By Ashish Mamgain
Animik and Tasneem took the IELTS test during the course of their applications to UK Universities. IELTS,which stands for the International English Language Testing System, is taken by thousand of students to prove their proficiency in English language.
“I took the IELTS specifically because it is administered by Cambridge University, the TOEFL is usually taken by students who intend to undertake education in the US.” says Animik.
The examination has a strong reputation and is adopted by universities all across the world to evaluate the English language proficiency of the candidate.
“The examination is very sophisticated and so is its website. I registered online and appeared for the test. There was some preliminary registration on the test day and then I was taken to the examination hall” says Tasneem, who devoted 15 hours in the preparation for the test.
Many students find IELTS challenging because of their background in English language, but for those who have studied in institutions where English is the medium of instruction, scoring high in IELTS is not very difficult.
“IELTS is quite different from the usual university examinations because of its diverse components: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. The Listening and speaking sections are quite different from usual university examinations. For someone who is comfortable communicating in English, it does not require any prior preparation as such”, adds Animik.
Applicants refer to a variety of sources while preparing for the examination. Some prefer books from established institutions like Kaplan, Barron, etc, while others refer to a mixture of video, audio and text sources.
“I strictly referred to the Cambridge ESOL book which was given to me when I registered for the test. The book is comprehensive and sufficient enough to prepare one for the examination”. Points out Animik who scored an overall 8 in the test.
“I used to have regular conversations in English to prepare for the examination. It boosted my confidence and helped me perform better in the test. My friend and I were preparing for the test together and it is very useful to do this with somebody or in a group if possible”, adds Tasneem.
Students who study for SAT or GRE find IELTS much easier than the English component of these respective tests. Taking IELTS while preparing for these examinations is a good idea as it saves time and effort. IELTS remains a popular choice especially among those who wish to study at UK universities but there is always room for improvement, no matter how high the standards are with which the examination is conducted.
“I feel one of the improvements which IELTS could introduce is to include the provision of ordering additional score reports online as TOEFL does. This makes it very inconvenient for students who are applying especially to the United States. The British Council should also incorporate the provision of assigning institution codes to all US institutions (as ETS does for the TOEFL examination)”, points out Animik.
If you are planning to study in UK, I suggest that you should go for the IELTS. If you have already registered for the test, then best of luck! Do not worry about it. With little preparation and a few practice sessions, you are ready for the examination!
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