What is the IELTS Test?
The IELTS test (International English Language Testing System) is outlined to evaluate the language ability of the candidates who are either ambitious to study and work overseas or are the global migrants.
It was first conducted in 1989. Since then this test is effectively taken and jointly managed by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment.
Types of IELTS Test
Depending upon the purpose of interest to take IELTS test, the exam is further categorized into IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training.
1.IELTS Academic Test
This exam is suitable for students who want to pursue a bachelor or postgraduate degree programme or the ones who are seeking professional registration in the UK. Professional registration means you will get certification in reference of your profession. You will be entitled to use qualification titles such as Engineer (Eng.), Doctor (Dr.) or Technician (Tech.)
2.IELTS General Training
The IELTS test is taken by ones who are either planning to study, work or train in an English native land like Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the U.K.
In this exam, you will be evaluated on the basis of everyday usage of the language with the content or questions focussed on workplace and social situations.
The difference between the Academic and General training version arises on the behalf of context, content, and purpose of the exam.
Rest of the features, such as timing allocation, length of written responses and reporting of scores, are identical.
IELTS Academic and General Training both consolidate the following features:
- IELTS evaluates on the basis of four skills; listening, reading, writing and speaking.
- A variation of accents and writing style has been presented in the same manner as they do in the test materials.
- The speaking section is the main component of IELTS test which is duly conducted as a one to one interview with the evaluator.
- It follows a 9-band scoring, though there are no set bars to be called as “failed” or “approved”.
Before considering any, you just need to find out which of the two will meet up to your personal, professional and educational goals.
IELTS in 1 Minute
IELTS: Test of four skills
IELTS test is a task-based test which not only analyses your reading or writing skills but listening and speaking too which further consolidates into IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training.
Let’s discuss the characteristics of each testing skill.
1. Listening Section –
This 40 minutes evaluation comprises four sections, with ten questions in each one.
In these life-changing 40 minutes of an individual, 30 minutes are for testing and further 10 minutes are for transferring the answers to an answer sheet.
In this observing task, you are going to be evaluated on the basis of given situations.
Out of the total, Section 1 and Section 2 are based on regular, social situations.
- Section 1 is a conversation based task, like two people conversing about the travel arrangements.
- Whereas Section 2 is an oration based task, like a speech about regional facilities.
Remaining Section 3 and Section 4, are based on educational and training situations.
- Resembling the Section 1, Section 3 is also a conversation based task but between two university fellows, followed by the professor.
- And Section 4, is based on an oration about any academic subject.
At the beginning of each section, there is a short description which tells you about the situation and the speakers.
Then some time will be given to go through the questions. Questions will be in the same consecutive order as the information is in the recording.
There is a break in the middle of the first three sections giving you the privilege to have a quick look at the remaining questions.
You can get to hear each section only once.
Coming to the completion of this listening task, you will get wholesome of 10 minutes, in the end, to transfer your answers in the answer sheet.
Keep this thing crystal clear in your mind, that every incorrect spelling and grammar will make you lose your marks.
2. Reading Section
This 60 minutes evaluation comprises of 3 sections and text mounting up 2,150 to 2,750 words.
It has a diversity of questions, such as multiple choice questions, short answer questions, identifying information, identifying writer’s views, labelling diagrams, completing a summary using words taken from the text.
You should be careful while writing your answers, as every incorrect spelling and grammar will make you lose marks.
Here arises the difference in IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training.
Text in IELTS Academic:
- There are three texts in total, in which all the topics are of general interest at undergraduate or postgraduate level.
- They can randomly be taken from any newspaper, magazines, journal and online resources written for non-clerical audiences.
Text in IELTS General Training:
- Section 1: It either has two-three short texts or several shorter text, based on everyday topics. For instance, timetables or notices- things a person would need to be familiar with while living in the non-native land.
- Section 2: It has two texts which purely deals with work. For instance, work contracts, job description, and training materials.
- Section 3: It has only one text, which is more detailed, longer and complex from Section 1 and Section 2. It is based on the topic of general interest and can be taken from newspapers, magazine, books or online resources.
3. Writing Section
In this 60 minutes of evaluation, you have to complete two tasks.
Task 1 is of 20 minutes, in which you have to write at least 150 words whereas the rest 40 minutes are for task 2 where your write up must have at least 250 words.
You will be castigated if your answer is too short or not related to the topic.
No bullet points or use of notes is allowed but only a well-written answer in complete sentences.
Now let’s see how writing skill is evaluated on a different basis in IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training.
- In Task 1, you have to describe diagrams, graphs or table charts in your own words.
- In Task 2, you will be given a situation more likely a problem or argument. At that particular given situation, you will be said to state your opinion by representing facts.
IELTS General Training:
- In Task 1, you will be asked to write a letter regarding an everyday issue. For instance, writing to your employer about problems at your workplace, writing to an accommodation officer stating your problems regarding the same.
- In task 2, you will be asked to write an essay on the alarming issues like how to control environmental problems, whether smoking can be allowed in public places or not etc.
4. Speaking Section
Coming to the last 11-14 minutes of this test which most probably can change your life.
It is a one to one interview between the candidate and evaluator.
This task has three sections:
- Section 1(4-5 minutes): An introduction and an interview more like a casual conversation where you may be asked about your hobbies, interests, family, the reason behind taking this test etc.
- Section 2 (3-4 minutes): This one is more likely of an extempore where you will be given with one task card. That task card will state the point which you have to include in the talk and one relevant topic which you must have to explain. At last, the evaluator may ask one or two questions in relevancy of the same topic.
- Section 3 (4-5 minutes): This is the last task not only of speaking test but also of this whole IELTS test. This includes a discussion between the evaluator and the candidate about the topic usually on the same topic which you have spoken in Section 2.
The Exactness of Result
The IELTS evaluator ensures about the accurate evaluation by applying the strict criteria that help in reflecting the exact level where your communication or writing skills stand.
It follows a 9-band scoring, though there are no set bars to be called as “failed” or “approved”.
Still, this is the foremost criteria used by the vast number of institutions and organizations to find out whether or not your English is ‘good enough’ for the eligibility – in immigration, admission in the International University, for hiring etc.
The three of them can only be possible if you have a good IELTS score.
What is a good IELTS score?
What constitutes a good IELTS score varies from country to country, from university to university and at last company to company.
In order to understand these score bands, let’s first look at the British Council’s official descriptions of different bands to get a general idea:
IELTS score ranges between 0-9 (Non-user to expert). Candidate IELTS skills (listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking) gets a band score in this range.
At last, you will also get an overall band score of your whole test and this score will represent your overall English ability.
Many institutions or organizations require the result between 6 and 7 points. Below 5 points are highly recommended to repeat the test.
The 9-band system is worldwide accepted so the interpretation of results become fairly consistent.
Why should you take the IELTS Exam? IELTS test is accepted as an evidence of English proficiency by over 9000 organizations in more than 135 countries for education, immigration, and professional purposes.
Among those 135 countries, it is mostly accepted by Australian, British, Canadian and New Zealand academic institutions, by over 3000, academic institutions in the United States, and by various professional organizations across the globe.
At last, If you are a student who really dreams to study abroad or an employee who is ambitious to work overseas and may be a migrant who is all set to start and explore his life in the country which recognize and has kept the requirement of this test need to take the IELTS test.
As we know there is no tomorrow, and what we have is today. So, go take a chance and explore your dreams. All the best!