IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System. It is an English language proficiency exam which measures the ability of test-takers to communicate in the four basic language skills: listening, reading, writing, and speaking.
The writing section consists of 2 essays, one which is reading of a graph or chart or any diagrammatic representation, and translating it into words. Here the main focus is on how one connects ideas together using the most appropriate conjunctions and connectors, so as to convey the meaning of the diagram in its essential essence. The second writing task is more subjective, where the writer can take a stance and justify his stance by the use of real time examples and hypothetical situations.
Some tips to score the best in the writing section could be to keep to the suggested timing: there are more marks possible for Task 2 than Task 1.Organize and link your ideas and sentences appropriately, using a wide range of language and showing your ability (in Task 2) to discuss ideas and express opinions. If you write less than 150 words in Task 1 or less than 250 in Task 2 you will lose marks, but there is no maximum number of words for either. When you plan your essay, allow plenty of time at the end to check your work.
The Listening section consists of a series of passages, mostly academic in nature, which includes both monologues and conversations. A good note taking exercise needs to be taken to be able to sift through all the information and use it to answer the questions.
In Listening, use the example at the beginning of the first section to familiarize yourself with the sound, the situation, and the speakers. Keep listening until the recording stops, looking only at the questions that relate to the part being played. There are often pauses in the recording between different sections. Use these to prepare for the next set of questions. Answer Listening questions in the order they appear on the Question Paper. Remember that they normally follow the order of the information in the recording. At the end of the recording you have some time to transfer your answers to the Answer Sheet. Check your grammar and spelling as you do so.
The reading section consists of three large reading passages with questions at the end of it. Multiple choice answers for each question poses the biggest hazard since, atleast 2 answers appear almost correct and to be able to choose the right one amongst the two is the biggest challenge.
In Academic Reading, begin by going quickly through each passage to identify features such as the topic, the style, the likely source, the writer’s purpose and the intended reader. Reading tasks sometimes have an example answer. If this is the case, study it and decide why it is correct. Some tasks require you to use words from the text in the answer; in others you should use your own words. Check the instructions carefully. The instructions may also include a word limit, e.g. Use no more than three words. Keep to this by avoiding unnecessary words in your answer.
The Speaking Section is discussion with a certified examiner. It will be interactive and as close to a real-life situation as a test can get. It is in 3 Parts.
In Part 1,You will answer questions about yourself and your family.
Part 2, you will speak about a topic.
Part 3, you will have a longer discussion about the topic introduced in Part 2.parts.
In Speaking, don’t try to give a prepared speech, or talk about a different topic from the one you are asked to discuss. Always speak directly to the Examiner, not to the recording equipment. Whenever you reply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the Examiner’s questions, add more details to your answer. In each case, aim to explain at least one point. Remember that you are not being tested on your general knowledge but on your ability to communicate effectively. Organize and link your ideas and sentences appropriately, talking clearly at normal speed and using a wide range of structures and vocabulary.
Most practice tests are designed for two people working together. Find a study partner to help you practise. This might be a teacher or a friend. Remember, you need to speak fluently, clearly and accurately. It is important to say as much as you can and to be spontaneous. Do not prepare answers in advance. Record yourself if you can so that you can go back and check your performance. Listen to your recordings and discuss your test with your study partner. Think about how you spoke. Were you fluent? Did your speech sound natural? Were you able to express yourself clearly? Use the audio recordings and transcripts in each section to gain an insight into the test format. Note that these are not model answers, so do not try to imitate them.