Is Grammar Important in the IELTS Test?


“I have been reviewing for the IELTS test. Actually, I am enrolled in an IELTS review center as a preparation for the test. My instructors have been telling me that I am good at reading and listening; however, my speaking and writing responses need working especially in grammar. They actually advised me to go for grammar classes. I am quite sceptical about this, but is grammar really important in the IELTS examination?”

The IELTS or the International English Language Testing System examination is an English proficiency examination having that said, it is important to any test taker of the said test to understand that the test will evaluate one’s ability to understand and use English in different tasks: reading, listening, speaking and writing. As it is an English examination, grammar plays a very important skill that one should be very good at.

Though the reading and listening do not directly evaluate your skills in grammar, the speaking and the writing are the sections where grammar is highly gauged. In the speaking section of the examination, one criterion that examiners look at is Grammar Range and Accuracy. The examiner will test the structures of the responses – if they are natural and appropriate – natural in a sense that it is not following a template appropriate in terms of the situation given. With this, candidates should give out a wide range of structures within the responses. Sentences should not be in the simple form structure but use the complex or even compound-complex for better ones. Further, the examiner will see how consistent one is with its structure like the tenses of verbs. An examinee will seem like a native speaker when speaking in correct and appropriate grammar.

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Grammar usage is more obvious in the writing section. Like the speaking section, Grammar Range and Accuracy is one of its criteria. Here, the essay is evaluated with the structures of sentences on how flexible and accurate they are. The minor the mistakes committed, the better scores on the essay. Sentences should be error-free. Meaning to say, the essay should have a consistent verb tense, appropriate use of the eight parts of speech and correct usage of punctuations.

Since grammar is important in the IELTS, how can one improve their grammar skills?

First, studying grammar is the basic answer. Review on the rules on verb tenses and most especially the subject and verb agreement. There could be minor mistakes in writing due to these, but they can still be corrected and eventually eliminated. Second, do a lot of practice tests. What is knowledge if you do not apply it? Speak a lot of English and write a lot of essays.

Grammar has a big role in the English language. It cannot be taken away from examinations. Hence, examinees should not only focus on improving their skills for the IELTS but also train themselves in using English grammar well.

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