What is IELTS ?
Interantional English Language Testing System (IELTS) is basically a test which is intended to know your ability to understand and express your English.
The main aims of this test are :
a)to prove that you can understand what others speak
b)to prove that others understand what you speak
How can I take the test ?
Contact your local British Council Office for the procedures involved towards IELTS.
Go to www.britishcoucil.org for further information.
What is the exam like?
The test is divided into 4 basic componenets, tested one by one.
What are Academic and General Training Modules?
IELTS is held in 2 modules :
Academic is usually meant for immigration for higher studies /job while general training is for immigration alone.
Do find out from your concerned institute/organization regarding which module they want you to clear.
This is important as both the modules are set at different standards (Academic being tougher than the General Training) and you should specify this clearly at the time of registering for the test.
How many days I need to prepare?
Yes!time factor is very important.
Although time of preparation may differ with different individuals,but I think 10-15 days is the optimum time.
Make sure u have at least 10 days in hand before u register youself. I personally believe that more than this will only make you complacent towards your preparation, which can adversely effect your performance.
However,always tailor up your own time requirement depending on how much time you can devote each day towards this ,on your basic level of English and on the weaknesses you want to improve upon.
Do I need to take a course?
Well,this depends on your preference of how exactly you would like to prepare.
British Council Offices always have IELTS study material(the Cambridge books,How to prepare for IELTS,others) and these provide step wise guidance for how to approach the questions,for each module separately, giving practice exercises for each.
The real exam is very much like(NOT SAME!!!) the practice exercises given in these materials.
In case,you want to practice more, there are several good online FREE resources available. You just need to spend some time searching and selecting the material which suits your need best.
What is BAND Score?
This is how your result will be read - in Band Scores.
The marks obtained by you in each of the modules will be finally converted to a BAND which reads from 0-9.
The interpretaion is :
Band 9 : Expert User
Band 8 : Very Good User
Band 7 : Good User
Band 6 : Competent User
Band 5 : Modest User
Band 4 : Limited User
Band 3 : Extremely Limited User
Band 2 : Intermittent User
Band 1 : Non User
Band 0 : Did not attempt the test
You will be given Band scores for each of the modules separately and an overall band score.
I need a band score of 7. How much should I aim to score?
Well,the conversion table varies with the difficulty level of the exam. For e.g. in a difficult exam you might need to score 34 out of 40,while if the exam was an easy one, u might need 36 out of 40 to get a band score of 7.This is just an example to make you understand that test converters vary with each test.
However, I have summarized an average break up scores for each band,just to help you practice getting the target scores:
What if I answer wrong?Will I be penalized?
NO!there is no negative marking and I would always suggest that you attempt all the questions.
Even if you are not sure of some answer,just go for a nearest guess.
What if I dont get my expected band score?
You will have 2 options left then:
a) Ask for re evaluation : ask your test center for how exactly can u appeal for a re evaluation
b) Reappear the test : U can reappear the test not before 90 days of your previous test date.
Any advise you would like to give ?
Practice !Practice! Practice!
Find out your weak points,improve upon those; Recognize your strong points and make sure you keep up those( at least till the exam day)!
Learn to manage your time while you practice.
Be confident with what you know and remember that it doesnt matter how much you know,until and unless you can show that to the examiner.
Its the WAY you show your knowledge will determine your scores,especially in the writing and speaking part.
Good Luck, then!