Decoding IELTS

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Decoding IELTS

What is IELTS?

IELTS or International English Language Testing System is an exam which helps determine your ability to use the English language. The purpose of the exam is to measure how close you come to a native speaker of English in terms of your ability to read, write, understand as well as talk in English. IELTS became really popular over the past few years the world over, as more and more governments and educational institutions began to use IELTS scores as one of the primary criteria for granting admissions and immigration to foreign nationals.

The Exam Structure

An IELTS exam has four modules; listening, reading, writing and speaking. Out of these, listening, reading and writing happen on the same day and are scheduled back to back, while the speaking test, a personal interview with an examiner, usually takes place on a different day and venue. A candidate can choose the date for the written test according to availability of seats, but doesn’t have a say in speaking date or time. It can be allocated anytime up to a week before or after the written test.

Both the listening and reading modules are worth 40 marks each, and the raw score obtained is converted into a band score. IELTS bands range from 0-9. The writing module is judged on four main parameters and each of these has equal weightage.

Getting Ready for the Exam

In order to prepare for IELTS, a candidate must work on his or her grammatical ability and ensure there are no grammatical errors. It also helps to work on the vocabulary and make sure you use vocabulary that is relevant to the topic. Another area candidates need to focus on in pronunciation. While you are not expected to have any particular accent, one must speak without strong mother tongue influence. Regular practice goes a long way in scoring high in IELTS.

As long as one bears this in mind, it should not be a challenge to get the desired bands.

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