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IELTS Test Preparation Tips


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IELTS – FAQ

What is ‘IELTS?’ I have heard that there are different formats of the test, how can I know which one is right for me? Hundreds of such questions crowd in the minds of the test takers. They often feel clueless about getting the ‘Exact and Clear Answers’. Below you find  answers to the most common and most important Frequently Asked Questions:

General Questions

What is ‘IELTS’?

The ‘International English Language Testing System’ or the ‘IELTS’ is one of the most reputed and trusted ‘English Language Testing System’ across the world. Every year, approximately 2.5 million students/candidates appear in the test from different countries. The test is accepted by more than 140 countries and approximately 9000 institutions/organizations around the world. As suggested by the name it is the test of proficiency in ‘English Language’, which provides the certificate of the ‘Ultimate Proficiency of a candidate in all forms of the English Language’. It assesses the proficiency of a candidates ‘Speaking’, ‘Listening (and understanding)’, ‘Reading (and grasping)’ and ‘Writing’ skills in English.

What is the purpose of the IELTS Test?

The IELTS Tests are designed and patterned in such a manner, that the candidates really need to shed a lot of sweat to get a Good Band Score. So, a successful candidate with a ‘Good Band Score 7 or more’ is assumed to have adequate knowledge of all forms the English language. Such candidates are expected to handle verbal, or written communication with native speakers in the field of study, work or day to day life in a foreign English speaking country. So, the purpose of the IELTS is to filter out the most competent top notch candidates and thus diminishing the hassles of both the candidates and the absorbing bodies. The unsuccessful candidates understand that they are not properly prepared to scale the fence. While, the ‘Institutions/Organizations’ breathe a sigh of relief, by getting an easy route to choose the right candidates. Some major English-speaking countries also gauge the IELTS scores for immigration purposes.

Are there any fixed dates for the IELTS Tests?

There are 48 fixed IELTS test days in a year and up to 4 times a month.

In which accent I would have to speak in the speaking test?

In the IELTS Speaking tests, the candidates are expected to speak in perfect English accent, without any ‘Mother Tongue Bias’. So, whether you are an American or a British or one from the non-English speaking country, you are supposed to speak in ‘International English’ accent. You might follow the free video lessons from the Internet on ‘Listening Test’ or ‘Speaking Test’ to have a clear idea.

What are the fees for IELTS Academic Test and IELTS General Training Test?

For information related to fees, you should better contact your local test center, otherwise, if you apply online for taking the test, you would come to know during applying.

If I get delayed in reaching the test center due to ‘Unavoidable Circumstances’ what would happen?

Considering the gravity of the situation and on the confirmation that your statement is true the center supervisor might allow you to appear for the next available test date.

How much marks should I get to pass the IELTS Test?

There is no pass or fail system in the IELTS. Marks are given on a Band Score system from 1 to 9. Band Score 1 means the worst, while Band Score 9 means the best. In general, a Band Score 7 or 7+ are regarded as good scores. Though candidates should be aware of that ‘Different Institutes/Organizations’ seek different ‘Band Scores’ for providing entry. In each section of the test, you would be given a Band Score, your final Band Score would be the average of the 4 Band Scores. For example: Say, your Band Score in the speaking test is 7, in the listening test it is 7, in the reading test, it is 9, and in the writing test it is 9 again. So, your average Band Score would be = (7+7+9+9) / 4 or = Band Score 8. (That’s a very good score and assures a bright future). Details of providing band Scores are given below in a tabular form.

Which accents would be used for the ‘Listening Test’?

The IELTS is an international test, so a variety of English languages would be there, like the ‘America Accent’, the ‘British Accent’ and a few more. When you would be preparing yourself for the test, whether using the free stuff from the Internet or under any ‘Coaching Center’, you would get to know in details about all these.

What materials should I be allowed to carry into the test room?

You would be allowed to take with you into the test room – Pen, pencil, eraser. Everything else you would have to leave outside the room in a place under the responsibility of a concerned person of the test center. But do remember that you would have to produce your identity proof document like your ‘Passport’ or ‘National Identity Card’ as applicable.

How candidates get the score for their performance? (How the band scores are given?)

