Welcome back everyone!
I’m sure most of you reading this have undertaken an English exam at some point in your life but have you ever heard of someone taking an IELTS exam (International English Language Testing System)? Today, I’ll give you a brief insight into this exam which can open up a world of opportunities. However before we start, here is some useful language which is featured in the post for you to revise.
Useful language for the post:
- Competence (Noun) the ability to do something
- The world is your oyster (Idiom) to have the freedom or ability to do exactly what you want and wherever you want.
- Emigrate (Verb) to leave your own country in order to live in another country
- Comparing apples with oranges (Idiom) to make an impossible or unreasonable comparison between very different items. Comparing apples with apples (Idiom) to make a comparison between similar items
Unlock the world with IELTS
Many learners of English want, or need, some proof of their language proficiency. For years, the Cambridge Main Suite examinations were the best-known and most popular. These days, IELTS is beginning to replace FCE (now known as Cambridge English First), CAE (Cambridge English Advanced) and CPE (Cambridge English Proficiency) as the professional English language qualification of choice for people all over the world. Over 140 countries worldwide now offer IELTS, and over 9,000 organisations across the globe recognise IELTS as evidence of a person’s competence (1) in English.
But what is IELTS, and how does it work? Read on to find some answers.
IELTS – an international exam for international English
First of all, IELTS is not strictly an exam; it’s a test. Candidates do not “pass” or “fail”, instead they get a band score from 1 to 9; the higher the band score, the better the candidate’s ability in English. It is an overall assessment of a candidate’s English language proficiency. The test sessions take place very frequently. Here in Poland, tests occur every two weeks in Warsaw and Krakow, and 4-5 times a year in five other centres (Wroclaw, Poznan, Gdansk, Katowice and Lublin). The results are always published on the 13th day after the test. With so many opportunities to take the exam and so many different countries recognising the results, the world really can be your oyster (2) with IELTS.
Who takes IELTS?
There are two versions of the IELTS test: Academic and General Training. 80% of candidates who wish to study in English in Poland or abroad take the Academic Module. Those who plan to emigrate (3) to countries such as Australia, New Zealand or Canada take the General Training module. IELTS is becoming the exam of choice for young professionals and students: 20% of all candidates in Poland are high school age and 60% of candidates are 20 – 30 years old.
What does the test involve?
There are four parts to the test: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. All parts of the test are usually completed on the same day, although some candidates may take their Speaking Test a day earlier or later. Unlike the Cambridge English examinations, which conduct their Speaking tests with pairs of candidates and two examiners, the format of the IELTS Speaking exam is one candidate to one examiner.
Is IELTS more difficult than the Cambridge English exams?
Comparing IELTS with Cambridge English to see which one is “more difficult” is like comparing apples with oranges (4). They are two different tests which are taken for different reasons. However, Cambridge state that a candidate passing Advanced successfully would “display similar language ability to candidates who have an IELTS score of 6.5 to 8.0”
How can I find out more?
To find out more general information about the IELTS test go to www.takeielts.britishcouncil.org. If you are already planning to take the test, think about joining our free online Future Learn Course to help you improve your English and prepare for it: Understanding IELTS: Techniques for English Language Tests.
Join us next time on ‚Brit It’ for a focus on a different aspect of UK Culture and the English language.