Misconceptions and related to IELTS Exam

IELTS exam Bangalore

Generally many candidates feel after giving the IELTS exam that they did not achieve the results they had expected from themselves. Most of the times, the results do not just project their English language competency but also the misunderstanding they had about the exam.

Most of the candidates, generally the ones who are appearing for the IELTS exam (General Training or Academic) for the very first time, do have certain misconceptions regarding various aspects of the IELTS test. We shall discuss such issues in order to remove any type of top erroneous belief, doubt, dilemma or misunderstanding from the candidate’s mind before he or she decides to sit for the IELTS exam. (IELTS exam Bangalore)

1. “I can easily speak fluent English and understand the language well, so I don’t need to prepare for IELTS exam”

IELTS exam BangaloreThe primary reason that many people appearing for IELTS exam, do not prepare well is because of their strong belief in their own English language proficiency. A candidate needs to understand that it is one thing to use English every day, but another when he has to attempt the task one of the academic writing exam where he is asked to write a 150 word report about a bar chart on increasing traffic levels in Tokyo. In case the candidate finds it a unfamiliar question, he may even begin to panic.

Many candidates who appear to be highly proficient in use of English language and are expected to score more than 7 bands are not able to score beyond 5 bands despite repeated attempts since they are not able to learn the technique of dealing with various sections and the tasks within. Therefore, neither are they able to attempt the tasks correctly nor are they able to organize their ideas clearly in the expected layout (for example, report or letter for task 1, essay for task 2 in writing section of the IELTS test).

Candidates are advised to take time to assess their IELTS test taking skills by purchasing IELTS preparation books or Model Test Questions or Sample Papers. Candidates should refer to IELTS study material and gather as much information about the exam pattern as possible. Any of these steps will further improve a candidate’s chances for success. (IELTS exam Bangalore)

2. “I didn’t have any knowledge or experience with the subject I was given in Writing or Speaking section, so I could not speak much on that.”

This is a most often misconception that candidates have while answering the Writing section of the IELTS exam. Many students feel they would not be able to write anything on a topic for the essay, which they are totally unaware of. But the fact is a candidate can write efficiently even on a subject, even if hasn’t dealt with it in his past experience. The easiest way to avoid such a situation is to prepare well before the exams by reading a lot of essays on different subjects and to understand other people’s point of view. Another relieving fact is that IELTS examiners don’t check for the source of the information presented in the essay. All that matters for them is the way an essay is written by the candidate. (IELTS exam Bangalore)

There is another misconception that candidates often have while answering the Speaking section of the IELTS exam. Most of the times, people perceive Speaking section would make them feel uncomfortable because there is very less or almost no time to think on a given topic. People get apprehensive thinking ‘What if the examiner asks me a question on a topic that I have no idea or opinion about?’ But the fact is a candidate can speak efficiently even on a subject, even if hasn’t dealt with it in his past experience. To let this fear go away, a candidate needs to build up his confidence. Candidates are advised to practice speaking as much as possible for a couple of weeks prior to Speaking Test with a list of topics. This can actually do wonders for the candidates not only during the speaking test, but in day to day life of the candidate post the exam. After the candidate has proven his ability to speak to himself, it becomes much easier for him to demonstrate it to the examiner.

3. “I will get a higher band scores in IELTS exam in case I use in some complex academic words and vocabulary.”

IELTS exam examines and assesses a candidate for his knowledge and efficient use of English words in all four sections of the exam. Hence, having a good vocabulary and knowledge of English words is very important for a candidate. However, using complex English words just for the sake of it can lead to mistakes and adversely affect a candidate’s band scores. Candidates should take care to check that they use the correct tense, form, context and spelling. Candidate should focus to spell words correctly. Complex words lead to incorrect spellings which could further lead to deduction of scores. To avoid spelling mistakes, candidate should try widely used simple English words instead of less used complex ones. For example, use ‘surrounding’ or ‘environment’ instead of ‘milieu’.

Also, candidates should avoid writing very long sentences in the Writing test. Very long sentences become less coherent which is the main aspect of a writing test which the examiner assesses.

4. “As long as I use complex and wide range of grammatical structures, I must not be bothered about doing small errors.”

A candidate should be using different and complex grammatical structure only if he is very confident of using a variety of structures accurately. However, in case the candidate is appearing for the exam for the first time or has not practiced much during preparation or he has not mastered the use of adjective clauses, then he should make sure to go over his writing and correct errors. The mistakes a candidate makes, shall affect his band scores.

Also, candidates should avoid writing very long and complex sentences in the Writing test. Very long sentences become less coherent which is the main aspect of a writing test which the examiner assesses. Instead, a candidate should focus on making his point of view and opinion as clear as possible in his for Writing Task 2 (both Academic & General Training). Clarity is another main aspect of a writing test which the examiner assesses.

5. “The number of words for the writing tasks is just an instruction – examiners don’t actually count them.”

This is a major misconception that candidates often have. IELTS examiners count every word that he or she writes. In case, the number of words is less than the prescribed minimum word count, a candidate is penalized for writing below the specified number of words.

There are 2 tasks to be completed in a Writing Test. The candidate needs to write at least 150 words to complete Task 1 and at least 250 words to complete Task 2. Candidate should strictly follow the minimum word limit for each of the 2 tasks. Candidate is bound to lose marks in case he writes below 150 words for Task 1 and below 250 words for Task 2 in writing section. Candidate should prepare for this by measuring the words he usually writes in a line or two, and then, during the exam he should count his lines to make sure he has written more than enough.

6. “The reading section will be comparatively easier for me because I read various books, journals or news papers every day.”

Contrary to the common belief of many candidates, both the academic and general training reading exams are not just about reading capabilities. Instead reading section examines a wide range of candidate’s ability to

  1. Comprehending the essence of topic
  2. Understanding of main ideas of the topic
  3. Understanding conclusions and inferred meaning
  4. Recognising writer’s opinions, views and objectives

Apart from that, the reading section will also assess a number of skills which might include candidate’s ability to identify a writer’s purpose, to complete diagrams, summaries and tables, and to find information in the text. It is also a test of his vocabulary because most of the questions contain synonyms or paraphrases of the answers he will find in the text. It is not a matter of simply scanning the passage for a word in the question. Hence, candidate is advised to practice doing the questions given in the various samples of the reading test before taking the exam. (IELTS exam Bangalore)

7. “In case, the speaking examiner interrupts me, questions my ideas or asks me to elaborate further, chances are that I may not be performing well.”

The various tasks given in the speaking section of the IELTS test are strictly timed. If a candidate is interrupted or stopped while he is answering and asked to move to a new speaking task, this has nothing to do with the candidate’s performance. It is just because the examiner wants to test various other aspects of candidate’s speaking ability.

Apart from this, when examiner asks a candidate for further explanation in Task 3, it is just his way of having a conversation with candidate and helping him use your language more. Candidates are advised to listen to and read a typical conversation from task 3 of the speaking test to practice while preparing for the IELTS exam. (IELTS exam Bangalore)

A broad range of candidate’s skills are tested in the Speaking test. In all the speaking tasks, a candidate is assessed for his or her:

  1. Ability to converse his or her views and information on day to day topics and general experiences and conditions by answering a variety of queries
  2. Ability to converse and talk at length on a specific topic given to him / her using suitable language and organising the views and thoughts rationally
  3. Ability to articulate and validate his / her outlook and to examine, discuss and contemplate about issues (IELTS exam Bangalore)

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