The International English Language Testing System, or IELTS, is an international standardised test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers.It is jointly managed by Cambridge English Language Assessment, the British Council and IDP Education Pvt Ltd, and was established in 1989. IELTS is one of the major English-language tests in the world, others being the TOEFL, TOEIC and OPI/OPIc.
WHAT IS THE IELTS USED FOR?
There are a lot of purposes for taking the test:
- For further academic pursuits such as Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate degrees
- Nurses, doctors and other professionals also use the IELTS to work and reside in the UK, US, Canada, or Australia
- To join one’s spouse (husband/wife) in the UK it is required by the Border Agency to have IELTS scores submitted to meet VISA requirements
- There are other uses of the IELTS.
TYPES OF IELTS
- UKVI Academic – used for academic purposes and registration for PLAB as well as for joining the Nurses and Midwifery Association in the UK.
- UKVI General Training
- Standard Academic – for those using the test scores for academic purposes and professional registration as nurses in the US, Australia, Canada, Germany, and all other countries except the UK
- Standard General Training – for work & residence permits in Canada & Australia and for those studying below degree level
- UKVI Life Skills A1 – for joining one’s spouse (husband/wife) in the UK for settlement.
- UKVI Life Skills B1 – for entry into the UK as an entrepreneur
- There are exam dates spread throughout the year and there is at least a date each month for the IELTS. Sometimes there are two sittings. For 2018, the following are the dates …CLICK HERE
TEST CONTENT & DURATION
Both the standard and UKVI (AC/GT) IELTS have four (4) modules: Speaking, Listening, Reading & Writing.
Speaking – 11 to 15 minutes (based on real exams situations)
Listening – 30 minutes plus 10 minutes transfer time
Reading – I hour
Writing – 1hour
This is an oral interview with a certificated examiner. It is blocked into three (3) parts.
Part 1 – Introduction and Interview:
The candidate is asked personal questions on everyday situations and issues. Questions may be about one’s full name, nationality, work/study, residence, hobbies and others. The examiner selects a handful of questions on a familiar topic such as health, leisure, communication, travel, sports, meetings, colours, shopping, etc.
Part 2 – Individual long-turn:
The examiner gives the candidate a cue (task) on a card to which s/he responds. During this, the candidate has to describe a (n) event, place, person or object. One minute is allowed for planning before the rendition.
Part 3 – Two-way discussion: This is more detailed and needs a lot of development using illustrations and transitional devices. This is the final phase of the speaking test and is usually related to the topic of part 2
This phase of the IELTS test presents the candidate with audio recordings which are either monologues (lectures/talks) or dialogues (conversations). The accent in which the audio is rendered can be British, American, Canadian, Australian, Chinese or sometimes Indian. Extreme care should be taken when letters such as ‘a’, ‘I’ or ‘e’ are being spelt especially in Australian accent as the difference in sound is nuanced.
The candidate is given some time to read the questions before the audio starts.
There are four (4) sections each comprising ten (10) questions.
- multiple choice,
- table completion,
- form completion,
- diagram labelling,
- Flow-chart completion etc.
Subtle Tricks embedded in the listening and Strategies to Overcome them.
- The questions would not be transcripts of the audio recordings therefore test takers should expect synonymous phrases and words and apply the meaning of items that are being played to the questions.
- There are questions that require spelling of names, addresses, codes, numbers etc. These are avenues for cheap marks and must be grabbed since they are predictable. Candidates should note, nonetheless, that spelling are sometimes elusive due to the extremely similarity of Australian and Canadian pronunciation of letters such as A, E, & I,
- The number of words to write for an answer on blank filling questions might be restricted. Take note of that!
- The order of the wording of a question may not follow the arrangement of the way it is rendered in the audio. That is things at the beginning of the audio may come last in the questions. Ensure you understand most, if not all, of the dialogue or monologue.
This section presents comprehension passages that candidates must read and answer. It has three main sections that has a total of 40 questions to be completed in one (1) hour.
There is no extra time allowed for transfer of answers so candidates should do well to answer unto the answer sheet while working through the passages.
The questions types on the reading test comprise:
Matching Headings/ Identifying Information (T/F/NG)/ Notes Completion/Flow-Chart Completion/ Sentence Completion/ Summary Completion/ Matching Features/ Multiple Choice Questions/ Specific Details Questions, Matching Information (GT) and others.
Candidates must employ active and speed reading techniques to be able to survive on the time-constrained reading module.
The writing section is the composition segment. There are two (2) writing tasks. Task 1 is different for each module whereas Task 2 is similar in substance.
Those sitting the GT module have to write either formal or non-formal letter. When writing the letter candidates must have regard for format, language, tone and relevant paragraphing and paragraph development.
IELTS Academic writing Task 1 requires candidates to summarise information from a graph, chart, table, map or a process diagram. The point here is that one would have to look at a graphical representations and summarise that into a written piece. Appropriate format and relevant development of content should be done in order to earn high marks.
This task requires an essay to be composed. It should be written in prose and not bulleted. It may require candidates to:
(a) Agree or disagree with a motion
(b) Discuss two valid views on an issue and present one’s opinion
(c) Tell one’s extent of agreement or disagreement
(d) Write on the causes and solutions (effects) of an issue or
(f) Defend whether the advantages of a phenomenon outweigh the disadvantages
(g) Deal with Hybrid questions that contain more than one requirement and need to be adequately responded to
In answering the Task 2, candidates should ensure they lay the essay out in clearly indented/ lined paragraphs, develop each paragraph insightfully, use transitional devices and avoid or minimise grammatical and other errors.
The fees vary for each type of test and are subject to variation but as of May 2018, these apply:
UKVI Academic – GHc 1,254.00
Standard (AC & GT) – GHc 1,084.00
Life Skills A1 – GHc 940.50
Life Skills B1 – GHc 940.50
Each module is scored in bands of 0-9 with a 0.5 point median range. The conversion is shown in the table below:
VALIDITY OF RESULT
The IELTS result expires after two (2) year from the date of issuance of the result card.