What is the IELTS test? Why do students take it? How can you prepare for this test effectively? You’ll learn about the IELTS test on this podcast.
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We’ve spoken a bit about IELTS before:
Reading in the IELTS exam – https://www.inglespodcast.com/236
The TOEFL and IELTS Test – https://www.inglespodcast.com/68 (in which we covered the test overview and format and compared the two tests)
What is the IELTS test?
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is designed to help you work, study or migrate to a country where English is the native language. This includes countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the USA. It’s jointly run by The British Council, Cambridge Assessment English and IDP: IELTS Australia.
IELTS tests all four skills; reading, writing, speaking and listening.
It’s a test, not an exam, so you don’t pass or fail – you get graded.
IELTS is graded on a scale of 1-9. (1=non-user – only knows a few isolated words) (9=expert user – fully operational command of the language. Use of English is appropriate, accurate and fluent, and shows complete understanding). The grades have equivalents in the Common European Framework and Cambridge ESOL exams, etc:
As well as an overall grade, the candidate also gets a grade for each of the four skills. e.g. You could get Reading 6.5, Writing 6, Listening 6.5, Speaking 7 and an overall grade of 6.5.
Why take the IELTS test?
If you are looking to work, live or study in an English-speaking country, then you must be able to demonstrate a high level of English language ability. Some governments may require specific proof of your level of English before they will give you a visa to enter.
IELTS is the most popular test for those looking to migrate to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland and the UK. It is globally recognised by more than 11,000 employers, universities, schools and immigration bodies including 3,400 institutions in the USA.
It’s the test that most universities in those countries prefer foreign students to take.
The format of the IELTS test
The Listening and Speaking parts are the same for all candidates. But the Reading and Writing are slightly different, depending on whether you do the General Training or Academic version.
The General version is intended for people wanting to emigrate to work or study below university level, whereas the Academic version is for those going to study at university abroad and also for professionals going to work in more academic jobs or jobs that require professional registration, such as doctors, nurses, teachers, etc.
Like Cambridge exams, there is a paper-based and computer-based version of the exam, which is not online (yet).
IELTS have announced they intend to introduce an online test version very soon, but to date (Feb. 2022) it hasn’t yet been rolled out.
Unlike Cambridge exams:
Candidates only hear each audio once in the Listening.
There’s only one examiner and one candidate for the Speaking part.
All Speaking exams are recorded.
There is no Use of English section.
Results are given within 13 days after the paper-based exam and 5 days of the computer-based version.
Although no expiry date is given, most institutions won’t accept IELTS results more than 2 years old.
What good practices are there for a student preparing for IELTS?
Free or longer paid version for practice:
…and now it’s your turn to practise your English.
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On next week’s episode: Urban Myths and Legends
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