The most widely recognized English proficiency test, IELTS, is jointly managed by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English. It is recognized by a majority of institutions in Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and by over 3000 US institutions. The test is conducted in two modules:
Of the 125 countries that the test is conducted in, it is available on online platform in several countries and in conventional offline mode for most others. IELTS tests the language proficiency of the candidate and no one fails the exam. The proficiency of a candidate is judged on the band score of 0-9. The requirement of the average band score differs among universities but a minimum of 6.5 is considered decent.
The booking of IELTS exam is usually done a month in advance and the total duration of the exam is 2 hours 45 minutes. The test is conducted throughout the year and the candidate can attempt the exam as many number of times as required, although it is advised that candidate takes the exam no more than 4 times.For both the modules, academic and general, the exam is divided under four basic sections:
We have compiled a few tips that the candidates can follow to excel in each of the sections if they are unable to get formal guidance:
- Familiarise yourself with not just the British accent but Australian and Irish too. The better your knowledge of different accents, the better your comprehension of the English language.
- The listening test is not just a test of your listening but also a practice of reading while listening to the audio. While practicing, you should be able to listen, read and write at the same time.
- Train yourself to predict the answers in listening. Looking at the sentence structure, one can predict if the blank requires a noun, a verb or an adjective. Such quick scanning will help you to judge the answers in advance.
- The speaking test is not just a test of your fluency but your body language and confidence as well. IELTS has a live examiner so that they can cross question and judge your comfort with the language. While practising for the speaking test, stand in front of the mirror and manage your expressions. Non-verbal gestures are as important in the test as your verbal competence.
- The reading test differs in academic and general module. But for both the modules, the exam tests the readers comprehension and speed. Given enough time, a language learner with average competency can score full marks in the reading test but the exam judges the candidates speed of comprehension.
- The writing exam is considered the toughest by most candidates. The first question of this section differs for general and academic modules. For academic, one is required to practice factual descriptions whereas for general, a candidate is tested on their letter writing skills. The second question is a general topic on which a student is expected to write 250 words.