The IELTS scores are provided on the basis of a ‘9’ Band Scale. Candidates get the scores as ‘Band 1, Band 2… Band9’. These scores are given for each of the four skills, namely Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. The Band Scores are explained in a ‘Descriptive Statement’ which actually is a summary of the competence of a candidate in all forms of the English Language. The 9 Band Scores with descriptive statements of each one are as follows:-

9 Expert User
8 Very Good User
7 Good User
6 Competent User
5 Modest User
4 Limited User
3 Extremely Limited User
2 Intermittent  User
1 Non User
0 Did Not Attempt the Test
If due to some problem if I want to postpone or cancel appearing the test, what should I do? Shall I get back the fee?

Postponement of taking the test is not entertained at all. But if you are able to provide strong reason with supporting evidence within 5 days (of the test date) the authority might refund you a partial amount of the fee submitted. Also, if you request to the IELTS authority, 5 weeks in advance, you might not get tagged as a ‘No Show’ candidate.

Once taking the test, how soon I would be allowed to take the test?

As per updated rules of the IELTS, you can re-appear any time, that means you can choose to appear on the next test date without any prohibition.

Shall I get permission to leave the room during the exam and enter again?

Strictly Not. Under normal circumstances, you wouldn’t be allowed to leave the room, if you still leave the room without permission or disobeying permission your candidature would be canceled. However, under special circumstances or under acute emergency if you leave the room with the permission of test supervisor, you would be allowed to continue the test, but you wouldn’t be provided any extra time to compensate for the ‘Loss of Time’.

I have heard that I can appear for the IELTS Test for only for once, is it true?

No, it’s not true at all. You can appear for the test as many times as you want. Often candidates are found to take the test more than once, for securing higher Band Score. Previously, there were different restrictions, which are nonexistence now.

I have heard that the standard of the IELTS Papers is different for different countries, is it true?

No, not true at all. The IELTS authority stringently maintains the standard of the test and that of the questions across the world. Questions may vary from one test center to another and one geographic location to another, but the standards of the questions, the test formats, the evaluating system are the same across the globe. It’s a common misconception that the IELTS papers are easier for some major ‘English Speaking Countries’, but that’s just another baseless myth.

How long the authority take to announce the result?

The result is announced after 13 calendar days from the test date. Any candidate can get his result from the Internet, by clicking the link https://results.ielts.org, so visiting the test center is not a must. The result is not sent through SMS or Phone calls in almost all countries (With a few exceptions, where communication is a problem).

I am a ‘Physically Challenged’ candidate is there any provision for me?

The IELTS authority is not in direct touch with the candidates, but the ‘Test Center’ might make special arrangements on request if requested 3 months ahead of the test date. In general, such cases along with some others like ‘Visual Problems’, ‘Problems in Hearing ‘ are taken care with sympathy.

I have come to know, that there is very strict a ‘Registration’ procedure. What documents should I produce for registration?

You would have to:-

1)        Pay the Registration Fee (In your local currency).

2)        Produce a Valid Copy of your passport (Photocopy would have to submit and the original copy would have to be shown).            Candidates from ‘Non-Europian Union’ nations must produce their passport as an identity proof document.

3)        Produce two copies of ‘Passport sized Color Photo’ (Preferably taken currently).

4)        Provide the ‘Country Code’ and ‘Language Code.’ You won’t have to bother about the codes, you would get them from the help desk of the relevant test center, or you might find out yourself by clicking the link IELTS Registration Country Code.

These are the compulsory materials and papers which candidates need to provide. It is always better to get in touch with the local ‘Test Center’ for getting updated information related to registration.

What would happen if I fall ill during the test?

If the extent of the illness is such that you cannot continue the test you should inform the test supervisor immediately. If you are unable to report yourself, surely staffs of the centers would take care of you and report the incident to the test supervisor. In any case submitting a ‘Medical Certificate’ and informing the center supervisor is a must within 5 days of the test date, otherwise, no favor or consideration would be available.

What happens if by chance I fail to appear for the test on the test date, due to some incidence or due to sudden illness?

