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IELTS

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is the most popular and well-respected English language proficiency test in the world. It is used to assess English proficiency in a controlled manner which allows for a regulated system of English testing that can be used internationally. Therefore, this assessment is relied upon by governments, employers and universities in a number of countries to ensure a consistent standard of English proficiency.

Completing IELTS with a high score opens up a huge range of opportunities for those speaking English as a second language, including acceptance into English-speaking universities worldwide, employment opportunities as well as qualifying for immigration requirements.

 

IELTS Assessment information:

IELTS has four sections: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Each skill is individually assessed meaning that IELTS offers a comprehensive assessment of language proficiency. The Listening, Reading and Writing sections of the IELTs test are completed on the same day one after the other whilst the Speaking section of the assessment can be completed a week before or after this day. Each individual section will be given an individual score that will be combined with the other sections to give an average overall IELTS score.

 

 

Paper Content Time

 

Listening 40 questions Approximately 30 minutes (plus 10 minutes’ transfer time)
Reading 40 questions 60 minutes
Writing 2 tasks 60 minutes
Speaking 3 parts 11–14 minutes

 

 

Including all four sections of the assessment, the IELTS examination in total takes candidates 2 hours and 35 minutes. It is important to recognise that there are two types of IELTS: Academic and General Training. Whilst both types require candidates to take the same listening and speaking sections of the assessment, the reading and writing tests differ. This means it is incredibly important for candidates to understand which type of IELTS they will take so that they can prepare appropriately.

 

 

IELTS Academic: This assessment is tailored for those wishing to study in an English-speaking environment or at an English-speaking university. Therefore, it includes specific vocabulary that is likely to be found within an academic environment.

 

Academic Reading Assessment: This 60-minute examination consists of 40 questions. These questions are designed to test candidates reading skills such as reading for main ideas, skimming and understanding the writer’s opinions. The assessment requires candidates to read three long texts which are taken from a range of sources including books, journals and newspapers which have all been selected for those who are interested in pursuing higher education.

 

 

Academic Writing Assessment: Candidates have an hour to complete two tasks. Task 1: candidates are presented with a graph, table or diagram and are required to explain the information they have been given.  Example: Candidates are given a diagram of a machine and must explain how it works.  Task 2: Candidates write an essay in response to an opinion, argument or problem which must be written in a formal style.

 

IELTS General Training: The reading and writing sections of this IELTS exam are designed for those wishing to study below degree level such as school or college as well as those wishing to immigrate or work.

 

General Training Reading Assessment: This assessment also includes 40 questions but uses shorter texts than the academic assessment which focus instead on topics which are likely to appear in daily life. The texts therefore include advertisements, notices and company handbooks. This reading test is divided into three sections: social survival, workplace survival and general reading.

 

General Training Writing Assessment: Includes two tasks to be completed in an hour.  Task 1: Candidates are presented a situation and are asked to write a letter about it. Example:  Writing to a newspaper about a new local construction project. Task 2: Candidates are required to write an essay in response to a situation presented to them such as a viewpoint, argument or problem. This essay does not need to be written in a strictly formal style. Example: Whether smoking should be banned in public.

 

 

 

Listening Assessment (both Academic and General Training IELTS))

During this assessment all candidates will listen to four recordings, in total this section will take 30 minutes.

Recording 1: Conversation between two people discussing an everyday social topic.

Recording 2: Monologue (one person making a speech) also discussing an everyday social context.

Recording 3: A conversation between a group of people (up to 4 people) which will be set in an educational environment for example a student and teacher discussing an upcoming assessment.

Recording 4: A monologue about an academic subject.

 

Speaking Assessment (both Academic and General Training IELTS)

Candidates will partake in an oral interview with an examiner, all tests will be recorded. This test will take between 11 and 14 minutes.

Part 1: Candidates will be asked general questions about themselves by the examiner (these include topics such as family, work and interests).

Part 2: Candidates are given a topic and are given 1 minutes to prepare a speech of up to 2 minutes about the topic. Afterwards the examiner will ask 1 or 2 questions relating to the same topic.

Part 3: The examiner will ask further questions about the topic from Part 2, this section will last around 4-5 minutes and allows the candidate to expand on their opinions about the topic.

 

 

 

IELTS Score

After completing the examination candidates are given an IELTS score. The IELTS score scale ranges from Band 1 to Band 9. Depending on why the candidate is taking IELTS, different institutions require different IELTS scores from their applicants. For example, in the UK for a bachelor’s degree most universities require their students to possess at least band 6 in all four skills. However, some employment opportunities for example may require a much lower score.

