IELTS Experience

Old Jan 14th 2019, 5:36 am
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Default IELTS Experience

I took my IELTS exam in October 2018. I borrowed books from the library (IELTS Cambridge) to help with preparation for the test which included a CD to practice the listening exam

Because I am a native English speaker I found the practice/preparation a little tedious and confusing because the material was aimed at people who were learning English as a second etc language.

The one thing that I did get from the brief preparation though, was NOT to be too complacent about the fact that English was my first language. That I think helped me in the exam, as I was more alert to what might be thrown at me.


The exam is 3 hours for writing, reading, listening without a break!


They literally switch from one test to another, only with the collection of papers in between, so I found it mentally taxing to quickly switch, be alert, and to tap into the different skills needed for each part of the exam. The English part of the exam is not difficult, in my opinion, it’s just the tricks they use to attempt to throw you off guard, one of which is the tight squeeze of all 3 tests together without breaks and opportunity to think clearly.


The reading test is about 3 comprehensions to do within the hour! which again is not difficult but you have to choose the correct multiple choice answer, some of which are very similar. The comprehensions got longer in length by the time you got onto the third one. Again it’s the lack of time to digest the information that was most difficult than the test itself.

The writing test that I had was in 2 parts: one was to write about a topic of 150 words in length (one of the topics was about “ people tending to get married at an older/later age today than in the past. Thoughts?” – or something like that but very general topics) They gave 20 minutes for this part

I wrote 4 sides for this topic including information such as economic crash, young people unable get on the property ladder, living with their parents longer etc (I am a fast writer)


The other writing test was to write 250 words on another general topic (cant remember what it was) – I wrote about 6 sides. They gave 40 minutes for this


The speaking test is done in the afternoon, a very short test about 10 – 15 minutes

it's just like having a conversation with someone else. They ask you a question and just carry on talking about the topic until they tell you to stop. They record this test


My marks:
Speaking: 9 Listening: 8.5 Reading: 7 Writing: 7 (marks out of 9). Overall score 8 (equivalent to Canadian Language Benchmark – CLB of 9 & 10)


My mind wondered for a brief moment during the listening exam, which meant I was a bit unsure of the answer for the question they were asking at the time, as they had quickly moved onto another question, so I understand my mark for Listening


I don’t agree that my writing and reading marks would be as low as 7. Only had to write 150 & 250 words!
Rang them for a review of my marks and they said I had to pay!!!
Told them no thanks!


I have a degree, got grade B in my ‘O’ level English language and literature through Oxford & GMB examining boards, which back in the day, were the strictest examining boards!

I am a published author; deliver training programmes, exam invigilator etc
I write and read quality material every single day!

As far as I’m concerned the test is a money making machine!


Yes they offer a whole load of prep tests that you can buy and do before the exam. They send you the results with a flyer that says: ‘Do you need to re-take your test?’ and details of how to do it I believe that the writing and reading part of the test is where they really make their money, because the other two parts are recorded! Even if I did get a higher score on these parts, I would still have to pay for them to tell me that!


Also found that on the day, they treated us like kids, bearing in mind that it is only adults taking the exams!


Only advice I can offer is to do everything possible to stay alert during the exam. Have a good night sleepIf English is not your first language, do some preparation. The library has a range of FREE resources for these tests. Listen to the radio. Speak English at home leading up to the exam

Good luck!
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Old Jan 14th 2019, 1:48 pm
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Default Re: IELTS Experience

I wholeheartedly agree!

The exam is a money-making tool that flips regular education on its head.

I found that practice papers were invaluable to my study.

I didn't have an issue with the timings of two and half hours for the reading, writing and listening. The institution where I took my test wanted all candidates there 2 hours before the exam itself. This coupled with the driving time is a long wait. At the end the speaking exam I had another 3 hours wait (I could have got to India quicker via plane!).

