IELTS (International English Language Testing System )
What is IELTS?
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) assesses the English language proficiency of people who want to study or work where English is used as the language of communication. IELTS tests are held in over 900 locations across the world with tests up to four times a month …
IELTS tests all four language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking. The IELTS Speaking test is a face-to-face interview with a certified Examiner. It is interactive and as close to a real-life situation as a test can get …
The IELTS nine (9) band score system grades scores consistently. It is secure, benchmarked and understood worldwide. Test materials are designed carefully so that every version of the test is of a comparable level of difficulty …An applicant’s capabilities are tested in this exam on a scale of 9, known as bands. It means that if a student gets 1. It implies no knowledge, whereas 9 on the scale connote an expert in the language. No minimum score is set as a passing mark in the test. Different institutions maintain different parameters for selection. Institutes are apprised not to consider scores older than two years unless a student proves that he/she has been working to improve his/ her levels.
How much does it cost?
9000 Rs – 10,000 Rs
♦ IELTS Reading Section ♦
This section is different for the general and the academic tests. This lasts for 60 minutes and asks around 40 questions. The academic section includes journals, newspaper articles, magazine articles, etc., Each article presents a detailed logical argument. The general section, on the other hand, can include advertisements, notices, booklets, passages, etc., which focus on day-to-day survival and general reading. The comprehension passages can depend on a variety of topics, as general as dung beetles or something like newspaper production process.
The kind of questions asked in the general and the academic variant are the same.They are:
- Multiple choice questions
- Fill-in-the-gaps questions
- Short answer questions
- Matching questions
- True/ False/Not Given questions
Reading is considered to be the most difficult section of all. Most of the times, applicants have problems in understanding the contents of the passage or evaluating the relationship between different subjects in the passage.
In the academic module, the passages are lengthy and difficult to crack as compared to the general module.
It is generally believed that the first passage is easier than the second, and the third. But, sometimes even this doesn’t hold true. Thus, it makes good sense to take an overview of the subject matter of the passages and then decide on the strategy to solve the passages. These strategies can be a banal one as the skim-and-scan method, or a legitimate method like intensive reading.
Skimming the passage means just reading the main headlines and the first few lines of each paragraph. This also involves noticing the repetition of the words in each paragraph. The main purpose is to get the crux of the passage.
Intensive reading, on the contrary involves reading each and every sentence of the passage carefully, underlining what’s important and trying to deduce the meaning by the means of this consistent process.
Selection of a strategy out of these two depends thoroughly upon the difficulty level of the comprehension passage. Thus, it’s important to:
- Evaluate the relationship between various subjects,
- Trying to find the meaning of difficult words by relating it to the rest of the sentence and while doing all this,
- Be well defined within the time limits.
- Be extremely careful with spellings. Those are the silliest of mistakes you can make.
- Don’t leave any question unanswered as there is no negative marking. But remember not to cling on to one question as it will waste your precious time. Leave a question if you are stuck and return to it when you are done with the rest of your exam.
- Write your answers directly on transfer sheets as no extra time is given to materialize this process.
♦ IELTS Listening Section ♦
This is the first section in the IELTS examination. In this test, applicants are made to hear a tape and they have to answer questions based on that. The duration for this section is 40-45 minutes. The tape is a pre-recorded one and is played only once, with pauses wherever required. Applicants are provided with question sheets where they have to write their answers. In the last 10 minutes, they are required to transfer their answers to the answer sheets.
There are a total of 3-4 sections, which adds up to 40 questions. The following can be the probable conversations:
- Section 1: Two speakers conversing about a social/semi official topic.
- Section 2: One speaker talking about any social or non-academic topic, also known as a monologue.
- Section 3: Two to four speakers conversing about an academic topic.
- Section 4: Single speaker making a university style presentation about an academic topic/news item.
The cassette shall start by an announcer who will introduce the situation to you. The next 30 seconds involve going through the questions so that you know on which information to concentrate once the tape starts playing.
Following things should be taken care of in order to qualify this module in flying colors:
- You should read and listen to the instructions carefully.
- Try to guess the requisite answers while you are reading the questions, and underline important words from the text.
- You should make sure that you continue to listen to the conversation while you’re writing the answers.
- You should try and stay ahead of the recording so that you know the questions asked and are able to extract the essential points.
♦ IELTS Writing Section ♦
This section tests your writing skills. The writing skills are tested through the following areas:
- Handwriting which is legible
- Proper presentation and organization
- Grammatically correct sentences are formed
- Effective use of vocabulary
The section has duration of 60 minutes. The following are the tasks included in the module:
- Academic (essay and graph)
- General (essay and letter)
It comprises of two tasks:
Task 1: Different for Academic & General.
