Frequently Asked Questions about the IELTS test part 3.

info-31185_1280In the last two posts, I’ve been answering some frequently asked questions about IELTS.  I’d like to continue to do so in this third and final post on the subject of FAQs about IELTS.  Let’s get on to the next question straightaway.

·         How soon after sitting the test will I get my IELTS result?

The centre where you sat the test will send you your result, usually 13 days after sitting the test; so you receive your results 2 weeks after sitting the test..

I know that waiting for results is horrible but please do try to be patient.  Don’t ask the examiner, ‘Well, how did I do?’ at the end of your speaking test. The examiner will answer ‘You will receive your results in two weeks’ time.’

·         How does IELTS compare with other English language tests?

Over the years, I have had many students ask me how IELTS test scores compare with those of other tests.

The following table shows what is generally expected.

Language School Level * CEF level Cambridge ESOL exams IELTS band TOEFL ® iBT TOEIC ®
Advanced C2 Certificate of Proficiency in English 7.5+
Pre-Advanced C1 Certificate in Advanced English 6.5/7.0 110-120 880
Upper-Intermediate B2 First Certificate in English 5.0/5.5/6.0 87-109
Intermediate B1 Preliminary English Test 3.5/4.0/4.5 57-86 550
Pre-Intermediate A2 Key English Test 3.0
* Please note that different language institutions often have different criteria for their class level placement and different terminology for their levels.

·         How many times will I hear the Listening test?

You will hear the IELTS Listening test only once.  The test is given in stages and the audio pauses to give you time to read the next set of questions before it continues.  There are four sections and you are given one minute at the end of each section to check over your answers etc.

You write your answers onto the question sheet while you are listening and then at the end of the test, you are given ten minutes to transfer your answers to the Answer Sheet.

·         Will I be penalised if I make a spelling mistake in the Listening test?

It depends.  In general, spelling is not important in the Listening test, providing that the spelling mistake is minor and it is clear that you have understood the audio.  If a word is spelt out for you, however, you must spell it correctly.

·         Do I have a choice of questions in the IELTS Writing test?

No, there are two questions and you must answer both of them.  To score well, you must COMPLETE both tasks.  I have seen many cases where candidates have spent too much time on Task 1 and therefore only written a few lines for Task 2.

Your writing Band Score is an average of your Task 1 score and your Task 2 score so it’s important to spend only 20 minutes on Task 1 and leave yourself 40 minutes for the longer Task 2, which accounts for 60% or your overall score.

·         Is it possible to take a computerised version of the IELTS test?

At the time of writing, a computerised version of the test () is available for the Academic Module only (not for the General Training Module) at certain centres.

The centres offering CB IELTS are listed below.  You should contact the centre for further details.

Bangladesh, Dhaka – British Council more information
Egypt, Alexandria – British Council more information
Egypt, Cairo Agouza – British Council more information
India, New Delhi – British Council more information
India, New Delhi – IDP Education Australia more information
Italy, Milan – British Council more information
Jordan, Amman – British Council more information
Kenya, Nairobi – Australian University Studies Institute  more information
UAE, Abu Dhabi – British Council more information
UAE, Dubai – British Council more information
Vietnam, Hanoi – British Council more information

The listening, reading and writing tests are taken online but the speaking test is conducted with an interviewer face to face.

The listening and reading tests are marked by computer and the writing responses are marked by qualified IELTS examiners.

There is absolutely no advantage to taking either the paper version of IELTS or CB IELTS; the fees are the same, the writing and speaking are assessed in the same way and the results are sent out at the same time.  It is purely a matter of personal preference.

Hope that’s answered some of the questions that you may have.  If you have any more questions that I haven’t answered here, please feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Here’s to the best IELTS score possible!

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