Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Purpose of IELTS - A Quick Overview of the IELTS Exam and Some Tips on How to Pass It

IELTS class being creative making essay posters!
IELTS class being creative making essay posters! (Photo credit: eltpics)
by Ronald S Baird

IELTS, also known as the International English Language Testing System, was established in 1989 and is managed by IDP Education Pty. Ltd., the British Council, and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations.

It is an exam that measures the proficiency of a person in the use of the English language. People who take the IELTS are required to pass the four parts of the exam, which include listening, reading, writing, and speaking.

IELTS - General and Academic

There are two training versions of IELTS. These include the Academic Version and the General Training version.

The academic version is for people who aim to study in English-speaking countries like the US, the UK, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia. IELTS also serves as a requirement for people who want to practice their professions, particularly those who are licensed medical professionals like doctors and nurses, in the said countries.

On the other hand, the general training version is purely for non-academic purposes like for immigration requirements and for gaining work experience.

General or Academic - Which is Which?

The decision about what kind of training version you should choose depends on the purpose or the goal you are aiming for. If you want to get a student visa and want to practice your profession then the academic training is for you. However, if you are planning to get a fiance visa and want to migrate to any of those English-speaking countries with your foreign husband-to-be, then the general training version will definitely suit you.

In case you don't know, the academic training version of IELTS is harder than the general training version.

Why is it harder to pass? The reason is that most universities and higher professional bodies require a higher bandwidth or score compared to the general training. Also remember that several universities have different IELTS bandwidth or score requirements. Therefore, you need to check on the IELTS score requirements first before deciding to take the IELTS exam.

To improve your chances of passing the IELTS exam, you need to dedicate some time to hone your English language skills. If necessary, you need to focus more attention on the part or parts of the exam (speaking, listening, reading, writing), in which you have some difficulty. In other words, maintain your strengths and improve your weaknesses.

The best IELTS review center will be able to diagnose your English proficiency skills and with that, you will know what to focus on and what to improve so that you have more opportunity to pass the exam and get the bandwidth you are aiming for.

It is also a wise idea to follow the guidelines of your IELTS lecturer and to have some IELTS review sessions on your own. You can get a lot of resources on the internet; however, you need to check if they have the latest versions.

The author is a seasoned lecturer at the best TOEFL and IELTS review center in Cebu. He started teaching in 2001.

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