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ABCs of IELTS

 

Accent

On the speaking test, your accent doesn't have to limit you from getting a high band score, as long as you're clear and easy to understand.

Band Score

The IELTS test is graded using a band score. The highest possible band score is 9. Half bands are also awarded, such as 8.5. Each section of the test (Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking) receives a band score. These scores are then averaged out, and an overall band score is given.
Make sure you know what band score you require for the IELTS test as different situations require different individual and overall band scores.

Checks

Your identity will be verified many times on test day. People will check your ID when you register for the test. You will also have to leave your fingerprint, and your identity will be verified before and after going to the washroom during the test. Your ID will also be checked during the speaking, reading, and writing sections. All of these checks are to ensure that the test is fair for everyone and that cheating is not taking place.

Develop

Try to fully develop your answers in the speaking and writing sections of the IELTS test. This will show that you understand the question and can answer it at length. This will also allow you to demonstrate your vocabulary and grammar.

English

The reason why you have to take the IELTS test is to showcase your English ability. Try your best and be confident when doing the IELTS test.

Fluency

Fluency is a component of your speaking band score. It's important when you're speaking that you connect your thoughts and ideas smoothly and with ease. Also, try to do this with little hesitation.

Grammar

Grammar is very important on the IELTS test. You need to have accurate grammar when writing your tasks in the writing section. You also need to showcase your grammar when doing the speaking test.

Check your grammar when writing answers for the listening and reading sections. This can help you decide if you put the correct answer or not.

Handwriting

Handwriting is very important on the paper-based test. You need to make sure that your letters are neat and easy to read. If the marker is unsure of what you've written, you may not receive a point for that answer.

You are able to print or write in cursive. Capitalization is not marked on the test, so you can use all capital or lowercase letters or a combination of both. As long as your handwriting is clear, it doesn't matter how it's written.

Intonation

Intonation is another component of your speaking band score. Your voice needs to go up and down, in the correct place, in sentences. You also need to stress the correct syllable as well as the word in the sentence. Doing this can benefit your speaking score.
Alphabet Script

Jam-packed

The sections are jam-packed on the day of the IELTS test. Your speaking test is separate from the other sections; however, the listening, reading, and writing sections are all taken together. There is no break in between sections, and if you need to go to the washroom, you need to do it during the reading or writing section.

Knowledge

Having knowledge on a range of topics is a great idea for the IELTS test. This allows you to have a range of vocabulary and different types of sentence structures. This may also help you with the passages in the reading section. It may also allow you to develop your answers more for the speaking and writing sections.

Listening

The listening section is approximately 30 minutes long, with 10 minutes transfer time at the end. During the 10 minutes, you can transfer your answers to the answer sheet. There are 4 sections with 10 questions per section, totalling 40 questions. The first two sections are of a general context, while the third and fourth sections are academic settings. The listening questions are always answered in order, and the CD is played only once.

Maps

Maps are commonly used in the listening section of the test. Make sure you know your directional language such as across from, in between, and diagonal in order to get the correct answer.

Maps can also be found in Task 1 in the writing section for Academic candidates. For this task, you need to compare two maps, noting major similarities and differences between the two.

Natural

When speaking, try to be as natural as possible. The speaking test is a relaxed interview, not a job interview. Try to sound as natural as you can by using vocabulary and grammar that you are comfortable with.

Output

Your output is very important on the IELTS test. In regards to the listening and reading sections, make sure you answer all 40 questions, even if it's a guess. There are no deductions for incorrect answers, so it's always beneficial to write something. For the speaking test, try to say as much as you can, staying on topic and being accurate in grammar and pronunciation. You also have to be on topic when completing the writing section, with accurate vocabulary and grammar.

Practice

Practice as much as possible before taking the IELTS test. This includes taking practice IELTS tests, but also speaking English with your friends and family, writing journals, reading newspapers, magazines, and novels, as well as watching television shows and movies. Any English practice is good practice and will benefit you on the test.

Questions

Don't be afraid to ask questions. If you're unsure of something, ask the invigilator or examiner. They may not be able to answer all of your questions, but if they can, they will help you to the best of their ability.

When doing the speaking test, it's better to ask the examiner to clarify a question than answering completely off topic.

QRST

Reading

The reading section is 60 minutes, and there is NO TRANSFER TIME. Answers must be transferred during the 60 minutes. There are 3 sections with 13 or 14 questions in each, totalling 40 questions. For academic candidates, each section has one reading with questions, all of an academic manner.

For general candidates, there could be multiple readings in one section with questions, all having general, everyday topics.

Speaking

The speaking test is approximately 11 to 14 minutes long. This is a face-to-face interview with three parts. The first part includes short, personal questions. For Part 2, the candidate needs to speak for two minutes about a personal topic. Finally, the third part is general questions related to Part 2.

Time

Each section of the IELTS test is timed. It's very important that you're always aware of your timing so that you complete the test to the best of your abilities. For the listening section, check your time when transferring your answers to the answer sheet in the last 10 minutes. As for the reading and writing sections, always check your time periodically so you stay at a good pace and can complete the section. In the speaking section, you don't know the time. However, you should know how long two minutes feels so that you know how long you have to talk for in Part 2.

Understand

In any section of the IELTS test, make sure you completely understand the question(s) before answering. This is really important in Task 2 of the writing section. If you are off-topic when writing the essay, your score could suffer significantly.

Vocabulary

Having a good range of vocabulary and knowing how to spell that vocabulary is a definite advantage on the IELTS test. Knowing many different words and phrases allows you to understand the conversations in the listening section as well as the passages in the reading section. In the writing and speaking sections, you need to showcase your range of words and phrases in order to get a higher score for a lexical resource.

Writing

The writing section is 60 minutes and there are two tasks. For academic candidates, Task 1 is writing about a picture. This picture could be a graph, chart, table, maps, or process. General candidates need to write a letter for Task 1. Both academic and general candidates must write an essay for Task 2. For Task 1, at least 150 words must be written. At least 250 words are needed for Task 2.

neXt

Do not get stuck on a question, move on. You could potentially miss another answer when doing the listening section if you get stuck on a question. For the reading section, staying on one question for too long is a waste of time. Each question on the listening and reading section is worth 1 point.

Yourself  

Being confident in yourself and your English abilities will definitely benefit you on the day of your test. Believing in yourself, especially during the speaking section, can help with fluency and coherence.  

Zero Tolerance 

When it comes to cheating, IELTS has a zero tolerance policy. If you're caught cheating during the IELTS test, the test supervisor may not allow you to finish the test or you may not receive a score.  

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