The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an international standardised test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers. It is used to assess English language proficiency for study, work and migration across the globe, and is accepted by more than 11,000 employers, universities, schools and immigration bodies around the world.
The IELTS is used for migration purposes in Australia to assess English language proficiency for a range of visas, including Student, Skilled and some permanent visas. It is one of a number of English language tests that is accepted in Australia in meeting an English language requirement for visa grant. Note that you must achieve a specified minimum score within a certain timeframe to meet these requirements.
The IELTS test assesses the four macro-skills, that being reading, writing, listening and speaking. Each of these four elements require different skills and techniques to ensure that you achieve the highest IELTS score possible.
In this article, we discuss the IELTS test features, IELTS test format, how to maximise your performance in the test and how to improve your IELTS score, whether that be your first, or a further attempt at the test. This includes IELTS classes, which can be a great way to improve your result, and to perform your best on the test.
Let us start off by taking a look at the features of the IELTS test.
IELTS Test Features
There are two IELTS tests available; IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training.
IELTS Academic measures whether your level of English language proficiency is suitable for an academic environment. It reflects aspects of academic language and evaluates whether you’re ready to begin training or studying.
IELTS General Training measures English language proficiency in a practical, everyday context. The tasks and tests reflect both workplace and social situations.
The first three parts of the test are taken on the same day, in the following order: Listening, Reading and Writing (there are no breaks between these tests). Your Speaking test will be held either on the same day, or seven days before or after that, depending on local arrangements.
For Australian migration law purposes, both the IELTS Academic and General Training tests are accepted.
Now we turn to IELTS Classes and how they can improve your score.
Why take an IELTS Class?
Here are some things to consider when deciding whether an IELTS class could benefit you as you prepare for your test.
There Are Many Options
There is an IELTS class for everyone. IELTS classes can help you to develop your skills including listening, reading, writing and speaking, and they can also offer tips, strategies and advice for how to maximise your performance in the IELTS test.
Keep in mind possible costs when exploring IELTS classes that you can participate in. Whilst some IELTS preparation classes are free, others incur a fee. For those that have a cost, it can range widely.
Some classes are offered online, while others are face-to-face. Classes that are online or in-person range in duration from a couple of hours to several days, weeks, or months. You may also find shorter workshops and seminars that are not as in-depth as some classes.
Also find out who is teaching the class so as to ensure that your class is taught by a qualified and experienced professional, with good knowledge and experience of the IELTS test.
In the end, you need to decide what works best for your schedule, budget, and goals and needs. The best way to ensure you make the right decision for you is to take the time to research the various options available, and then to determine what works best for you.
Improve Your Confidence
One of the best and most effective ways to increase your confidence and to help settle your nerves when sitting the IELTS test is to take IELTS preparation classes.
You will receive tips, practice tests with sample questions and answers, as well as practical information about the format and timing of the test. Having this knowledge can help you to feel more confident going into the test.
By attending an IELTS class, you will get a good idea of what to expect before you go into your test, and learn some important and useful knowledge before your test day.
Ask Questions And Share Information
During an IELTS class, you will be able to ask your instructor and other class attendees any questions that you may have. Sharing experiences, knowledge and tips with others is a great way to help you to prepare for the test. Remember, some of your fellow learners may already have taken an IELTS test previously and may have some valuable insights and information to share with you. Make the most of these opportunities to ensure you perform your best when taking the test.
Lets not take a closer look at the IELTS test format and stucture.
IELTS Test Format
The IELTS Listening test is designed to assess a wide range of listening skills, including how well you:
- understand main ideas and specific factual information;
- recognise the opinions, attitudes and purpose of a speaker; and
- follow the development of an argument.
You will need to read quickly and efficiently, and manage your time. You will be required to read three different passages and respond to related questions. The content of the Reading test is different for IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests.
The IELTS Reading test is designed to assess a wide range of reading skills, including how well you:
- read for the general sense of a passage;
- read for the main ideas;
- read for detail;
- understand inferences and implied meaning;
- recognise a writer’s opinions, attitudes and purpose; and
- follow the development of an argument.
The IELTS Writing test is designed to assess a wide range of writing skills, including how well you:
- write a response appropriately;
- organise ideas; and
- use a range of vocabulary and grammar accurately.
The content of the Writing test is different for IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests.
In this part of the test, you will speak to a certified examiner. The test is interactive and like a real-life situation. A variety of accents may be used, and the test will be recorded.
The content of the IELTS Speaking test is the same for both the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests.
The IELTS Speaking test is designed to assess a wide range of skills.
The examiner will want to see how well you can:
- communicate opinions and information on everyday topics and common experiences; to do this you will need to answer a range of questions;
- speak at length on a given topic using appropriate language;
- organise your ideas coherently;
- express and justify your opinions; and
- analyse, discuss and speculate about issues.
Make sure that you relax and talk fluently. You will need to speak naturally.
Lets now move on to taking a look at how to improve your IELTS score.
