The International English Language Testing System IELTS) is designed to assess English language proficiency for those who would like to study in English-speaking countries, namely in the United Kingdom, selected Commonwealth countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada. It is even accepted in some parts of the United States in the name of uniformity with other institutions.
This test is required for people living countries where English is not a “native” language because it is assumed English may not be a medium of instruction or communication. It might be difficult for them to cope with native speakers if they are to move to the aforementioned countries.
The test centers on four communication skills – Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking; the reading and listening tasks are designed to test the examinees’ ability to understand what they have read or heard.
Speaking and writing tasks are designed to test the examinees’ ability to articulate or to express their thoughts. In some tasks, they may be tasked to read some text and/or listen to an audio clip and later asked to discuss it.
IELTS is tried and tested. Through the years, it is continually improved based on feedback of the examinees and examiners which is why it will never be outdated. It is secure, benchmarked and understood worldwide. Test materials are designed carefully so that every version of the test is of a comparable level of difficulty and to prevent predictability or possible leakage for future examinees or repeaters.
It is very interactive and the test is designed in such a way to simulate real life situations, depending on the needs of the examinees. It follows that whatever the examinees will encounter in the IELTS exam will be similar to what they may face in real-life situations.
IELTS caters to the specific needs of examinees. Examinees can choose between the Academic and General Training. Academic Training is designed for those who will study in universities in the aforementioned countries. General Training is for those who will migrate or work in the same. The former is more “advanced” due to the very high-end nature of the academic setting. The latter is more practical, focusing on the examinees’ ability to “survive.”
IELTS review centers make every effort to accommodate examinees with specific needs. If this is the case, the examinee should notify the review center three months in advance. This notice period is will allow for a modified version of the test to be prepared.
Judging from the longevity of IELTS, it will be around much longer. It will always be a work in progress, continually looking for ways to better assess the English language proficiency of the individual.
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