Ielts handbook

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IELTS Handbook

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<ul><li>1.Handbook2006www.ielts.org</li></ul><p>2. Contents 2Introduction2What is IELTS?2Test Administration2Academic and General Training3Test Format3Preparing for the test4IELTS Test Results4Test Scores4Test Report Form5Interpretation of Results6Test Modules6Listening7Reading8Writing11Speaking13 Test Registration and Administration 14Transferring answers to the Answer Sheet15 Candidates with Special Needs 15Other difficulties16 Security of IELTS 16 Question Paper Development and Research 17 Test Centres 20 Official IELTS Practice Materials order form 3. Introduction This Handbook gives an overview of IELTS for teachers, administrators and other users, including staff in receiving organisations such as universities, professional registration boards and employers. It outlines the key features and administrative procedures for IELTS. The Handbook does not include complete samples of the tests components; these are given in the Official IELTS Practice Materials pack, which can be bought from IELTS Test Centres, or from Cambridge ESOL or IDP:IELTS Australia (see page 20). Additional information is given on the IELTS website, www.ielts.org.What is IELTS? IELTS, the International English Language Testing System, is designed to assess the language ability of candidates who need to study or work where English is the language of communication. IELTS is jointly managed by the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL), British Council and IDP:IELTS Australia. IELTS conforms to the highest international standards of language assessment. It covers the four language skills listening, reading, writing and speaking. IELTS is recognised by universities and employers in many countries, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the USA. It is also recognised by professional bodies, immigration authorities and other government agencies. IELTS is not recommended for candidates under the age of 16.Test Administration IELTS tests are administered at centres throughout the world there are currently nearly 300 centres, in over 100 countries. Centres supervise the local administration of the test and ensure the provision of qualified and trained examiners. A full list of centres is available on the IELTS website. Test centres run regular test administrations, according to local need and results are available within two weeks. Candidates receive only one copy of their results but additional copies may be sent by the test centre directly to receiving organisations at the request of the candidate. There are no restrictions on candidates re-taking the test.2|IELTS Handbook 2006Academic and General Training IELTS is available in two formats Academic and General Training. The Academic Reading and Writing Modules assess whether a candidate is ready to study or train in the medium of English at an undergraduate or postgraduate level. Admission to undergraduate and postgraduate courses is based on the results of these Modules. The General Training Reading and Writing Modules are not designed to test the full range of formal language skills required for academic purposes, but emphasise basic survival skills in a broad social and educational context. General Training is suitable for candidates who are going to English speaking countries to complete their secondary education, to undertake work experience or training programmes not at degree level, or for immigration purposes to Australia, Canada and New Zealand. It is the responsibility of the candidate to inform the test centre whether they wish to take the Academic or General Training Modules. Centres are not responsible for providing this information. The General Training module is not offered at all test administrations. 4. Test Format Candidates are tested in listening, reading, writing and speaking. All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking Modules. There is a choice between Academic and General Training in the Reading and Writing Modules. The tests are designed to cover the full range of ability from non-user to expert user. The first three modules Listening, Reading and Writing must be completed in one day. There is no break between the modules. The Speaking Module may be taken, at the discretion of the test centre, in the period seven days before or after the other modules. A computerised version of IELTS Listening, Reading and Writing Modules (CBIELTS) is available at selected centres, but all centres will continue to offer paper-based IELTS and candidates will be given the choice of the medium in which they wish to take the test.Preparing for the test It is not necessary to attend an IELTS preparation course though it is, of course, a good idea to prepare thoroughly for the test.Listening Time: approximately 30 minutes Candidates listen to a number of recorded texts. These include a mixture of monologues and conversations and feature a variety of English accents and dialects. The recording is heard only once, and candidates are given time to read the questions and write down their answers.Academic Reading Time: 60 minutesGeneral Training Reading Time: 60 minutesThere are three reading passages with tasks. Texts are taken from books, magazines, journals and newspapers, all written for a non-specialist audience. At least one of the texts contains a detailed argument.An order form is given at the end of this Handbook for a Official IELTS Practice Materials Pack. This includes a full practice test with an answer key and a CD of the listening test, so that candidates can get some idea of their level and familiarise themselves with the format of the test.The texts are based on the type of material candidates would be expected to encounter on a daily basis in an English speaking country. They are taken from sources such as newspapers, advertisements, instruction manuals and books, and test the candidates ability to understand and use information. The test includes one longer text, which is descriptive rather than argumentative.There is also a wide range of published preparation materials.Academic Writing Time: 60 minutesGeneral Training Writing Time: 60 minutesCandidates write a description of at least 150 words. This is based on material found in a chart, table, graph or diagram and demonstrates their ability to present information and to summarise the main features of the input. For the second task, candidates write a short essay of at least 250 words in response to a statement or question. They are expected to demonstrate an ability to present a position, construct an argument and discuss abstract issues.The first task requires candidates to write a letter of at least 150 words either asking for information, or explaining a situation. For the second task, candidates write a short essay of at least 250 words in response to a statement or question. They are expected to demonstrate an ability to present a position, construct an argument and discuss issues.Speaking Time: 1114 minutes The test is a face-to-face interview. Candidates are assessed on their use of spoken English to answer short questions, to speak at length on a familiar topic, and also to interact with the examiner.IELTS Handbook 2006|3 5. IELTS Test Results Marking is carried