More than 6000 institutions in about 135 countries recognise the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score. This language test comes in two versions, IELTS Academic and the IELTS General Training. The Academic format is for aspirants who wish to study in English-speaking universities or institutions of higher and further education and the General Training one for secondary education, work experience or training programmes and migration.
The listening and speaking tests are the same in the Academic and the General one. The reading and writing tests are different for the two categories. Let’s look at its details:
. Listening - four sections, 40 items, 30 minutes
. Reading - three sections, 40 items, 60 minutes
. Writing - two tasks, 60 minutes
. Speaking - 11-14 minutes
Ruchi Suhag, a consultant to the Uttarakhand government and mother of a two-and-half-year-old daughter, didn’t go for any coaching to prepare for the IELTS. She studied the official handbook and from the CD for two-three hours in the mornings and evenings every day.
“I got a lot of help from my husband. He used to hold my tests in simulated conditions, making sure I stuck to the time,” says Suhag, speaking to us a day before leaving for the UK to pursue a master’s in governance and development at the University of Sussex.
When she signed up for the IELTS, Suhag says she also started reading newspapers and watching a lot of English movies.
Till she got her score — an 8 on a band scale of 1 to 9 — she “was nervous”. But now Suhag says, “It’s not that difficult a task.” Apart from knowing and attempting questions correctly, what a candidate needs to ensure is to manage you time and concentrate on the questions at the centre, says Suhag, a Forest Research Institute alumna.
Her advice to prospective test takers is, “Get familiar with different accents, read a lot and start writing essays.”
How to apply: The application form and other details are available on www.ielts.org