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The International English Language Testing System’ IELTS is an internationally owned and globally recognized direct English Language assessment of the highest quality and integrity readily available throughout the world.

IELTS is a bench marking for those seeking international education and desire global mobility.

Introduction
IELTS is a comprehensive test for English language proficiency designed to assess the ability of non-native speakers of English who intend to study in the medium of English.

IELTS is required in order to pursue academic or non academic training. The test is designed so as to judged the various areas which one can encounter during his/her medium of English instruction.

IELTS is accepted by most in Australia, Britain, Canada and New Zealand’s academic institutions. IELTS is accepted by many professional organizations including the New Zealand. Some universities in U.S.A also accept IELTS such as Harvard B.S. Immigration Services, the Australian department of immigration and Multicultural affairs, the Australian Medical Council, the UK Medical Council, the UK ministry of defense and UK Nursing Council.

IELTS Exam Details
The test is jointly assessed and run by Cambridge E SOL, IELTS Australia : IDP Education Australia. A revised version IELTS was introduced in 1995.

All the vocational & training programmes in UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada require IELTS.

The examination in India is conducted by British Council and IDP. There are centres located all over India. Any student seeking the examination can contact the nearest test centre or can go to the local British Council office / IDP. He/She should contact the test centre to find out the date of next test and collect the IELTS handbook and an application form. The filled application form should be seat back to the test centre with the test fee. According to the availability of seat he/she will be given a date and time of the test.

The candidates are tested in Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. There are two levels: Academic and General level. All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking Modules. There is a choice of Reading and Writing Modules according to whether a candidate is taking the Academic or General version of the test. Academic Reading and Writing modules are suitable for those seeking admission to undergraduate and post graduate courses. General Reading and Writing modules are suitable for candidates who are going to English- speaking countries to complete their secondary education or to undertake work experience or training programmes not at a degree level. The general modules are also used for immigration purposes.

The Results are available on the net within a week. All four modules are equally weighted. Individual module score and overall score are of equal importance. The IELTS results are reported on the nine band scale. Most universities and colleges accept 6.5 or 6.0 for entry to academic programmes, but different institutions accept different IELTS scores for different types of courses.

The test modules are taken in the following order.

Listening
4 sections, 40/42 questions 30 minutes.

Academic Reading General Reading
3 sections, 40 questions, 60 minutes 3 sections, 40 questions, 60 minutes

Academic Writing General Writing
2 tasks, 60 minutes 2 tasks, 60 minutes

Speaking
11 to 14 minutes

Total test time
2 hours 44 minutes

The test report have a validity of two years.

How to prepare for IELTS

Following hints may help in the preparation of IELTS.

1. Gamming is not an effective study technique. As there is no prescribed text regular practice is essential. The skills require a period of time to build up.
2. Remember each of four modules carries the same weight so they should be treated equally.
3. Plan your time table. Use your time efficiently.
4. Give break between your practice sessions.
5. Should know the procedures and length of the test. The order of sections, length and time is of great importance. There are many resources available to     help you to practice these skills.
6. A study group is an excellent idea. Individual may raise issues that you may not have considered.
7. Try to mark your weak section and then lay more stress on it.


Examination Technique
A good examination technique is always helpful in achieving a good score.
Remember that every section is marked independently. Do not jeopardize your performance in one section just because you believe that you have done badly in another. Do not under estimate or try to predict your outcome. You may, in fact, might have done better than you imagined.

Focus on what you know rather than on what you don’t know while you are doing the test.

Ensure that you adhere to time. Time management is very important as it correspond to the numbers of marks given for a particular question.
As there is no negative marking it is a good idea to write down an answer guess wisely even you are not sure of it. Some students omit an answer to come back on the end but do not have enough time.

Skills for Listening Module test tape
In the Listening part of test is played only once. Therefore a number of skills are required to tackle it. The recording is played for 30 minutes. Listening, reading and writing have to be synchronized as the three things have to be done at the same time.

