Thursday, March 17, 2016

IELTS for Beginners

Thousands of Filipinos every year fly to other countries to work or study. There are great opportunities abroad that one simply cannot miss. Processing visa applications can be a bit time- consuming and expensive, most especially the part where you have to take the International English Language Testing System examination (IELTS).

I am currently working as a nurse here in Canada, and I know the feeling of being clueless about this examination. Two years ago, I was processing my papers and this was the part I had the most difficulty with. Why? Simply because I did not have any information about the IELTS. Last week, my cousin, who is also a nurse, called me and asked me about the said examination. I should say that it brought back a lot of memories. Being clueless about the test can be a huge disadvantage.

For your beginners, like my cousin, here are some a few reminders or you can even call it tips for the IELTS examination.

  • Know what the test is all about. I started reading online, including blog posts, about the IELTS examination. It was through this information that I knew about the two modules of the examination – Academic and General Training. There is a lot of information online that can help you understand how the test is scored and even evaluated. Start your preparation through understanding the test. 

  • Academic or General Training? As a candidate for the examination, identify the module that your visa application requires. The Academic and General Training have different test level difficulty for both reading and writing. When I took the exam, I had the Academic module. I do not consider it difficult; it is more of a challenging exam.

  • Understand the different types of questions in each sub-test. There are four different sub-tests in the exam. These four are specially designed to measure your ability to understand and use the English language. When you know the question types, it will be easier for you to look and make the right answers for the test. 

  • Build a strong vocabulary knowledge. The test really works hard on evaluating your understanding the English vocabulary, particularly British and Australian words. I had quite a hard time at first grasping every single American English vocabulary that has a British or Australian counterpart. Thanks to the internet and my IELTS coaches. Vocabulary is not only used to better understand reading and listening passages but also creating better sounding and sensible speaking and writing responses. 

  • Expose yourself to a lot of English materials. There are plenty of ways to learn the English language. You do not have to sit in an English class to do it anyway. There is the media; you can watch American TV series, read lots of books of different genres, listen to podcasts, or even watch IELTS tutorials on Youtube. The important thing is you are learning English while keeping yourself entertained. 

  • Find a speaking partner. This could be anyone, as long as this person is good at the language - good in terms of grammar and vocabulary knowledge. This person will serve as your practice in improving your speaking skills. Of course, when you speak to the person, you will have to develop confidence in using the language as well. 

  • Get help from IELTS review centers. I am proud IELTS review center baby. They helped me a lot in understanding and developing my skills. They are an added expense to your preparation; however, they are very good at their jobs that you can even score better than your target scores. 

Anxiety is one of the problems of those people who are taking the IELTS review or even the exam for the first time. It is definitely normal, yet you can avoid that feeling by getting prepared of what is yet to come. As early as today, be familiar with fundamental information and details about the IELTS, and hone your skills by constantly reviewing and practicing for the test. 

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