The spurt in the number of people travelling abroad for higher education or permanent residency in recent years is a casual topic of discussion nowadays. With these talks come the term 'IELTS' or International English Language Testing System. Here is a peek into the features and relevance of this exam, along with a few tips on bagging a good band score.
It's all about testing your efficiency in English!
The exam, which consists of four sections — Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening — is all about testing one's competence in using English language, ahead of studying, working or settling in an overseas English-speaking country. While the Reading section includes comprehensive passages, Speaking part entails a general interview of the candidate; asking to tell about oneself, general topics and a cue-card topic. In the Listening module, candidates will have to listen to comprehensive passages and write down the answers in the sheet within the allotted time slot. The Writing part includes writing an essay and a letter/comparison of a graph or pie chart.
Two types of exam
IELTS, which is being conducted in both online as well as paper-based format, is divided into two categories: Academic and General. The first category must be opted by students who are applying for graduation or post-graduation course, doctors and nurses. General IELTS is for people who have applied for permanent residency in any foreign country, which requires the exam's band score.
Students need to acquire band scores according to the requirement of the university or college they have applied. Meanwhile, permanent residency applicants require band scores based on their points under Comprehensive Ranking System (according to their age, education and work experience). “Top universities usually keep an overall band score of 7 or more for admissions. Most institutions require minimum 6-6.5 overall band score,” said Biju M, founder and instructor at Casper Academy Of Excellence.
Rules and Tips
- This module has a time-constraint, which is why candidates must keep practising to increase their accuracy as well as speed.
- Since the answer sheets are corrected through an online method, one must be careful to avoid spelling mistakes. For instance, if an answer is 'equipment' and the candidate notes down 'equipments', it would be marked as an error and will lead to the candidate losing a mark.
- Listening to as many as audios, radio programmes, English films or series with subtitles can help candidates in understanding the questions in audio clips.
- Trying to listen to and understand various accents such as British and Australian can also prove helpful for those attempting this exam.
- Fluency and pronunciation are among the major requirements of this module. (Note: Pronunciation does not mean acquiring an accent. It is more about keeping minimal mother tongue influence while speaking in English).
- Avoid repetition of words and use idioms or phrase at least once or twice while speaking.
- Use complex sentences along with simple ones while answering to questions.
- Maintain an eye contact and good sitting posture, though this is not a formal interview.
- Candidates must keep in mind to answer in the same tense of the questions asked.
- The priority of this section is not about reading and analysing the entire passage given. It is all about finding the answers to the questions given below the passage.
- Candidates must keep practising previous question papers or sample ones to get a knack on how to answer correctly within the time limit.
- Task response or exact answer to the question or examiners' requirement is a priority for this module.
- Candidates must organise the content and points according to the question and maintain coherence and cohesion throughout their writing.
- The usage of correct sentence structures and tenses is also important.
- Qualified trainers are ideally required to guide a candidate in scoring a better mark in this section.
(Information Courtesy: Reji Ajith, founder and instructor at Drona Institute for IELTS, OET & PTE at Kaloor, Kochi.)