What is IELTS exam?
IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System. This test is to assess proficiency in English language to pursue higher studies in or migrate to many countries.
In IELTS test, you are assessed for all of your English skills – reading, writing, speaking and listening. Your IELTS score is an indicator of your ability to use English as a language in and outside the class, with your peer group, at internships and part-time opportunities and in social life overseas.
Hence, most of the universities in the US, Canada, UK, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and other countries will ask you to submit your IELTS (or TOEFL) score along with your application.
Good news is, unlike GRE, IELTS score is not used to assess your academic ability. Those universities want to ensure that you would be comfortable in communicating in English. Hence, at most of the universities, you would be fine with a IELTS score of 6.5 or more in each of the four sections.
With a couple of weeks of preparation, you should be able to achieve a score of 6.5 or more, which would be sufficient for your overseas applications.
IELTS exam has been designed and is jointly owned by the British Council and IDP.
What is IELTS exam pattern?
IELTS exam is conducted in two formats – the General module and the Academic module.
IELTS General version focuses on identifying the ability of people to communicate in a broad social setup and in the work place. This module applies to people who wish to move to English speaking countries for the purpose of secondary education, work experience or training programs.
IELTS Academic version, on the other hand, focuses on assessing the communication skills of people planning to study in higher education or would be taking up professional assignments in the country abroad. The test assesses the ability of the candidate who plans to study in an environment where English is the primary medium of instruction. This is the test that you need to take to pursue higher education overseas.
IELTS will test you on 4 sections of communication namely Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. A detailed description and pattern of each of the section is as given below.
#1 IELTS Reading Pattern
To demonstrating your reading comprehension, IELTS Reading section requires you to answer 40 questions in 60 minutes.
Reading section tests a variety of reading skills which include, reading and identifying the main idea, understanding the writer’s opinion or attitude, reading for details.
The Reading section under the Academic version contains 3 passages extracted from authentic text and magazines. Each passage will be followed by questions of varied formats such as:
- multiple choice
- sentence completion
- summary/note/table/flow-chart completion
- diagram label completion
- short-answer questions
Reading section under General version would be similar to that of Academic version, but the passages extracted would be from books, magazines, newspapers, advertisements and handouts. The content would primarily deal with day to day communication in an English speaking environment. As we are focusing on studying overseas, we will not go into much details for General version.
#2 IELTS Listening Pattern
To demonstrate your ability to understand the speech of native English speakers, IELTS Listening section requires you to answer 40 questions in 40 minutes. You’ll be expected to understand conversations and monologues related to business, school, and personal life.
As part of the test, you would listen to various recordings. Each recording represents a different kind of speech: a conversation between two people pertaining to a social context, a monologue, primarily discussing local facilities, a conversation between two to four people in an academic environment and an Academic lecture on a particular subject. Each recording has corresponding questions, totaling 40 questions of varied formats such as:
- multiple choice
- sentence completion
- plan/map/diagram labeling
- form/note/table/flow-chart/summary completion
#3 IELTS Writing Pattern
For Academic IELTS, you’ll be required to show that you can provide a written description of some visual information such as a graph, chart or table in no less than 150 words in 20 minutes. In addition, on the basis of an argument or opinion, you’ll be required to show that you can develop your ideas in an essay in no less than 250 words in 40 minutes. Both should demonstrate your ability to use English in an academic or semi-formal tone.
For General IELTS, the first writing task involves a familiar task, like letter writing, in response to a scenario. You will be given 20 minutes to write about 150 words. The second task is an essay and should be no less than 250 words. You will be given specific instructions on what to discuss and you will have 40 minutes to do so.
#4 IELTS Speaking Pattern
IELTS Speaking is focused on life skills. The interview focuses on light personal conversation. This is the kind of talk you’ll have with many different people when you work or study in the English speaking world.
IELTS Speaking test lasts for 11-14 minutes and comprise of following three sections:
- Section 1 – The examiner would ask the you general questions related to your personal life. It could be related to your family, work life or friends. This entire section takes approximately 4-5 minutes.
- Section 2 – You would be given a topic card and get 1 minute to prepare yourself to discuss the topic mentioned in the card. Post preparation, your would have to speak on the topic for 2 minutes.
- Section 3 – You would be asked further questions related to the topic in Section 2. The purpose of this section is to discuss the ideas and other issues related to the topic. This section would last for about 4-5 minutes.
What is fee for IELTS exam?
Fees for IELTS: In India, the fee is Rs. 12,100, payable at the time of registration.
In other countries, fee fee for IELTS exam ranges between US$215-$240. Please check IELTS website for exact fee for your country.
How do I register for IELTS?
You can register for the IELTS either online or can download the application and fill in the paper application form and submit it at the nearest test center.
Option 1: Register online
If you have a valid credit (or, debit) card, you can book your test online online in a simple and straight forward way:
- Log on to www.ieltsidpindia.com.
- Select the option “Register for IELTS”
- Select your test date and test city (you will see the seat availability status)
- Complete the on-line application form.
- Pay the test fee by credit card (Master / Visa)
- Get instant seat booking and acknowledgement.
You need to bring photocopy of your Passport (first and last page) and a print out of registration confirmation that you would receive in your email that you gave during the registration process. Please remember that without these documents, you will NOT be allowed to sit the test.
You can also walk into any of 25+ branched of IDP to register in-person for IELTS test.
Alternatively, you can book for IELTS test through British Council. Check this url for online registration.
What is a good score in IELTS?
Assuming you are interested in applying to foreign universities for your Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, you should aim for a band score 6.5 – both overall as well as for each of the individual sections.
How can I change my IELTS exam date?
If you chooses to cancel your test more than 5 weeks before the test date, you will get a complete refund of the test fee after deducting administrative charges.
But if you cancel your test within 5 weeks of the test date, you will be charged the full fee unless there is a valid medical reason. If a valid medical certificate is produced, the test center will refund the test fee after deducting administrative charges as applicable.
What are IELTS exam dates for 2017?
You can take the exam four times a month. Both IDP and the British Council offer the test on 48 fixed dates a year, running into four times a month. When you would register for the test on the websites – mentioned below – you will have option to choose the date that suits you the best.
How do I prepare for IELTS?
Here are some tips that you should keep in mind to prepare for IELTS by yourself.
#1 Have realistic goals
You need to have a fixed aim for IELTS – what band score are you aiming for?
For overseas studies, you would be fine with a IELTS score of 6.5+ in all the tests. Universities use IELTS score as a sanity factor to ensure that you have a minimum level of communication in English to succeed in the program that you are planning to pursue. Beyond that it doesn’t matter if you have a band score of 7 or 8.
Once you’ve decided in your target band score, have your level of English checked. If your level of English is much lower than the appropriate level for that band score – refer to the assessment criteria mentioned below – you will have difficulties in achieving your target IELTS band score. In that case you better improve on your English first before you prepare for IELTS skills. Improving English will require more commitment and time from your side than preparing for IELTS skills.