If you are considering studying abroad or pursuing opportunities in Canada or other countries, you might have heard of the standard IELTS exam. But, what is IELTS?
What is IELTS?
The International English language testing system (IELTS) is the most well-known standardized English proficiency test across the globe. The IELTS is developed by leading language assessment s and is taken by millions of individuals seeking higher education every year.
This comprehensive English proficiency exam assesses your English skills in every aspect: writing, reading, speaking, and listening. The IELTS is a thorough demonstration of your ability to use English to study, at work, and in your everyday life abroad.
The IELTS is recommended for anyone hoping to further their education and expand on skills in English dominant countries such as Australia, Canada, UK, USA, and New Zealand. The exam is recognized and accepted by universities, employers, immigration officers and other professional organizations.
IELTS Test Format
The IELTS test format is broken down into four categories: speaking, writing, listening and reading. There are two versions of the exam, tailored for either academic or general training. The total exam time is 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Listening and speaking categories are the same for both exam types; however, the subject matter for reading and writing varies depending on if you are interested in academic or general testing.
Reading, writing and listening categories of the exam are all written on the same day with no intermediate breaks. The speaking component can be completed within a week before or after the other tests, according to your testing organization.
What is the Minimum IELTS Score Required for Canada Immigration?
For each program under Express Entry, there are different IELTS score required. Below are three tables that specify the IELTS score results in each of the four categories and how it translates to your Canadian Level Benchmark (CLB) level.
Federal Skilled Worker Program – IELTS – First Official Language (Maximum: 24 points)
|CLB Level||Speaking||Listening||Reading||Writing||Points per Ability|
|7||6.0||6.0 – 7.0||6.0||6.0||4|
|10+||7.5 – 9.0||8.5 – 9.0||8.0 – 9.0||7.5 – 9.0||6|
Federal Skilled Trades Program – IELTS
|10+||8.5 – 9.0||8.0 – 9.0||7.5 – 9.0||7.5 – 9.0|
Canadian Experience Class – IELTS
|0, A||10+||8.5 – 9.0||8.0 – 9.0||7.5 – 9.0||7.5 – 9.0|
IELTS Listening Tips
The listening portion of the exam is 30 minutes, where you will listen to four recordings of native English speakers. The recordings will feature conversations, a monologue, an educational speaking, and a lecture. You will write your answers by hand, and later assessed on your ability to comprehend main conversational ideas, information, opinions, attitudes and idea development.
The best IELTS listening tips are to practice reading comprehension beforehand, and carefully read questions before you begin listening! Training yourself to read context clues before you listen will help you hear the information you are listening for. There is often spoken clues in words and phrases that will guide you to the questions you need to answer.
IELTS Writing Tips
The writing portion of the exam is 60 minutes and topics vary depending on the exam format.
If you are taking the academic test, topics will pertain to undergraduate and postgraduate studies, or professional programs. Task 1 is to summarize a graph, table, diagram, or chart. You may need to describe data, trends or visuals. Task 2 requires you to write an essay in response to a problem, argument, or point of view. This written response requires a formal style and proper grammar.
Academic IELTS Writing Tips: Always include a conclusion at the end of your passage that summarizes your main points, and closes off your thoughts. Make sure words flow concisely.
The general training test will also focus on two tasks. Task 1 is to explain a situation or a letter request, which may be presented formally or in a personal style. Task 1 is to write a point of view essay in response to a problem, argument, or point of view. This section can be written in a personal format.
General IELTS Writing Tips: Always express your point of view as clearly as possible. Do not copy words or phrases that will not be included in your final word count. Using descriptive words for your thoughts provides a readable and personalized essay.
IELTS Speaking Tips
The listening portion of the exam is 11-14 minutes, and consists of three parts. During Part 1 the examiner will ask you general questions about work, family, home, studies, and personal interests. Questions will last about five minutes. For Part 2, you will be given a card with a question about a general topic. You have one minute to prepare before speaking about the topic for up to two minutes. You will be asked a few further questions regarding the topic. Part 3 contains further questions regarding the topic in Part 2. You will be able to further discuss ideas and issues for about five minutes.
The best IELTS speaking tips are to practice speaking English out loud as much as possible and listen to yourself! Take advantage of every opportunity to have verbal conversations with friends, colleagues and teachers. The more confident you are with your speaking abilities the easier verbal comprehension becomes.
There are no right or wrong answers on the speaking test, so take your time, express your thoughts and use proper English!
IELTS Reading Tips
The IELTS reading portion is 60 minutes long, and is comprised of 40 questions that test multiple reading skills. You must be able to pick up detailed information, skim read, comprehend opinions and arguments and summarize ideas.
The academic test includes three long texts that can range from factual to analytical context. Scripts are taken from magazine, newspapers, journals or books. They are selected at a skill level for individuals entering university or seeking professional designation.
The General Reading test includes articles from books, newspapers, magazines, advertisements, or guidelines. These materials are meant for everyday exposure and comprehension.
The number one IELTS reading test tip is to practice! Speed is not the determinant in a successful exam, rather skillful reading that allows you to pick up on critical words, ideas and general context. All the information you need to answer the questions are included in the text, so take your time and find the answer!
To pass the IELTS exam, you need a minimum overall score of 6.5, with a minimum score of 6.0 in each category for the Academic test. Minimum accepted scores vary depending on institution requirements.
If you want to succeed on the IELTS test, follow these tips and guidelines to master your English skills and begin your journey to success. Preparing for every exam section in advance will fully prepare you and give you the confidence to ace the exam and score the highest marks!