The treatment of students I think reflects the mentality of the staff. I found once I conversed with them outside the exam I had no issue but I did notice the 'us and them' mentality. I suppose this attitude was there when I went to my university but changed upon going into higher degree levels and having regular communication with my professors.

I did have a study guide from 'Barrons IELTS'. This helped me a lot in my reading as this was the area I was lacking but got much better scores on my second attempt. The writing section I did was a letter and a short essay. The letter being 2 pages max and the essay 4 pages. The letter was a simple one as they give you the subject matter to which you have to add some 'waffle'. The essay took a little more brain-work. The main thing being they want a introduction, theory and conclusion with an afterthought(s) if you have the time. A little planning is required as the topic is usually an 'advantages/disadvantages' type of relation. The area on the question paper underneath the questions provides ample space for your planning!
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Old Jan 14th 2019, 7:43 pm
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Default Re: IELTS Experience

Originally Posted by FromUKtoBC View Post
I took my IELTS exam in October 2018. I borrowed books from the library (IELTS Cambridge) to help with preparation for the test which included a CD to practice the listening exam

Because I am a native English speaker I found the practice/preparation a little tedious and confusing because the material was aimed at people who were learning English as a second etc language.

The one thing that I did get from the brief preparation though, was NOT to be too complacent about the fact that English was my first language. That I think helped me in the exam, as I was more alert to what might be thrown at me.


The exam is 3 hours for writing, reading, listening without a break!


They literally switch from one test to another, only with the collection of papers in between, so I found it mentally taxing to quickly switch, be alert, and to tap into the different skills needed for each part of the exam. The English part of the exam is not difficult, in my opinion, it’s just the tricks they use to attempt to throw you off guard, one of which is the tight squeeze of all 3 tests together without breaks and opportunity to think clearly.


The reading test is about 3 comprehensions to do within the hour! which again is not difficult but you have to choose the correct multiple choice answer, some of which are very similar. The comprehensions got longer in length by the time you got onto the third one. Again it’s the lack of time to digest the information that was most difficult than the test itself.

The writing test that I had was in 2 parts: one was to write about a topic of 150 words in length (one of the topics was about “ people tending to get married at an older/later age today than in the past. Thoughts?” – or something like that but very general topics) They gave 20 minutes for this part

I wrote 4 sides for this topic including information such as economic crash, young people unable get on the property ladder, living with their parents longer etc (I am a fast writer)


The other writing test was to write 250 words on another general topic (cant remember what it was) – I wrote about 6 sides. They gave 40 minutes for this



The speaking test is done in the afternoon, a very short test about 10 – 15 minutes

it's just like having a conversation with someone else. They ask you a question and just carry on talking about the topic until they tell you to stop. They record this test


My marks:
Speaking: 9 Listening: 8.5 Reading: 7 Writing: 7 (marks out of 9). Overall score 8 (equivalent to Canadian Language Benchmark – CLB of 9 & 10)


My mind wondered for a brief moment during the listening exam, which meant I was a bit unsure of the answer for the question they were asking at the time, as they had quickly moved onto another question, so I understand my mark for Listening


I don’t agree that my writing and reading marks would be as low as 7. Only had to write 150 & 250 words!
Rang them for a review of my marks and they said I had to pay!!!
Told them no thanks!


I have a degree, got grade B in my ‘O’ level English language and literature through Oxford & GMB examining boards, which back in the day, were the strictest examining boards!

I am a published author; deliver training programmes, exam invigilator etc
I write and read quality material every single day!

As far as I’m concerned the test is a money making machine!


Yes they offer a whole load of prep tests that you can buy and do before the exam. They send you the results with a flyer that says: ‘Do you need to re-take your test?’ and details of how to do it I believe that the writing and reading part of the test is where they really make their money, because the other two parts are recorded! Even if I did get a higher score on these parts, I would still have to pay for them to tell me that!


Also found that on the day, they treated us like kids, bearing in mind that it is only adults taking the exams!


