According to WorldAtlas.com, English is the most spoken language in the world with about 1.5 billion speakers. This language is native to various countries such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia. Non-native English speakers who wish to relocate to these countriesfor either higher education or work need to demonstrate their proficiency in this language. This is where the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) comes in.
IELTS test is jointly administered by three organizations, namely the British Council, Cambridge Assessment English, and IDP Education (Australia). Most learning institutions and corporate organizations in English-speaking countries rely on this test to admit candidates to various positions Download Free.
Skills tested in IELTS exam
This exam is designed to test how well you have mastered various English skills. These are language skills that you can apply either at school or at your workplace. Here is a brief look at what you should expect in your IELTS test.
- Listening Skills
This section of the test important in gauging how well a candidate can follow the development of an argument and understand the main ideas in a conversation. It also tests the ability of the individual to recognize the opinion, purpose, and attitude of the speaker. The test is presented in the form of four recordings – two monologues and two conversations from which 40 questions are asked. Each question carries one mark and the overall score is usually converted to the 9-bandIELTS scale. You are expected to complete the test in 30 minutes. An additional 10 minutes are allowed for transferring answers to the exam booklet.
- Reading Skills
The test here is further classified into 2 categories: academic reading and generalreading. The specific reading tasks correspond to one’s purpose of taking IELTS exam.
- Academic reading skills
The reading exam for academic purposestests the ability of candidates to read quickly and pick vital information from English passages. For instance, when reading a passage, the candidate should be able to pick the main ideas and at the same time follow arguments being formed by the writer. You will be presented with three long passages extractedfrom books or other professionally written content. Once you are through with reading, you will have to answer 40 questions within 60 minutes. The nature of the questions ranges from filling gapsand completing sentences to multiple-choice questions.
- General training reading skills
This test focuses on reading skills that one may need in an English-speaking environment. The exam is based on passages extracted from magazines, books, adverts as well as business handbooks. The candidate will be expected to answer 40 questions within 60 minuteswhich include filling gaps in the passage and giving solutions to open questions.
- Writing skills
Just like reading, writing skills are tested in two stages – academic and general training. In both categories, candidatesare expected to show excellent writing skills. They should demonstrate the ability to organize ideas and write appropriate responses as well as show immense vocabulary.
- Academic writing skills
This section of the test has two tasks. Task one requires the candidate to describe or analyze information presented to him or her in a chart, table or diagram in their own words within 20 minutes. The second task involves writing an essay in response to a given argument within 40 minutes. In this case, the candidate is expected to produce a text that is both logical and easy to understand. It is important to note that one is expected to use formal academic writing style.
- General training writing
Here, candidates are required to answer two questions. The first one requires them to write a letter requesting some information or responding to a situation. This exercise is given 20 minutes. The second question involves writing an essay on a given topic. The rules on style are not as rigid as in academic writing. Candidates can use a personal style to pen their ideas.
- Speaking skills
The purpose of this test is to establish how well candidates can communicate their opinions and perspectives on various issues that touch on daily life experiences. It also captures the ability of the candidates to organize, justify, and express their ideas coherently. This is usually an 11-14 minutes long oral test conducted by a certified expert. This test is recorded and marked based on one’s fluency and coherence, grammatical range and accuracy, and pronunciation. The secret to performing well in this exam is to be calm and speak fluently and naturally.
Preparing for your IELTS Test
When planning to sit for your IELTS exam, it is advisable to use approved materials for your preparation. For instance, if you are booking your exam with the British Council, you will get access to free tests and preparation materials.It is, however, a good idea to sample what each of the partners has in terms of resources. This will help you prepare adequately for the exam.
Another trick for passing your test easily is to test yourself using past exam questions. If your vendor does not provide preparation materials, look for reputable online resources. For instance, an exam preparation website like PrepAway can provide you with IELTS study guide and practice questions that will come in handy during your preparation.
Picking the right IELTS exam
The choice of IELTS exam will depend on what you want to achieve. For those interested in securing a study visa to English-speaking countries, the academic-focused IELTS test is the most appropriate one. Otherwise, go for the General Training.
If you want to work, study, or live in English-speaking countries, it is crucial to prove your proficiency in their native language. You will be safe if you use an internationally recognized vendor for your test. IELTS tests are accepted globally, so your IELTS credential will be acknowledged by governments, universities, and businesses around the world.