If you want to study abroad or if you want to work at places like UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia then this video is for you. IELTS, also pronounced as I’E’LTS is a test that most of us fear. Why? Because it is an English and Communication test. Two things that our education system forgot to focus on. But don’t worry, there is still a chance that you’ll do well as long as you know, how to prepare for the test. So it doesn’t matter if you are a student or a working professional, today by the end of this video, you’ll know exactly what you need to do. So in today’s video we are going to see What is IELTS and why do you need to give it? What is the format of the test? How to prepare for it? But most importantly, towards the end, I’ll give you a Bonus Tip that’ll help you get over the nervousness while appearing for IELTS. But before that, if you are serious about learning English then hit that ‘Like’ button because that tells me that I should make more videos about English and Communication. Let’s begin. The International English Language Testing System or IELTS is an exam you give if you want to study or work at a place where English is the language of communication. This test is accepted by over 9000 organisations worldwide including universities, employers, immigration authorities. The main purpose of this test is to find out whether you can survive in an environment where English is the primary language. This test has 2 main modules. IELTS Academics is for people who want to enrol in a university. And IELTS General Training module is for people who want to work abroad or for immigration purposes. Remember, there is no pass or fail in IELTS. You’ll get a score from 1 to 9. 1 being the lowest and 9 meaning that you are an expert user of the English language. See, IELTS wants to test whether you can read, write, understand and speak in English which is why the test also has these 4 modules. Listening, Reading and Writing are completed in one sitting. But the speaking test can be done on the same day or a few days before or after the other tests. Now, both the Academic and General Training modules are almost the same. The only difference is in their ‘Reading’ and ‘Writing’ rounds. For GT module, the text that you will read and write will be related to daily life topics. But for academic module, the text will be analytical in nature. I’ll tell you the difference between both with examples in just a few minutes. But for now, let’s understand what these 4 sections contain. #1: The listening round. It lasts for 40 minutes and has 4 sections. In these sections, you will hear an everyday conversation like 2 colleagues talking in an office, one person speaking, an educational situation where may be a student is talking to a professor and a talk or a lecture on a general topic. Now that you know the format, here are a few important points to keep in mind before you attempt it. #1: Synonyms are important. For ex: Suppose the question is, ‘How does John travel to work?’ And the voice you hear says…’John walks to work.’ Then, one of the multiple-choice answers could be, ‘on Foot’. Did you see that? What you hear and what the answer is might not be same word-to-word. So, be alert. #2: Always look out for distractors. For ex: Suppose the voice says, ‘It’s Tue, 4th of July, 3:15 PM. Oh no, I’m sorry. It’s actually Tue, 4th of July , 3:50 PM’ I am sorry for the bad accent imitation but the point is, sometimes, the correct answer comes later. So listen carefully and be alert for distractors. and #3: Remember, not all question types will be same. They might be in the form of multiple-choice questions, fill in the blanks, match the following, they might ask you to write no more than 2 words/3 words and if you get these basic instructions wrong, then your answer will be wrong. So please, read the instructions carefully before you answer. For example, suppose the question is, ‘What is John’s gaming level?’ and the multiple-choices are… Beginner, Average, Good, League. And the voice you hear is a conversation that goes like this. How do you rate your game? Beginner, League? Oh no, not League standard. Just middling really. Not bad. Not good. So, the answer is ‘average’ but he said, ‘middling’. Thats why, you read the questions first and be prepared just incase you encounter synonyms as well. The next round is reading. Reading lasts for 60 minutes and has 3 sections. If you remember, we discussed that the reading text will be different for Academic and for GT module. For Academic module, the text will come from book, magazines, newspapers and may include diagrams, graphs, illustrations. You don’t have to be a specialist in something to understand these. The GT module also has 3 sections. Section 1 will include simple text from Public Notices, Timetables, Advertisements. Section 2 will be slightly more difficult and will include text from a workplace environment like job description, contracts, training material. Section 3 will include a passage from a book, magazine or a newspaper. Now, here are a few points to remember while attempting the reading section. Don’t start by reading the whole text first. You won’t have time for this. Just skim through the text and then go to the questions. And while you read the question, you will remember ‘Oh, this para has that answer!’ Now, go back to that para and read it carefully while you answer that question. And needless to say, each question type will be different. Multiple-choice questions, Yes/No/Not Given, Sentence Completion, match a heading to a paragraph. So please, read the instructions carefully before answering the question. Now, let’s see an example. Suppose, the first 2 paras of the text look something like this. You first start by skimming through the text and then move on to the questions. The first question is, ‘Which game company was established in 1858?’ You know that the answer lies in the first para. Now, you go back to the text and you notice the answer in the last line. Now read it carefully and while answering double check the spelling of your answers. Next comes, writing. The writing test lasts for 60 minutes and has 2 tasks. For academic module, you will be given a graph, diagram, chart or a table and you’ll have to describe it in your own words. For General Training module, you will have to write a letter in response to a everyday situation or a problem. Task 2 will be the same for both the modules where you’ll be given a situation, an argument or a point of view and you’ll need to write a short essay in response to it. For the writing round, here are a few important points to remember. In Task 1, you will need to write atleast 150 words and in Task 2, you will have to write atleast 250 words. Task 2 is worth twice as many marks as Task 1. So ideally, out of the 60 minutes, you can spend 20 minutes on Task 1 and 40 minutes on Task 2. So always, keep track of the time and leave enough time in the end to review what you have written. #2: Write in paragraphs. Each para must start with a topic sentence and the rest of the paragraph must support that topic. Why? Because when examiners look at your writing they are looking for, how well you organise your thoughts, your vocabulary, your use of grammar. So when you use paragraphs, it gets easier for them to assess all of these. Especially in Task 2, have an introduction, a body and a conclusion and in the conclusion, make sure that you include your point of view. An example of Task 2 is this. Now you can organise the answer to this question in 4 paragraphs. The first para will obviously be introduction. The second para can be about the disadvantages of international tourism. The third para can be about it’s advantages. And finally, in the conclusion make sure that along with the summary you also include your point of view, whether you are for it or against it. And the last section is speaking. The speaking test lasts for 11-14 minutes and is conducted in the form of a one-on-one interview with an examiner. It has 3 parts. Part 1 is general introduction where you’ll talk about yourself, your work, your family and other familiar topics. In Part 2, you will be given a topic card and one minute to prepare on that topic. At the end of that one minute, you are supposed to talk continuously for 1-2 minutes on that topic without being interrupted by the examiner. In Part 3, the examiner will have a conversation with you where they’ll ask you questions related to the topic in Part 2. Now, here are a few important points to remember. Don’t memorise your answers, especially the introduction. The examiner will spot this and will give you less to zero marks for answers that look prepared. #2: Give a little bit more detail. Suppose the examiner asks you about your hobbies. Don’t just say, ‘I like badminton.’ Give a little bit more detail…. Why do you like badminton? Whom do you play with? How does it make you feel? They want to assess how well you communicate. So, talk as much as you can. I know that the speaking section sounds scary but the more you talk to native english speakers, the better you get at it. And one of the ways to talk to experts, who will help you with your spoken english is through the Cambly app. This video is bought to you by them. I’ll show you how this app works later. But for now, let’s see, what a Part 2 topic looks like. On your card, the topic can be, ‘Describe a well-known person you like or admire.’ So you talk about… who this person is, why is this person well-known and explain why you admire this person. The one minute preparation time you get is crucial. So, note down bullet points related to that topic. These bullet points will give a nice structure to your talk and will also act as a guide incase you go blank while speaking. So as of today, this is the format of the test. But it’s always better to check the official website of wherever you are booking whether British Council or IDP to know the current format while preparing. Now, before I tell you how to prepare for IELTS comment below and tell me, which section do you find the most difficult? Is it reading, writing or speaking? Because, this will help me decide, on what topics should I make my future videos on. So, these are the things you can do to improve your chances of getting a good score months or weeks before your exam. #1: Read as widely as possible, be it newspapers, books or blogs. #2: Practise writing essays and after you have written them assess them like an examiner. Check your vocabulary, your paragraph formation so that you can understand your strengths and work on your weaknesses. To improve your listening skills chose a lecture, a talk or watch English YT videos… ….like The Urban Fight. 😀 What can also improve your speaking and listening skills is having a conversation with native english speakers so that you can also learn to understand their accent. And as discussed earlier, Cambly can help you do that. You can have 1-on-1 speaking practise sessions with tutors from UK, US, Canada. Infact, you can even specifically search for ‘IELTS preparation’ and start talking to the tutors just like this. Hello. Hi Margie. How are you doing? I am well and you? Did I pronounce your name correctly? Yes, yes you did. How can talking to an IELTS tutor like you help someone get better at speaking or even listening? You must remember, when you are speaking to a teacher or a tutor or anybody on the other side, especially if they are native english speakers, their pronunciation is probably different to those who have a dialect. The more you spend time with them, they will also help you. When you read or you pronounce something and your grammar, if your terminology is incorrect, they will always help you. Ofcourse it will help you. The more you speak, the better you become. So, when they say, yes, I have to do a test in a week or 2 weeks time what we do is, we pull it (the examples) up and then we say…okay, so these are the questions or we prepare them in how they are going to answer the question. Thank you so much Margie, this has been great. Have a great day and I hope I get to talk to you again. Oh yes, super. Thank you very much, Taskeen. Bye. And it’s that simple. If you want to try out Cambly then I have got a special discount for you. Go to the subscribe page and type the code, ‘uf40’ and you will receive, a 40% discount on a 2 month IELTS special plan. So download Cambly and check it out for yourself. Now before I give you the Bonus Tip, here is a gentle reminder to Subscribe to my Youtube channel and hit that ‘bell’ icon so that you receive a notification every time I make a Career, Finance or an English related video. Think about it… Every time we are nervous, we mess up more than we would’ve otherwise. Yes or no? And IELTS is one test, where if you are nervous everything will go wrong. While listening, you will miss that answer. While writing, you will write the wrong spelling. While speaking, you will go blank. And while reading, you will miss the basic instructions. And silly mistakes like these, cost marks. So today’s Bonus Tip is this… Relax! Prepare the best you can, get a goodnight sleep and before the exam… take a deep breath! Don’t keep thinking…I have to use this word, grammar, vocabulary. If you are relaxed, all of it will come to you naturally. It’s just like holding sand. As they say, the tighter you hold, the more you’ll lose it. So please, before the exam, chill… and watch this video once again. 😉 On that note, I promise to see you again in the next video, until then Keep fighting, the Urban Fight to be Fit!