 

 

IELTS score scale

 

9 Expert user The test taker has fully operational command of the language. Their use of English is appropriate, accurate and fluent, and shows complete understanding.
8 Very good user The test taker has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriate usage. They may misunderstand some things in unfamiliar situations. They handle complex and detailed argumentation well.
7 Good user The test taker has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings in some situations. They generally handle complex language well and understand detailed reasoning.
6 Competent user The test taker has an effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings. They can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
5 Modest user The test taker has a partial command of the language and copes with overall meaning in most situations, although they are likely to make many mistakes. They should be able to handle basic communication in their own field.
4 Limited user The test taker’s basic competence is limited to familiar situations. They frequently show problems in understanding and expression. They are not able to use complex language.
3 Extremely limited user The test taker conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. There are frequent breakdowns in communication.
2 Intermittent user The test taker has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.
1 Non-user The test taker has no ability to use the language except a few isolated words.
0 Did not attempt the test The test taker did not answer the questions.

 

 

How do you register for IELTS?

Due to the huge number of test locations available in over 140 countries, registering for IELTS is a fairly easy process. You can find your nearest test centre here. Once you have identified where you will take the test you can register for it by completing the online application form, pay online and submit it to your chosen test centre. It is worth noting that test centres can become fully booked, so it is advisable that you start this process as soon as possible.

 

 

 

How should you prepare for IELTS?

Due to its international reputation and widespread use, there are a huge selection of online resources which can help you to prepare for IELTS. It is important that you utilise a range of these freely accessibly resources, a list of some can be found below. The first step is to understand what is expected of you during the examination and a crucial element of this to address which type of IELTS you will be taking (academic or general training) and to understand what specifically expected your chosen assessment. The four sections of IELTS (Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing) all require different skills so it is useful to identify which skills you find particularly challenging from the beginning so that you can appropriately dedicate enough time to each section. A great way to identify your own strengths and weaknesses, as well as gain insight into the format of the exam is to take practice tests, a number of which can be found here.

 

 

Mayfair Consultants

At Mayfair Consultants our native English-speaking tutors are highly experienced in guiding candidates through the IELTS assessment. Having already helped many candidates successfully achieve their IELTS goals, we understand the challenges which are commonly faced by candidates and importantly how we can tackle them. With invaluable one-to-one tutoring sessions held in person across London, or online if you would prefer, we can tailor your lessons to suit your individual preparation for the exam. Our tutors can help you to identify your strengths and weaknesses and using these can help you to build a study plan which is specifically tailored to you, giving you the best chance at succeeding and reaching the IELTS level you need.

 

 

If you would like to arrange private lessons or have any questions about our tuition services, please call us on Tel: +44(0) 207 665 6606 or you can send us an email via our contact form.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Useful Links

 

https://www.ielts.org/  Official IELTS website.

 

https://takeielts.britishcouncil.org/ Useful information about IELTS as well as preparation materials and revision resources.

 

https://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams-and-tests/ielts/test-format/

 

https://www.ukuni.net/articles/ielts-requirements-applying-uk-university  Information about UK university entry requirements.

 

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/prove-your-english-language-abilities-with-a-secure-english-language-test-selt Information about UK visa requirements and English language level.

 

https://ulearn.education/ielts/

 

 

 

Preparation Resources:

 

https://www.britishcouncilfoundation.id/en/english/tips/right-way-prepare-ielts Step-by-step guide of how to prepare for IELTS.

 

https://www.english-exam.org/IELTS/practice_tests/35/ Free online practice tests for all four sections of the IELTS exam.

 

https://www.cambridge.org/gb/cambridgeenglish/catalog/cambridge-english-exams-ielts/ielts  IELTS textbooks

 

 

https://www.britishcouncil.it/en/exam/ielts/prepare/books Further information about textbooks recommended by the British Council.

 

https://www.ieltsbuddy.com/ Online resources to help prepare for IELTS.

 

https://www.ielts.org/usa/ielts-practice-test Official IELTS practice tests.

 

https://www.english-exam.org/IELTS/ielts_reading/ IELTS reading practice

 

https://www.ieltsadvantage.com/ielts-speaking/ Speaking test top tips and preparation techniques.

 

https://www.thelanguagegallery.com/blog/6-ways-to-improve-your-writing-skills-for-ielts  Helpful guidance for the IELTS written section.

 

https://www.bestmytest.com/ielts/listening Listening practice tests and information.

 

https://takeielts.britishcouncil.org/take-ielts/prepare/free-webinars Free webinars and study pack for those taking IELTS.

 

https://ielts.idp.com/prepare/academic-preparation Online information about IELTS, how to register and prepare.

 

https://www.esolcourses.com/revision/ielts.html Online lessons and revision tools for those learning English as a second language.

 

 

 

General ESOL revision links

 

https://www.linguahouse.com/

 

https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/

 

https://americanenglish.state.gov/materials-learning-english

 

https://www.cambridgeenglish.org/learning-english/

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/learningenglish/

 

https://en.islcollective.com/english-esl-worksheets/search/material

 

https://lingua.com/english/reading/

 

https://www.fluentu.com/blog/english/

 

https://www.englishcentral.com/browse/videos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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