Frequently Asked Questions about IELTS
Q: How can I register for the IELTS exam?
A: Everything about registration steps and requirements for the IELTS exam, as well as test dates, locations and fees can be found on https://www.ielts.org/.
Q: When will I receive my IELTS results?
A: Your IELTS test report form will be available for collection after 13 days from your official test date. You can receive one hard copy of your test report form for free and multiple at a cost.
Q: Can I ask the IELTS test center to re-mark my papers?
A: The answer is yes but you will have to pay for the re-mark process. If your scores (overall and/or component) change after this process, you will get the money back.
Q: When should I start revising and preparing for the IELTS exam?
A: In general, the advice is that you should start the revision process as soon as possible. However, you should base your revision process on the reason why you sit the IELTS exam. For example, if you need to obtain an IELTS certificate to be enrolled at a university in September 2019, you should start preparing for the exam as soon as September 2018. Remember that it takes time to revise, sit the exam, receive your results and re-sit it if you do not achieve your target. Another point to keep in mind is that if the start date of your semester is September, the application deadline is probably around April/May period.
Q: Is there any difference between the Academic Training module and the General Training module?
A: There are 2 main differences. The first difference lies in purpose of candidates. While the General Training certificate is suitable for candidates who wish to enter an English-speaking country for purposes such as family union, short-term training courses, high-school education and manual labor, the Academic Training certificate is the choice of candidates wishing to pursue higher education or professional career. The second difference is level of difficulty. The Reading and Writing sections of the Academic Training module are different and more demanding than those of the General Training module.
Q: How can I write a paragraph in an academic essay?
A: There are 5 components of an ideal and complete paragraph in academic writing contexts. Please click here to read our article on this topic.
Q: How can I develop examples for Writing Task 2 essays?
A: Examples for the IELTS Writing Task 2 section can be developed from many sources, such as official statistics, case studies, scientific researches, news, social trends and personal experience. Please click here to learn more.
Q: What is the structure of the IELTS Writing exam in the Academic module?
A: There are two tasks, called Task 1 and Task 2. In Task 1, you are required to describe a graph or a diagram using at least 150 words. In Task 2, your job is to write an academic essay (of at least 250 words) about a topic, e.g. should the government invest in space exploration programs? You are advised to spend about 20 minutes on Task 1 and 40 minutes on Task 2, since the total time allowance is 60 minutes and Task 2 contributes more to your total score.
Q: Am I allowed to bring my watch to the exam room?
A: No, according to IELTS's examination regulations. The only items you are allowed to bring with you is your identification and water stored in a transparent bottle. Pencils, erasers and exam papers are provided by the test center. You are forbidden to bring with you any material or device, such as watch, mobile phone and calculator. Failure to comply with these regulations may result in being expelled from the exam room and having your IELTS certificate cancelled.
Q: What should I prepare on the day of my IELTS exam?
A: First, get enough sleep and eat a decent breakfast. Second, arrive at the test location on time with your ID ready. Finally, take a deep breath before officially starting the exam!
Q: For the Listening test, do I have my own headphone?
A: It depends on the test center. Some provide candidates with private headphones, while others use a common speaker for the whole room. We recommend that you double-check with your test center in advance and inform its staff members of your special needs, if any.
Q: How can I locate important information in the Reading test?
A: Always read the questions first, then highlight their key words, i.e. short words which constitute the main meanings of the questions. Once you identify key words, look for them and/or their synonyms/antonyms in the Reading passage. Key words are often rephrased.
Q: What are the evaluation criteria in the Writing test?
A: While marking your Task 1 essay, the IELTS Examiner will consider 3 criteria, including: Task Fulfillment, Coherence and Cohesion, and Vocabulary and Sentence Structure. As for Task 2, the 3 evaluation criteria consist of: Arguments, Ideas and Evidence, Communicative Quality, and Vocabulary and Sentence Structure. Please click here to learn more.
Q: How can I best manage time in the IELTS Writing test?
Q: What is the best way to learn new words and sentence structures for the IELTS exam?
A: We recommend a 3-step strategy. First, read news and listen to TV programs in English regularly. Second, record new words and sentence structures as you read and listen. In this second step, you should categorize new words and sentence structures, e.g. new words about the environment and new structures to describe inconsistency. Third, review what you learn every day, e.g. by writing essays using the new words learned from the second step.
