What is IELTS

Why IELTS? Why do we apply for it, at all? That’s a question which has crossed your mind at some point in time, right? It’s high time we clear it once and for all.

IELTS, as the name suggests, is an international testing system which evaluates one’s English and the grasp he/she has over the language. But why do you need it all? Hmm…. Well, what to do, if you want to settle in an English-speaking country. You have to be proficient in the language they speak, which is English. So you have to prove your mettle and show that your English is all good and at par with the standard that is expected of a person staying in that country.

Coming to the context of settling in an English-speaking country, people might be faced with two situations. They might be looking to settle there for good, applying for Permanent Residency (PR) for the purpose of their jobs or to earn their livelihood. People might also be faced with a situation where they want to settle in an English-speaking country for academic purposes, like pursuing higher studies, or obtaining that cherished degree. IELTS has also moulded itself into two specific categories to cater to the above requirements. The first one, General, looking specifically for people looking to settle there for good and the second one, Academic, for students looking to settle there temporarily to complete their higher studies specifically.

Now, coming to the course contents and the exam syllabus of IELTS, it is split up mainly into two broad parts - (i) Receptive Skills and (ii) Productive Skills.

(i) Receptive Skills - The receptive skills in the IELTS exam syllabus comprises of 2 components(a) Listening and (b) Reading

a. Listening -As per the IELTS exam syllabus,the listening test will be for 40 minutes, consisting of 40 questions. The questions are split up into 4 sections, each with increasing levels of difficulty. The first 30 minutes will be given for listening to the passage being read and 10 minutes will be given at the end to write the answers to the questions being asked from that passage. Please note, in those first 30 minutes, one can write the answers too, but only in the question booklet. Care has to be taken in the last 10 minutes when all the answers need to be transferred to the main answer sheet.

  1. Reading - As per the IELTS exam syllabus,the reading test will be for 60 minutes, consisting of 40 questions. The questions are split up into 3 sections, each with increasing levels of difficulty. It should be noted that answers should be written in the answer sheet straight away, as no exclusive time will be provided for transferring the answers from the question booklet.

(ii) Productive Skills - The productive skills as per the IELTS exam syllabus comprises of 2 components (a) Writing and (b) Speaking

a. Writing - The duration of this test as per the norms of the IELTS exam syllabus will be 60 minutes. There will be two separate tasks. In the first task, we will be having a letter (formal/informal) for the General category, while the Academic category will be having a Summary (from graphs, charts, etc.). The second task will be common for both the categories - Essay. The first task will give you a time limit of 20 minutes, while the second task will be having a time limit of 40 minutes. Care should be taken to write a minimum of 150 words for the first task and another 250 words for the second task.

  1. Speaking - As per the IELTS exam syllabus,the Speaking part of the test is a one-on-one interaction between the examiner and the candidate. It again has three sections - Introduction, Individual Speaking and Discussion. In ‘Introduction’, the candidates introduce themselves to the examiner which will be followed by a short question and answer conversation. In the ‘Individual Speaking’ the examiner will be giving a topic to speak on, in which the candidate is supposed to speak for a couple of minutes uninterrupted. The ‘Discussion’ round will feature the examiner asking a few questions (5-6) on the topic which was given for ‘Individual Speaking’. Candidates are advised to stay relaxed and speak as much as they can. The entire duration of the Speaking part is 11-14 minutes.

So that’s all about the IELTS exam syllabus. Get set and start your preparation, right away.


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