How are the Different Tasks in IELTS Scored
Owned jointly by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia, and Cambridge ESOL, the IELTS is an exam that can change your life. Either the Academic or the General Training version, the IELTS is accepted by more than 6000 institutions, organizations, and government departments all over the world for employment, academic, and immigration purposes. As you prepare for IELTS, whether Academic or General Training, it is also important that you understand the objectives of the test, question types, and IELTS scores.
Academic and General Training Versions of IELTS
IELTS scores are used to understand and evaluate your communication abilities in the English language. According to the purpose or requirement, there are two different versions of the IELTS exam conducted worldwide - the Academic version to test your abilities with complex usage of the language required for higher academic studies and the General Training version to test your skills for every day English communication. The exam tests your communication skills in Speaking, Listening, Reading, and Writing areas- the first two being common for both versions and two different versions for the next two, based on the differing complexity level of language usage called for.
While most universities and institutions require you to take the Academic version of the test for higher education purpose, immigration and work opportunities call for the General Version of the test.
The IELTS scores are considered a fair measure of your skills in the English language; the results are generally out within 13 calendar days of the test. And you could check the IELTS scores online.
Interestingly, there is no pass or fail in the IELTS exam, as the test tries to assess all levels of English communication skills. Individual organizations and institutions determine their own level of required scores to meet their requirements. For specific requirements of specific institutions, check the IELTS Global Recognition System (http://bandscore.ielts.org/). The scoring system uses a 9-band measuring scale to report the individual and the aggregate IELTS scores from 0 (the lowest) to 9 (the highest). The scores could be whole numbers or decimal numbers. Please see the IELTS band scale for details (http://takeielts.britishcouncil.org/find-out-about-results/understand-your-ielts-scores). In addition, individual banded scores are reported for each of the four parts of exam. For example, 6.5 for Writing and Reading, 7 for Speaking and Listening, and another 7 as the aggregate, or so.
Though IELTS scoring and reporting follow strict guidelines and quality assurance measure, in case you feel there' s been a mistake in the scoring or score reporting, you can apply for an enquiry on results, within six weeks of the test date by paying a fee.
Scoring for Different Sections
Across both versions of the test, scores for each of the four sections are equally weighted. The overall IELTS scores are calculated by taking the average of the individual parts. Read on to understand how the different sections are scored in different versions of IELTS:
- Listening part: The Listening part of the test is common for both versions of the exam and contains 4 sections or four different scenarios to assess your listening skills. There are a total of 40 questions to answer. Each correct answer could fetch you 1 mark, and the total scores out of 40 are converted into the nine-band scale.
- Speaking part: Speaking part of the exam is again common for both Academic and General Training versions and there are three tasks to evaluate you. In this three-part oral test, you are asked to introduce yourself, engage in a conversation with the examiner, and also provide a long monologue on a given topic. Fluency and coherence, grammatical accuracy, lexical resource, and pronunciation are the four areas on which you are evaluated in this part, based on which the IELTS scores are reported on the nine-band scale.
- Writing part: For the General Training version of the test, the Writing part is to assess your written communication skills in terms of the generic language use of day to day and work life. There are two tasks to complete and the topics given are of generic interest. The first task assesses your ability to write a letter - formal, personal, etc. and the second task requires you to write an essay. The Academic Writing test assesses your ability at complex written communication. The first task of the exam requires you to examine and present or explain the given information - chart, graph, table, etc. In the second task, you are required to write an essay, but in response to a viewpoint or argument. For both tasks, you need to write in a formal style.
- Reading part: For both versions of the Reading tests, an hour's time is given and there are 40 questions to answer based on the text provided. For both versions, there are three sections for the Reading part. For the General Training version, texts are taken from notices, magazines, newspapers, etc. and are relevant to everyday life and work , and are of general interest. The Academic version contains texts from books, magazines or journals and the topics are of academic nature, and might contain charts, diagrams, etc. For both versions, each correct answer carries 1 mark each and the total scores are then converted onto the nine-band scale.
In both versions, you need to write at least 150 words for task 1, and 250 words for task 2. Also, an answer entirely in note form or as bullet points might lose you marks. The IELTS scores for both are calculated based on your response, cohesion, lexical resource, and grammatical range and accuracy. However, the score of the second task weighs more and it contributes two times as that of the first task towards the total Writing score.
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