IELTS Exam: Things You Should Know
Introduction To IELTS Exam
At first encounter, you might feel like what exactly is this IELTS exam, and why is it so important that almost every school, immigration body and employer is singing the song: go grab your IELTS score and submit to us. To the extent that it seems as if there are no other English proficiency exams such as TOEFL, PTE and ITEP. Needless to worry, you are about to get answers to your questions.
Meaning of IELTS Exam
IELTS is an acronym for International English Language Testing System designed to test your language skills in four areas: Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing. Schools which employ English language as a medium of instructions need to know how proficient you are in using English as a tool of communication before you are offered admission into any program. Similarly, employers who seek to recruit staff abroad want to be sure that they are not shooting themselves in the legs, knowing fully well that English language is just one of the numerous languages around the globe and chances are that you may not have adequate communication skills in English language. So, they want to be sure you can communicate very well in English, if employed. Regional immigration bodies also want to ascertain that, if you move from your country to another country, and would stay for a reasonable length of time in your country of destination, you must be able to relate with the locals and do other things without much difficulty. Hence, they see IELTS exam as reliable solution to their concerns.
Relevance of IELTS Exam
It has been reported by the British Council that over three million people wrote IELTS exam in the past year and the statistic is getting stronger. IELTS exam is acclaimed the most widely used test of English for migration to UK, New Zealand, Australia and Canada. It is recognized by all the universities in the UK and Australia, and many leading institutions in the USA and Canada. More than 10,000 universities, employers and immigration bodies readily accept IELTS exam as a proof of English language proficiency. So, you can be rest assured you are doing the right exam if you need to show your communication skills in English language.
Ownership of IELTS Exam
IELTS exam was established in 1989 and co-owned by the British Council, Cambridge English Language Assessment and IDP IELTS Australia.
Format, Timing and Structure of IELTS Exam
Whether you are doing IELTS General or IELTS Academic, you will be tested in the four important areas of language: Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking. In both versions, listening and speaking questions are the same. However, reading and writing questions are different for IELTS General and IELTS Academic. IELTS General is less abstract than IELTS Academic in both reading and writing. You might want to see What IELTS sample questions look like.
You will be required to answer 40 questions in each of the four sections within the given time limit.
To start with, writing section contains two tasks: Task 1 and Task 2, which must be completed within 60 minutes. 20 minutes is allowed for task 1 which typically is letter writing for IELTS General Training and report writing based on diagrams or graphs for IELTS Academic. Task 2 is the same for both versions and time allowed is 40 minutes. In Task 2, you will be required to write an essay on a given topic.
Listening section questions of IELTS exam must be completed within 30 minutes, including 10 minutes for transferring your answers to the designated answer sheets. Here, you will be given sample question, and then the real question for each of the four sections under listening. For example, after giving you a sample question for section 1, you will then listen to the audio file, together with other candidates, to section 1 and thereafter answer questions for section 1. Note that prior to listening to the audio, you will be allowed to go through the questions. You will not listen to the audio twice. So, you should jot as much as you can before you move to section 2, and then to section 3 and section 4. You might want to read our article on What IELTS listening practice is key to scoring at least 8.0
Reading section of IELTS exam is composed of three long passages for IELTS Academic and two sections of short passages plus one long passage for IELTS General Training. Time slice for completing the reading section is 60 minutes. IELTS Academic passages are usually taken from journals, magazines, newspapers and range from descriptive and factual contents to discursive and analytical ones. Usually, IELTS passages focus on topics on everyday life in an English-speaking country, discussing work-related issues such as travelling, job application, holiday, training to mention a few.
Speaking section of IELTS exam is divided into three parts and span 11-14 minutes. In the first part, you will be asked to introduce yourself and answer general questions, within 4-5 minutes, on familiar topics such as family, holiday, personal issues and work. In the second part, the examiner will give you a task card which contains a topic to be discussed. This will take 3 to 4 minutes. Lastly, third part centers on extensive discussions based on your response to part two topic, and last for 4-5 minutes.
Writing section of IELTS exam is composed of two tasks for Both IELTS Academic and General: Task 1 and Task 2. Your response to task 1, which is letter writing for IELTS General training and report writing for IELTS Academic, should be of 150 words, while your response to Task 2, usually an essay about a point of view or argument or problem, should be of 250 words. Task 1 must be completed within 20 minutes while Task 2 must be completed within 40 minutes.
Versions of the IELTS exam and Uses
IELTS exam is generally classified into two: IELTS General Training and IELTS Academic. If you want to study or join any professional organization in an English speaking country, you should take IELTS Academic. If you want to work or undertake work related training, study below degree level or emigrate to an English speaking country, IELTS General Training is the right version for you. However, if you are proving your English language ability as part of your UK VISA and immigration application, you should do IELTS for UKVI which may also be Academic or General depending on the purpose as specified above.
