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IELTS –  International English Language Testing System
TOEFL -Test of English as a Foreign Language

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IELTS or ‘International English Language Testing System’, is an international standardised test of English Language Proficiency.

There are two versions of the IELTS: the Academic Version and the General Training Version:

  • The Academic Version is intended for those who want to enroll in universities and other institutions of higher education and for professionals such as medical doctors and nurses who want to study or practice in an English-speaking country.
  • The General Training Version is intended for those planning to undertake non-academic training or to gain work experience, or for immigration purposes.

It is generally acknowledged that the reading and writing tests for the Academic Version are more difficult than those for the General Training Version, due to the differences in the level of intellectual and academic rigour between the two versions.

 

Module: Building Listening  Skills (General and Academic)

                        This is a test of listening comprehension in the context of general language proficiency. The test is in four sections. The first two sections are concerned with social needs, while the last two are concerned with situations more closely related to educational or training contexts. Texts include both monologues and dialogues between two or three people, and are heard once only. A variety of question types are used for the forty items, including multiple choice, short-answer questions, notes/summary/flow chart completion, sentence completion, labeling a diagram and matching.

 SKILLS AND STRATEGIES

  • Orient yourself to the text
  • Predict a situation
  • Listen for specific information
  • Predict what type of word is needed
  • Identify detail
  • Understanding form, position, color
  • Follow a description: diagrams
  • Following directions on a map or plan
  • Identify main ideas
  • Thinking about all aspects of a topic
  • See beyond the surface meaning
  • Understanding stress and intonation
  • Follow signpost words
  • Learning to listen for specific information
  • How to follow a talk
  • How to insert your own knowledge of the topic

Candidates take either the Academic or the General Training Reading module.

The Academic Reading module consists of texts of general interest dealing with issues which are appropriate for, and accessible to, candidates entering postgraduate or undergraduate courses. The texts of the General Training Reading module draw on social and training contexts or deal with general interest topics. Both Reading modules consist of three passages or sections with forty questions. Question types include multiple choice, sentence or summary completion, identifying data for short-answer questions, matching lists or phrases and identifying writers’ views/attitudes. Some specific skills are:

Identify main and supporting ideas

Understanding paragraph structure

Extracting key information

Improve global reading skills

Paraphrasing the main ideas

Getting gap-fill answers right

Summarize and understanding summaries

Vocabulary builder Building Writing Skills

 

2. Module: Training Writing Module

Candidates take either the Academic or the General Training Writing module. Appropriate responses for the Academic Writing module are short essays or general reports, addressed to tutors or to an educated non-specialist audience. The General Training Writing module requires candidates to write personal semi-formal or formal correspondence, or to write on a given topic as part of a simulated class assignment. There are two compulsory tasks. Task 1 requires at least 150 words and Task 2, the more heavily weighted, requires at least 250 words. In Task 1, Academic Writing module candidates are asked to look at a diagram, table or data and to present the information in their own words. Candidates taking the General Training Writing module are asked to respond to a given problem with a letter in Task 1. In Task 2, all candidates are presented with a point of view, argument or problem and asked to provide general factual information, outline and/or present a solution, justify an opinion, and evaluate ideas and evidence.

 

Specific Skills are:

ACADEMIC TRAINING (Writing Task 1)

Interpret charts, tables, or graphs

Interpreting visual information and diagrams

Understand Bar graphs or Pie charts

Describe trends and writing an overview

Use appropriate vocabulary and summarize information

Selecting main points and illustrating main points

Compare and group information

 

GENERAL TRAINING MODULE (Writing Task 2)

 

Study a task and plan a letter

Opening and closing a letter

Beginning a letter and stating the purpose of the letter

Communicate through a message and use the right tone

Choosing the right language and expressions

 

ACADEMIC TRAINING MODULE    (Writing Task 2)

Analyze a task and determine how to approach the task

Generating ideas and plan an essay

Organize your ideas and writing your opening paragraph

Turn ideas into written arguments and presenting an idea

Making concessions and refuting an argument

Link ideas and making the main argument clear

Using the linking words and expressions to build complex sentences

 

 Module: Building Speaking Skills

The Speaking module is a structured interview with an emphasis on general speaking skills. It assesses whether candidates have the necessary knowledge and skills to communicate effectively with native speakers of English.

 

Specific Skills:

Respond to personal questions and answer questions on familiar topics

Expanding your answers to become more fluent by linking your ideas

Using vocabulary to link and expand your ideas

Preparing a talk by understanding the topic and brainstorming ideas

Checking your notes and presenting a talk

Use rhythm and timing to help your talk flow

Understand abstract vs analytical questions

Make your ideas clear by exploring the theme

Answer questions with a reasoned response using the right language

Giving two sides of an argument then speculate to extend a conversation