Have you heard about the term IELTS? Do you wish to travel outside your country for work or study and you are asked about your IELTS results? Are you confused about IELTS and what it entails? This article is here to help you get over your confusion and as best as possible, answer all your questions about this test. IELTS simply means International English Language Testing System. This is the world’s most popular English language test for higher education, work, and global migration. This test measures the language proficiency of people who want to study or work where English is used as a language of communication.
IELTS: this world’s leading test uses a nine-band scale to clearly identify levels of proficiency from non-users (which is band score 1) through to expert (which is band score 9). The registration for this test is not free. The IELTS test comes in two types which are the academic and the general training.
Both of these types/ versions of IELTS provide a valid and accurate assessment of the four language skills which are listening, reading, writing, and speaking. The listening, reading, and writing sections of all the tests are completed on the same day with no breaks in between them. The speaking section can be completed up to a week before or after the other tests. This arrangement however depends on your test center as they will advise you on which comes first.
IELTS On Paper Or Computers
The IELTS can be taken on paper or computer. The paper-based IELTS test requires the test takers to sit at a desk with the question papers and answer sheets for reading, listening, and writing tests in an official IELTS test centers. Pencils (HB) or pen is used to write out answers to the questions. However, the speaking test is done face to face with a trained IELTS examiner.
For the computer-based test, which is called the computer-delivered IELTS, requires test takers to sit the reading, listening and writing test in front of a computer with the questions on the screen in an official center. The answers to the questions are summited by the test takers through the use of a keyboard and a mouse. The speaking test is not done via computers but carried out face to face with a trained examiner.
IELTS treats all everyone taking the test with utmost fairness and respect by actively avoiding cultural bias and accepting all standard varieties of natives-speaker English, including North American, Australian, New Zealand, and British English. The IELTS is available to over one thousand six hundred (1 600) locations in the world. This includes more than fifty (50) locations in the United States of America.
IELTS For Study
An IELTS certificate is recognized as evidence of proficiency in English by more than 10 000 education and training providers worldwide. Some universities in non-English speaking countries require an IELTS score, where courses are taught in English. The IELTS for Study is available in two distinct types/versions, which are;
- IELTS Academic: for people who are applying for higher education or professional registration in an English speaking environment. This particular kind of IELTS reflects some of the features of academic language and assesses whether you are ready to begin studying or training, and
- IELTS General Training: for people who are going to places like the United Kingdom (UK), Canada, and Australia for secondary education, training programs and work experience in an English-speaking environment. This version of the IELTS is also a requirement for migration to the above mentions countries. The test focuses on basic survival skills in broad social and workplace contexts.
Most people going for the IELTS test take the IELTS Academic test in order to support their study and application to study overseas but it is important to check the entry requirements of individual organizations before choosing your test.
IELTS For Migration
IELTS is accepted as evidence of English language proficiency for study, work and migration in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom as well as for study and work in the United States of America. Each country has its own IELTS requirements.
IELTS For Work
Some organizations around the world depend on IELTS to help them select the right people. In most countries where English is the main communication language, presenting a proof of acceptable English language skills is a prior condition for applicants and international graduates seeking professional registration. The require proficiency levels differ for the organizations, professions, by country, and by jurisdiction. Each professional registration body determines the IELTS band score and the version of the test they require.
When applying for an education institution, IELTS Indicator is the online test that you can use to safely demonstrate your language skills when it is not possible to take the IELTS at the official test centers. The IELTS an indicator is likened to the main test but done online when the test cannot be taken by the applicants, in-person. It follows the usual format of the in-person test. The key features of the IELTS Indicator are;
- It is held online.
- It holds once, weekly.
- Also, it covers up all the four communication skills.
- It is an official IELTS product.
- It gives you an indicative score
- And, it is not a substitute for the in-person IELTS (test).
The IELTS indicator works as a live, online test with an allotted start time and duration. This indicator needs a suitable computer with reliable internet access. The listening, reading, and writing parts of the test are usually completed in one sitting with the speaking test done a few days before or after the other sections.
Not all organizations accept the IELTS Indicator but some others do. They use the indicator to assess the standard of applicants’ language abilities at a time when test takers are unable to access the in-person IELTS.
The total duration for the test is two hours and forty-five minutes (2h 45mins). The test is divided into four different parts as earlier mentioned. These parts are the listening, writing, reading, and speaking. The duration for Listening is thirty minutes (30mins). During the listening test, the test taker would listen to four recordings of native English speakers and then write down your answers to a series of questions.
The reading test is programmed for a duration of sixty minutes (60mins). The reading section consists of 40 questions, designed to test a wide range of reading skills. It includes reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for details, skimming, understanding logical argument, and recognizing writers’ opinions, attitudes, and purpose.
The writing test is done for sixty minutes (60mins). The topics of questions are of general interest to and suitable for test takers entering undergraduate and summarize studies or seeking professional registration.
The speaking test is carried out for about 11-14 minutes. The speaking section assesses your use of spoken English. Also, the speaking test is recorded too. The test has three parts. It is done to assess your fluency and coherence, lexical resource, grammatical range and accuracy, and pronunciation.
The IELTS Scale
The results of the test are graded in a unique way called the band scale. The grade range is 0 to 9. Below are the descriptions of the band scale.
- 9: (expert user) the test taker has a fully operational command of the language. Their use of English is appropriate, accurate, and fluent, and shows complete understanding.
- 8: (very good user) the test taker has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriate usage. They may misunderstand some things in unfamiliar situations. They handle complex and detailed argumentation well.
- 7: (good user) the test taker has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriate usage, and misunderstandings in some situations. They generally handle complex language well and understand detailed reasoning.
- 6: (competent user) the test taker has an effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriate usage, and misunderstandings. They can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
- 5: (modest user) the test taker has a partial command of the language and copes with overall meaning in most situations, although they are likely to make many mistakes. They should be able to handle basic communication in their own field.
- 4: (limited user) the test taker’s basic competence is limited to familiar situations. They frequently show problems in understanding and expression. They are not able to use complex language.
- 3: (extremely limited user) the test taker conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. There are frequent breakdowns in communication.
- 2: (intermittent user) the test taker has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.
- 1: (non-user) the test taker has no ability to use the language except a few isolated words.
- 0: (did not attempt the test) the test taker did not answer the questions.
Scores are given for each of the four parts of the test taken. These individual scores are then averaged and rounded to produce an overall band score.