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Planning to give the language proficiency tests, but have some questions in mind? We, your testprep mentors, take charge to answer all your queries. Here is the list of FAQs which take into account all the aspects relatedd to IELTS.

Q What does IELTS mean?

A: IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System.

Q: How many skills are tested in the IELTS test?

A: There are 4 skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking.

Q: What is the weighting of the four papers?

A: The overall band is the average of the four individual band scores (Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking) – they all have equal weighting.

Q: Does the IELTS test accept American English?

A: Yes, it does. It is an international test of English. However, most examiners in speaking are English or Australian and may not be familiar with very modern American terms.

Q: Which skills do I take on the same day?

A: Listening, reading and writing are all taken on the same day. The speaking test can be taken either before, after or on the same day along with the other skills.

Q: Is there a break between the reading and writing test?

A: No, there is no break between the listening, reading and writing test. They are all taken together and the total duration is 2 hours and 40 minutes. So, make sure you eat and drink well before you take your test.

Q: Can I use a pen in my IELTS Test?

A: You can use a pen or pencil for your IELTS writing test. However, for your listening and reading test, you must use a pencil (don't forget to take an eraser with you)

Q: How many times can I take my IELTS test?

A: You can take it as many times as you want. There is no limit.

Q: Can I wear a watch in my IELTS test?

A: No, you can't. You can't wear a watch in any of the IELTS tests, even in the speaking test. There will be a clock on the wall so you can check the time.

Q: What happens if I am colour blind?

A: You should contact your IELTS test center before the exam to let them know. They will adapt any colour pages or illustrations for you in the test.

Q: How long does it take for my test results to arrive?

A: Your results will be posted to you 13 days after you have taken your test. It is possible to get your results by sms or online at some test centres. Contact them to find out.

Q: Can I get my IELTS test remarked?

A: You should contact your local IELTS center to get the form for remarking. If your results change and your band score goes up, you will get your money refunded. You have 6 weeks after taking your test to get your test remarked. Your test will be remarked by a different examiner. It takes about 6 to 8 weeks for the results to arrive.

Q: How long are my IELTS results valid?

A: Your IELTS results are valid for 2 years.

Q: What are the differences between IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training? Which version of IELTS should I recommend to my students?

A:IELTS Academic is designed for test takers who wish to study at an undergraduate or postgraduate level in a university, or who wish to join a professional organization in an English-speaking country. IELTS General Training is for test takers who wish to study at a lower level than a degree, work or do work-related training in an English-speaking country or emigrate to an English-speaking country. Neither version of the test is easier or more difficult than the other – your students should decide which version to take based on their individual aims. If an IELTS test is required by an organization, immigration authority, professional body or academic institution, they will state explicitly which of the two they require and at what band level (each skill and overall). Always advise your students to first enquire exactly what it is required, then they can start preparing for one or the other. If they simply wish to test their English at an international standard, they should choose the version more suitable to their Previous experience - if they are students, IELTS Academic would be more appropriate. It's really up to you and them to decide.

Q: How does IELTS compare to other exams and what is unique about IELTS?

A: IELTS is designed to assess English language skills at all levels - you cannot fail an IELTS test, as it is not designed to test at a particular level . Test takers receive IELTS scores based on each of the four skills on a band scale of 1 - 9, as well as an overall band score.
The test is pen and paper-based and the Speaking component is face-to-face with a certified Examiner.
You can score whole (e.g. 5.0, 6.0, 7.0) or half (e.g. 5.5., 6.5, 7.5) bands in each part of the test.
The test is pen & paper-based and the Speaking component is face-to-face with a certified examiner. IELTS does not test one particular version of English, such as British or American – it is a test of international English, reflecting the variety of sources that learners have access to and the range of English varieties to which they are exposed.

Q: How sure can my students be that their level of English is objectively reflected after being interviewed by one of your examiners? Will the assessment not differ from one examiner to another?

A: There is a system in place to make sure all candidates are assessed in an objective way, regardless of which examiner does this. Firstly, all the IELTS examiners are selected, trained,certified and monitored following the same standards and have to retrain and re-certify every two years. Secondly, they all follow the same criteria when marking writing papers or when interviewing for speaking, and all candidates are evaluated against these criteria, not compared with each other or against the examiner's subjective criteria. Thirdly, the examiners' activity is regularly monitored to ensure they are rating to standard in both speaking and writing.

Q: Can my students register to take the test with any IELTS test centre in any country?

A: Yes, any student can register with any IELTS test centre worldwide.

Q: Are there quotas for each IELTS band score?

A: There are no quotas for any IELTS band scores – each candidate is assessed purely on their individual performance in the test.

Q: How long will it take my students to improve their IELTS score by, say, one band?

A: Students often ask this question, but there is no 'one-size-fits-all' answer – every student is different. It will depend on, among other things, their initial English level, how many hours a week they study, where they are studying, their individual motivation and whether they have taken IELTS before. The bottom line, as always, is that the more study they put in, the better they will do.

Q: How easy is it to prepare my students for IELTS?

A: The best way for students to get a good mark in IELTS is for them to improve their general English ability, so in that respect, you are already an expert in IELTS preparation! You will also need to familiarize yourself with the different question types in the different parts of the exam so you can help your students to do the same. Try taking a practice IELTS test yourself – there's no better way to understand what your students will need to know.

Q: Can students with different levels of English participate in the same IELTS preparation course?

A: In principle, yes – the techniques and question types they will be studying will be the same regardless of their level. However, like any language class, if the range of levels in your class is wide, you will have to work hard to ensure the lower-level students can keep up while the more advanced ones are kept motivated.

Q: What is the weighting of the four speaking test assessment criteria?

A: The overall band is the average of the four individual assessment criteria scores (Fluency & Coherence, Lexical Resource, Grammatical Range & Accuracy, and Pronunciation) – they all have equal weighting.

Q: Can my students use their own personal experience in their Writing answers?

A: Yes - Writing Task 2 asks test takers to include relevant examples from their own knowledge or experience. Some of your students may have been trained not to do this in academic writing, so they may need some practice in doing this for the IELTS test.

Q: Is IELTS getting more difficult?

A: Our partners at Cambridge English Language Assessment have a rigorous process for designing IELTS test items that ensures the level of difficulty is consistent – IELTS is not getting harder or easier.

Q: Does it matter if my students write their answers in upper case (capitals) rather than lower case?

A: No – as long as their writing is legible.

Q:I understand that the Reading texts, as well as some of the Writing questions, are based on different subject areas (arts, economics, geography, science, etc.). If my students are not specialists in these areas, will they be at a disadvantage?

A: IELTS does not test subject knowledge, so your students do not need specialist knowledge of any of these areas. Although the Reading texts will be based on a specific topic, it is reading skills that are being tested, and a knowledge of technical vocabulary is not required – it is, in fact, perfectly possible to have the right answer to a question without understanding exactly what it means! With the Writing test, it is important that your students know how to structure suitable answers to the different possible question types, but again no specialist knowledge is needed for IELTS examination.


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