Thursday, 11 July 2013

What *is* IELTS??

What is the IELTS Exam?
The IELTS Exam is an exam designed to assess your abilities in listening, reading, writing and speaking in English. IELTS is available in two test formats, General and Academic. Both exams share the same listening and speaking portions, but are slightly different with regards to reading and writing.

The score is given on a scale of 0 to 9, where 9 is only achievable by those who are virtually native speakers. (To be honest, I know some native speakers who could not score a 9!)

The IELTS exam is required to live and study in many different English-speaking countries. In New Zealand, where Super Best IELTS !? is based, you must have a score of 6.5 to apply for Permanent Residency. In Australia, you need to have a 6. Many Universities also require IELTS, with score requirements generally ranging from 5.5 to 7. (Some Literature and Linguistics courses require 8 or even 9!)

Chances are, if you are visiting this site, you know what score you need!

What are the four sections of the IELTS exam?

The Listening portion of the IELTS exam lasts approximately 40 minutes. You will hear four different recordings, which increase in difficulty as the test goes on. There are 40 questions in the listening section.

  • Listening Section 1 is an everyday dialogue (conversation between two or more people) which assesses your understanding of basic English situations. For example, you may hear a man making reservations or speaking to a friend about going to a movie.
  • Listening Section 2 is an everyday monologue (short speech by one person) on a familiar topic. You may hear a woman giving directions or describing an object.
  • Listening Section 3 is an academic dialogue. You may hear a student speaking to his or her professor about an assignment, or several students discussing a lecture.
  • Listening Section 4 is an academic lecture. This section is often quite long and includes high-level vocabulary. It usually consists of a professor speaking about a common academic topic such as business, history, or the environment.

The Reading portion of the IELTS exam lasts 60 minutes and consists of either 2 or 3 texts. The texts are taken from academic journals, books, and newspapers and may be on a variety of topics. The reading section has 40 questions. Reading texts become more difficult as the exam goes on.

The Writing portion of IELTS lasts 60 minutes and has 2 parts. Part 1 is a 150 word essay on either a chart or graph (for academic IELTS) or a 150 word letter (for general IELTS.)

Writing standards for the IELTS exam are quite high, but luckily for you, Super Best IELTS has fantastic tips to help you improve! You can also submit a practice essay for detailed feedback from an IELTS instructor.

The Speaking portion of IELTS lasts approximately 15 minutes and has 3 sections.
  • Speaking Section 1 includes everyday questions about you. For example, the examiner may ask how long you have been in New Zealand or what you enjoy doing in your free time. This section is also meant to help you relax and think about topics in English.
  • Speaking Section 2 is called the “Long Turn” because you must prepare to speak for about two minutes on a given topic. There are many topics included in the speaking section which we will study over the course of our class.
  • Speaking Section 3 is the short answer section. The examiner will ask you general questions related to your “Long Turn” question. These questions should be answered with one or two sentences.

How can I improve my IELTS score?

Of course it is important to practice all the four skills and improve your English overall. This site provides help in all areas and gives secret tips and tricks for achieving the score you need!

We also recommend watching movies, reading books, and listening to songs in English whenever you can. Make some English-speaking friends. The more you expose yourself to English, the more you will understand and the higher you will achieve.

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