Q: How many paragraphs should my Writing Task 1 and Writing Task 2 essay have?
A: There is no maximum or minimum limit. However, we recommend that you write 3 paragraphs, including an introduction and 2 body paragraphs, for your Writing Task 1 essay. As for your Writing Task 2 essay, our advice is 4 paragraphs, including an introduction, 2 body paragraphs and a conclusion.
Q: Is a conclusion needed in the IELTS Writing test?
A: You may not need to write a conclusion in the Writing Task 1 section, if your introduction and body paragraphs have made all the necessary comparisons and described all the necessary trends. However, in the Task 1 section, a conclusion is strongly needed to summary your key analyses, introduce your opinion and make recommendations, where relevant.
Q: How do I best use the 1 minute of preparation in the Speaking Part 2 section?
A: In the Part 2 section of the IELTS Speaking test, you will be given a random topic, followed by 1 minute to take notes. Afterwards, you are advised to talk about the topic in 1-2 minutes, and the IELTS Examiner will stop you once your time is over. During the time given to take notes, you should prepare what you are about to say. Only write down short sentences, key words and create an interesting story.
Q: Are questions in the Speaking Part 3 section difficult?
A: It is hard to give you a Yes/ No answer. To best prepare for the Part 3 section of the IELTS Speaking test, you should practice sample questions before your test date to familiarize yourself with the types of question that may be asked. In general, Speaking Part 3 questions are not personal questions, e.g. What is your favorite song? Instead, they are more general and involve social problems and trends, e.g. What trends are popular in the music industry these days? Therefore, you need to add reasons, analyses and examples to your answers. You can find several sample Speaking Part 3 questions here.
Q: Should I sit the paper-based or computer-based IELTS exam?
A: You should consider the advantages and disadvantages of each exam setting. For example, if you take the IELTS exam on a computer, you will receive your test results faster. However, if you are not confident with typing on a keyboard, the paper-based exam is a more suitable choice.
Q: In the Listening test, will the recordings be played twice?
A: A short conversation of 5-10 seconds may be played twice to help you check the quality of your headphone. Other than that, all other recordings will be played once only. Therefore, please make sure to pay attention and listen carefully. If you miss the answer to a question, simply skip it - Remember, time does not stop!
Q: If the IELTS Speaking Examiner asks me a Yes/No question, how do I elaborate on my answer to provide more context and insights?
A: There are several ways in which you can do that. First, provide reasons for your answer - Why you give a Yes or No. Second, you can also refute contrary views (i.e. views that you do not support) to strengthen your argument. Third, consider adding a few examples, which can include case studies and statistics, to make your analysis more convincing.
Q: I struggle to come up with ideas to expand my Speaking Part 1 answers. What can I do?
A: Think about Question words. For example, the Examiner may ask you this question: "Have you ever missed a deadline?", and your answer is Yes. Then, to develop your answer, ask yourself: When did the occasion happen? Where did it take place? What assignment were you given and by whom? How did you initially plan to finish the task? Why did you end up missing the deadline? Do not make your answer too long - Only pick a few Question words.
Q: What can I do to avoid using the same words and sentence structures again and again in IELTS Writing?
A: Make use of synonyms. For example, "increase" can be replaced by "rise", "grow", "escalate" or "boost". Furthermore, you can shuffle different components of a sentence, add relative clauses and transitional words/ phrases to create a new grammatical structure without changing the meaning of the original sentence. For example, "Working from home allows employees to spend more time with their families" can be rewritten as "When working from home, employees can enjoy more family time".
Q: How long should I write for IELTS Writing Task 1 and Task 2?
A: There is no maximum number of words required for your Task 1 and Task 2 essay. However, it is recommended that you write about 170-190 words for the Task 1 section and 270-290 words for the Task 2 section. This is to make sure that you have enough time to plan your essays before writing and proofread them before submitting.
Q: What verbs can I use to replace the expressions "Better" or "Get better"?
A: There are many strong verbs that can be used instead of "better" and "get better". Some of them are: Rebuild, Fix, Repair, Innovate, Refurbish, Reinvigorate, Enhance, Improve, Progress, and Transform.
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