Knowing all about IELTS or International English Language Testing System is just one of the steps to move your forward if you are planning to study in the native-english speaking countries like Australia, UK, Canada, New Zealand and USA. Below is an article wrote by By Devanshi Kothari:
IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is an English proficiency test for non-native English speaker’s ability of listening, reading, writing and speaking the language. While IELTS is mandatory for study in Australia (TOEFL scores are not accepted), universities in Canada, U.K, New Zealand and even U.S.A. accept IELTS scores.
Over 6,000 education institutes, government agencies, professional organizations and faculties accept IELTS score as a yardstick to measure a candidate’s command over English. Of these over 1,800 are U.S. professional organizations, education institutions and accrediting bodies.
Tests are usually conducted once a month. The IELTS center shall provide you with an application form and a handbook. The test scores are available in two weeks time and are valid for 2 years. In case of dissatisfying scores, IELTS can be taken again, but only after 3 months of the first test date.
There are 6 modules to the IELTS examination- Listening, Speaking, Academic Reading, General Training Reading, Academic Writing and General Training Writing. Each year multiple versions are released for the test.
A separate Band Score is received for each of the four sections (Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing) and the mean is taken for the Overall Band Score. The minimum score requirement (depends upon courses and institutes) ranges between 5.0 to 7.5 out of 9. A band score between 6 and 6.5 are the most common requirements.
In India, IELTS preparatory classes are held in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Jaipur, Ludhiana, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Jalandhar, Chandigarh, Lucknow and Pune. Preparatory materials Audio CDs, books with answers, authentic test materials to practice techniques and getting familiar with the format etc. are also available. There is obviously a price attached to them.
You need to take the registration form, passport, letter with roll number and of course stationery for the exam.
Unlike the SAT, no breaks are allowed after completion of a section. Ensure that you have had proper meal and rest to keep you alert for the entire duration. Competitive exams are about time management, so do visit the rest room before the exam and not waste crucial minutes when the test is in progress.
Listening test tips
It is possible that for listening tests a headphone is used. Confirm with the British Council and prepare accordingly. You also must practice the listening tests in the Cambridge IELTS 3 book for greater familiarization. The listening sections comprises of dialogues or monologues. There are 40 questions to be answered in 30 minutes. Dialogues require utmost concentration as the conversation tends to be faster. Listen carefully to the answering instructions and follow them.
Reading test tips
Reading is considered by many as the most difficult section. There are 3 long multi-paragraphed sections and 40 questions to be answered. The key to crack this section is improving your speed and reading skills. It is not your comprehension of the passage, but the ability to derive relevant information, that is tested here. Preferably go through the questions before (to know the information required) and mark the relevant lines as you read the passage. If you can’t get an answer, move on and come back later. Do not waste time.
Writing test tips
During practice do actually write out tasks 1 and 2. Task 1 usually requires you to describe a table/diagram/graph in minimum 150 words. Do not use less than 150 words as marks are deducted. Task 2 requires you to present an argument. Read lots of editorials, analysis etc. to develop ideas. Do present your stand- agree/disagree, arguments in support of your views and arguments for your disagreement. Task 2 is more important and carries more marks. Ideally spend 40 minutes on task 2 and 20 minutes on task 1. Preferably attempt task 2 first than task 1.
Speaking test tips
First and foremost speak only in English to improve your diction, vocabulary, fluency, grammar and thought process. You will be marked on these aspects. The speaking test is 3 parts- an introduction of examiner and yourself, in second section, you are given a topic to speak for 2 minutes. One minute is provided to go through the passage. Read the questions carefully, gather thoughts about the topic and speak about the answers sought. The examiner may ask a few questions once you have finished the 2 minutes. The last section will be a discussion based on your answers in section 2.
In India, the IELTS Test Centers are in Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bangalore, Baroda, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Calicut, Chandigarh, Chennai, Coimbatore, Dehradun, Gurgaon, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Jalandhar, Jamshedpur, Kochi, Kolkata, Kottayam, Lucknow, Ludhiana, Madurai, Mangalore, Mumbai, New Delhi, Patiala, Pondicherry, Patna, Pune, Raipur, Rajkot, Siliguri, Surat, Thimpu, Trichur, Trichy, Trivandrum, Vijayawada and Vizag.
This article is written as a part of the online initiative of ICICI Lombard GIC, India, (www.icicilombard.com) to create awareness and provide information to all Indian students going abroad for higher studies. Also visit Indian Student Online blog – http://indianstudentonline.wordpress.com for more articles and tips.