The International English Language Testing System or IELTS is an international standardized test of English language proficiency for non- native English language speakers. IELTS is owned by three partners, The University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate, the British Council and IDP Education Australia. British Council offers IELTS test in five locations across Nepal: Kathmandu, Pokhara, Bhairahawa, Biratnagar and Chitwan.
IELTS consists of two version; Academic and General Training. Academic is for the candidates taking the test for entry to undergraduates or postgraduate studies or for professional reasons whereas General Training is for candidates taking the test for entry to vocational or training programmes not at degree level, for admission to secondary schools and for immigration purposes. IELTS consists of four modules, Listening,Speaking, Reading and Writing. All the candidates take the same Listening and Speaking Modules. Likewise, there is a choice of Reading and Writing Modules according to whether a candidate is taking the Academic or General Training version of the test.
This is in four sections, each with 10 questions. The first two sections are concerned with social needs. There is a conversation between two speakers and then a monologue. The final two sections are concerned with situations related to educational or training contexts. There is a conversation between up to four people and then a monologue. A variety of question types is used, including: multiple choice, short-answer questions, sentence completion, notes/chart/table completion, labeling a diagram, classification, matching. Candidates hear the recording once only and answer the questions as they listen. Ten minutes are allowed at the end to transfer answers to the answer sheet.
There are three reading passages, of increasing difficulty, on topics of general interest and candidates have to answer 40 questions. The passages are taken from magazines, journals, books, and newspapers. A variety of question types are used, including: multiple choice, short-answer questions, sentence completion, notes/chart/table completion, labeling a diagram, classification, matching lists/ phrases, choosing suitable paragraph headings from a list, identification of writer’s views/attitudes- yes, no, not given.
GENERAL TRAINING READING
Candidates have to answer 40 questions. There are three sections of increasing difficulty, containing texts taken from notices, advertisements, leaflets, newspapers, instruction manuals,books and magazines. The first section contains texts relevant to basic linguistic survival in English, with tasks mainly concerned with providing factual information. The second section focuses on the training context and involves texts of more complex language. The third section involves reading more extended texts, with a more complex structure, but with the emphasis on descriptive and instructive rather than argumentative texts.
There are two tasks for this section. For task 1, it is suggested that candidates spend about 20 minutes where they require to write at least 150 words. Likewise, the assessment of task 2 carries more weight in marking where they have to write about 250 words in 40 minutes. In task 1, candidates are asked to look at a diagram, table or graph and present the information in their own words. They are assessed on their ability to organise, present and possibly compare data, describe the stages of a process, describe an object or event, explain how something works. In task 2, candidates are presented with a point of view, argument or problem. They are assessed on their ability to present a solution to the problem, present and justify an opinion, compare and contrast evidence and opinions, evaluate and challenge ideas, evidence or arguments. Candidates are also judged on their ability to write in an appropriate style.
GENERAL TRAINING WRITING
There are two tasks for this section. For task 1, it is suggested that candidates spend about 20 minutes where they require to write at least 150 words. Likewise, the assessment of task 2 carries more weight in marking where they have to write about 250 words in 40 minutes. In task 1, candidates are asked to respond to a given problem with a letter requesting information or explaining a situation. They are assessed on their ability to engage in personal correspondence, elicit, and provide general factual information, express needs, wants, likes and dislikes, express opinions,complaints, etc. In task 2, candidates are presented with a point of view, argument or problem. They are assessed on their ability to provide general factual information, outline a problem and present a solution, present and justify an opinion, evaluate and challenge ideas, evidence or arguments.
This consists of a conversation between the candidate and an examiner and takes between 10 and 15 minutes. This test includes introduction where the examiner and candidate introduce themselves and the candidate is encouraged to talk briefly about their life, home, work and interests. Next part is where candidate is encouraged to speak at length about some familiar topic of general interest or of relevance to their culture. Then, the candidate is given a task card with some information on it and is encouraged to talk about it. Later, the candidate is encouraged to talk about their future plans and proposed course of study. The examiner may choose to return to a topic raised earlier. Finally, the interview is concluded. The whole speaking test is recorded. They are assessed on their ability to communicate effectively with native speakers of English. Appropriate use of grammar and vocabulary is also marked during the test.
HOW IS IELTS SCORED?
IELTS results are reported on a nine-band scale. There will be a band score from 1 to 9 for each of the skills and an overall band score from 1 to 9. The overall band score is the average of all the scores of four sections. For example, if you score 6 for listening, 6 for reading, 5 for writing and 7 for speaking then your overall band score will be (6+6+5+7)/4 = 6
That’s all about IELTS in Nepal, now you know all the basic about this language testing system you can prepare yourself and score high. Good luck for your future.