By: Dr. Iskandar Samad, MA Lecturer in English Education Department of Unsyiah, Founder/CEO Rumoh Bahasa (Rumba), Aceh, Indonesia, & Alumni University of New England (UNE), NSW, Australia
IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System. This test is commonly used for those who are planning to continue further studies in English speaking countries such as England, Australia, USA etc. Speaking tests in IELTS are used to measure the test taker’s ability using English in society, however, it is required for the examiner to be carefully judge students whether or not their speaking ability is good since the test is administered for limited of time.
There are two versions of IELTS test; academic and general tests. These two types of tests are intended to different test takers for different purposes. Academic IELTS test is intended to students who are willing to continue their undergraduate and postgraduate studies to countries where English is used as medium of communication (Jakeman & McDowell, 2001, p.4). Most materials that they will have in academic versions are related to the academic environment in which they will experience in the classroom. From test results, the examiners could view the ability of the students to cope with problems they will face in classroom interaction. Meanwhile, general versions of IELTS are usually used by people who are going to follow training or secondary school education (Jakeman & McDowell, 2001, p.4). In addition, this version is used by the Australian and New Zealand government to assess language skills of migrants. The materials that are mostly found in this test are related more on everyday situations. Therefore, the levels of difficulty between these two versions are different from one another. The academic version is more difficult than the general version because in the academic version, test takers are facing formal situations, while in the general version, the test takers are completing topics that are found in surroundings. Even though these two tests are intended for different people and purposes, the aspects being tested are the same i.e. listening, reading, writing and speaking.
In the listening section, the test takers are asked to answer 40 questions in 30 minutes. They have to complete the test based on dialogues, short speech, conversations and lectures that they listen to from cassettes. There are various levels of difficulty of the tests. Often in the first part of listening, test takers are given some easy questions, which are then followed by difficult questions. In the reading test, test takers are given three reading passages which most are taken from books, magazines, journals, advertisements and so on. There are 40 questions that they have to complete within 60 minutes. The writing test involves two tasks that test takers have to fulfil. In task one, the test takers are asked to write 150 words report, while in task two, they are required to write a 250 word essay based on a given topic. They are given one hour to finish these two tasks. Finally, in the speaking test the test takers should show their capability through talking about personal experience and discussing general points that have been prepared by the examiner in approximately fourteen minutes.
In many non-English speaking countries such as Indonesia, there is an increasing number of people learn IELTS. They study and recognise this examination for different purposes. Some of them would like to apply for permanent residency in one of the English speaking countries such as Australia and New Zealand, while others are willing to obtain scholarships to pursue their further studies. Because of more people interested in taking this test, the test examiners are required to evaluate every aspect in IELTS test. This should be done to see whether or not the existing test is appropriate for different test takers with different purposes.
Reference: Jakeman, V. & McDowell, C. (2001). IELTS Practice Tests. Spain: Pearson Education Limited.
Rumoh Bahasa offers this program for:
Course Duration : Twenty meetings per program
Available Course: IELTS Preparation Class
Tuition Fees : Rp. 50K / month per participant
Class size : Maximum 15 participants in one class
This program focuses on the TOEFL exam intensively, which include learning skills on Listening, Structure, Reading, and Speaking. This focus is necessary to be implemented in this class to provide a fast path to succeed the exam.