The IELTS Test dates are pre-scheduled, and millions of candidates take the test on the same date, one who does not appear on the right day would be tagged with a ‘No Show’ by the examining authority and the candidate would not get any refund of fees or get any alternative test date. The candidate would have to appear in the next test date paying the full fees. However, if there is a ‘Natural Calamity’ or something so serious that a number of candidates fail to appear in the test, then the case might be considered sympathetically and it’s absolutely up to the decision of the authority, what steps they would take. Whether there would be a refund of fees or adjustments of fees by giving a chance to the candidate(s) to appear in the test on a different date, would be at the sole discretion of the concerned ‘Test Center’. In the case of individual absence due to illness, the candidate must submit ‘Medical Certificate’ issued by a ‘Registered Medical Practitioner’ within maximum 5 days of the test day.

The IELTS and the TOEFL – Are they almost same?

Though some similarities are there in the exam formats and purposes of both the tests are the same but there are many differences as well. Both the tests are designed to take the test of a candidate’s English skill in Speaking, Listening, Reading, and Writing. Both the tests certify students on the basis of their expertise for academic and working purposes. Any candidate should remember, whether he needs the IELTS or TOEFL  Test, he should confirm with institution/organization he is going to apply for. Though, in reality, most of the colleges/universities and immigration authorities welcome the certified students of either of the two testing systems. With some exception, the USA universities usually prefer TOEFL to IELTS. But as of now, quite a number of USA universities are accepting the ‘IELTS’ certificates too. For exact and updated information regarding the acceptability of the IELTS’, candidates should visit the IELTS blog  www.ielts.org. To be absolutely sure a candidate should double check with the concerned absorbing body.

What would happen if by chance a candidate’s ‘Test Report Form’ gets lost or damaged?

Your ‘Test Report Form’ would be valid for two years from the date of the test. Under no circumstances, a duplicate copy would be sent to a candidate (to avoid any fraudulent activity), but the IELTS authority would forward straightway a copy of the ‘Test Report Form’ to the candidate’s relevant organization/institute or embassy and up to 5 such copies would be sent free of charge. A small amount would be charged for sending more copies and a candidate should talk to his center for minute details related to this as in different case charges might differ.

How much is the Fee for appearing the IELTS Test?

The fee for the IELTS Test is not fixed. It varies from centers to center and country to country. In general, the cost of taking the IELTS is 140 British Pound or 11,225 INR or 174 USD. The candidates should check out fees, Centers and Schedules related information from the  IELTS website http://www.ielts.org.

What step can I take if I get an unsatisfactory result?

If that is the case you might apply for an ‘Enquiry On Result’, known as EOR. You should be aware of the fact that you must apply within 6 weeks of the date of the announcement of the result. In order to apply, you would have to fill-up an application form which must be submitted with nominal fees charged for the same. The fee for the EOR varies from one country to another.

If I qualify through ‘IELTS’, how long my certificate would stay valid?

In general, the validity of the IELTS certificate is 2 years from the test date. If your IELTS Test Report Form, (known as TRF) gets older than 2 years, you should consider sitting for the test again to get a fresh TRF form. Some absorbing bodies accept TRF, older than the 2 years. But it is wise to keep in mind that, ‘Certificate of Language Test’ loses its acceptance with time.

I am a ‘School Student’ and my age is 12+, am I eligible for the IELTS Test?

Sorry to say no. To appear in the test the minimum age of the candidate must be 14 and the maximum age is 64.

Is there any scope for taking the test online?

Yes, you can appear for the online test, which is known as, ‘Computer Based IELTS’ or ‘CB IELTS’, it has been introduced in the year 2005. It is important for the candidates to remember that the ‘CB IELTS’ is available only for ‘Academic Version’ of the IELTS and that too in selected centers. However, for the ‘Speaking Test’ candidate would have to appear physically for a face-to-face interview taken by an ‘IELTS Certified Examiner’.

How much time the ‘IELTS’ Test takes to complete?

The different sections take different times to complete. 1) The Listening Test lasts for – 30 Minutes. 2) The Speaking Test lasts for – 11 to 14 Minutes. 3) The Reading Test lasts for – 60 Minutes. 4) The Writing Test lasts for – 60 Minutes. So in total, the IELTS Test takes 2 hours and 44 minutes (Approx.) to complete. All the sections of the tests are taken on the same day and continue at a stretch without any pause, though the ‘Speaking Test’ can be attended on a separate date within 7days before or after the main test date, with the permission of the center supervisor.

