The IELTS is the most popular English Language Test in the world and is widely accepted by employers and universities in English-speaking countries as an indicator of proficiency in English as a second language. Each year, the number of colleges and universities that accept IELTS score for admission purpose is increasing swiftly. In addition, a burgeoning number of citizenship and immigration authorities recognize the IELTS as proof of English language skills of prospective immigrants to Canada and Australia. What’s more, almost all of the top American academic institutions now accept IELTS scores for admissions purposes.
The IELTS exam is meant for all those who intend to study or work in countries where English is the language of communication. IELTS is jointly managed by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL) at more than 350 locations in 120 countries. Students who wish to pursue higher studies are required to take the ‘Academic Training’ module of the IELTS test, while prospective migrants are required to take the ‘General Training’ module of the test (which has easier reading and writing sections). The IELTS has become a mandatory requirement in order to obtain student visas to Australia. For instance, students from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh or Nepal cannot obtain an Australian student visa without achieving a good IELTS score.
The test measures a candidate’s proficiency across all four language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking. Band scores are awarded for each language sub-skill -Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. The Band Scale ranges from 1 to 9. The four Band Scores, one for each section are added together and averaged for an Overall Band Score. Each Band has a statement giving a summary of the skill at that level. All candidates must complete all the four Modules to obtain an IELTS Test Report Form. The total test time is around 2 hours 45 minutes.
The minimum score accepted for various courses ranges from 5.0 to 7.5 bands, depending upon courses and institutes you are applying to. The most common requirement is a minimum band score of 6 or 6.5. Usually, a band score of 6.0 is required for undergraduate studies and a band score of 6.5 for postgraduate studies.
Many IELTS candidates do not get the band score that they should because they are not familiar with the IELTS Test format. Here are a few tips to crack IELTS:
Speaking: Test takers should know that the important thing for the examiner is to know how the candidate speaks and how effectively he/she communicates with other people in English. So don’t worry too much about the content. What you say is not as important as how you say it.
Reading: Remember that the first step to becoming a good reader is to quickly understand what the author wants to convey. Don’t read word by word. Read one paragraph quickly and form a mental image of the idea that the author wants to convey. This will help you in retaining what you read. This is an important strategy for the IELTS Reading section.
Listening: Write as you listen. This is the most important point to remember in the listening section. Before you start listening, you will get some time to read the questions. Use this time properly and read the questions and understand the questions completely. While you are listening, keep marking your answers because afterward, you will not be able to recall what was played. So it’s best to write it as soon as you listen.
Writing: When writing your script, remember that it will be marked by an examiner who is looking to see if you have fulfilled the requirements of the task. Correct grammar and appropriate usage of words are as important as the content of your essays.