Understanding and following the instructions is very important. They are both written on question paper and spoken on the tape. You must read and listen to the instruction carefully. Ensure that you follow then exactly and answer the correct way.
The listening module has four sections. They are either a monologue or a dialogue. An announcer will usually briefly outline the topic, situation and who is talking.

Before the recording begins 30 seconds are given to read and become familiar with the questions. This helps in preparing to listen for the exact information required. After each section 30 seconds are given to check your answers. Check that all the answers correspond with the given instructions.

The first suggestion is to write the answers as you hear them. Waiting could be a mistake because later you will not remember the answer as you won’t get the chance to listen to the same piece again. As you get the chance to read the questions before listening, you will be able to concentrate your attention just to the part you are interested in. don’t lose time trying to understand everything. You always have to know what questions you are waiting for. When you hear the answer write it at once or if you do not understand it, start reading, the next question and wait for the answer.

Some hints for previewing & predicting
1.
Read instructions carefully, do not just glance them. They are not always the same as in practice or previous tasks.
2. Often the speakers will give you an answer and then correct themselves. Watch out for this. It is a common trick.
3. Try and anticipate what the speaker will say. This requires concentration.
4. Small errors can lead to low score such as spelling, omitting(s) or incomplete times eg. 1.30.
5. Don’t panic if you think the topic is too difficult or the speaker is too fast. Relax and tune in.
6. Don’t leave blanks, you might as will guess, you won’t be penalized.
7. May have to change the parts of speech of the words they hear in order to grammatically match the gap on the question paper.

Checking and Rewriting
At the end of the test you get 10 minutes to transfer your answers to the answer sheet. Check carefully that you have transferred your answers correctly to the answer sheet. Try to write something in all the 40 spaces even if you are not sure of the correct answer. A wrong answer is as wrong as no answer: so try. You could be lucky.

Skills for the Reading Module
The Reading Module is divided into Academic and General. Here the main problem is time. You are supposed to read 3 passages and to give a total of 40 answers. Therefore 20 minutes for each passage, which is sometimes not enough. If you are nor able to complete pass on to the next section. Remember you are not given any extra time at the end of the test to transfer your answers to the answer sheet. Many candidates think so because they have extra time in listening.

Second : read the questions carefully before reading the passage, this is very important. If you read the passage without knowing the questions you will waste your time usually, but not always, you find the answers in order.

Third : read the instructions given carefully. You must ensure that you understand exactly what is required and in what form. If you are asked to write only three words stick to it. Sometimes students write four or five words which is wrong. This does not fetch any marks.

The questions are given to test the various ability of the students. They are

Summary Completion
Matching headings to paragraphs.
Identifying the writer’s view
Multiple Choice
Selecting Factors
Table Completion
Matching causes and effects
Interpreting the instructions and questions.

When you are looking for a question look at ways paragraphs are organized. Don’t panic if you don’t know anything about the passage. All the answers are in the passage and you don’t need any specialist knowledge. Try and predict content of paragraph from the opening sentence. Leave a question if you can’t answer. To spend a long time on one answer is disastrous. Go back later if you have time and guess if you have too. Don’t concentrate on words you don’t know. It is fatal and wastes valuable time. Careless mistakes costs many marks. Check spellings. Be careful with singular and plural.

Checking your answer
After you have completed your answers for each section, you need to check them. Check that you have followed the instructions exactly. Transfer the answers after completing each passage so that if run short of time at least all the answers attempted are on the answer sheet. If you have time, return to the answers you marked because you were ensure and see if the answers you have given are the best ones.

Do not leave any answers blank you do not lose marks for incorrect answers.

Skills for writing Module

Academic
There are two tasks and has to be completed in an hour. The first is a visual analysis and second a composition about an argument of general interest: it is usually suggested to spend 20 minutes for task I and 40 minutes for task II but you have to decide on your strategy on the basis of your ability. However, remember to read both titles before you start writing. In this way your sub-conscious will start thinking about the second task while you are writing the first task.