Is IELTS a self-administered authority or controlled by some other authorities?

No, IELTS is not self-administered. The ‘Cambridge University, The British Council, The IDP Education Australia with the IELTS Australia’ jointly own and administer the IELTS. As all the mentioned organizations are renowned all over the world and as they maintain, monitor and review the parameter of the ‘IELTS Exam’ it is quite intelligible, why the IELTS tests are so reputed and regarded as so authentic.

My mother tongue is English, I want to go from the USA to the UK, why should I need the certificate of the ‘IELTS’?

As you are a native English speaker you are supposed to be fluent in spoken English, especially ‘Fluent in Colloquial English’, but that does not assure your ‘Knowledge of the formal/official English. Also, it does not assure your depth of grammatical skill, the range of vocabulary and your expertise in writing rich and formal English. That’s why the ‘Native English’ speakers also need to qualify through the IELTS. Surprisingly, even native speakers sometimes score lower than non-native speakers.

Is there any ‘Scoring Criteria’ of the IELTS’ which requires for a candidate/student to get accepted?

Yes, of course. The IELTS Authority provides candidates with ‘Band Scores’, which ranges from 1 to 9. Getting a Band Score below 6 is regarded as a poor score. Though different institutions/organizations set different Band Score as a parameter for giving entry to the candidates, still getting a ‘Band Score 7 or 7+’ is usually regarded as a good score. If you get a ‘Band Score 8 or 8+’, take it for granted that, dozens of opportunities are awaiting you. (More details are given below.)

Is the certificate of the ‘IELTS’ required for getting ‘VISA’?

Not in all cases, but a good number of English Speaking countries, to name a few, UK, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Australia consider the ‘IELTS’ certificate for issuing the ‘VISA’. Also, some ‘Immigrant Authorities’ and some ‘Government Agencies’ seek for the ‘IELTS’ certificate.

Do all the countries and all the institutions/organizations in the world accept the ‘IELTS’ certificate?

Not exactly, but as already mentioned 9000 institutes/organizations of 140 countries across the world, including most of the major English speaking countries trust and accept the  ‘IELTS’ certificate.

Which format is right for me?

If you are a

1)        ‘Student Above Secondary Level but at the undergraduate level or at Post Graduate Level‘ and want to go for ‘Higher Education’ to a ‘Foreign English Speaking Country’ then the ‘IELTS Academic Test’ is for you.

2)        If you are a professional, seeking a ‘Professional Registration’ in a ‘Foreign English Speaking Country’, then the ‘IELTS Academic Test’ is for you.

3)        But if you are a student ‘Below Secondary Level, (i.e. a school student) and looking for pursuing ‘Secondary Education’ in a ‘Foreign English Speaking Country’, then the ‘IELTS General Training Test’ is right for you.

4)            If you are seeking for ‘Working Experience’ or ‘Training Programs’ in a ‘Foreign English Speaking Country’, then the ‘IELTS General Training Test’ is right for you.

5) Moreover, if you are looking for migration to some major English-speaking countries like the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and some more, then you have to steer clear the ‘IELTS General Training Test’.

Is there any difference between the ‘Academic’ and the ‘General Training’ tests?

Yes, of course, there are differences. The question patterns of the ‘Listening Test’ and the ‘Speaking Test’ are the same, but they are different from each other in case of ‘Reading Tests’ and the ‘Writing Tests’.

How many sections are there in the IELTS Tests?

Both the IELTS Academic Test and the IELTS General Training Test have four sections each. The sections are 1) Listening Test, 2) Speaking Test, 3) Reading Test and 4) Writing Test.

How many formats of the IELTS Tests are there?

There are two formats 1) The IELTS Academic Test and 2) The IELTS General Training Test. In both the cases, your proficiency of the English Language in Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing would be tested thoroughly.

IELTS Listening

Which ‘English Accent’ should I follow, so that I can understand the audios used in the test?

You won’t have to follow the accent of any particular country, rather you should follow ‘International English’ accent. As the IELTS has its’ presence in most of the major English speaking countries, three main varieties of English are used in the test, they are  1) British English, 2) Australian English and 3) American English. Apart from that different ‘Regional Forms of the English Language’, of the UK are also used. If you get habituated in listening ‘International English’ (From TV News, TV Debate Shows, etc.) you won’t have to face many difficulties in understanding the audios.

