The International English Language Testing System or IELTS as it is recognised universally is formed to evaluate the expertise and language skills of applicants across distinct areas of the English Language. IELTS score is acknowledged by most of the renowned academic and professional universities in several countries including the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Ireland, etc. IELTS is one of the most important English proficiency tests. Let’s explore further, understand the IELTS Exam structure, how scores are calculated, and what tips you as an international student can follow to get a good IELTS score.
IELTS Test Structure
The IELTS exam is divided into two modules primarily :
Academic Module: It is used to sign up in universities and other well-known institutions for higher education.
General Training Module: It is used for employment purposes, non-academic training, and immigration to foreign countries.
Qualifying scores of IELTS vary for distinct modules, which we have taken up in the latter part.
IELTS Band Scores
- The global mean scores for IELTS Academic in 2018 were: Overall 6.1, Listening 6.3, Reading 6.2, Writing 5.6, Speaking 6.0.
- For IELTS General Training in 2018, the global mean scores were: Overall 6.6, Listening 6.8, Reading 6.5, Writing 6.2, Speaking 6.7.
Keep in mind that these are average scores, and IELTS is not a competitive exam but a standardised assessment of language fluency and competence.
- IELTS is a widely recognised English language assessment exam which is used in over 140 countries and is accepted by numerous organisations, including many U.S. universities.
- The required IELTS score for higher education can vary significantly based on factors like the institution’s location, the level of study and the field of study.
- The IELTS Academic test is typically required for higher education, while the General test is commonly used for immigration purposes.
- The ‘overall score’ is crucial to understand, as different courses may have different score requirements. Some courses with more reading and writing may demand a higher IELTS band score than those focused on quantitative subjects.
- It’s essential to know the specific IELTS score requirements for your desired course to ensure you meet the criteria.
Parts Of The Test
The listening section is divided into four subsections, with ten questions each. 40 Minutes is needed for this module. It incorporates discussions and conversations, cases ranging from a day to day situations to education, knowledge, and training-based cases.
The reading section is divided into three subsections with words summing up from 2150 to 2750. This category is designed to test reading proficiency through passages on distinct themes. Furthermore, it has a contrasting structure for training and academics. For academics, it includes three lengthy passages. For training, it contains 5 to 6 passages which are quite short as compared to the academic passages. 60 minutes is the time you will be provided to attempt this section.
The writing part includes two tasks. The first one is 150 words write-up whereas the second one must be 250 words write-up. The time provided for each task is 20 minutes.
This is a one-to-one interview between the examiner and aspirant which is approximately 11 to 14 minutes long.
Recommended Read: How To Study In The UK Without IELTS
How To Get A Good IELTS Score?
IELTS might seem like a tough exam but its actually not! All you need to do it follow these easy steps and get your desired score:
- IELTS is manageable with consistent effort and the right study methods.
- Practice regularly.
- Improve listening skills through podcasts, movies and conversations.
- Understand the assessment criteria.
- Use mock tests for practice.
- Seek professional feedback.
- Prioritise time management.
- Stay positive and confident.
Calculation Of The Scores
All the scores given to the students are between 0 to 9. These scores are computed by averaging out the marks of the above-disclosed four sections. The scores of the IELTS test can be 0.5 as well, such as 7.5 or 8.5. For decimal figures except 0 or 5, the score is rounded up or down to the closest 0.5. For example, 6.1 can be rounded down to 6 whereas 7.75 can be rounded up to 8.
Each score that the student achieves has been given a particular explanation which is associated with a skill level. For instance, ‘9’ stands for an expert user whereas ‘0’ signifies no attempt. Scores ranging from 9 to 6 represent that candidate understands the basics of the language thoroughly, whereas 5 to 0 shows that one has restricted or zero knowledge about the language.
Also Read: Best Books For IELTS General Training
Section Wise Scores
In listening and reading sections, with 40 questions each, a candidate can achieve a maximum of 40 marks in each section. The marks granted are known as raw scores which are then modified to the band score according to the directions given by the makers of IELTS.
Coming to the Writing and Speaking sections, distinct band descriptions have been granted. Proper Grammar, Fluency and consistency, Lexical ability, and Pronunciation are the criteria for Speaking whereas Task accomplishment, interrelatedness along with right Grammar and Lexical resources are the band descriptions provided for Writing.
Good Academic Scores
A good academic score in the IELTS exam is needed for admission to different renowned foreign universities. These are some of the top universities which accept the following IELTS scores:
|Name Of The University
|University of Oxford
|7.0 – 7.5
|University of Cambridge
|Imperial College London
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology
|California Institute of Technology
|University of Toronto
|University of British Columbia
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Good General Training Scores
For employment and immigration purposes, the score needed is comparatively lower. For instance, the minimum score needed in Australia is 4.5. In New Zealand, a work visa can be obtained at a score of 5.0. In Canada as well, a score of 4 will secure a business visa. Also, in the UK, the tier 1 entrepreneur visa can be handed over at 4.0.
If in case you are not able to pull off a good score in the IELTS exam, the score can undoubtedly be upgraded by taking the help of more sample papers, mastering vocabulary, reading various articles, the practice of writing, and most importantly getting familiar with the exam pattern. If you are able to master these areas, IELTS can open the doors of great opportunities for you in the future.
Top Tips To Ace The IELTS Exam
Practice with Real Tests:
- Access as many past IELTS tests as possible from various sources like the Internet, libraries and community centres.
- Ensure the test banks you use are legitimate and up-to-date.
Simulate Exam Conditions:
- Initially, practice at your own pace but gradually move to timed exercises to mimic test conditions.
- IELTS sections are timed, so speed matters.
Apply Your Skills:
- Use your free time for preparation.
- Enhance your skills by reading English newspapers, listening to news broadcasts and summarising readings in writing or speech.
Prepare for Listening:
- Don’t underestimate the listening test.
- Familiarise yourself with different accents, including British and Australian.
- Practice with mock listening exams to improve your ability to understand various speakers and question types.
What is a good IELTS score?
A decent overall score you can achieve in the IELTS exam is a score of 6 and higher. A band of 6.0 is considered competent, 7.0 is good and 8.0 and 9.0 portray expertness.
Is a 7.5 overall in IELTS considered a good score?
Yes, a 7.5 overall score in IELTS is considered an above competent or good score. The IELTS exam tests your proficiency in spoken and written English.
What is a good IELTS score and how do you ace it?
You can aim for an 8.0 or 9.0 band in the IELTS exam which are very good test scores to achieve. To help ace the exam and give it your best shot, you will need strategic planning in the form of adequate practice, timed mock tests, revising your terminology and most importantly, putting whatever you have learnt into use to improve your command over the language and help understand its context better.
Is 6.5 a good score for IELTS?
An overall score of 6.5 is an above-competent score for IELTS. You can set your aim for an overall score of 8.0 or 9.0 to help improve your performance in the practice tests.
What is a competitive IELTS score for scholarship applications?
The student needs to be in a university that accepts IELTS scores for admission, with a minimum required band score of 6.5. Additionally, they must have taken the IELTS test recently.
How long does it typically take to prepare for the IELTS exam and reach a desired score?
Typically, it requires a dedicated effort of 2-6 months to attain the target band score. For instance, if you begin with a score of 3.5-4.5 on a mock test, it may take around 6-8 months of diligent work to progress to a band score of 5.0-6.0.
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