for academic purposes.
- General Training (reading). It consists of three sections.
- Section 1 is comprised of a couple of short, accurate texts, relating to common situations.
- Section 2 is comprised of two informative texts, focusing on work related issues.
- Section 3 is comprised of one long, intricate text, relating to the topic of general interest.
- There are total of 40 questions. Each section carries 10 questions. In this test, candidates’ reading for detail and gist, understanding of signifying meaning and writer’s views is assessed.
- Time allowed: 60 minutes
- Academic Writing: Task Types. The test consists of two tasks.
- Task 1 is to summarize the charts, graphs and diagram presented to the candidate. The candidates will be asked to describe and object or an event or how something is done.
- Task 2 is to evaluate the candidates’ ability to present a solution to a problem. Candidates are presented with different situations, point of view or a problem.
- General Training Writing. The test consists of two tasks.
- In task 1, the candidate is asked to write a letter, responding to a given situation or problem.
- In task 2, the candidate has to write an essay of at least 250 words, on a given scenario or an argument, presenting justification to a point of view and compare evidence and opinion.
- Both tasks assess the candidate’s precision and aptitude of grammar and vocabulary.
- Time allowed: 11-14 minutes
- Task types. It consists of three tasks. Introduction and interview, individual long turn and two way discussion.
- In task 1, the candidate and examiner introduce themselves, furthermore, the candidate answers general questions asked by the examiner such as hobbies, family, reason to take the IELTS exam etc.
- In task 2, a task card is given to a candidate which has particular topics written in it. The candidate has to prepare a talk and speak about the topic for one or two minutes.
- In task 3, the examiner asks a few questions to the candidate, which are relevant to the topics of task 2.
- In this test, the candidate’s ability to communicate, express ideas and opinions and speaking at length using the appropriate language are assessed.