Studying abroad is a dream of many but so few come close to accomplishing it. English is the most common language in all the countries that students want to go to for higher education or even for jobs. Despite the fact that English is taught and spoken everywhere, it is the main reason that most students fail to apply for studying in foreign countries. Before going to a country where English is the main language, you have to acquire skills so that you can understand and speak English well. Not only that but you have to pass a test that evaluates your abilities to read, write, and speak English.
The test that you need to pass is the International English Language Testing System or IELTS exam. This exam is the main reason why most people fail to make it abroad. Although many institutes offer comprehensive courses and learning material for strengthening their abilities, students still struggle to pass the exam.
Taking an IELTS course in Sri Lanka is one thing and taking the IELTS exam is another. Most students fail because they are aware of the unpredictable nature of this exam. They don’t know what questions they will be asked or what they will be required to write or speak. While that is true, you can prepare yourself before the exam so that everything works out for you. To do better in the test, you can prepare yourself for the things you can be asked to do.
So, here are a few things you need to know before taking the IELTS exam in Sri Lanka.
Get to know the test format
The IELTS exam assesses your ability to read, write, listen to, and speak English. Based on this, the test is divided into the following four parts.
The listening test is designed in a way to assess your abilities to listen and understand. This test takes only 30 minutes to complete and during this test, you will have to listen to a few recordings, four to be exact. These recordings can be monologues, conversations, or any other form. What they all have in common is that they will be in the native English language. You will be given enough time to listen to the recordings once and then, you will have to answer a few questions. To pass this test, you need to focus on your listening skills as it is the most important part of communication.
In the second part of the exam, you will be tested for your abilities to read English. The reading test is 60 minutes long. While taking the reading test, you will be given essays or a book to read about a certain topic. Once you are done reading, you will be asked a variety of questions that will assess how well you understood the topic. The questions will be focused on you explaining the main ideas, writer’s intentions, tone, and other aspects of the topic.
The writing test is also 60 minutes long and is divided into two parts. In the first part of the test, you will have to write an essay of at least 150 words on the topic that is assigned to you. For the second part, you will have to write an essay of at least 250 words. You will have to convey what you think about the topic in English that has correct spelling and grammar.
Although it is the shortest of them all, most applicants think of the speaking test as the most difficult. It is because the speaking test is conducted in the form of a one-on-one interview. During this test, an interviewer will ask you questions about anything and you will have to reply to those questions in English. The three parts of speaking test are short questions, long questions, and a discussion with the examiner. The test will be conducted in a closed space and will last for 11-14 minutes.
Familiarize yourself with the schedule of the exam
At least three or in some cases, all four tests of the IELTS exam are conducted in a single day. The speaking test may be held at the time of your choice in the allocated timeline and it can be the same or different day as the others. The other three tests are conducted one after the other and you will have a short break in between. So, you need to be accustomed to the test schedule so that you don’t get any surprises or feel any unnecessary pressure on the exam day.
Make yourself aware of the time constraints
As you already know, the listening test is 30 minutes long and the reading & writing tests are 60 minutes each. The speaking test is even shorter. So, you need to be aware of the constraints you will face on the test day. You will have to complete each test in its allocated time and move on to the room or place where the next will be conducted. You will have to be quick and accurate while taking the IELTS exam. To prepare for all the tests in a better way, you need to conduct your preparations under the same conditions. Although it will not be the same as the test day, by then, you will have practiced it enough times to perform well.
Improve your English & strategize
Many foreign students including those in Sri Lanka focus on practice tests and forget to improve their English. They forget that IELTS is an English proficiency exam and your English needs to be top-notch to clear it. Start your preparations at least 3 months before the test. Multitask when listening to English so that your listening capabilities get better. Talk to your peers in English so that you can improve your fluency.
In the end, reach your exam center at least 30 minutes before the start time. Bring a transparent bottle of water and stay hydrated during the test. It’s going to be a long test so brace yourselves.