Even most of them go for TOEFL for proof of English Proficiency, IELTS is also now increasingly accepted.
Why I preferred IELTS instead of TOEFL ?
- I know a lot of people whose scores got cancelled even though they didn’t involve in any malpractice just because someone in that test centre cheated.
- All TOEFL slots in prometric was full up to December
- Its bit difficult for me to speak to a computer ….Isn’t it a bit awkward..?!?
- My place is known for TOEFL fraud
For Higher education we need to take the academic IELTS exam … IELTS general is for immigration purposes
So a bit about IELTS Academic Test
This is probably the easiest section for guys who prepared sedulously for GRE or the toughest if you didn’t take GRE Verbal part seriously. You have to read 3 long sections, each with multiple paragraphs, and answer 40 questions (13 to 14 per section). You have to finish this section in just one hour. The passages will be progressing in difficulty.
This takes for 40 minutes, 30 minutes for listening the tape and answering the questions and other 10 minutes is for transferring your answers to answer sheet. It has four sections and you have to answer 40 questions. You need to answer all questions as you listen since the tape is not paused any time.
It consists of two parts, writing a report and essay. the total time period is for 1 hour, 20 minutes for report and 40 minutes for writing essay.
This takes upto 15 minutes and it has three parts: personal interview, 2 min speech and discussion on it. Speaking exam will be held on a different day, while all listening, reading and writing will be held on same day.
I know you can find all the above info in google, but I wanted to put all about ielts in one place so couldn’t resist to write it.
So My take on IELTS and some preparation tips …
To be very frank, the total amount of preparation I did for IELTS is just one day. After completion of gre I was too busy searching universities and really didn’t care about IELTS which resulted in a modest score of 7 .
Reading : I scored 7.5 in reading section. I guess my preparation for gre rc passages helped a lot. Well some say look at questions first and then come back to passage to find the answers for it. It didn’t work for me… so what I did was I just read entire passage [mind you I am a fast reader] underlining the key words and once when I am done with reading the passages I answered questions easily with the help of keywords I underlined earlier. Also, its very important to divide time effectively. Give 15 minutes for 1st passage, 20 for 2nd and 25 for 3rd because first passage is the easiest while third one is toughest. You have to remember that there are no additional time given for copying answers from question booklet to answer sheet so allot 2 minutes after each passage to transfer your answers, that means for first passage you will have only 13 minutes for answering the questions and 2 minutes for transferring your answers.
Listening: I messed up here and that resulted in a score of 7 band here. If you generally watch Hollywood films then you need not have much preparation here. Also guys we have to answer as we listen because the tape will not pause at any moment,so if you miss any question don’t dwell on it and move on otherwise we would lose the sequence which would result in much more mistakes. I was actually very weak in remembering routes and identifying maps … and to my bad luck there were five questions in IELTS based on a map L like ….move 4 miles towards north and 2 miles to south now you will find a band some like that stuff!! And I was terribly confused there and hence a modest 7 band.
Writing : This was a shocker, honestly a 6 band I expected at least 7, as the report and essay topics are familiar ones. I would only give one tip here.. Practice! Practice!! Practice!!! Write on some common ielts topics and get it evaluated by someone who is good at English and has some knowledge at ielts and you would be fine.
Speaking : This one is easy if you are spontaneous. Even if you aren’t …you can do this section easily by a bit of practice since almost all the questions are repeated ones. In second part examiner will give you a cue card and you have to speak 1 – 2 minutes about it after giving a 1 min time for making notes. This is the most important of the entire test. No matter what others say try to speak for 2 minutes . I bummed here as topic given to me is very vague I only talked about it for 1.5 minutes and kept quiet, the examiner gestured me to go on …but I wasn’t able to come up anything for that, Thank God I quickly regained and did well in the third section i.e. the discussion round and that resulted in a score of 6.5
One important tip is be sure that you read institutions for every question …If the instruction says that answer no more than three words then anything more than three words is treated as wrong. While counting words “a”,”the” is also treated as words.
One of the most frequent questions regarding IELTS
Should I go with British Council or IDP for giving IELTS exam?
Both are same , there are many rumors that British council IELTS is more valued than IDP ones and the IELTS conducted by IDP is much more easier than British Council, Even some say that IDP evaluation is not as accurate as British Council ones. I took exam in IDP and as far as I know there is no difference between IELTS conducted by British Council and IDP. Both are one and same.
But people prefer British council because of their service and you can send 4 free reports of your IELTS score while the same is not available with IDP.
Some Helpful resources for IELTS
- For IELTS writing part English Ryan videos are most helpful
- A must buy book would be “Target Band 7: IELTS Academic Module – How to Maximize Your Score (second edition)”. Follow the tips in there and practice with practice tests book, one you can get free after registering for the exam.
- Here you can get two free practice tests
- This blog has everything you need to prepare for the IELTS exam by yourself
My Advice: Even if you are fluent and good in English, Buy Target Band 7 book, do at least 2 practice tests to familiarize yourself with the test.