1. How long is the exam? When to start preparing, if the exam is going to take in a year?
In order to get a high score on any exam, particularly for IELTS, You need to 1) be fluent in the language and 2) to understand the structure of the exam and what is required of You in each part. So to prepare for the exam, even if You have a brilliant language, it is still necessary.
First, be sure to do at least one practice test in conditions close to real, that is, with a Cup of coffee, stopping at facebook and housework, namely not getting up from the table and giving each part is not more time, than You will have in the exam. It may well turn out that, even if the job in principle for You is not difficult, in a stressful situation are experiencing.
In addition, a number of tasks in the IELTS is offered in the format with which You may not previously met (e.g., TRUE/FALSE/NOT GIVEN in Reading part, the description of the different types of diagrams in Writing). Such tasks may require certain skills or knowledge of some specific words, revs and grammatical structures that You use in everyday life.
Thus, to prepare for the exam, even those who speak good English. Familiarity with the format will give You confidence and ensures You will not lose points due to embarrassing missteps.
2. I have perfect English, I finished Inyaz – whether to prepare for IELTS, maybe just to go to pass?
If You have a sufficient level of language and it is only about preparing for the exam, I would advise you to start practicing a month before the exam.
Most students, however, realize that knowledge of the format is not enough - to get the desired score, you need to raise the level of language. In this case, the preparation is substantially lengthened. As a rule, students of Upper-Intermediate level who need to get 6.5, engaged at least two months. With Intermediate level road to the coveted 6.5 and often stretched for a year.
3. Which is better – first, to improve English, and then purposefully prepare for IELTS, or just start preparing for IELTS?
If time allows, of course, the first. By themselves, the materials in preparation for the IELTS will teach You specific vocabulary that is required in some parts of the exam (e.g. to describe graphs) and help to develop and work out the optimal strategy for each job – and, of course, will give practice in exam format. But they don't teach language as such! It is better to do it sooner – after all, if You do not have enough knowledge of the language, and working with materials IELTS will be much harder. On special courses to prepare You with any level of proficiency in English better to start in advance.
4. Is it possible to prepare for the exam yourself, without a teacher?
Undoubtedly Yes, if You have a good language level, especially considering that now many great online resources.
And yet, it seems that a few lessons with an experienced teacher can be helpful in any case – it is especially important that someone can assess and comment on Your Writing and Speaking. Trained on Reading and Listening on your own, but for Writing and Speaking, in my opinion, need a teacher.
5. What part of the exam is the hardest?
This, of course, very individual, but according to statistics maintained by the test centre BKC-IH Moscow IELTS Centre, most of the candidates receive marks in the part Writing is lower than in other parts. This is not surprising – on the one hand, the letter – basically a very difficult skill, on the other – Writing in the IELTS exam has a number of subtleties.
6. How important is the number of words in Writing? What happens if I write less or more?
It is very important. In the first part You should write at least 150 words, and secondly – not less than 250. If You write more, that's okay, but any less and You risk losing points. However, do not try to write more: extra points for an especially long essay is not provided, but time to check if You are too wordy, may not be enough! In addition, if You write quickly and freely, it has not only positive but also negative aspects: easily “sign” and not noticing the fact, to change the subject or get bogged down in unnecessary details.
7. Assessed as part of Speaking and Writing? How are calculated the scores in Reading and Listening?
To know how are the Speaking and Writing sections, type into Google “IELTS Writing Band Descriptors” and “IELTS Speaking Band Descriptors” and You will easily find the public version of the criteria. For Writing, for example, there are 4 criteria: Task Achievement/ Task Response, Cohesion and Coherence, Lexical Resource, Grammar range and Accuracy. As you can see, Your writing is evaluated not only from the point of view of vocabulary and grammar, but also from the point of view of the logic of structure and coherence. Many candidates, for example, they write all essays as a single text, without dividing it into paragraphs, forget to organize your text using word-pairs (e.g., first, however, etc.), moving away from the topic - all of which can cost You points!
The evaluation criteria of Speaking is very similar – Fluency and Coherence, Lexical Resource, Grammar Range and Accuracy and Pronunciation. Reading and Listening are assessed by the correspondence tables of the number of correct answers score IELTS, for example, 30 correct answers in Listening – an assessment 7, 24 - 6. Enter in Google “IELTS raw scores into bands” and You'll see this table.
8. What happens if the examiner does not agree with my opinion in an essay?
Nothing to worry for You. As follows from the answer to the previous question, the letter is assessed from the point of view of conformity to the mission, structure and logic, vocabulary and grammar. Neither in the written nor in the oral responses, the quality of the ideas and views expressed is not evaluated.
9. What I can ask in the Speaking part?
Materials IELTS are created for all countries, that is, topics for Speaking are those which can talk any people in the world: about food, about movies, about weather, about the media, about healthy lifestyle, about the people with whom You are familiar, travel and so on.
In General, the questions in the first and second parts about You (for example, if You ride on the bike, how much time spend on the computer, tell us about your apartment, tell us about an interesting movie You saw, etc.), and the third and final part on General topics: e.g., do You agree that our society is becoming more materialistic than, say, 100 years ago; how developed countries can help third world countries (and must they do it).
10. What should I do if I have nothing to say in answer to the question is Speaking?
Most importantly, do not stop prophesying. Do not try to fill Your answer is a large number of original, interesting information – expand and deepen what You want to say.
All these techniques will help You speak longer and more developed.
Here is an example of a monologue that makes a good impression, but contains not so a lot of information:
One of the most difficult decisions I had to make is who to be. I decided to become a doctor in 1995. I was skeptical, to be a doctor or a musician because I played well on the violin and I was invited to study at the Conservatory. It was hard for me to make that decision. I've been thinking what to do. My parents tried to help me, because I saw how I doubt it, and we often discussed how best to proceed . The mother said that both professions are noble, but being a doctor is not easy, because all the time I see the suffering of the people. I knew that, but ... (and so on).
Answered Alina Brooks, a teacher with international qualifications CELTA, DELTA, Msc.