You’re not sure which English test you should choose. Since there are several wide choices available, find out how IELTS works and what IELTS can do to help you decide.
What is the IELTS test?
First of all, IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System. It is the most widely known test in the world. It is issued by the British Council, IELTS Australia, the Cambridge Engilsh Language Assessment and the IDP. Every year, about 2 million people take the test. With at least 9,000 institutions and government departments recognizing it.
Taking the IELTS test is highly recommended for working or studying abroad, as it is accredited by several universities. Sometimes it is even compulsory in some English-speaking universities. However, in the United States, TOEFL is the most popular test.
There are several English tests, but the IELTS is highly recommended for English-speaking countries with British and non-American languages.
Normally, the results of your tests will be available online about ten days after the written exam. You will then receive your certificate or TFR, which stands for Test Report Form, by post. It is advisable to keep it safe, as the British Council will no longer provide you with an original document. Practice online to avoid surprises by visiting a specialised online teaching platforms like global-exam.com for instance.
The IETLS test categories
There are 2 categories of IELTS tests for the assessment of writing, reading, talking and listening skills. On the one hand, the Academic or Academic IELTS module for students who want to enter university. This test assesses written expression and reading comprehension on academic subjects. And on the other hand, there is the General Training IELTS module for professionals or for immigration to an English-speaking country. This test assesses written expression and reading comprehension on general subjects.
But if you are a student but interested in an internship in an English-speaking country, IELTS general training is recommended.
IELTS test structures
The IELTS test is normally taken in one day, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with breaks between each test. First, you take the listening comprehension test, which lasts about 40 minutes with 40 questions. You will be given questions on training and educational topics as well as social issues. Then there is the reading comprehension test which also lasts 1 hour with 40 questions. The texts vary from magazines to newspapers and books. This test is followed by a long break of 20 min to continue with the written expression test of one hour duration with 2 parts with 2 essays of 150 words for 20 min and 250 words for 40 min. And finally, the tests end with the oral expression test which is an individual interview that lasts 15 min.
Your mark will vary from 1 to 9, from “non user” to “expert user”: 1 for Non user, 2 for Intermittent user, 3 for Extremely limited user, 4 for Limited user, 5 for Modest user, 6 for Competent user, 7 for Good user, 8 for Very good user and 9 for Expert user.
But if you do not reach the minimum score required, you must wait 3 months to retake an IELTS test. You can take the test as many times as you like, there is no limit to the number of tests you can take. So don’t be disappointed if you don’t pass on the first try.
Some practical advice on which tests to take
You will be evaluated according to your oral fluency and coherence by the fluidity of your speech. But also by your vocabulary richness through your lexical resource. The assessors will correct your grammar according to correct syntax. And the most important thing is your accent in English.
Try to reduce your language tics, if English is not your mother tongue, you will tend to use the tic “uh…”, you can avoid it by a short silence or the word “well” in English, so that you will seem to think well and weigh your words well.
Keep the rhythm in your words, neither too fast nor too slow. In each case you are penalized, follow the flow of the examiner to help you find your way around.
Ask again if you don’t understand a question. There are expressions made about this in English such as “Could you repeat your statement, please” or “I beg your pardon, but I did not understand what you’ve just said”. Asking these questions will help you save time and make you feel comfortable.
Manage your time well, you have about 2 minutes to answer the drawn question and the examiner starts the interview. If you arrive at 1 min 45 s you can answer the questions in short sentences, as speaking little is penalized.