IELTS is an English language test that opens the door to a wide range of opportunities. But while it may seem easy for some people, it can be very difficult for others. In any case, it is important to be well prepared before taking the IELTS test, as the day of the exam can be full of unpleasant surprises.
What is the IELTS test?
IELTS is a standardised English language test that assesses your command of the English language. For individuals who wish to further their studies or work in an English-speaking environment, passing this exam is a real asset.
IELTS is recognised by over 10,000 public and private organisations worldwide. In fact, it would appear that more and more institutions are asking candidates to take this test before accepting them. In France, more than 3 million people try to take the IELTS exam every year. According to the British Council website, it is the most popular English test in that country.
Depending on your needs, you can decide to take the IELTS Academic, or the IESTS General Training. The former is mainly aimed at students wishing to study abroad. IESTS General Training is mainly for professionals who wish to certify their level of English.
If you are planning to take the IELTS exam, you need to be well prepared. Many candidates believe that they can take the test easily. But even if you have a very good level of English, you will not necessarily pass on the first try. Nowadays it is possible to work on your English on websites. If you do some research you might even find sites that offer IELTS preparation programmes. For example, it is possible to prepare for the IELTS test. All you need to do is go to their website.
How does the IELTS exam work?
An IELTS exam usually lasts just under 3 hours and consists of four tests: listening, reading, writing and speaking. During the listening test, the candidate has a total of 40 minutes. The candidate is allowed 30 minutes to listen and a further 10 minutes to mark the answers on the examination sheet.
As for the reading test, it lasts precisely 60 minutes. During this test, the candidate will have to read several texts and answer the questions asked on his or her examination sheet. As he will have to read three different texts, the candidate has 20 minutes to deal with each of them.
The writing test also lasts about 60 minutes. The candidate will have to finish writing the two texts he or she has to deal with before the end of this time limit. He/she has 20 minutes to complete the first essay, which is about 150 words long. In the last 40 minutes, he or she must write another text, but this time of 250 words.
Speaking is undoubtedly the test that will scare the candidate the most. Throughout this test, he will have to answer all the questions that the examiner may ask him. The interview can last from 10 to 15 minutes, and is always divided into three parts. During the first two to three minutes, the examiner will ask only personal questions. For the next five minutes, the examiner will address a specific topic that has been drawn by lot. In the final minutes, the examiner will ask more general questions.
Taking preparatory courses
If you think you might have some difficulties on the day of the test, it might be better to consider taking a preparatory course. You can take a simple English course, or follow a special IELTS preparation programme.
There are a large number of institutions in France that offer English language teaching. By doing some research, you will easily find several addresses. The courses you might find can range from simple practical exercises to real professional courses. If you only want to follow courses to prepare for the IELTS exam, you don’t necessarily need to look for intensive training. You can search for institutions that simply offer IELTS preparation courses.
Training and preparation
It is not always necessary to take a preparatory course to take IELTS. Indeed, many of the candidates who were able to pass the test did not take preparatory courses.
But this does not mean that the IELTS exam does not require any preparation at all. Even if you have a very good level, you may encounter some very unpleasant surprises on the day of the exam. Many of the candidates who have not prepared well have lost their way in front of the examiner. Because of poor stress management, even the most gifted candidates can fail.
Even if you think you don’t need a course, it is important to prepare. For example, you can spend a few minutes a day practising speaking and writing. You can also practise online at sites that offer IELTS preparation programmes.