IELTS is one of the most popular English exams taken all over the world. If you wish to travel to an English country whether to study or to work, you’d have to take such exams to prove that you are fluent in English.
IELTS, which stands for International English Language Testing System, is jointly managed by the British Council, Cambridge Assessment English, and IDP: IELTS Australia.
The test assesses your ability to read, write, listen, and speak in the English language. It is aimed at determining your proficiency in using English to communicate in a working or schooling environment in any English-speaking country.
Types of IELTS Tests
IELTS comes in two versions.
The Academic Version
This version is aimed at those who wish to enrol in tertiary institutions and for professionals who want to study or practice in English speaking countries.
General Training Version
This version is intended for those who plan to gain work experience or migrate to English-speaking countries.
You can take either of the two depending on your reason for travelling. Both versions test your reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills and your results are graded on the IELTS 9-band scale.
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IELTS vs Other English Tests
Although IELTS is one of the most popular English tests, there are other recognized tests in many English-speaking countries all over the world. Some of them include:
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
- Test of English for International Communication
- Pearson Test of English Academic
- Oral Proficiency Interview
Out of all these, Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is the most popular. It began in 1964 to test the reading, writing, speaking, and listening to the English language of non-native speakers. Today, there are over 4,500 TOEFL test centres in 165 countries which manage more than 2.3 million tests every year.
Although TOEFL has been around for much longer and has a wider reach than IELTS, IELTS is more recognized and is preferred in many countries. Every year, over 3 million people take IELTS tests in more than 1,200 test centres in over 140 countries.
The scores/grades used by IELTS are recognized by more than 10,000 universities, immigration authorities, agencies, professional bodies, and employers in over 140 countries.
Scores/grades used by TOEFL, on the other hand, are only recognized in about 130 countries which make IELTS the best option.
Other Reasons to Choose IELTS
- Whether you choose to migrate to the UK or the US, you can always opt for IELTS as it recognizes both British and American English
- IELTS is considered to be fair to all test takers irrespective of their nationality, gender, special needs or cultural background. Their test questions are developed by professionals in many countries such as the US, UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand
- IELTS tests are easy to take and are offered up to four times a month, which makes it convenient for test-takers to choose a suitable time to take the test. Results are also issued very fast, in about 13 days
- Choosing IELTS enables you to prove your English language proficiency and gain worldwide recognition for work, study, and immigration
IELTS Test Format
The IELTS test is built around listening, reading, writing, and speaking. Each module has the duration and a grade score assigned to it.
- The IELTS listening test consists of four recorded sections in order of increasing difficulty. These sections include questions that test your ability to understand main ideas, opinions, detailed factual information, and the purpose of the words spoken on the recording. This test lasts for 30 minutes
- The reading module lasts for 60 minutes and consists of about four reading passages of increasing difficulty with a total of 40 questions to answer
- IELTS writing modules consists of two writing tasks with a total duration of 60 minutes. The writing test for the academic version and the general version are usually different
- IELTS speaking module involves a one-to-one interaction between the candidate and an examiner. This module assesses your use of spoken English. The module lasts for about 14 minutes
Cost of IELTS in Nigeria
The cost of IELTS in Nigeria is between N75,000 and N80,000. The cost is usually pegged at N75,000, however, inconsistency in the currency exchange rate could increase it. Fortunately, the test is written more than once a year in many locations in Nigeria making it easy for you to pick a time when the currency exchange rate is balanced and fair.
How to Enrol for IELTS
- The enrollment is done online on the British Council official website
- You’ll have to choose the type of test you want to take, either General Training or Academic. Your choice should be based on why you want to move to an English speaking country
- Then you can pick when and where you want to write the test
- You’ll be required to upload some documents such as passport photographs and international passport
- When done, you’ll have to make payment to any of the banks accepted by the platforms (it is advised you pay offline)
- Once you have successfully registered and paid, you will get an email with a code to access the online courses on the English language. These courses will help you prepare for your test
How to Prepare for IELTS Test
There are several centres and resources that will assist you in passing your test. Some of these resources include:
IELTS Coaching Centres: You can get lectures from IELTS coaching centres. These lectures will prepare you better for the test. If you live in Lagos, Abuja or Port Harcourt, you’d easily come across several IELTS coaching centres.
Online Tutors: There are several online tutorials that focus on providing IELTS training and materials. You could get them for free but some will require a fee.
While preparing for your test, ensure that you go through test manuals and past questions to enable you to understand the test process.
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