How To Improve You IELTS Score
To do the best you can in your IELTS test and to improve your IELTS score, you need to develop and apply certain techniques and skills. Generally, it is important that you develop a good ability to work well under pressure, have good time management skills and reduce your anxiety levels when sitting for your IELTS test.
To help you to prepare for the test and to improve your IELTS score, there are a range of study materials and resources available, including IELTS preparation classes and practice tests.
Practice and preparation is key to maximising your performance in the test. This will prepare you for what to expect on the test day, by familiarising yourself with the test format, and improve your confidence in writing, speaking, reading and listening in English.
It is also important to note that you should still prepare thoroughly for the test, even if you believe you are a proficient user of English.
If you are trying to improve your IELTS result after having already attempted the test, note that the best way to improve you score in any English language test, whether that be the IELTS or any other type of English test, is to spend time improving your English skills. So, before you sit the IELTS test again, it is important to identify where you need to improve and what the best course of action is for you. And there is lots of help out there. A plethora or practice tests, IELTS preparation classes, online and face-to-face resources are available to help you.
You should use these resources to pinpoint exactly where your weak spots are; whether you need to improve your IELTS writing, reading or vocabulary. Once you know what to focus on, you can then devote your time to work on these areas, and prepare to perform your best on your next attempt at taking the IELTS test.
Here are some tips and strategies for improving your IETLS results:
- have a good understanding of the assessment criteria. This will help you to identify the exact skills that you need to do well in the test. You can also use this as a guide to target any problem areas that you may have;
- improve your listening and speaking skills by practicing daily. You can listen through online mediums, and interact with others in person to refine your skills. Try and engage in speaking practice each day too, to improve your grammar and confidence;
- practice reading from a variety of sources as much as you can, such as online, newspapers, books and anything that you are interested in;
- working to improve your vocabulary will help you to do well in all sections of the IELTS test. Words are the central aspect of the English language; everything else flows from there. It is therefore vital to focus on learning and using as many words as you can as you practice for the IELTS test;
- prepare a study plan to focus on problem areas. This will give you a pathway for your practice and is a more effective study method to help to improve your results;
- seek expert help; there are a multitude of sources out there that are available to assist you to perform your best;
- practice under exam conditions, timing yourself so that you improve your exam technique and ensuring you leave enough time to complete all of the questions in the test; and
- practice, practice, practice! This is our number one tip to improve your IETLS score. As we have noted, there are a range of materials available to help you to perform your best on the day. See further below in this article for links to resources for you to explore.
Now lets examine how an IELTS preparation course can help you to improve your test result.
IELTS Preparation Courses
To improve your IELTS test result, you can prepare for your IELTS test with a range of IELTS study materials and resources that are available, including online courses and face-to-face training. How can an IELTS preparation class help you to improve your IELTS score?
One of the biggest issues students face is time-management when completing the reading component of the IELTS test. It is important to apply the efficient reading model to maximise your time during the reading part of the test. Reading the questions carefully is also crucial, so you know exactly what information you are looking for. An IELTS preparation class will focus on developing these skills and more.
Unpacking the question, addressing the question, cohesive writing, vocabulary use and much more are all very important when you are completing the writing part of the IELTS test. An IELTS Preparation class will work with you to develop the skills and techniques you need to successfully complete the writing component of the IELTS test. During the IELTS classes, you will complete many writing tasks and your experienced IELTS teacher will provide feedback on these tasks, so that you know which areas you need to improve and how.
Listen to English radio, listen to English music, watch English-speaking TV-listen, listen, listen to English as much as you can! The more you train your ear to the English language, the better you will comprehend it. Practising your listening is an important part of doing well in the listening section of the IELTS test. However, there are some other skills and techniques that you also need to employ. Some of these include, reading the question carefully and highlighting the key words of the questions before listening so that you know exactly what you are listening for. These skills and more are taught in the IELTS classes.
Pronunciation, clarity, accurate vocabulary, comprehension are all things your IELTS assessor will be listening for when assessing your speaking during the IELTS test. At the IELTS classes, you will practice all these skills and many other techniques you need to ensure that you improve your IELTS score, and receive the best result possible in the speaking component of the IELTS test.
Get More Information
To learn more about the IELTS test, including IELTS tips and tricks on how to improve your IELTS score, please refer to our IELTS Tips article.
For more information about IELTS classes and how to improve your IELTS score, we recommend that you refer to the following resources on the IELTS website:
You can also access the following IELTS preparation resources:
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Australia’s migration laws are complex, and each case is different. We recommend that you seek professional advice if you are interested in applying for a visa to Australia, as being fully informed will give you the best chance of achieving a successful outcome on your case. A migration professional can help you to do this.
For up to date advice on applying for a visa to Australia, including eligiblity requirements, and for more information on IELTS classes and how you can improve your IELTS result, book your confidential consultation with a migration agent in Adelaide. PAX Migration Australia is a leading immigration service providing advice on visas to Australia.