- Word Limit: 150-180 words. Duration: 20 minutes
Academic: it usually asks you to describe and interpret a graph or a chart in your own words. You are usually asked to describe and interpret a graph or a chart in your own words.
General: candidates are asked to write a letter describing a situation.
Task 2: Same for Academic & General. (Topics are different)
The essays can be an agree/disagree one, wherein the candidate has to agree or disagree with a thought as given.
Or it can be a comment/opinion one. Here, you are required to examine both the negative and the positive sides of the issue and give reasons for your leanings towards one of them.
- Word Limit: 250-280 words. Duration: 40 minutes
The writing section is one section which demands the most of your attention and the intricacies of your intelligence. It should start with reading the tasks carefully.
After you are done reading the tasks, decide how you plan to approach the task and what elements are you going to include in your answers. Reading and planning should not exceed 5 minutes.
After you are done planning, proceed with the writing part. Remember not to repeat the question in what you write. In Task 1, writing should take about 10 minutes, whereas in Task 2, this should extend to about 25 minutes.
After you are done with the whole thing, check your thoughts. Checking should take maximum five minutes in both the tasks. Even if you can’t complete Task 1 in the designated time limit, move on to Task 2 as it will fetch you more marks.
- Do a brain storming session, note down all the important points.
- Divide the essay clearly into paragraphs.
- Frame an organized map of the essay as you are going to approach it.
- Try giving examples, as per your personal experiences and knowledge.
- Use simple words and stick to the original topic.
♦ IELTS Speaking Section ♦
The speaking test is basically an interview session. It tests a candidate’s composure and ability to speak proficiently. It consists of the following parts:
PART 1 : Introduction and interview (4 to 5 minutes)
The interviewer invites you to sit down,and your ID is checked. General questions about your life, background, family etc., are asked so that you feel relaxed and find it easy to settle down. This is done to basically test the body language of the candidate. It also helps in maintaining a particular rapport between the interviewer and the interviewee.
PART 2 : (3 to 4 minutes)
You are provided a card with a topic written on it, you get one minute to think about the topic and get prepared for what you have to say. After you are done with speaking on your topic, the examiner could ask some follow-up questions. This, again, tests your composure.
PART 3: (4 to 5 minutes)
This is a discussion wherein you have to engage yourself with the examiner about the similar general themes as discussed in Part 2.
The whole session would be recorded in an audio device to ensure that the whole process was accountable and up-to-the mark.
- Never use ‘NO’ for an answer.
- Keep your answers short and crisp. But, they should not sound inadequate.
- In the cue card session, don’t stop until you are asked to.
- Speak clearly, as your voice would be recorded in an audio device to ensure that the interview has taken place in a correct manner.
- If you are making a grammatical error somewhere, do not hesitate to correct it immediately.
- Proper body language is the key to success in this session. Good eye contact, minimum hand movements and appropriate body posture are all indications of a good body language.
- Do not let your calm lose even till the end of the interview. Do not rush out of the room.
♦ IELTS FAQ’s ♦
1) What is the cost or registration fee of the IELTS test?
The total Exam cost along with Registration fee ranges from US$ 115 to US$145 depending on the country you are giving they exam from. In India the current cost for the exam is Rs. 9500
2) How often can I take the IELTS test?
Candidates may re-sit for IELTS at any time. There is no restriction and they can repeat the test whenever they wish.
3) How and when will I get my IELTS results?
The results are usually declared in 13-15 days after the test date. Results are first published on the IELTS website followed by the mark sheet being sent via mail.
4) How long is an IELTS score valid?
The IELTS score is valid for two years, after which the student is required to give the IELTS test again.
5) What are the necessary things required to carry on the day of the IELTS test?
Candidates must carry their passport, hall ticket and relevant stationery for the test modules. In case you have registered online, then do not forget to carry a recent and color passport-sized photograph
6) Can I check my results online?
You can check your results online on the 13th day after your test (this is always a Friday) from around 10am on wards. You will need to provide the following information to access your results:
- Test date
- Date of birth
- ID document number
- Candidate number (given to you during registration on Saturday morning)
7) What is the score preferred by universities?
For Masters courses, a minimum of 6.5 is required. For a Graduate course, a band of 6 may be accepted; every institute would have its individual requirement.
8) The nine bands and their descriptive statements ?
9: Expert User
8: Very Good User
7: Good User
6: Competent User
5: Modest User
4: Limited User
3: Extremely Limited User
2: Intermittent User