If you intend to study an undergraduate or a postgraduate course at an English University or college, you should be taking the Academic Training Exams. Also professionals planning to work in English speaking countries are required to take the Academic Training Exam. The General Training Exam tests the general communications skills needed to live or work in the English speaking countries.
Contact your nearest examination center or visit the official IELTS website (www.ielts.org) for further details on the application procedure and location of test centers.
Test fees are centrally set by the British council and its partners for a year at a time. It is easy to find out the cost of the test by contacting your test center. In case of you cannot take the test, contact your test center as soon as possible.
Since May 2005, a computer based IELTS has become available in selected test centers around the world. These usually take place at alternative days to the paper test. If you opt for CB-IELTS, Reading and Listening Module will be available on the computer. If you are not comfortable with typing, you can give your Writing exam on paper. The speaking section would be face to face. To check out whether you center offers computer based versions, please visit www.ielts.org .
The complete IELTS test takes around 2 hours and 45 minutes. The Listening, Reading and Writing modules are taken in one sitting. There will be no breaks. The Speaking test will be taken within seven days before or after the other three modules are done. Though it is usually taken the same afternoon or within 2 or 3 days, be sure to contact your test center regarding the exam.
Your results will be mailed to you on your home address or your educational institute within two weeks of you taking the test. Your overall band will be given on the Test Report Form, as well as a summary of your scores in the four separate sections.
A band is a level of ability in IELTS. In each section, you can score anywhere from a band of 0 (non-user) to a band of 9 (expert user).Listening and Reading modules award a mark for every correct answer. This number is later on converted into a band using a conversion table. Thus, the overall band will be the average scores of all the four sections and can be given in whole or half bands.
A broad description is covered for each of the nine bands. The overall band requirement for each institution or government body may differ. A band of 6.5 or 7 is necessary for university admission.
|9||Expert user||Fully operational command of the language : appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding|
|8||Very good user||Fully operational command of the language with only occasional inaccuracies and inappropriacies. Handles complex detailed argumentation well. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations|
|7||Good user||Has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands desired reasoning.|
|6||Competent user||Has generally effective command of the language despite some in accuracies and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations|
|5||Modest user||Has partial command of the language, coping with overall meaning in most situations, though likely to make many mistakes. Should be able to handle basic communication in own field|
|4||Limited user||Basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has a frequent problem in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language|
|3||Extremely limited users||Conveys and understand only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.|
|2||Intermittent user||No real communication is possible except for the most basic information using isolated words or short formulas in familiar situations. Has great difficulty in understanding spoken and written English|
|1||Nonuser||Essentially has no ability to use the language beyond some isolated words|
|0||Did not attempt the test||No information provided|
An IELTS score is valid for 2 years. Some institutions may accept your score after 2 years also, if you can prove that you have maintained the level of your language. If you are applying for admission to post graduate institutions, they will consider your last test score
You can retake the test anytime you want to and as often as you wish. However, three months should be the minimum amount of time that average learners need to improve their score. In these three months, candidates should continue their efforts in improving their language.
SELF PRACTICING ACTIVITIES
- Reviewing a book or a movie:
Read a book (reading) or watch a movie (listening). Summarize their plot, their settings and characters and make a list of all the points why you like the book or movie. Pretend to be a book reviewer or a movie critic for a newspaper or a website. Write a review of the book or movie with your opinions or recommendations (writing). Give an oral presentation to your friends or family. (Speaking). Record a video and listen to it again, identifying your mistakes. Correct your mistakes and record it again.
When you are done with a book or a movie, start again with a new book or a movie
- Discuss any event:
Pick an event from the newspaper and read the articles relating to it. Write a short essay on the event. (Writing) Give a presentation about it. (Speaking)Make your video detailing the event. Then watch the video presentation and write down what is being said and understood by you. (Listening) Correct the mistakes you made and record again. Once done, fins a new event to work on.
- Report the news:
Listen to an English news channels on radio or watch CNN, BBC on TV. Take notes as you listen. Write a summary of what you heard. Pretend that you are the news reporter. Report the news and record yourself. Use the notes you made while listening. Then watch the video and identify your mistakes. Correct your mistakes and start on with a new program.
- Plan a trip:
Choose a city or a country you are planning to visit. Go to a hotel’s website, choose a room and choose other tourist spots to visit. Write a report about the city. Describe the tourist spots u would like to visit. Explain why you would like to visit the city. Describe the hotel and its rooms. Also plan out the local eating spots and shopping areas. Now write a letter to someone recommending the city Pretend that you are going to give a lecture on your planned trip. Make a video and jot down the points you listen. Correct any mistakes and record the presentation again. Then choose another city and repeat the exercise.
- Shop for an electronic product:
Choose an electronic product and research on it. Visit different shops to enquire about the features and price. Write a report about the product detailing its features and comparison of prices in different shops. Then write a letter to your friend recommending the product. Make a sales pitch for the product. Record a video and listen to your notes. Write down the points and identify mistakes. Choose a new product and start all over again
- Express an opinion:
Read a letter to the editor in the newspaper. Write a letter in response in which you say whether or not you agree with the opinion expressed in the first letter. Explain why. Pretend you have to give a speech regarding your opinion on the topic. Make a video of yourself and watch the video. Jot down the points and correct your mistakes. Then read another letter to the editor and do this again.
- Summarize a TV show:
Watch a TV show in English. Take notes as you listen. After watching, write a summary of the show. Use your notes to give an oral summary of the show. Explain the characters, setting and plot. Make a video of yourself. Then watch the video and write down what you think about it. Correct any mistakes and record it again.
EXAM DAYS TIPS
- Read all the communications from the center carefully. You will receive directions or advice on nearby hotels.
- Be a little early to the center. If you live far away, you may want to arrive a day earlier or night before.
- Be comfortable. Don’t wear clothes that make you feel different or awkward.
- Don’t bring unnecessary items with you to the testing center. Only pencils, rubbers, pens and water bottle will be allowed inside the testing rooms. Everything else, will have to be left outside the testing rooms.
- Please bring the identification with you in the testing room. The test administrators usually ask for a passport. You will be asked to arrive at the testing center at least 30 minutes ahead of the time for check in and identification check. Anyone who arrives late will not be allowed to enter the room.
- The Listening, Reading and Writing parts of the test last about 3 hours .You will have to remain in your seat even if you have finished the test early.
- You will be permitted to leave the room to go to the restroom if necessary. Raise your hand and quietly ask the person in charge for permission. Do not disturb the other test takers.
- The last part is the speaking test.it takes up to 20 minutes. This is a face to face interview, so each test taker will be assigned a time for his or her interview. You probably won’t know the time for your interview, so be prepared to spend most of the day at the center
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