Task one
About 20 minutes can be spent on this task as a visual task there to be converted into words. You are asked to present in about 150 words the diagram, table, graph or short piece of text. There are three important steps you should follow: preparation, writing and editing. Highlight the key words, clearly, divide the paragraphs and don’t repeat the ideas in different ways. Learn to recognize how long is 150 words in your hand writing. You don’t really have time to count.

When discussing the date presented in the task, identify significant trends and give examples that relate to the given information to support your statements.
Remember that the use of verbs should be correct.
Ensure your ideas are arranged logically.
Concluding sentence (optional)

Task two (common for Academic and General)
Don’t rush Task two, it’s longer and carries more weight. Stick to the topic. Paragraph simply with one idea in each paragraph. Get used to re-reading several times and make corrections. Try to avoid grammatical mistakes and make a composition in order: the paragraphs have to be clear. Leave a line between them. Remember the illegible handwriting will reduce your final score.

Preparation
You may wish to spend about 5-7 minutes working out exactly what you are going to do. The writing style should be formal & academic. Candidates should make sure that they read and answer the question fully. Candidates purpose is to develop his point of view in a convincing way. He should ensure that they are arranged in a logical order. Candidates should write at least 250 words.

How long does it take?

Candidates are asked to spend not more than 40 minutes on this task.
On what one they tested and assessed.

Their ability to present the argument clearly giving evidence and argument or examples to support their ideas are assessed. They are also assessed on how will their ideas are organized and the accuracy of the language they use. They should make sure that all of their ideas are relevant to the question. Short answers will be penalized. Candidates will not be penalized if the answer is longer. However, if they write long answer they may not have time for checking and correcting at the end. Candidates should plan their ideas, select most relevant ones and organize these so that they are presented as clearly and accurately as possible within the time allowed. Candidates must use their own words when writing their answer.

Examiners assess the answers according to these criteria
1. Task Response
2. Coherence and Cohesion
3. Lexical Resources
4. Grammatical Range and Accuracy.

Candidates must write their answers on the answer sheet provided.

General Training Writing Task – I
Candidates need to write an informal or semifinal or formal personal letter of at least 150 words.

A situation or a problem is given and they need to request informative and/ or explain the situation.

To do this they may
1. Ask for and/or provide general factual information.
2. Express needs, wants, likes or dislikes.
3. Express opinions or complaints.
4. Make suggestions / recommendations / requests.

The problems or situations are about the common everyday ones.

What style must candidates write in?
It depends who they are asked to write to and how will they are supposed to know them i.e audience. They need write in a style that is appropriate for their audience and that will help them to achieve their purpose for writing eg. Writing to friend (informal)
Writing to a manager (formal)

Candidates do not need to include addresses on their letters unless they are specifically asked to do so or unless the need for an address is implied in one of the bullet points.

Skills for Speaking Module
Speaking consists of a conversation between the candidate and the examiner for 10 to 14 minutes. Its test the ability to communicate effectively not just the grammatical accuracy. You must speak more than the examiner.

The test is divided into three sections.

Part one - The examiner will ask you question about yourself.

Part two – The topic for your talk will be written on a card which the examiner will hand you. Read it carefully and then make some brief notes. You have 1 to 2 minutes to think about what you are going to say. Think of all what you know.

Part three – Once your talk in part two is over, your examiner will ask you further questions related to the topic in part two. Don’t be afraid to take initiative in part three of the speaking test. This is the chance to show your fluency, your opinion and your vocabulary.

Remember whenever you are asked for your OPINION about ANYTHING you can always give both the positive and negative aspects of the subject in question. You will get a better score if you have made a comparison of the subject. Remember the examiner has had a long hard day, and is a human too so be interesting, try to keep eye contact and stop fidgeting while speaking.

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