Many of you in Dubai or further afield are probably considering IELTS or have taken the IELTS test once or multiple times before. Whether you’re a first-time test taker or just exploring IELTS, you might need some clear and solid advice on where to start and what is required to prepare well for your IELTS exam. Remember that not all IELTS candidates will have the same target score. Perhaps you need a band score of 7 or above for that visa abroad, or a band 5 or 6 for university admission? It really depends on your objective. For example, in the UK, if you want to study a master’s degree, the IELTS requirement could be 6 or 6.5 overall. So, the first step is to know your target band score and what it takes to achieve it. Whether it’s for IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training exams, this post is written to help answer those all-important questions on how to be fully prepared and ace your IELTS exam in Dubai! If you’re new to IELTS, keep reading as we’ve covered all the basics from ‘What is IELTS?’ to ‘Tips and Techniques to help you get a high band score.’
What is IELTS and why is it important?
IELTS (The International English Language Testing System) is the most well-known and internationally recognised English language proficiency test in the world. It is required for work, study or migration to a country where English is the mother tongue. IELTS tests your ability to read, listen, write and speak in English. Therefore, if you are a non-native English speaker and plan to enroll in a university or college, apply to a business organisation, or apply for a visa from government agencies in countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, or Canada, the IELTS test can help you reach your education, career or life goals.
Learn more:- IELTS Training Course in Dubai
Which IELTS test is right for me?
There are two IELTS tests available; IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training. The test you decide to take should be based on your overall objective.
IELTS Academic measures whether your level of English language proficiency is suitable for an academic environment. The Academic IELTS test is required for higher education admission.
IELTS General Training measures your English language proficiency in a practical, everyday context. The tasks and tests reflect both workplace and social situations. General Training IELTS is intended for career and immigration purposes.
Note that the IELTS band scores that universities or employers accept, vary from one place to another.
Both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests have similarities and differences, for example, the speaking and listening sections of the test are exactly the same; however, there are some small differences in the reading and writing sections of both types of tests. To know more about these differences, read our blog about IELTS Academic vs General Training IELTS
IELTS Life Skills
There is also IELTS Life Skills for people who need to prove their English speaking and listening skills for visa or immigration application to the UK. It is designed to meet the requirements of UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and can be used to apply for a ‘family of a settled person’ visa, indefinite leave to remain or citizenship. There are no band scores for IELTS Life Skills, but a pass or fail mark. IELTS Life Skills tests are available for CEFR Levels A1, A2 and B1. Candidates take the test with an examiner and with one other candidate, and are assessed on Speaking and Listening at the same time.
How to get a high IELTS band score?
Getting a high band score in IELTS depends on your current level of English and the time and effort you put into the exam preparation. If you are below a B2 level of English (Upper Intermediate/Independent User), then scoring a 7+ in IELTS will require many hours of preparation and IELTS coaching. To give you a general idea, here is how your level of English corresponds to IELTS band scores:
Before starting IELTS preparation, it’s a good idea to find out if your level of English is high enough. Otherwise, you will have to focus on English language first, and only then master your IELTS exam skills.
Aurora World Education offers the best advice and preparation courses for IELTS test takers. We recommend you to be around at least a B1 level in order to realistically achieve your target band score in good time.
We have a FREE English Level Placement Test that you can take anywhere, anytime!
Top tips for getting a high IELTS band score
- Understand the test format
This is very important to help you save time and answer correctly in the test. The IELTS Academic or General Training test is divided into four sub-skills: Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking, and here is a basic layout of the format of the IELTS test.
- Understand the score criteria and band score calculation
Understanding how IELTS examiners give you your band score will help you understand how you should be answering to achieve your target score. The IELTS band descriptors are a set of assessment criteria that the examiner uses to assess your performance. There are different criteria for speaking, writing, reading and listening. Make sure that you understand them all. Here’s an example of the IELTS Writing band descriptors.
See how the overall band score is calculated:
The average of the four sub-skill scores is rounded to the nearest whole or half band. For example:
Reading 6.5 + Writing 5 + Speaking 7 + Listening 6.5 = 25
Divide 25 by 4 = 6.25
When the score ends in .25 it will be rounded up to the next half band
Overall band score = 6.5
- Get an IELTS expert for rapid improvement
How can you quickly improve your English skills or avoid making mistakes in grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, oral fluency, writing skills and everything else without a native English teacher to help you? Our instructors know what it takes to get the IELTS and score you need, and can work with you to help you achieve your goals.
- Practice mock and sample IELTS questions
This is a must! Practicing IELTS questions exactly as they are presented on your exam paper is one of the best ways to prepare. This will help you with time management and familiarise yourself with the question types and question topics. There are some common IELTS speaking and writing topics that you should be familiar with: technology, conservation, tourism, health, education and globalisation to name just a few. You will need to be familiar with ideas and vocabulary surrounding these common topics. If you do a full mock test under timed conditions and have it marked by an IELTS expert, you will also have a better idea if you are READY to book your IELTS exam!
- Learn essential IELTS exam techniques and strategies
There are certain techniques and strategies to help you ace your IELTS exam; for example, in the reading section, there are some questions that don’t require you to read the full text. Click here for our Top Tips and Strategies for IELTS Reading or, when writing your IELTS essay, we can teach you fool-proof ways to structure and plan your essay to score well. Download our FREE pdf on How to Plan and Prepare for Your IELTS Essay.
- IELTS Speaking
Practice makes perfect! The more you speak, the more confident and fluent you become in a language. When it comes to the IELTS speaking test, you will be assessed on oral fluency and coherence (in other words, clear and organised speech), pronunciation, vocabulary and your grammatical range and accuracy. Here’s a useful guide prepared by our experts, which you may find this useful: How to Maximise Your IELTS Speaking Test Score
Tips to remember before you book your IELTS exam in Dubai
The key is in the preparation; prepare well, perform well!
Choose between the IELTS test on paper or computer – both are delivered in official test centres in Dubai and the UAE. If you are ready and would like to register for your IELTS exam, we can book it for you. Just get in touch. The current fees for IELTS exams are:
IELTS on paper: Academic and General Training – AED 1,130
IELTS on computer:Academic and General Training – AED 1,260
Remember that the IELTS exam is a serious test that requires a lot of preparation and practice and we are here to help! Get in touch today to find out more about our IELTS Preparation Courses and stay up-to-date with our blog. Find us on Facebook and Instagram, where we publish IELTS related content including IELTS tips and IELTS vocabulary.