Taking the IELTS Test (and getting a good grade) is an almost certain requirement if you want to study abroad. The IELTS – International English Language Testing System – measures the language proficiency of people who want to apply to a foreign university, as it proves one’s proficiency in English, the most common language used in classes and exams.
It is this IELTS score that paves the way for an academic future abroad. So how can you best prepare for the examination? Read some key points from the real-life experiences of people who took the test below.
Taking the IELTS test
What, how, when and where?
There are two types of IELTS exams – academic and general training. For higher education, you are required to attend the academic type. The exam has four sections – listening, reading, speaking and writing.
The listening, reading and writing will be taken all on the same day one after the other. For the speaking test, you will be assigned a time slot in which you will be speaking to an examiner who asks you general questions on some familiar topics like home, family, work etc.
“IELTS is not so difficult for an English-speaking person. Time management is the most important thing when you will be taking the IELTS Test. What matters most is content, grammar and vocabulary. For a non-English speaker, it’s definitely not that complicated if you put in the right amount of hard work.”, says Merrin Tharakan who scored an 8.0 on her IELTS test.
Is taking the IELTS test difficult?
As with any exam, the IELTS requires thorough preparation. It is not about passing or failing the exam. The score is measured on a 9-band scale (1 being the lowest and 9 being the highest).
Different universities require different minimum scores depending upon the course and the level of study. Always remember to check what score you need before you attend the exam.
According to Janaki Devi, who scored an average score of 7.5 on her first attempt, “It is not a hard exam for an English-speaking person, although the writing part is slightly tricky. For a non-English speaking person, it would seem intimidating in the beginning, but with practice, you can ace it with ease.”
Do accents have any precedence in the speaking test?
The answer is no. You are neither expected to change your accent nor are you marked on that criteria. You are required to speak clearly and concisely so that the examiner can understand you. What you should focus on is practising your English skills every day and listening to different native-speaker accents which will help you pronounce difficult words more clearly.
“Accents do not have any precedence. They are looking forward to a smooth-speaking person. According to me, I believe it’s about how perfectly you can communicate and the marks gravitate around the factor of how efficiently you can communicate.”, says Merrin Tharakan, who scored an 8.0 on her examination.
Does practicing sample questions help you score better?
Yes, it does. Practicing sample tests will help you get a clear idea of what is to be expected in each of the sections. For an English-speaking person, you can maximize your skills through proper preparation. Use English in everyday contexts – speak it with your friends, read as much as you can, write notes, practice writing comprehension to improve your writing skills, read English newspapers, listen to English radio etc. For a non-English speaker, consider taking an English course or register yourself to a local IELTS training Centre and make sure you practice in improving your skills every day.
“It’s all about practice. It took me 2 months to prepare for the IELTS Exam. Over this period, I dedicated around 3 to 4 hours per day. Just because you know English doesn’t mean you can score well on the exam. I know a lot of colleagues of mine, who spoke English well, but went in unprepared and scored quite less than expected. When you start taking sample tests, you will recognise your weakest point and will be able to work and refine it.”, says Konica Sarkar, who scored an 8.0 band score on her first attempt.
The IELTS score is valid for a 2-year period which means if the date mentioned in your IELTS Test Report Form is 1st January 2022, then it is valid until the 31st of December 2024. There are a lot of other English tests like the PTE (Pearson Test of English), TOEFL (The Test of English as a Foreign Language) etc. so make sure IELTS is the one you need before booking the test.
“IELTS is very easy compared to GRE because for GRE you need to give a lot of importance to vocabulary and dedicate a lot of time learning the meanings of so many words. I’ve heard that IELTS and TOEFL are similar from a preparation and exam point of view.”, says Merrin Tharakan who took both IELTS and GRE tests.
If you have any further questions about English language exams, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or book a meeting here!