out at the test centre by trained examiners whose work is closely monitored. This ensures that test results are available without any administrative delay. Results are standardised and usually available within two weeks of the test, and Test Report Forms are sent to the candidates and to the sponsor(s)/receiving institution(s). Test centres are not permitted to give results out over the phone, nor by fax or e-mail.Test ScoresThe completed Test Report Form bears a centre stamp, a validation stamp, the candidates photograph and the authorised centre representatives signature, and the authenticity of any Test Report Form can be verified by means of the Test Report Form Verification Service located at https://ielts.ucles.org.uk. British Council, IDP:IELTS Australia and Cambridge ESOL reserve the right to cancel any Test Report Form in the event of any attempt to tamper with or misuse the information contained in it.IELTS provides a profile of a candidates ability to use English. Candidates receive scores on a Band Scale from 1 to 9. A score is reported for each module of the test. The individual module scores are then averaged and rounded to produce an Overall Band Score according to a confidential band score conversion table. Overall Band Scores and Listening and Reading scores are reported in whole and half Bands; Writing and Speaking Band Scores are reported in whole Bands only.Test Report Form An example of the Test Report Form is shown on the right. Each module is reported separately as a Band Score, together with an Overall Band Score reported as a whole band or a half band. A descriptive statement giving a summary of the English of a candidate classified at each band level is provided below and is included on the reverse of the Test Report Form.&gt;&gt;&gt;IELTS band scores 9Has fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.8Very good userHas fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriacies. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well.7Good userHas operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning.6Competent userHas generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.5Modest userHas partial command of the language, coping with overall meaning in most situations, though is likely to make many mistakes. Should be able to handle basic communication in own field.4Limited userBasic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has frequent problems in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language.3Extremely limited userConveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.2Intermittent userNo real communication is possible except for the most basic information using isolated words or short formulae in familiar situations and to meet immediate needs. Has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.1Non userEssentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.04Expert userDid not attempt the testNo assessable information provided.|IELTS Handbook 2006 6. Interpretation of Results Assessment of performance in IELTS depends on how the candidates ability in English relates to the language demands of courses of study or training, not on reaching a fixed pass mark. The appropriate level required for a given course of study or training is ultimately something which institutions/departments/ colleges must decide in the light of knowledge of their own courses and their experience of overseas students taking them. The table below gives guidance on acceptable levels of performance for different courses. It should be noted, however, that many diverse variables can affect performance on courses, of which language ability is but one. Receiving organisations are advised to consider both the Overall Band Score and the Bands recorded for each individual module, which indicate the candidates particular strengths or weaknesses. Language skills can be matched to particular courses. For example, if a course has a lot of reading and writing, but no lectures, listening comprehension might not be quite as important and a score of, perhaps, 5.5/ 6 in Listening might be acceptable if the Overall Band Score was 7. However, for a course where there are lots of lectures and spoken instructions a score of 5.5/ 6 in Listening might be unacceptable even though the Overall Band Score was 7. Receiving organisations should also consider a candidates IELTS results in the context of a number of factors, including age and motivation, educational and cultural background, first language and language learning history.BandLinguistically demanding academic coursesLinguistically less demanding academic coursese.g. Medicine, Law, Linguistics, Journalism, Library Studiese.g. Agriculture, Pure Mathematics, Technology, Computer-based work, Telecommunications9.07.5Acceptable7.0For how long is a test score valid? There are a number of variables affecting the length of time over which an IELTS score remains valid. As a general rule it is recommended that a Test Report Form that is more than two years old should only be accepted as evidence of present level of ability if accompanied by proof that a candidate has actively maintained or tried to improve their English language proficiency. The IELTS test partners cannot verify results older than two years. What happens if a candidate loses their Test Report Form or requires further copies? Candidates are given one copy of their Test Report Form and this cannot be replaced. Candidates may request for up to five additional copies to be sent to receiving organisations. Additional copies sent to receiving organisations may incur an administrative fee. Test Report Forms for tests taken more than two years ago cannot be re-issued. What can a candidate do if they are unhappy with their results? Candidates may apply for an enquiry on results procedure at the centre at which they took their test within four weeks of issue of results. The candidates test material is re-marked. There is a fee for this which is refunded should the band score be increased.Linguistically demanding training coursesLinguistically less demanding training coursese.g. Air Traffic Control, Engineering, Pure Applied Sciences, Industrial Safetye.g. Animal Husbandry, Catering, Fire ServicesAcceptableAcceptableAcceptableProbably AcceptableAcceptableAcceptableAcceptable6.5English study neededProbably AcceptableAcceptableAcceptable6.0English study neededEnglish study neededProbably AcceptableAcceptable5.5English study neededEnglish study neededEnglish study neededProbably AcceptableIELTS Handbook 2006|5 7. Test Modules Each candidate takes four IELTS test modules, one in each of the four skills, Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.&gt;&gt;&gt; ListeningSECTION 2Questions 11 20Questions 11 15Duration and format The Listening Module takes around 30 minutes. There are 40 questions. There are four sections.Choose the correct letters A , B or C. 11The most important reason for a settlement at the Rocks was A B CThe Listening Module is recorded on a CD and is played ONCE only. During the test, time is given for candidates to read the questions and write down and check their answers. Answers are written on the Question Paper as candidates listen. When the recording ends ten minutes are allowed for candidates to transf...</p>

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