Getting to know IELTS

Purpose of IELTS

            The International English Learning Test System is a world recognized English proficiency test. It is aimed as a test for candidates who want to study abroad especially in an English speaking country. It is also for those who want to study at your home country but in a British, Australian or American branch university. If you have plans to migrate to countries that require you to prove your proficiency in English, your IELTS score will be a good indicator.

For this article, we will focus on the Academic IELTS which is normally targeted towards candidates who want to pursue their Pre- U, undergraduate or even postgraduate studies at institutions that require IELTS as their English requirement.  Furthermore, the IELTS results is only valid for 2 years.


Format of IELTS

It is very important to know and understand the overall format of IELTS. The IELTS has a total of four components, in which each component is graded separately according to categories of band, where the highest band you can achieve is Band 9. The components that you will be tested on are listening, reading, writing and speaking.

The LISTENING component has a total of 4 sections. You are advised to use 25 minutes to answer the questions, in which another 10 minutes will be used to transfer the answers to your answer scripts. You can access several sample questions on listening from Youtube and test yourself by setting a timer after each section.

For the READING component, you will need to read 3 passages and answer 40 questions, in which 60 minutes will be given to complete this component. There will be a range of questions that you will be tested based on your comprehension on the passages such as multiple choice questions yes, no, not given statements, filling up the blanks and choosing the suitable title for the passages.

            For the SPEAKING component, you will need to answer 3 sections, where you will need 11 to 14 minutes to complete, where each section requires you to give answers on a given theme/ scenario .

On the other hand, the WRITING component is by far, the most challenging part of the IELTS examination. You need to answer 2 writing tasks. Task 1 will be writing a report of 150 words, which will take approximately 150 words. For Task 2, 40 minutes will be given to complete an essay of 250 words.

Important Tips to Remember

Now we will go through several useful tips on how to answer well for each component that will be tested in IELTS.

For the LISTENING component, it is extremely to practise active listening as the recording will only be played once. Also, you need to know the differences between each section that will be tested. The first two sections will touch on information transfer and describing things, whereas the next two sections are academic discussions and lectures. You are also encouraged to be familiar with various accents. Listen to native speakers on their pronunciation of certain words. One way you can do so is by listening to news from BBC and CNN.

For the READING component, it is best to do a lot of past year IELTS questions to understand the style, structure and format of the questions that will be tested. Do a lot of vocabulary exercises so that you can increase your reading speed and flow while answering the questions. Another tip is to read the questions first before starting the passages so that you can anticipate and search actively for the answers while reading.  You can refer below to get some idea on format of questions for the Reading section based on the sample given.

For the WRITING component, Task 1 is relatively easier to score. The format of task 1 is writing a report in which candidates need to interpret graphs, charts, diagrams and processes based on the information given. On the other hand, Task 2 requires you to write an essay that is argumentative and discursive in nature. Essays like this require you to state your position and provide your logical and supportive reasons on why you choose your position, according to the given scenario. Furthermore, in order to produce a well- written essay, you need to master basic grammar rules and practise your vocabulary on a daily basis.

For the SPEAKING component, there will be 3 sections of questions that you will be tested on. The first section normally revolves around ice breaking questions about yourself. You can prepare probable questions and answers on the things around you such as your neighbourhood, your hobby, your family etc. For the second set, the questions are mostly WH- questions that require your creativity and imagination; you are not encouraged to memorize any answers for this section. The third section of questions is actually a follow up of questions based on the second part, where you need to link your answers in a knowledgeable and analytical manner. Always attempt to answer all the questions enthusiastically.

 IELTS Preparatory Classes at JS Study Solutions

Here at JS Study Solutions, we offer classes that are personalized and small in size. We equip students to achieve their desired bands by offering effective practises through past year IELTS papers. In terms of teaching, the trainer for IELTS has almost 15 years of teaching and preparing students for IELTS. The tuition fees charged are affordable and based on the level of the students and desired band to be achieved.

We hope the above information will be useful for any of you who are planning to sit for IELTS. Feel free to contact JS Study Solutions through our website, social media pages and through our counselors. You can also visit our office at Seremban to have a chat with us! We would love to make your dreams to further study come true!

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Written by Joycelyn Ong

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