Only advice I can offer is to do everything possible to stay alert during the exam. Have a good night sleepIf English is not your first language, do some preparation. The library has a range of FREE resources for these tests. Listen to the radio. Speak English at home leading up to the exam

Good luck!

You got high degrees, and all the education, run training programmes, are an exam invigilator ...... and you still IGNORED the instructions?????????????

I have very similar education to you, including the English learnt at grammar school, but I was also a teacher ........... if a student was asked to write 150 and 250 words on a topice, and went on for 4 and 6 pages, that indicated s/he had not carefully read the question. Almost all of what was written would be ignored, and just the first 150 and 250 words read and counted for a mark!

I can certainly understand your low marks for writing and reading marks.


I have no comment on whether this is a money-making machine, other than to say that it is a necessary part of the immigration process in to Canada that has to be taken by every applicant. But it is almost certain that you might have to re-take your exam depending on your need to obtain the necessary points for possible acceptance
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Old Jan 15th 2019, 9:26 am
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Default Re: IELTS Experience

Originally Posted by scilly View Post
You got high degrees, and all the education, run training programmes, are an exam invigilator ...... and you still IGNORED the instructions?????????????

I have very similar education to you, including the English learnt at grammar school, but I was also a teacher ........... if a student was asked to write 150 and 250 words on a topice, and went on for 4 and 6 pages, that indicated s/he had not carefully read the question. Almost all of what was written would be ignored, and just the first 150 and 250 words read and counted for a mark!

I can certainly understand your low marks for writing and reading marks.
it was AT LEAST 150/250 words actually!!
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Old Jan 15th 2019, 2:34 pm
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Default Re: IELTS Experience

I agree that I found the whole experience a little like a cattle drive aimed at packing as many people into a single exam session as possible to maximize the profits of the institute running the test. In general I found the test relatively easy, scoring 9's across the board with the exception of writing where I scored an 8 (my hand writing and spelling are not great and I have spent too long on computer word processing programs).

Without the prep I would not have scored nearly this highly so strongly encourage it.

I do however find the requirement for candidates from an English speaking country with degrees from English speaking institutions to take an English test to be bizarre. For a citizen application you can prove language requirement by showing you graduates from high school but for PR you are forced to complete a test.
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Old Jan 16th 2019, 10:52 am
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Default Re: IELTS Experience

My partner received similar marks except she got 6.5 in writing. This stopped her from getting the desired CLB9 rank to boost her CRS score.

I ordered a retest, paid the £60, and they bumped it up to a 7.

In your case, I wouldn't risk the £60 on the retest since you're already CLB9.
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Old Jan 16th 2019, 11:25 am
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Default Re: IELTS Experience

Originally Posted by BigfootsMotorbike View Post
My partner received similar marks except she got 6.5 in writing. This stopped her from getting the desired CLB9 rank to boost her CRS score.

I ordered a retest, paid the £60, and they bumped it up to a 7.

In your case, I wouldn't risk the £60 on the retest since you're already CLB9.
Sounds exactly like a money-making scheme! The majority of universities are that now, charging eye-watering amounts for a degree.

I would have asked for a refund on the £60 as they have clearly made a mistake in marking.
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Old Jan 16th 2019, 1:31 pm
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Default Re: IELTS Experience

Sorry, probably should have mentioned that if they increase your score during the retest you get the fee back. If your score stays the same, they keep it.
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Old Jan 17th 2019, 8:05 am
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Default Re: IELTS Experience

Hi,

Sorry to gate crash. I am about to book our test. Just to confirm its the general exam needed for Express Entry?
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Old Jan 17th 2019, 8:11 am
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Default Re: IELTS Experience

Originally Posted by Setayharas View Post
Hi,

Sorry to gate crash. I am about to book our test. Just to confirm its the general exam needed for Express Entry?
Yep. What kind of language test can I use for Express Entry?

Good luck!
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Old Jan 17th 2019, 8:16 am
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Default Re: IELTS Experience

Thanks! I am glad. I have spent the last week doing practice general tests.
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