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IELTS Preparation Guide

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Some Background on IELTS

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS), is one of the most important tests that make or break your dreams of studying abroad. Read on to know all about the IELTS syllabus, preparation tips, scoring system, & more!!

The IELTS exam is a language proficiency test designed for non-native English speakers to assess their language skills. Recognized by most of the universities in the world, especially in Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, and United States IELTS is a major academic prerequisite that opens doors to international education. According to experts, the best way to ace the IELTS test is by thorough preparation and attempting an IELTS sample paper.

IELTS is regarded as the most popular English test for people who wish to study or work abroad. Therefore, it has two different modules; General and Academic. While the general module is for candidates planning to work abroad or for immigration purposes, students who wish to study abroad take up the academic module. In this guide, we tell you all about the IELTS academic test.

IELTS Syllabus

Listening Section

The listening paper has a total of 40 questions divided in 4 different tasks which are to be finished in 30 minutes. Candidates have 10 minutes extra as a transfer time which is the time given to shift the final answers to the answer sheet. IELTS experts suggest that the candidates write rough answers on the question paper as they listen to the audio to avoid hustle. The candidate listens to 4 different recordings, played only once.

The recordings will be in a variety of voices with native-speaker accents. They can be a one on one conversation or a monologue on any topic. The questions range from multiple-choice, matching, map or diagram labeling, form completion, note completion, summary completion, and short answers.

Reading Section

The reading paper has 3 passages with a total of 40 questions divided into a number of tasks. The candidate is expected to complete the paper in 60 minutes. The questions in different tasks range from multiple-choice, matching information, diagram labeling and identifying information (question type: true or false). The distribution of the number of questions in the tasks is not fixed.

Writing Section

Writing test consists of two sections with a total test time of 60 minutes. Section one consists of various types of visual information(e.g: graphs or pi diagrams). The candidates are expected to elaborate the visual information in precisely 150 words. Section two consists of a topic to write on where candidates elaborate on an argument or a topic in not less or more than 250 words.

Speaking Section

Speaking test is an interview with the examiner which lasts up to 11-14 minutes. The test consists of 3 tasks. Task one is typically an introduction or an interview wherein the examiner asks the candidate for a personal introduction. The interview can go on for about 4-5 minutes. In the second task, a task card is given to the candidate containing a topic to speak on. 1 minute is given to jot down the notes and 1-2 minutes are given to talk on the given topic.

At the end of the 2 minutes, the examiner can ask a couple of questions based on your topic. Task three is related to the previous task. The topic from task two is discussed in-depth and in an abstract way. This task can end up for 4-5 minutes. In some cases, the speaking test is conducted on a different day.

Scoring System

Understand your IELTS Score

The IELTS score is based on 0-9 bands. Each paper of IELTS weighs 9 bands. The individual scores of each paper are rounded up to a final score. The score rounds up to nearest 0.5 or whole band if the score turns up to 0.75 or 0.25. Usually, universities expect at least 6.5-7 bands. Some universities might ask for individual paper scores as well.

Listening and reading scores depend on the number of correct answers. While the writing scores are based on completion of the task and its grammatical accuracy. The scores of speaking are based on fluency, pronunciation, grammatical accuracy. Many claim that the best way to get a high IELTS score is to attempt at least one IELTS sample paper before the main exam. 

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