In addition, if applying for or extending ‘family of a settled person’ visa or applying for indefinite leave to remain in UK or citizenship, you should do IELTS Life Skills Test. It’s designed for people who need to show that they have speaking and listening skills at level A1, A2 or B1 of the Common European Framework of References for Languages. IELTS Life Skills Test equally has versions. IELTS Life Skills Test A1 is meant for application for ‘family of a settled person visa’; IELTS Life Skills Test A2 is used for applying for an extension of a ‘family of a settled person visa’ while IELTS Life Skills Test B1 is taken to apply for an indefinite leave to remain in UK or citizenship. Note that IELTS Life Skills Test A2 is only available in the UK. From January 18 2016, non-EEA national partners and parents on family route will no longer need to pass IELTS Life Skills Test A2 in order to qualify for further leave to remain on the five –year partner or parent route to settlement if they have stayed for at least two-and-a half-years in the UK.
Release of IELTS Exam Result and Validity Period
Your IELTS exam results will be out 13 days after the main test date, and couriered to you if you live outside Lagos. Lagos residents should pick their Test Report Form from the British Council Lagos. For more information on IELTS result, please read IELTS Results And How To Check It Online. If you are a medical doctor, a nurse, a midwife, an engineer or a teacher aspiring to work abroad, we have got links to tone of job offers if you have hit your target score. You only need to contact us. Remember, your target score depends on destination country of migration. For example, as a nurse, you only need 7.0 to work in the UK and 6.5 to work in Ireland. Want to know more, again, IELTS Results And How To Check It Online.
Interpretation of IELTS Exam Results
Your IELTS exam is given a score from zero to nine, and there’s no such thing as Fail or Pass. The IELTS score requirement as determined by the purpose of your IELTS exam is what judges whether your IELTS score is good or not. If you wish to know how IELTS scores relate to the Council of European Framework of References For Language (CEFR), how IELTS scores relate to Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB), how your IELTS score is arrived at in the nine-band system, and more information, please read Understanding Your IELTS Score And What IELTS Score Is Required For Your Study Or Migration.
Miscreants of the IELTS Exam
There are unscrupulous people on the internet parading themselves as high IELTS-score-providers. They would claim they have access to IELTS score database, and that they can help you arrange any score you want. My simple advice is KEEP OFF.
Preparation for the IELTS Exam
Wondering how to go about preparing for your IELTS exam and hit your target score at once? Here are few things you need to do.
First, you will to do a lot of practicing. You may do so alone if you have benchmarks ready with which to make comparisons and from which to take corrections. Video explanations of treated IELTS questions can also be of great help. You can get this from Youtube or purchase account from magoosh. Prior to or in the course of doing practicing, I strongly advise you engage the tutoring service of an expert who will guide and correct your mistakes. This can be done online via Skype, Zoom or Whatsapp or offline via private tutoring. We can prepare you adequately for the IELTS exam within two weeks and score nothing less than 7.5. You only need to contact us and we arrange venue meeting if you decide to have private IELTS lesson. Otherwise, online mode will be equally great.
Did You Hit Or Surpass Your Target Score In Your IELTS Exam?
If you have hit or surpassed your target score already in the IELTS practice exam, we can guide you in your registration for the IELTS exam. And if you have taken the real IELTS exam and hit your score, we can assist in your application for professional licensing and membership with appropriate bodies (NMC, GTC, GMC, Engineering Council, Engineers Australia, etc) with a view to working in the UK, Canada, Ireland, Australia, USA or New Zealand. We can also guide in your application for permanence residence programs or to schools; you can as well entrust the whole process to us. We have numerous job opportunities, through our partner institutions, for professionals such as nurses, midwives, engineers, teachers, doctors, to mention a few. If you have hit your target score, contact us today to recommend you for job opportunities. If you haven’t, click book us for private tutoring online or offline or simply contact us for more information.
Video Explanations That Can Support That Can Support our IELTS Exam Prepping
You might find it useful to watch relevant videos along with practicing IELTS questions. Right on our website, you will find tons of video explanations for all the four sections of IELTS Academic and General Training under our free IELTS courses. They are collections of relevant videos from Youtube, which we have evaluated and adjudged to be highly relevant to your study and are available to you free of charge.
In order to access the videos, please go to Exams & Courses on our home page and navigate to IELTS. Click on the submenu Free IELTS Courses.
Our paid IELTS courses are coming soon! They are combinations of real-life one-on-one sessions with an expert and videos. Watch out!
Need To Evaluate Your Writing In The Course Of Your IELTS Practice?
You have probably worked on a few IELTS practice questions and figured out you need to know what your IELTS band score for writing would be or that you really need to improve your writing skills. Unlike other sections, IELTS writing is not so easy to be graded instantly because many factors go in to weigh your score out of 9.0. There’s no algorithm yet to instantly grade your write-up.
Here, we can help you grade your score within 24 hours of submitting your essays (both task 1 and 2) to us at a fee of $5, and in addition, you will receive constructive feedback (correction of errors) on your write-up. We are able to do this owing to our years of IELTS prepping experience. Need our writing evaluation service, buy it here or simply contact us today. You will get your IELTS band score, out of 9.0, for the writing section and also receive full explanations on mistakes and errors.