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IELTS (International English Language Testing System)

 Экзамен, который невозможно не сдать!

Testing HereIELTS — система оценки языковых навыков, достаточных для прохождения обучения на английском языке в высших учебных заведениях за рубежом. Востребован иммиграционными службами Канады и Австралии. Результаты экзамена IELTS признаются учебными заведениями США, Великобритании и других европейских стран, а также Австралии, Канады и Новой Зеландии.

Почему этот экзамен невозможно не сдать? Да потому что даже если вы просто пришли на экзамен IELTS и отвечали наугад, вы получаете 1 балл из 9 возможных и международный сертификат с этим результатом. Кроме того, успешность или неуспешность сдачи определяется не количеством баллов, а тем, достаточно ли этого количества для достижения вашей цели.

А цели могут быть разные:

  • поступление в зарубежный университет
  • трудоустройство в иностранную компанию 
  • переезд на постоянное место жительства в Великобританию, Канаду, Австралию, Новую Зеландию
  • получение официального подтверждения уровня знаний английского языка
Как правило, для иммиграции требуется оценка 5—6, для учебы в вузах — 7—7,5.

В зависимости от целей вы выбираете один из двух модулей экзамена IELTS: Академический (для поступления в учебные заведения) или Общий (для выезжающих на ПМЖ, для трудоустройства).

  • Экзаменатор IELTS — опытный преподаватель английского языка, имеющий подтвержденную в рамках мировых стандартов наивысшую квалификацию (сертификаты и дипломы CELTA, DELTA, TESOL) и прошедший процедуру стандартизации и сертификации в официальном центре по приему экзамена IELTS, получивший официальное подтверждение — внесенный во всемирный реестр экзаменаторов IELTS.
  • Сдача IELTS занимает в общей сложности 2 часа 45 минут
  • Результат экзамена действителен в течение двух лет


«Лингва Сервис Центр» является официальным партнером "BKC-IH Moscow IELTS Centre" -  центра по приему IELTS в России и предлагает курсы подготовки к IELTS с последующей сдачей в Нижнем Новгороде на базе LSC.

On September 29 2011 an IELTS speaker (BKC IELTS Center, Moscow) has kindly agreed to answer some of our questions. The interview was conducted by Elena Geyko, Director of Studies, LSC.

Elena: In your opinion, why is IELTS becoming more and more popular in the world?

Speaker: I think that the word is 'integrity', and the integrity of exam is very high. Maybe it is easier as regards such factors as tiredness than TOEFL, because TOEFL can last up to 5 hours, and then what is tested as a result is really one’s endurance, not language. IELTS achieves the same, but with not so much physical effort that the candidate has to put in.

Elena: IELTS is valid for only two years, is it an advantage or disadvantage in your opinion?

Speaker: Well, there must be some good reason behind it, and the reason again is integrity. If a person gives the result to an organization, the organization can trust these results as actual, and they really reflect the skills of the person that they had some time ago, but this ‘some time ago’ is not so far ago.

Elena: Is it true that IELTS focuses mainly on communicative skills, not on language knowledge?
Speaker: Yes. It focuses so strongly on semi-fixed structures, on chunks of language, on sentence frames, that the person can be not so skillful, not so flexible in using them or maybe in rebuilding them, reconstructing them, but if a person knows plenty of sentence frames, they can write a seemingly complex essay. And it usually works not as well in speaking, but still they can boost the result greatly.

 Elena: What is the best way to prepare for speaking in IELTS?

Speaker: If a candidate is very disfluent, the kind of practice he may start with half a year before the exam is called shadowing. The person records somebody’s voice, ideally some podcast with just one speaker talking, they could have headphones, they listen to it and understand what the person is speaking about in the headphones. And if they want to see how fluent they can be, they can actually record themselves. And after this practice – maybe, after two weeks – they are able to shadow this speaker who speaks for two minutes, and be very fluent, and they are so impressed with their fluency. So it’s boosting their confidence, I think, as regards speaking fluency.

 Elena: And if the person is too nervous, will the mark be lowered?
Speaker: Possibly, it can affect the result, because it means, probably, lack of fluency. Fluency and pronunciation are influenced by nervousness, so it may affect the result.

Elena: Is loudness of speech important?

Speaker:As regards Russian English – yes, it could be. But the loudness here is kind of working in tandem with intonation. If loudness affects intonation, it may be important. In itself, it’s not. The examiner will place the recorder closer to the candidate, just to make sure.

 Elena: And what happens if the candidate speaks about something irrelevant to the topic.