Do the ‘Listening Test’ in the ‘Academic Test’ and the ‘General Training Test’ differ from each other?

No. the question patterns of the Listening Tests are the same for ‘Academic’ and ‘General Training test.

Are the listening passages played more than once?

No, its’ played just for ‘Once Only’. Missing out a question due to lack of concentration might cost dearly for your score.

What types of question are asked in the ‘Listening Test’?

Usually ‘Multiple Choice questions’ are asked. Also, short questions, completions of sentences, labeling of diagrams etc. are asked. Often a set of ‘Incomplete Sentences’ is quoted from the passages, you would have to complete them. There are 3 sections, each section contains 10 questions.

What are the total marks in the IELTS ‘Listening Test’? How long the ‘Listening Test’ lasts?

In total there are 30 Marks. The test lasts for 30 minutes.

To read the questions how much time would I get?

Before the beginning of each section, a short span of 30 seconds is given to preview the questions. Usually, candidates are given one more pause for 30 seconds after playing the audio for previewing the questions. You should listen to the instructions, extremely carefully with full concentration enabling you to answer the questions accurately.

I have heard that I can write answers first at the question papers and then transfer them to the answer sheet. Is it true?

Of course, it is true, you are at liberty to write on the question papers. After the audios stop playing you will get 10 minutes time to transfer your answers to the ‘Answer Sheet’. But remember what you write on the question papers would not be counted, only what you write on the ‘Answer Sheet’ would get counted and you would be given marks accordingly.

I have heard that spelling mistakes and grammatical mistakes are not counted in the ‘Listening Test’, is it right?

Absolutely not. Mistakes in spelling and grammar would cause you to lose marks. Though minor mistakes in grammar or spelling might be overlooked by the judges if those mistakes do not change the meaning of your answer and your answer is absolutely right and perfect. But don’t bank on making mistakes and expect getting marks. If you are prone to making mistakes you would make mistakes in other types of tests as well and won’t get any mercy for that. So be perfect with both your spelling and grammar.

Which spelling is accepted as correct, the American spelling or the British spelling?

Both are accepted as right, but a candidate should remember he should stick to either one of the two and not use a mixture of ‘American Spelling’ and ‘British Spelling’. If you write ‘rumour’ it means that you are following the British way of spelling. In the very next line, you write ‘color’, which means that you are following the American way of spelling. Don’t do that, stick to any one form.

How my ‘Listening Test’ marks would be calculated?

The IELTS, provides marks in the form of Band Score. There would be 40 questions in total, carrying 1 mark each. If you give right answers of minimum 39/40 questions you will be given Band Score 9. Check the table below for understanding your Band Score:-

Band Score 9 8.5 8 7.5 7 6.5 6 5.5 5 4.5 4 3.5 3 2.5
Score / 40 39-40 37-38 35-36 32-34 30-31 26-29 23-25 18-22 16-17 13-15 10-12 8-10 6-7 4-5
Do the universities/organizations require any ‘Minimum Score’ criteria in the listening test?

Of course, they do, different institutions/organizations set different parameter for accepting candidates. In general, a minimum band score of 6 (i.e. 23-25 right answers) is accepted by most of the absorbing bodies, but the higher the better.

How should I prepare for the ‘Listening Test’ to score as high as possible?

Please check out in our ‘Blog’ for getting suggestions and tips to prepare yourself in the best way.

IELTS Reading

Do the Reading Test versions of the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training, differ from each other?

‘No’ and ‘Yes’. There are some similarities and differences as well, between the two tests.

The similarities are: – In both the formats of the ‘Reading Test’ there are 40 questions carrying one mark each, there are 3 sections for both the formats and time allotted for both the tests are 60 minutes.

The differences are:

1)      The given texts are appropriate for candidates going for either undergraduate course or postgraduate course or looking for ‘Professional Registration’ in a foreign ‘English Speaking Country’.

2)      The passages given for reading in the ‘Academic Version’ are more lengthy than that in the ‘General Training Version’.

3)      The ‘Academic’ reading test has less number of reading passages than in ‘General Training’ reading test.

