If you’re researching studying abroad, you must have come across the term IELTS exam. IELTS is an abbreviation for International Language Testing System. This exam checks your level of English proficiency with the help of systematic questions and tests.
The IELTS exam is a significant factor in your college applications to any foreign university. The admission committee typically allots some marks to the level of an applicant’s IELTS exam result. In some colleges, IELTS is a necessary criterion to apply for admission. Nowadays, many universities have dropped the requirement of an English proficiency test. However, an IELTS exam makes the college application more attractive and can help the admission process.
On the other hand, this exam is also required while migrating to an English-speaking country for a job. The IELTS exam diverges into two sections, the IELTS Academic test, and the General Training test. The IELTS Academic test is for students to study in a foreign university whereas, the IELTS general training exam is for people planning to move to an English-speaking country.
One of the main reasons for the requirement of IELTS in major universities is to ensure that the student understands the lectures, can read and write in English, interact with teachers and other students as well as understand the academic content.
There are four major sections involved in this exam- speaking, reading, listening, and writing. Test takers can opt for a paper-based or computer-based exam according to their preference. However, the speaking test is conducted face-to-face with an official IELTS examiner.
IELTS or TOEFL?
Both IELTS and TOEFL are designed to check the English language proficiency of a test taker. The method of conducting these examinations is also quite similar. However, TOEFL is normally preferred by universities in Canada and the USA. IELTS, on the other hand, is popular in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and some other countries.
How to register for IELTS?
To register for this exam, visit the official IELTS website, create an account with the British Council and enter the information in all the required fields. You can choose the day and time of your test based on your preferences. After fulfilling all the requirements, you can pay the registration fee. The registration fee differs from country to country.
You can score from band 0 to band 9 depending on your performance in this exam. Here are the factors that constitute your IELTS band score.
Band 0: This score is given to people who have chosen to not attempt the test at all.
Band 1: This is a basic level signifying that the test taker only knows some basic English words.
Band 2: This band signifies that you cannot speak or write in English.
Band 3: Under this band, the test taker can maybe understand a few general terms in common situations.
Band 4: This level signifies that you have basic knowledge of the language but find some complex terms difficult to understand.
Band 5: Can fairly use the language in most situations but makes some mistakes.
Band 6: The test taker is competent enough to understand complex terms in familiar situations.
Band 7: Makes only minor mistakes in using the language in most situations but has a fair command of the language.
Band 8: Has a good command of the language with minor inaccuracies while using complex terms.
Band 9: Has a strong understanding of the language and is a fluent English speaker.
A test taker is scrutinized and awarded a band level based on the proficiency of the user. In most cases, the higher the band level, the higher your chances of getting admitted to a university or clearing your visa requirements.
The IELTS test score is released after only 2-3 weeks of the test date and it is valid for two years.
Although there are fairly many study materials and tips available online, you can opt for a coaching center to train you for the IELTS exam if you’re short of time. Generally speaking, 1-2 months is ideal to prepare for this exam. However, you should prepare for this test based on your proficiency level to attain the best possible scores.