If you are coming from a country where English is not the first or official language, it is necessary to obtain an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) certificate.
This qualification displays you are able to speak English at a competent level and could integrate within English-speaking society accordingly, be that while studying, working or simply living there. Study Britannia provides help to those trying to obtain an IELTS certificate.
Firstly, we would like to enlighten those who do not know what an IELTS examination involves, the different kinds of tests that one can study for and complete, and what kind of benefits a person can receive once they have earned the certificate, both as a student and as an international citizen.
The IELTS Exam:
The IELTS exam is made up of four sections: listening, reading, writing and speaking. However, the two different types of IELTS exams that are offered: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training, differ in terms of the subject matter and topics within the reading and writing parts. The content for the listening and speaking tests remain the same for both.
The test takes around 2 hours and 45 minutes to be completed in total, and the listening, reading and writing exams must all be taken and completed on the same day, with no breaks in between them. However, you have more time to complete the speaking component of the test, which candidates may take up to a week after. This aspect of the exam must be queried to the test centres themselves.
IELTS Exam Sections:
Length of Exam: 30 minutes
Candidates must listen to separate recordings of four different native English speakers and accents, and answer questions relating to what they have said in four separate sections of the exam.
The former two sections of the listening exam you must analyse excerpts of everyday social contexts; conversations and monologues/speeches. The latter two are focused in more educational or working contexts; depicting more academic and serious subject matter.
Excerpts are only played once and may include a variety of native English accents including British, Australian, American, Canadian and New Zealand.
Length of Exam: 60 minutes
Reading exams consist of 40 questions and include exercises that aim to test a variety of skills such as reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical argument and recognising writers’ opinions, attitudes and purpose.
IELTS Academic Reading Test:
Academic Reading Test includes three long texts, usually taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers, which are more factual and clinical than those in the General Reading Test; more appropriate for those people entering university courses or seeking professional registration.
IELTS General Reading Test:
General Reading Test includes extracts from books, magazines, newspapers, notices, advertisements, company handbooks and guidelines; texts which you are more likely to encounter on daily basis than those from the Academic Reading Test. This makes it a better test to take if you plan to emigrate to an English Speaking country, though not enter into particularly academic or professional spheres.
Length of Exam: 60 minutes
The writing section of the exam differs drastically depending on whether you are taking the General or Academic exams.
IELTS Academic Writing Test:
The more scientific option of the two, this test consists of two tasks. The first one asks you to interpret data from a graph, table, chart or diagram; describing the information that it displays, and summarise or explain what it means in writing. You will then be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem, in completing the second task.
IELTS General Writing Test:
Like the Academic Writing test, the General option is split into two tasks, although level of formality required in your answers is much more reduced. Task 1 requests you to write a letter in a personal, semi-formal or formal style, describing an event that is specified in the paper. Task 2 is similar to the essay task requested in the Academic test, although again the level of formality required is greatly lowered.
Length of Exam: 11-14 minutes
Speaking tests are audio recorded and assess your level and use of spoken English. The test is split into 3 parts and involves questions asked by an examiner which you must respond to.
Part 1: The examiner will ask you general questions about yourself and a range of familiar topics, such as home, family, work, studies and interests. This part lasts between four and five minutes.
Part 2: You will be given a card which asks you to talk about a particular topic. You will have one minute to prepare before speaking for up to two minutes. The examiner will then ask one or two questions on the same, or a related, topic.
Part 3: You will be asked further questions about the topic in Part 2. These will give you the opportunity to discuss more abstract ideas and issues. This part of the test lasts between four and five minutes.
Why do you need an IELTS?
IELTS certificates are accepted by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), meaning that those wishing to live in English native speaking countries are helped in their application, as IELTS stands as legitimate proof of English proficiency.
IELTS is required in order to obtain a Tier 4 Student Visa, if you are coming from outside of the EU. This is needed if you aim to enter directly into an undergraduate or postgraduate course in an English speaking country and all British universities and colleges accept IELTS results. Without this qualification, you may be required by your university to take a foundation year (Year 0) in order to prove your competency at your chosen subject. However, each university sets its own IELTS requirements.
Naturally, English proficiency increases your chances to be find a job in English speaking countries. Job sectors that require IELTS in the UK include:
- Veterinary practice
And others, as these are careers where English language competency is incredibly important.
The 2 Types of IELTS Qualifications:
As previously alluded to, there are two distinct types of IELTS qualifications: Academic and General.
The Academic test is needed for those hoping to apply for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at English language universities, as well as for higher ranking professional purposes e.g. applying to work for a large corporation. It assesses if you are at a level where you can study or train in a professional environment where English is used, which is why the content of the reading and writing tests tend to be more academic.
The General IELTS test is suitable for those applying to train or study at below degree level, as well as those wishing to migrate to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK to live, study or work. The US recently acknowledged IELTS certificates as legitimate documentation to allow applicants to study and work there, too. The test focuses on basic survival skills in broad social and workplace contexts.
How can Study Britannia help?
Study Britannia offers guidance and tuition through our partners in preparation for your IELTS exams and provides information on nearby test centres and advice on the exam procedure. Furthermore, we are proud to be in association with The Language Fair, an English language teaching school which offers IELTS exams and a host of other English language courses for a variety of contexts. We can therefore facilitate and guarantee English Language training and subsequent qualification if the exam is completed successfully.
We also offer other English courses at Study Britannia, which you can read more about on our English Courses page.
You can contact The Language Fair at:
T: 020 7083 710