4)      The ‘Academic’ reading test passages are related to ‘Academic Subjects’, i.e. the subjects you are likely to face in your future education in the college or organization. But in the ‘General Training Test’ the passages given are excerpts from newspapers, books, journals, and magazines, etc. and usually the context is related to the day to day life.

5)      The ‘Academic Version’ of the test may contain some non-verbal materials, like graphs, charts, illustrations etc.

6)      Apart from all these, one point should be mentioned that the ‘IELTS General Training Reading Test’ is easier compared to its’ ‘Academic Counterpart’. In any case, you are required to give a higher number of correct answers in the ‘General Training’ reading test to get the same band score as in the ‘Academic Version’.

7)            In the GT module, you would usually get passages containing information about a topic, from the newspapers, magazines, etc. While, in the Academic version the text passages cover 3 different academic topics, but you won’t need to have any knowledge beforehand.

What should be the ideal way to start answering?

The best way is to read the given first passage first. Then if you look for the right answer you won’t have to search for it as you already have read the passage. So, skimming the passages is very important. Again skim through the questions as well, it would help you to save time and to write the correct answer.

How much time I would be given to read all the passages?

There is no such instruction given. But you should not spend maximum 5 minutes for reading every single passage. It is not important to understand every intricate detail of any passage. What is important that you should understand the central contextual ideas of each passage. Don’t get stuck in trying to understand an idea and waste time.

What types of questions I might face in the test?

There would be different types of questions, starting from multi-choice questions, matching headings of paragraphs, completing sentences, writing summaries, etc., including ‘True / False / Not given’ questions as well. Hence, understanding the idea of the passages is of immense importance. Usually, there are 13 different types of questions on the topic of each passage.

For reading all the questions how much time I should spend?

Ideally, you shouldn’t spend more than 15 minutes in reading the passages and the questions. If you rigorously maintain time, you would get 45 minutes to answer 40 questions, so you should try to write each answer within a minute or less. You must stay prepared for that, otherwise, you would have to run short of time. Keep in mind some question would require a longer time to complete.

Do I need to have a huge vocabulary?

You should have a wide range of vocabulary, that does not mean you try to cram a dictionary. Rather, be specific towards having a useful and goal specific vocabulary. If you study free stuff for the IELTS from the internet and follow ample study materials your vocabulary would get enriched. Here, ‘Goal Specific’ means, the sort of vocabulary you would need for the tests. Whatever, large your vocabulary might be, you would have to encounter unknown/new words during the test, even though if you are a native speaker. So, you should practice reading a lot, so that when you come across a new word, you can understand the meaning of it by guessing the application of the word.

How my IELTS ‘Reading Score’ would be calculated?

Follow the table below to understand how you would get your marks and band score as well.

Marking schemes for the ‘IELTS Academic Reading’

Band Score 9 8.5 8 7.5 7 6.5 6 5.5 5 4.5 4 3.5 3 2.5
Score / 40 39-40 37-38 35-36 33-34 30-32 27-29 23-26 19-22 15-18 13-14 10-12 8-9 6-7 4-5

Marking schemes for the ‘IELTS Academic Reading’

Band Score 9 8.5 8 7.5 7 6.5 6 5.5 5 4.5 4 3.5 3 2.5
Score / 40 40 39 37-38 36 34-35 32-33 30-31 27-29 23-26 19-22 15-18 12-14 9-11 6-8
What score should I achieve to get accepted by the institutions/organizations?

The institutions/organizations, usually set their own parameters for accepting candidates or students. Often, it has been observed that they accept candidates with Band Score of 6 or more (For the IELTS Reading). Though, in most of the cases, candidate’s overall band scores are considered.

How to improve my IELTS ‘Academic’/General Training band score?

Please check in my blog for articles on ‘How to Improve’ your score in the IELTS.

IELTS Speaking

How long the speaking test lasts?

There is no fixed time for the test, usually, it lasts for 11 to 14 minutes.

How sections are there in the speaking test?

There are three sections, the details of the sections are as follows:-

Part 1
Introduction followed                                          by an interview
The Examiner introduces himself and asks the candidate to introduce himself.
Then the examiner asks the candidate a few questions on some general topics.
Duration             4–5 minutes
Part 2
To talk on a topic given         on the Task card
Examiner gives the candidate a task card and allows him to think for 1 minute

The candidate would have to talk on the topic given on the task card for 1–2 minutes.

