The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an emerald of all the standardized exams. It has always been a grail to target for the aspirants looking forward to foraying themselves in their stream of career and various subjective choices. However, if one wants one’s dream to cement, the IELTS exam is definitely not an area to be clement and demands intensive preparation. Thankfully, various IELTS online training institutes and coaching centres have made it quite facile for the aspirants today to entwine their preparation with an apt approach.
IELTS exam is a screening test that one has to pass through to ensure their dexterity over the English language and communication. It assesses one’s command in encoding and deciphering the language. After all, communication is a vital vitamin for the nutrition of one’s social health, therefore, to make sure one doesn’t teeter over the language bar in an English-speaking community, the IELTS exam prances to the foreground. This exam comprises certain tasks that evaluate one’s prowess based on the IELTS band scores. The IELTS bands range from 0-9, 0 being the lowest score and 9 being the highest awarded to the expert users. Various IELTS band calculator and assessment facilities are available across different portals that might give a fair idea about one’s preparation level.
Talking about the IELTS exam, there are two types:
- IELTS Academic
- IELTS General.
IELTS Academic Test:
IELTS Academic Test is meant for the aspirants who seek admission to an international university of an English-speaking country for higher studies. It assesses one’s competence as far as learning English is concerned and ensures if an applicant would be able to survive in the university where the entire mode of teaching would be English. It includes vocabulary and terms that are commonly used in an academic ambience.
IELTS General Test:
The IELTS General is suitable for those who are either looking forward to studying below a degree level or for employment in a particular English-speaking country. Even for immigrating to certain countries like Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK, this test is a prerequisite. It contains the usual English language contents that one would generally see in an everyday work environment and normal settings that could be easily prepared for by online or offline IELTS training, with IELTS online training gaining ground nowadays. However, how much one requires as far as band scores are concerned, depends upon the individual IELTS band calculator of respective universities or companies.
The IELTS Academic and the IELTS General have a common test for Listening and Speaking tasks. However, Reading and Writing tasks are distinct as far as content is concerned. The Listening, Reading, and Writing sections of all IELTS tests are conducted on the same day without any breaks in between. However, the Speaking task could be conducted either a week before or after the test date, as may the preference of the test takers be.
The IELTS exam is of 2 hours 45 minutes duration:
- 30 minutes – Listening task plus 10 minutes for transferring it
- 60 minutes – Reading task
- 60 minutes – Writing task
- 11-14 minutes – Speaking task.
Tasks in the IELTS Exam
The IELTS Listening task comprises four recordings of native English speakers, for which the answers are to be written.
- The first recording is a conversation between two people set in an everyday social context.
- The second recording is a monologue set in an everyday social context, e.g. a speech about weather patterns, etc.
- The third recording is a conversation between up to four people set in an educational or training context.
- The fourth and the last recording is again a monologue, but this time on an academic subject, e.g. a lecture on a subject topic.
There are 40 questions for this task ranging from multiple-choice, matching, plan/map/diagram labeling, form/note/table/flow-chart/summary completion to sentence completion, and one mark is allotted for each question. There are 10 minutes to deliver the answers on the paper, and the recordings are of 30 minutes duration in total. The evaluators check the comprehensibility of the examinee and how well does the examinee understand the discussion.
The IELTS Reading task is of 60 minutes and the number of questions asked is 40 and gauges the reading comprehension of the aspirants. Each IELTS academic and IELTS General Training has a similar format with a difference in the content of the questions asked.
IELTS Academic Reading
In Academic Reading, three reading passages are given from books, journals, magazines, and newspapers written in a general context.
IELTS General Reading
In General Reading, it comprises three sections. Section 1 and 2 may contain two or three short texts or several shorter texts, while the third section comprises one long text.
- The first section contains texts on basic English, mainly about receiving and providing factual information.
- The second section focuses on the workplace setting.
- The third section involves reading more excerpts and paragraphs with a complex structure with more emphasis over descriptive and instructive parts.
The questions for both Academic and General Training see a wide variety such as multiple-choice, identifying information, identifying the writer’s views/claims, matching information, matching headings, matching features, matching sentence endings, sentence completion, summary completion, note completion, table completion, flow-chart completion, diagram label completion and short-answer questions.
The IELTS Writing task is again 60 minutes with significant differences in IELTS Academic Writing and IELTS General Training Writing.
IELTS Academic Writing
The IELTS Academic Writing comprises two tasks. The first task is majorly description-based, where the examinees have to describe or explain the data that is given in the question, for example, Pie charts, graphs, infographics, etc. It has to be written in around 150 words and should be completed within 20 minutes. The second task is somewhat more important than the first one and requires the test takers to present a viewpoint and propound their arguments regarding the topic of a discussion. It requires at least 250 words and ideally should be allotted 40 minutes for completion.
IELTS General Writing
The General Writing Task, on the other hand, has two tasks, where the first task is writing a letter that could be informal, semi-formal, or formal depending upon the question in response to which the letter has to be written. It should be written in at least 150 words. The second task is an essay writing task where a test taker has to write an essay as per the topic.
The speaking task of the IELTS exam is of 11-14 minutes. It consists of three parts:
- The first part comprises a common discussion between the test taker and the interviewer. This is aimed at a general conversation including commonalities such as family, profession, etc., and lasts for 4-5 minutes.
- In the second task, the test takers are given a task card that has a topic written on it. Examinees have to prepare for the topic in about a minute for which they could even write notes on a paper provided to them and then have to talk about that topic for around 2 minutes till the examiner stops them. This round lasts for 2-3 minutes.
- The third round comprises follow-up questions and discussions on the topic of round 2 in a generic and broader approach. This lasts for 4-5 minutes.
The IELTS would be starting with their IELTS online exams from early 2022, for which the calculated band scores would be provided within 3-5 days. Flexibility would be given for this and the examinees may take the test from anywhere.
Now that you have an overview of the IELTS exam, the most important thing is to prepare for it with diligence and integrity. As per the leading IELTS preparation website, IELTSMATERIAL.com, which has been significantly making its mark with burgeoning repute in mentoring IELTS aspirants, the IELTS exam is not just an “appear and disappear (or maybe reappear if not prepared well)” kind of exam. Rather it is an assessment that not only evaluates and scrutinizes your communication dexterity but also what inclination you have and what thought processes you germinate when given an abrupt situation. It is needless to mention that you could only get the better of the tasks that IELTS consists of when you are given the right tutelage and constructive knowledge. Now, that’s when coaching institutes come and play their part.
That being said, your grit, along with your instructors’ wit, shall make your entire journey lit.
All the best!!
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