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Introduction to IELTS

01 June
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is the most popular method of assessing our English language proficiency. It has a score level ranging from 0 to 9. Everyone has a misunderstanding that ‘I will fail in IELTS’ and it makes everyone to step back. In fact, there is no pass or fail in IELTS. Once you take the IELTS test you obtain a score - hoping for the best 7 to 9. Higher the score in IELTS more the possibility of accepting your application or being shortlisted to the position you have applied.
It helps the other party to identify how well you can communicate with a native speaker in an English speaking country. The main countries asking for IELTS score are UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. For higher studies in the universities, migration and for work IELTS test score is made mandatory by majority of the universities, government departments and employers.
There are two types of IELTS
1. Academic IELTS (To apply for higher studies in abroad Universities and for Professional Jobs)
2. General IELTS (Migration purposes)
General IELTS will be comparatively easier than Academic. Listening and Speaking test remains the same for both Academic and General IELTS. However, reading passages will be comparatively easier in General IELTS. Writing task differs in Writing Task 1. General IELTS will have letter writing in this session whereas Academic writing task 1is analyzing a graph or diagram
Whether to take Academic IELTS or General IELTS should be finalized after consulting with the experts.
There are 4 different Modules in the IELTS:
1. Listening (40 Minutes)
2. Reading (60 Minutes)
3. Writing (60 Minutes)
4. Speaking (12-14 Minutes)
The first 3 modules will be conducted on the same day at a stretch and the latter is conducted on the previous day or a day later.
1. Listening:
Things to note:
Write the answers on the question paper. Don’t worry of corrections or over writing because you get additional 10 minutes to transfer your answers to a separate answer sheet at the end of the test.
Depending on the test center you might either get a separate headphone or it might be on common speaker for all the students
Reading the Instructions in the beginning of each session is more important than answering a question. If you fail to read each word in the instruction you might lose the answers of the complete session.
Your Job:
A CD is played for 30 minutes and Test Taker needs to answer 36-40 questions within a duration of 30 minutes.  In this module the test taker does 3 activities at a time. He/she needs to listen to the conversations in a CD, Read the questions on the question paper and write down the answers on the question paper itself. Lots of concentration is required in this session as you do listening, reading and writing at a time. At the end of the test you are given 10 minutes to transfer the answers to the answer sheet.
There are 4 parts in the listening:
- First would be a conversation between two people. Eg. A customer contacting a hotel receptionist and booking a room. This part will be comparatively easier. As the listening progresses it becomes tougher.
- Second part is a monologue - only one person does a paper presentation or gives a lecturing on a topic
- In the next part of the CD there are 3-4 people involved in the conversation.  For eg., 1 lecturer and 2 or 3 students in a class room.  This might be comparatively little tougher since we need to identify different accents and guess who speeks what.
- The last session is again a monologue - For eg., a speaker does a paper presentation
In the third and fourth sessions it is tough because, the conversations are little lenghthy and answers  to two questions might be at intervals or coming very closer sometimes.
2. Reading:
Things to note:
- Manager your time (you are given 60 minutes and the job is more)
- There are 3 passages to complete and it becomes tougher as the reading progresses. Hence, ensure to finish the first passage in 17 minutes, second passage in 20 minutes and the last passage 23 minutes.
- You don’t get additional time or separate answer sheet for writing the answers.
- Don’t waste your valuable time on finding out the meaning of a particular word. Move to the next line, you might see the meaning of the word paraphrased there!
There will be 3 different passages
The three passages shall be articles, or any kind of research paper. First passage is comparatively easier. As the reading progresses it becomes tougher.
Main type of questions:
Give a heading to the paragraphs
Answer with True, False, Not Given / Yes, No, Not Given
Filling the Blanks
Completing the Sentence
Marking things on a map
3. Writing:
Things to Know:
- This is the last task of the day. You have already spent 2 hours with listening and reading tests and you are exhausted. However, need to manage the task with proper planning to score well.
- Manage your time (Task 1- 20 Minutes and Task 2- 40 Minutes = 60 Minutes)
- Better to write with pencil
- Ensure to finish the task 1 within 20 minutes itself – task two carries more weightage than task 1
General IELTS Task 1 one is just a kind of letter writing (150 Words and approximately 20 minutes) For example, write a letter to the Librarian informing about the disturbances in the library as a group students consider it like a recreational hall.
Academic IELTS Task 1 is analyzing and explaining a graph or diagram (150 Words). Try to complete the task in 20 minutes. In case of a graph try to use the words like: increase, decrease, decline, rapid growth, slightly high, considerable growth, rapid fall, erotic growth etc.
Writing Task 2- Essay Writing: (250 Words and approximately 40 minutes) Essay writing can be of different types such as agree/disagree questions, giving your opinion, Discussion of both the views on a topic. The topic would be very common and any student can answer. Eg. Encouraging and spending money on public transportation leads to the economic growth of the country. Agree or Disagree?
Try to answer the question 250 words. It can go more than 250 but never less. The answer should be well structured with an Introduction, two or three paragraphs and conclusion. The essay should be logically developed. Try to use good vocabularies, complex sentences and avoid grammar mistakes.
4. Speaking:
Speaking session lasts for 12 to 14 minutes. You will be sitting in front of an examiner and a tape recorder will be on. The test has got three session as below:
First Part:
Self-introduction and some warm up questions (your home town, hobby, culture, tradition etc) It lasts for 3-4 minutes
Second Part:
Cue Card Topic- Examiner gives you a piece of paper with one main question and 3-4 sub questions as below
Speak about Your favorite movie
Which is the movie?
Where did you watch the movie?
With whom did you watch the movie?
Why is it favorite to you?
You will have one minute to think and plan your answer. A sheet of paper and pencil will be given to note down the main points you want to talk.
You will speak for two minutes continuously on the topic without any interference from the examiner. Keep on talking till the examiner stops you.
Third Part:
This is the last part of the speaking task and here there will be some lengthy discussion questions about the cue card topic. In the above cue card the discussion questions as below.
You prefer to watch the movie on TV or in the theater
What are the other entertainment programs in your city
Is there any difference between movies in the past and current movies
How often do you go for movies
And… that is the end of your speaking test.