Next, the examiner asks a few questions on the basis of his speech.

Duration                   3–4 minutes
Part 3
Two-way discussion
The candidate would have to discuss with the examiner on the points or arguments,

raised by him in regard to the speech of the candidate.

Duration                   4–5 minutes

 

How long should I speak on the topic given in the Task Card?

No minimum time is set there, but your answer should be compact and to the point. If you can maintain speaking to the point the examiner would not get any chance to interrupt you and if you finish your speech by affirming a point with justified reasons, you would get credited much better by the examiner. On the contrary, if a you keep talking for the full time, you are supposed to commit more mistake and thus lower your marks.

How many questions are asked in the speaking test?

The ‘Speaking Test Marking Procedure’ is a bit too tedious to explain, better if you read the table given below very minutely, you would understand the procedure.

ielts speaking structure

If I don’t understand a question should I ask the examiner?

Yes, you certainly can, but don’t ever interrupt the examiner. During the Part 1 of the test, other than repeating the question the examiner would not provide any further help. But when interacting with the examiner, he might even paraphrase a question for you. Don’t try to start talking without understanding the topic of the ‘Task Card’, the result could be devastating.

How to introduce myself in the best way in part 1?

When the examiner asks you to introduce yourself, don’t give a one-word answer, e.g. Where are you coming from? Don’t answer like Kolkata. Instead, answer like: I am coming from Park street at Kolkata in West Bengal. Then you might be asked: – How developed is your area? You should answer like: Its’ really a very well developed area and its’ located at the heart of the city. There are a number of reputed hotels, shops and big marketplaces are there.

How much time would I get for thinking in part 3?

No time at all, you would not be given any time for thinking. If you don’t get the idea to speak right away, tackle it intelligently. Use an applicable ‘Filler Expression’ instead of keeping mute or fumbling. Just start like… Well, I think this is a very interesting point to discuss or like: Well, I think this is a very important topic. Actually, silently you are thinking but don’t make the examiner to feel that. This is simply, playing for time and not cheating at all, often native-speakers do this.

Will my ‘Speaking Test’ score fully depend on the likes or dislikes of the examiner?

Not exactly. Right from the beginning of the test, all the conversations of the test would be recorded, the recording would be listened and finally judged by the supreme authority of the IELTS.

What are the factors to get a good score in the speaking test?

You have to be an extremely fluent speaker in English with perfect pronunciation, good and wide range of vocabulary, suitable and accurate grammatical use. Wrong pronunciation or mother tongue bias is not entertained at all.

What is the minimum band score required for getting accepted by the institutions/organizations?

Though, usually the total band score is considered for acceptance, but a minimum band score 6 is considered as okay.

IELTS Writing

How much time I would get for the ‘Writing Test’?

You would get 60 minutes to complete the writing Test.

How many sections are there in the ‘Writing Test’?

The Writing Test of both the ‘Academic’ and ‘General Training’ modules have two sections, known as Task1 and Task2.

How much time would I get to write Task1 and Task2?

There are no fixed ‘Rules’, you can set your own time. But, it is advisable to complete Task1 within 20 minutes, thus keeping  40 minutes in hand for completing Task2. The Task2 needs approximately 40 minutes time to complete.

Are there any differences between Task1 of the ‘Academic’ and the ‘General Training’ tests?

Yes, there are differences. In the Academic Writing Test, you would get to write on a chart/graph/table. You would have to write explaining/describing the one you get, within not less than 150 words. (You should read the details of how to explain a graph/chart or table from this blog). But, in the case of writing test of ‘General Training’, you would have to write a letter on a given topic, within 150 words (minimum).

Are there any differences between ‘Task2’ of the ‘Academic’ and the ‘General Training’ tests?

In the case of the Task2 of the ‘Academic Writing Test’ you would be asked to write a ‘Discursive Essay’ in not less than 250 words, responding to a situation, an argument or a problem, following an official form of English i.e. formal English. Also, in the case of ‘General Training Writing Test’ you would have to write a ‘Discursive Essay’ of almost similar type, but with a slightly more personal touch and style. In both the cases, you must write in formal English. At the same time, your writing should be rich, using a wide range of vocabulary and grammatically emphatic and very rare spelling mistakes.

