09 Nov What Is IELTS?
Every year hundreds of thousands of people take an IELTS test, in order to immigrate to Australia, Canada or New Zealand or simply study at an international University in an English speaking country. What is the IELTS Test?
IELTS is short for the International English language testing system, and is a recognized form of language testing for immigration, work or study purposes in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Singapore. In the case of the first three countries, in order to immigrate, work or study there, you need to take an IELTS test.
The actual IELTS test is divided into two separate categories- Academic, and General training. If you wish to live or work in Australia, Canada or New Zealand, you do need to take a General Training IELTS test, before your visa is approved. The academic IELTS test is for those people who want to study at University or work in a specialized profession.
IELTS is based on a band, which means no one fails the test, but is given a level from 0-9, based on how well they performed in the test. Most IELTS students have a target to reach, so psychologically this is their own pass or fail score. The Australian Canadian, and New Zealand government sets this band, which is currently 6.5 for Canada, and 7 for Australia- in the General Training Test.
A higher educational institute like a University, sets it’s own required band, depending on a number of factors, for example whether you are funding your own education or taking a scholarship. Recently some Colleges in the United States, the UK, and Singapore accept a required IELTS band for new students. A typical band score is 5.5- 6. for a bachelor degree, and 6.5 for a Masters degree.
Both IELTS tests have the same format, a Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing Test, which is tested in a wide variety of facilities worldwide- computers or the internet are not used during this test. The two main differences are that the writing and speaking sections in the general training test are much easier than in the academic modules, but both still use the same test for listening, and speaking.
The majority of students who take an IELTS test agree on three points, it can be very challenging, with a lot of self study, and practice. Many students take a course at a language school, and study by themselves or with friends at home, however eventually most students do reach their required score.
One mistake many IELTS students do make is to take the test, without any knowledge of how the test works. Some students leave taking an IELTS course too late, and struggle because of the lack of time needed to reach their required band. It is better to research the test on the internet, and ensure you have enough time to study, & practice for the test.
IELTS courses are available online, through most language schools, and some national Universities. One tip is to ensure you are take the right test, whether it is academic or general training, and start practicing as early as possible.
In the future more countries are using the IELTS test as a personal assessment of your English language skills, and some businesses ask job applicants for their IELTs score. In the case of Australia, and New Zealand speakers of English as a first language, are sometimes required to take an IELTS test, to reach the required points needed to move to their respective countries.
Mark W. Medley