Do you want to work, study or live abroad? IELTS is one of the means that will help you to make your project come true. More than 10,000 public and private organisations accept it and more than 3 million people take it every year. Just like TOEFL and TOEIC, IELTS or International English Language Testing System is one of the internationally recognized tests of the English language.
What is IELTS?
Presentation of IELTS: a test to assess a person’s level in the English language. Anyone wishing to study or work in an English-speaking environment is eligible to take this test.
There are two versions of the IELTS test:
– IELTS Academic for students who want to enter higher education institutions abroad. The test focuses on academic subjects;
– IELTS General Training for professionals who want to work abroad. The test assesses written comprehension and expression on general subjects.
The IELTS certificate is valid for 2 years. Beyond 2 years, the candidate may be asked to justify if his/her level of knowledge is still the same or higher than that indicated on the certificate.
Why taking IELTS Exam?
IELTS is an alternative to the TOEFL test coordinated by the British Council, the University of Cambridge and IDP Education Australia. That is why it is recognized in several prestigious universities around the world.
It also opens the door to access 9000 public and private organizations in 140 English-speaking countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, etc. But also in non-English speaking countries and professional organizations.
Even though to enter universities in the United States, the test required is TOEFL. Now more than 2000 American institutions accept IELTS for foreigners to enter these institutions.
The test includes 4 language tests for each version :
– The listening test to assess listening comprehension which consists of 40 questions. The test lasts 40 minutes. The candidate listens to an audio recording and writes the answers on an answer sheet.
– Reading to assess the candidate’s written comprehension. The test also includes 40 questions for one hour. The candidate reads several texts in order to be able to answer the corresponding questions.
– The writing is a written test divided into two parts and lasts one hour. The first part consists of commenting on a graph or table for IELTS academic and writing a letter for IELTS general training. In the second part the candidate has to write a short essay based on a question or argument.
– The speaking test to assess oral proficiency and lasts 11-14 minutes. Usually this test takes place the day before the written tests in front of an examiner.
What are the IELTS scores?
Each test is scored from 0 to 9 and then averaged to give an overall score. In addition, the final score of the IELTS test is on a scale of 0 to 9. Each score is assigned to a specific level of English:
– 0: for a candidate who was not present on the test.
– 1: “non-user”: candidates are unable to speak English apart from a few words.
– 2: “intermittent user”: candidates have difficulty understanding and speaking English. They are not able to use ready-made formulas or isolated words, making it impossible to communicate with them.
– 3: “extremely limited user”: candidates can communicate in simple situations, but there are still many errors.
– 4: “limited user”: candidates are able to use English in situations with which they are familiar. They have very limited English language skills.
– 5: “modest user”: candidates are proficient in English, but not quite. They are likely to make mistakes.
– 6: “competent user”: candidates are proficient in English except for a few approximations. They are able to use English on a daily basis.
– 7: “good user”: candidates have a good command of the English language, but can make mistakes in unfamiliar situations.
– 8: “very good user”: candidates have a very good command of the language with occasional errors.
– 9: “expert user”: candidates have a complete command of the language. Their level is close to bilingualism.
How to prepare for IELTS?
There are several ways to prepare for IELTS. Intensive courses are mainly for people who lack self-confidence. Sometimes candidates need to take a special course to reinforce the knowledge they have already acquired. Exercises are also essential for a successful IELTS to put the theory into practice. There are several exercises in books and on the internet. In addition, taking online tests or mock tests help to familiarise yourself with the tests and to better manage your time.