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What is IELTS: Everything You Need to Know

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By Kh. M. Haris Naveed

Want to go abroad where English is the native language and want to prepare yourself for it?

You’re in luck because today we are going to give a brief introduction to IELTS. We are going to what IELTS is, what is the history behind it and what are sections the exam is divided into.

IELTS is an abbreviation of the International English Language Test System. This is an English language proficiency test. IELTS is the most widely used English testing exam around the world.

This test is taken if you are planning to go abroad to a country like America, England or Australia. The reason for it can be anything. It can be from studying abroad to immigration.

IELTS exam is designed to score your English reading, writing and speaking ability. The test scores can be for the purpose of enrolling in an institute, applying for a job or immigrating to their country.

The IELTS test has a total score of 9. The closer your score to 9 the better. The good marks are considered 6 through 9. The 4.5 t0 5 are considered an average score. Try your best to achieve high scores so that there will be no issue while applying to go to another country.

There are two types of IELTS exam. These types are:

  1. Academic: For admission to a college/ University.
  2. General Training: This is for the purpose of applying for a job or immigration to the country.

Depending upon your reason to go abroad you need to decide which type of IELTS exam you want to take. It can be a cause of trouble if not chosen correctly.

Now, let’s dive into the history of the IELTS.

History of IELTS

IELTS dates back to 1980. Cambridge English Language Assessment and the British Council created this test. This test was initially called UCLES or University of Cambridge Local Examination Syndicate.

In 5 years the number of students who took this test increased from 4,000 to 10,000. This proved to be very beneficial but the main challenge was about to come. To challenge the UCLES another project was started which came to be known as ELTS or English Language Testing Standard.

After the arrival of the new competition, there was an urgent need for redesigning the test. For this purpose, the IDP the International Development program of Australian colleges decided to collaborate with the CELA (Cambridge English Language Assessment) and the British Council.

The test that was designed after the joint venture of IDE and CELA and British Council came to know as IELTS which started in 1989. After the launch of the test, there have been 3 major redesigns in 1995, 2001 and 2005.

This is how the most popular English proficiency test IELTS was created.

Now, let’s discuss how many sections the exam holds.

IELTS Sections

Since we have discussed what are the types of the exam, that is also necessary to know how many sections are there going to be in it.

IELTS consists of 4 sections each with its own purpose. These sections are:

1) Reading:

Let’s start with the most basic skill that you must possess. This section of the exam targets your reading ability. For this, you must have good reading skills and knowledge of the common phrases and Idioms.

To prepare for this you must read as much as you can. The more books you read the more it will improve your reading skills.

2) Listening:

The next section of the exam is the listening section in which a tap is played and then you have to answer the questions regarding the tap.

This section targets your listening capability. The best practice for this is very simple and enjoyable. You can listen to the TV. Sounds amazing but you need to focus on what they are saying and try to understand the common idioms and slangs. The slang will be helpful while actually conversing with another person abroad.

You can also listen to different motivational speakers, audio files or podcasts. These are good ways to enhance your English language.

3) Writing:

Reading and writing go hand in hand. If you are good at reading an article then you must also be able to write. That is because through listening you can only understand the word but through reading, you know the correct spelling for the word and you could write it.

Obviously, in this section, you’ll be given some writing tasks that you must perform. The best practice you can do for this is while reading an article.

Try to read an article and write it while looking at it. Although the best way is to write it without looking at it. If you are a beginner then it is best for you to start while looking at the article. This can improve not only writing skills but also your reading skills because you will be aware of the word and how it is pronounced.

Now, let’s move on to the last section.

4) Speaking:

As we have discussed that reading and writing go hand in hand, listening and speaking do as well.

This section will involve actual conversation. So, it is best to improve your speaking skills. This skill is the most important because in abroad the most contact with others will be verbal means.

The best way to prepare for this is by listening to an audio of someone. Even if you’re not good at reading or writing English, the most crucial skills you must attain are listening and speaking skills.

The reason for the importance of listening and speaking skills is necessary because people mostly judge you by how you speak. Even if you haven’t gone for the purpose of enrollment in a college or applying for a job, you still need to converse with others to attain knowledge of how to live in that country.

That is why you must be good at listening to others. The better you listen to others the better you would speak because you would be aware of how to talk, how a certain thing is pronounced and what are the local slangs.

By mastering the 4 basic skills of the English language you can easily pass the IELTS exam.

This was a brief introduction to IELTS. Hopefully, this proved to be useful for you.

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