To study in an English-speaking country, one must pass their English Language Proficiency tests. One of the most common tests is the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
As far as Canada is concerned, this applies even if one wants a Permanent Residency or Citizenship. This article will guide you through taking your first step in this beautiful journey of Canadian education.
There are two types of IELTS tests: General and Academic. The academic exam will most likely be a requirement for studies, while the General one is for all other purposes. On the contrary, IELTS General Examination is for other non-academic situations.
What will be on the exam?
You can choose the paper-based exam or use a computer at a testing center. Either way, it’s the same exam. The IELTS exam will test you on the following: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. The first three parts are done in the morning, and the speaking part will be in the afternoon of the same day. The main differences between the Academic and General exams lie in the Reading and Writing modules.
The Listening module is the first part of the exam. This part has four sections and can be completed in 30 minutes.
The Reading section has three parts, and individuals have 60 minutes to finish. The Academic part will involve graphs and diagrams, while the general part will include work topics and general interest.
The Writing section has two tasks, and students get 60 minutes to complete them. In the academic exam, the first task involves writing about a table, graph, chart or diagram. For the general exam, the first task is writing a letter.
The Speaking section is usually in the afternoon, and if there are changes, students are informed in advance. This is what sets the IELTS exam apart from other English tests. Here, your test will be 11-14 minutes with a speaking examiner. The one-on-one interview will have both short and long questions.
The Speaking section comprises three parts:
This part comprises a 4-5 minute conversation with an IELTS examiner about yourself. Topics might include:
- Personal interests such as your
- favourite book
- favourite movie
In Part 2 of the Speaking test, a specific topic is given to students. They are given one minute to take notes on the topic and will write down their response. Once students are done, they will have to speak about the topic for two minutes.
Part 3 is a conversation with the IELTS examiner regarding the topic given in part 2, discussing it in more detail. Part 3 should take approximately 4-5 minutes to complete.
Tips to Score Well in Speaking
This section is the easiest out of all the tests. You don’t have to read, write, or listen to long paragraphs. You must only answer questions, so make sure to practice the following tips to score well in the speaking section:
Get engaged in a natural conversation with your examiner. Be careful of tone and the pace of speech. It should sound natural and not monotonous. Emphasize the words or sentences you think are important to make the conversation more engaging. However, don’t overdo it. Remember that the examiner just wants to see your English language proficiency and not your public speaking skills.
Speak Clearly and Take Pauses
Always take a brief pause to think about what to say next, especially if you need more time to think about the answer. You can use phrases such as:
- That’s such an interesting question.
- Well, let me see.
- That’s interesting.
- Sounds good to me.
- That’s a difficult question, but I’ll try and answer it.
- Well, let me think for a minute.
Prepare yourself well in advance by practicing speaking English with your friends. This will not only boost your confidence in speaking but also help in making a good first impression in front of the examiner.
Filler words such as “Ahh,” “Umm,” or “Yeah” give a negative impression, and the examiner may think that you can’t analyze the language properly. Because of this, try to avoid making use of these fillers. Keep the conversation formal and crisp.
Improve your vocabulary and support your sentences with appropriate adjectives so that your English looks polished. On that note, please make sure that you do not use big or unfamiliar words just to impress the examiner, as it will likely work against you.
While speaking, always maintain eye contact with your examiner. This shows that you are confident and not nervous. A good rapport will always get you those brownie points and show that you know what you are saying.
Don’t Go Off-Topic
Even if you feel you have to pause before you begin your answer, avoid going off-topic. Saying something off-topic will show that you still misunderstand some parts of English.
Use a Range of Grammatical Structures
You are also assessed on your ability to use simple and complex sentences. All this comes with practice, so make a habit of spotting your errors and correcting them on your own. You should also practice speaking about the past, the present, and the future using correct tenses.
You can do wonders in the IELTS Speaking Examination with all these points in mind. Remember to be confident as the first impression is the last impression.
We wish you good luck on your IELTS Exam!