IELTS (International English Language testing System) is accepted worldwide for people wishing to go abroad to study or work. The aim of IELTS is to test your ability to communicate in English, so that when you are in an English speaking country you will be able to live, work or study effectively.
There are two kinds of test:
Academic : if you wish to study abroad
General : if you are going abroad to work
The test is in four sections:
Speaking : this tests your spoken English skills. It takes into account, vocabulary, grammar, fluency and understanding of word usage, also sentence structure, comprehension of questions and pronunciation. This section takes approximately twenty minutes. In both academic and general IELTS this section is the same.
Writing : your writing skills are tested in two ways. In the general test you are required to write a letter on a given topic, followed by a longer essay again on a given topic usually of general interest. In the academic part one involves reporting information given in a graph, chart or map with the second part being similar to the general test but on a more intellectual topic. This section takes one hour.
Listening : this section deals with your ability to understand and record information from an audio passage. It may be a conversation, lecture or dialogue. You only get to hear the audio once so it’s important to read the questions carefully and make notes. This section takes one hour and is in four section.
The training prepares you for the kind of questions that are likely to be asked, what is expected of you throughout the test and provides practice in all four sections. Initially you will be given an informal assessment of your spoken and written English to judge the level of your grammar and that your overall standard of English is good enough to achieve the desired banding level. If we feel your standard is not high enough we will direct you towards special grammar classes as part of your IELTS preparation.
How IELTS is scored :
There are nine bands of ability for your overall score as well as nine bands within each section. You are described as ‘user of English’ as shown below:
There are two kinds of test:
Nine band : expert user
Eight band : Very good user
Seven band : Good user
Six band : Competent user
Five band : Modest user
Four band : Limited user
Three band : Extremely limited user
Two band : Intermittent user
One band : Non user
Zero band : Did not attempt the test
Depending on your purpose for going abroad you will be given a minimum banding that must be achieved by the body which administers your application, for example a university in Canada may require you to achieve an overall banding of seven with a minimum of six in each section, where as an employer in the UK may require a six band overall with a minimum of five point five in all four sections.