Preparing For The IELTS


English is an international language with over a billion people speaking it all over the world. It is the most widely used official language of the world. Almost all the leading countries of the world have English as an official language. So, one can not deny the importance of English. For studies and career in these English speaking countries you need to first clear an exam called IELTS. It stands for International English Language Testing System. This examination is conducted jointly by University of Cambridge ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Examinations, British Council and IDP: IELTS Australia. It is also important to clear this exam for immigration purposes in most of the countries. The importance of IELTS has given rise to careful planning of preparation. This article will help you equip yourself for the examination. A well-planned  approach toward the examination will ensure you scores in top bands.

IELTS Pattern

The aim of IELTS is to check your skills at communicating in English in all forms of expression. It is a test of your reading, writing, speaking and listening skills at English. This test has two forms - Academic module and the General Training module. Academic module is applicable for those who wish to enter the English speaking countries for higher education. The General Training module is applicable for those who are seeking job opportunities or some kind of training in these countries. The difficulty level of both of these modules is different as the reading and writing sections are different for these modules.

Both the modules have four sections. They are listening, reading, writing and speaking. The speaking section involves an interview of the candidate by an expert. The other three sections involve about 80 short questions and two short essays. The written tests take about two and a half hours. Each section is scored on a scale of 0 to 9. The final score is calculated by averaging the individual scores on a scale of 0 to 9. A score of six and above is considered to be a good score.

IELTS Prep Methods

Preparation can be done in three ways. They are by joining a coaching institute or by an online course or by self study. Each of these methods has some positive and some negative points. Let us see each of these methods in details.

You may find a number of coaching institutes that offer IELTS preparatory courses. It is one of the preferred methods of preparation. Here you get a good amount of study materials for preparing each of the sections in depth. An experienced teacher is anytime better for you to chalk out the strategy for preparation. The peer group environment keeps you motivated and helps you to learn from others. The ideal preparation methodology is one that includes a lot of practice. At a coaching institute you get a number of sample test papers to solve. The mock practice at these institutes can make your mind set for the similar conditions during the actual exam. Preparation at a coaching institute allows you to clarify your doubts from your tutors.

The second method is joining an online course for IELTS. You may find a whole lot of web sites offering such courses. Therefore you need to be careful while choosing from among them. Every online course web site will claim to be the best web site with 100 percent results. But it is always better if you can collect some feedbacks about them from your peers or friends who are also appearing for IELTS. For an online course you need to register yourself first by paying the required fees through credit cards or through online banking. Once you are registered you get a membership of the course and are sent the study material to your e-mail account. This study material contains the soft copies of the lessons on each of the sections. These lesson plans are carefully designed keeping in mind the passive interaction in such a course. The biggest advantage of an online course is that you can learn the lessons at your own pace. You are also provided with the sample question papers along with the answers and explanations of the answers.

If for some reason you do not wish to take the above options then you can do self study. This is not a difficult exam. You just need the adequate study material and the right approach. You will find a number of study guides in the marked for IELTS. These guides include audio CDs/ cassettes for the reading session. These books can be found online. Free study materials are also available online. At the official web site i.e. you will find sample study materials and questions for free download.

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