You would have heard about IELTS even before you planned on taking it. It’s not a coincidence, IELTS is one of the most popular English language tests globally. It is one of the pioneers in the realm of English language skills testing for study and immigration purposes. Over four million people take the test each year.
The test is meant to determine a candidate’s ability to communicate in the English language and has proved to be a secure, authentic, and global measure of linguistic and communicational skills.
Why take IELTS?
Clearing the IELTS exam will allow you to take advantage of numerous opportunities for education and employment. Candidates with a commendable IELTS score are preferred by employers and educational institutions in English-speaking nations. The test is meant to gauge the candidate’s English skills across four distinct categories – speaking, listening, reading, and writing. IELTS is recognized by more than 6000 institutions around the world, including the Ivy League universities of the US. If one wants to immigrate to an English-speaking country, they would also have to showcase their IELTS results to prove their proficiency in English.
How is IELTS scored?
There are four major parts of the IELTS test: Speaking, Writing, Listening, and Reading. The test taker would be given a score from one to nine for each of these parts, and their average shall produce their overall band score. Nine is the highest IELTS score, while one is the lowest, each score is a reflection of diverse levels of English users. In this test, there is essentially no concept of a pass or fail; rather, the users are depicted based on varying levels. These levels or bands are explained below:
- IELTS Band 9 (Expert User): These users have full operational command of the English Language. They are accurate, appropriate, and fluent with absolute understanding.
- IELTS Band 8 (Very good user): These users have good operational command of the English language, with just occasional instances of inaccuracies. While they can handle complicated and detailed arguments well, misunderstandings may take place in certain unfamiliar situations.
- IELTS Band 7 (Good user): Even though these users have adequate operational command of the English language, there tend to be misunderstandings and inaccuracies involved in certain instances. They, however, do comprehend detailed reasoning and can handle language complexities.
- IELTS Band 6 (Competent User): Despite the extent of misunderstandings, inappropriateness, and inaccuracies, these users mostly have a proper operational command of the English language. They can both use and understand fairly complex language, especially in familiar situations.
- IELTS Band 5 (Modest user): Such users essentially would have a partial command of the language. Though they are likely to make several mistakes, these users can cope up with the overall meanings in a majority of situations. They ideally can manage basic communication in their field.
- IELTS Band 4 (Limited user): The competence in the English Language of such users is limited to familiar situations. They may have frequent issues in expressing and understanding and may not have the capacity to use complex language.
- IELTS Band 3 (Extremely limited user): These users ideally are able just to understand and convey the general meaning of extremely familiar situations. They additionally may have to deal with frequent communication breakdowns.
- IELTS Band 2 (Intermittent user): Such users are hardly able to communicate in the English language, apart from just the most basic information with the usage of short sentences and isolated words in familiar situations, in order to meet immediate needs. They additionally tend to face issues in understanding both written and spoken English.
- IELTS Band 1 (Non-user): These users largely do not have the ability to use the English language, apart from probably a number of isolated terms.
How is IELTS score calculated?
- IELTS Listening Score: This test features 40 questions and each correct item is awarded one mark.
- IELTS Speaking Score: The criteria on which marks are awarded in this segment include grammatical range and accuracy, fluency and coherence, pronunciation, as well as lexical resources.
- IELTS Listening Reading: This test features 40 questions and each correct item is awarded one mark.
- IELTS Writing Score: The criteria on which marks are awarded in this section include grammatical range and accuracy, coherence and cohesion, task achievement and task response, as well as lexical resource.
The overall band score of a person tends to be calculated on the basis of their mean score in the four test segments. The score of each of these segments is weighted equally, and the total band score tends to be rounded to the nearest whole or half band.
For example, if a person gets 8.5 in Listening, 6.0 in Reading, 5.5 in Writing, and 8.0 in Speaking, their IELTS band score, on the whole, shall be:
(8.5 + 6.0 + 5.5+ 7.0) ÷ 4 = 7
Hence, the average of 6.75 is rounded off to get a band score of IELTS 7.
To score well in the IELTS exam, one should start making active efforts to converse in the English language, practice writing, and consuming audio scripts to improve their speaking and listening faculties.
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