1. What is IELTS?
The International English Language Testing System or IELTS is a mandatory test taken by international candidates from non-English speaking countries who wish to study or work in a foreign country where English is the primary language of communication. This exam assesses candidates’ proficiency in the basic concepts of the English language in relation to the following:-
2. Why is the IELTS test difficult?
IELTS is undoubtedly one of the most difficult exams, as it assesses the candidates’ skills in the English language at an international level. Here we have listed some of the main reasons why candidates find IELTS so difficult.
The listening test lasts 30 minutes and candidates find it difficult to concentrate for 30 continuous minutes without stopping.
Many candidates complain that they cannot think of a good idea to say during the oral exam or write during the written exam.
Some complaint about insufficient time to complete the written test.
There are a number of difficult words in the reading section that are difficult to understand.
Nervousness is a major problem among test takers which is quite difficult to deal with.
In the listening comprehension test, the speakers speak too fast and the test takers can only hear them once.
Apart from the above reasons, there are several other problems that vary from one candidate to another, which make the IELTS exam difficult. With solid preparation, regular training and a positive attitude, even this difficult exam can be mastered with ease, but candidates’ determination must be strong.
3. Types of IELTS exams
IELTS exams are of two different types:
IELTS Academic Test – Taken by candidates applying for higher education abroad or for professional registration.
IELTS General Test – Taken by candidates wishing to pursue higher education in English-speaking countries such as the US, UK, Canada and Australia. The test is mandatory for those who wish to participate in one of the secondary education courses, or training programs or gain work experience in one of the countries of the world where English is the main language of communication.
4. IELTS test format
The IELTS test format consists of 4 sections which are listed below.
Listening: Listening is the first part of the IELTS exam, common to academic and general tests, to assess candidates’ listening skills. The listening part consists of two monologues and two conversations. Candidates must introduce themselves very carefully and answer the questions that follow. Please note that candidates can only hear once.
Reading: This section is designed to assess candidates’ reading and comprehension skills. In the academic IELTS test, the reading section consists of three passages that candidates must read, understand and answer all the questions that follow. On the other hand, in the IELTS General Test, there are three sections where section 1 contains two, three or many short texts, section 2 has two texts and the third section has one long text. Candidates must read, understand and answer all the questions that follow.
Writing: The writing section is designed to test candidates’ writing skills. For the academic IELTS test, there are two writing tasks. The first task includes a table, chart, graph or chart where candidates have to explain or summarize all the information in their own words. The second task asks candidates to write an essay on a given topic, point of view, argument or problem. For the IELTS regular exam, candidates are also given two writing tasks. The first task presents the candidates with a situation where they have to write a letter to request information or describe the situation. The second task in this is the same as in the IELTS Academic Test.
Speaking: The speaking section assesses candidates’ oral skills and is the same for both the professional and general tests. The first task in this section consists of a face-to-face interview on various general topics lasting between four and five minutes. In the second task, the candidates are given a card consisting of a topic that they have to talk about. Topic preparation time is one minute and speaking time is two minutes. The examiner then asks a few questions on the same topic, which the candidates must answer. The final task involves several questions about the second task that candidates must answer in the exam.