How should I write the introduction of Task1 of both the ‘Academic’ or the ‘General Training’ modules?

The introduction of the Task1 of ‘Academic’ writing test, should be a ‘Two sentenced’ note on the Graph/Pie chart or a table or something else. Usually, this is to be done by ‘Paraphrasing’ the question. The description part should be given in the body of the text. Here is an example: ‘The given graph depicts the attendance in 4 different types of schools, from the year 2010 to 2015. There is a steady and healthy increase in the percentage of attendance in all the four types of schools.‘ But for the Task1 of the GT does not require such introduction as they are letters and should be written in the form of an ‘Official Letter’.

I have heard that ‘Paraphrasing’ is very important for the writing test, is it right?

Yes, that’s right. If instead of paraphrasing you write the question as it is in the ‘Question Papers’, those words would not count as written by you, resulting in a lower word count and losing marks in the test. You must change the word orders or restructure the sentence using synonymous words to get marks.

Should I count how many words I have written in the Task1 or in Task2?

If you want to be sure whether you have written at least the minimum words or not and count words for sure, you would be wasting your time. The most intelligent thing to do is to practice in such a way so that you can understand how it looks like in your handwriting, both the(150+20) words and the (250+20) words. Why this 20 words extra? Because it is not possible for anybody to write exactly 150 words or 250 words (without counting) and if you write a few words more you won’t get punished for that. So, to play safe practice as suggested and you won’t be any problem.

Should I be permitted to express my own opinion or my point of view in the introductory part of Task2?

It depends on the questions. If the questions require you to put your own opinion or ask you to agree or disagree, only then you should express your own opinion otherwise don’t. Moreover, if you get instruction to discuss the good and the bad side of something, you might write points for and against it. But don’t put your opinion in the introduction or in the body of the essay, rather write it in the conclusion.

How many paragraphs should I write for Task1 and for Task2?

When you are writing Task1, you must write three paragraphs. They are-

  1. a) Introduction,
  2. b) Body (Description of the graph or table),
  3. c) Conclusion.

But while writing for the Task2 you must break your writing in 5 to 6 paragraphs. Write the introduction in one paragraph, then write the body of the essay. Number of paragraphs for writing the body, usually depends on the number of ideas, arguments, etc., break the body into at least 3 paragraphs (if possible). Finally, write the conclusion in another paragraph. So in total, you would have 1+3+1= 5 paragraphs. Writing in 250 words or more requires to be written in at least 5 paragraphs.

Is writing conclusion a must for both Task1 and Task2?

Yes, it is a must for both the tasks. For the Task1 do write a conclusion in brief, at least in two sentences. Without a conclusion, your writing would be ineffective. Writing a conclusion would especially highly effective when there are more than one set of data. In such cases, you are supposed to compare and conclude to get good marks for your effort.

What would happen if I cannot write 150 words for the Task1 and 250 words for task2?

This is a disobedient act. For both the offense, you would get deducted half a band score. So if you fall short of both 150 words and 250 words, your marks would be lowered by 1 band score, in total. Means band score (6-1)= band score 5. Though there is no upper limit of words, remember that you would not get any extra marks for writing more than 150 words or 250 words.

How my IELTS marks on ‘Academic Writing’ or ‘General Training Writing’ would be calculated?

The Marking Procedure of the IELTS Academic Writing and The Marking Procedure of the IELTS General Training writing

depends on 4 factors. They are- 1) Task Achievement, 2) Coherence and Cohesion, 3) Lexical Resource and 4) Grammatical Range and Accuracy. For understanding the marking procedures in detail, click on the relevant links given above.

What Band Score in the ‘IELTS’ Writing Test is accepted by the university/institutions or organizations?

Different absorbing bodies set different band scores for giving access, though Band Score 6 or more is usually considered as good enough by a major number of institutions/ organizations. But those institutions/organizations looking for brilliant students or candidates raise the bar higher and set a higher band score for entry. They might not consider a lower Band Score than 7 or 7+.

What should I use for writing a pen or a pencil?

You can write in either of the two, but it is always better to use a pen to write your answer on the answer sheet.