 Speaker: In Speaking Part II – nothing. The link between Speaking Part II and Speaking Part III is called a bridge, and in that bridge the examiner will have to say ‘Alright, we’ve been talking about flowers, but I’d like to ask you some questions about horses.’ But the examiner has no any way of punishing the student for it. The only way that they could is about coherence, but in band descriptors it’s very difficult to find something which would work against the candidate. And our trainer told us that, unfortunately, we mustn’t penalize the candidate for it. Which is strange, because it can be used as a strategy with a prepared topic.
Elena: But if the candidate deviates from the topic – that means that the task is not achieved…
Speaker: But there isn’t task achievement in Part II! There’s fluency, coherence, lexical resource…
Elena: Sometimes there are questions that are difficult to answer even in the first language – what can you advise in such cases?
Speaker: There has to be a thought process. ‘Well, I’m really surprised to be asked this question, but…’, ‘It is an area which is actually not discussed in my country very often, as a result I don’t know much of it…’ The candidate speaks for one minute and they perform. There’s language functions high fluency which is what is tested.
Elena: Are there any common mistakes that Russian students make in writing essays?
Speaker: ‘Nowadays it became’ or ‘nowadays it become’ rather than ‘nowadays it’s becoming’ or ‘nowadays it’s become’. Lack of Present Perfect, mixing Past and Present Simple where actually it is more appropriate to use the Present Perfect tense. Then, misusing some vocabulary, like the word ‘opportunity’, confusing the words – ‘decide’ with ‘solve’, overusing this ‘myself’ – ‘I feel myself well’… We have hundreds of mistakes that are compiled together in a book ‘Learner English’ by Michael Swan, where each nationality is given one paragraph, and one section is common errors: as regards grammar, as regards pronunciation, as regards vocabulary.
Elena: How many essays should a candidate write to prepare for an exam?
Speaker: Probably, at least ten essays… Well, I don’t think it guarantees success, but they have to be able to practice. But they can’t just practice, they must as well learn. For example, writing within forty minutes, but doing research prior to it, like finding vocabulary online, thinking about collocations, so for example what we do, we have a selection of words, words which can be reused in every essay: issue, question, problem, idea, and the student has to find collocations for them: tackle the problem, deal with the problem – and they can reuse these collocations in no matter what essay. Of course, it can boost language resource by one band easily. And also, the awareness of the style of collocations features strongly in band descriptors.
Elena: Is it necessary to use idioms and conditionals in speaking and writing?
Speaker: It’s a very good idea. It’s one way of showing the variety of structures. It doesn’t mean that the person has to be able to always use the Second Conditional, but they may have again a phrase which contains it that can be reusable. ‘If it were the case…’ – no matter what context, we can always use it. And idioms… not necessarily, because the way IELTS sees idiomatic language starts with the lowest level of collocations. ‘Go mad’ – it’s already idiomatic. So it doesn’t really mean proverbs, similes, but it means basic collocations is enough for 7.
Elena: And what other grammatical structures could you recommend to be used alongside with conditionals?
Speaker: The passive voice, subordinate structures, structures like ‘It is January that I…’ rather than ‘In January I…’ – cleft sentences… But it is really the ability to move the elements of the sentence and rebuild the sentence which would be valid, being able to do it in many different ways. So really again, it’s not knowing the structure, but knowing an example which contains the structure, and the example itself is reusable, that’s how I usually approach. If I had more time, it would be really good to do it in classroom properly, but we always kind of start and stop at it and never achieve the level, but given time, a person could do with this idea, I think.
Elena: What can you recommend Russian teachers for preparing students for IELTS?

Speaker: Maybe, access to some videos, which are legally obtainable, videos of speaking interviews so the person can actually see the type of interaction and so on. Being critical to what we have access to, because it seems like the model answers in the official past papers, the writing answers are not really 9, so not to take them as a model for 9, but a model for a very good answer, what they say actually. Focusing not on task achievement in Speaking, but on the criteria. And trying to get the most of, like a Formula 1 car trying to get all possible power. In listening, for example, what I’m trying to do even if it’s quite boring, I try to tell the students to copy the answers at the end of the whole listening test onto the answer sheet. And the thing is about choosing the final answer – all of the ‘s’s at the end, apostrophes… And all of them are going over the answers, so finally they could compare what they wrote in the answer sheet with the answer key. So there are no ‘fifty-fifty’, ‘nearly there’, so they can actually assess themselves objectively where they are and what they have to do to get a bit more. Keeping it an exam class rather than interactive only, to make them aware of where they are. And possibly plenty of feedback – it’s very important in IELTS classes. It’s difficult, because they are really short these days in Moscow, time is little, so we can’t recycle much, and of course, homework is important. And limiting language resource, but polishing it, making them aware of what is good grammar in IELTS, what is required of them in speaking and why sometimes a good Russian essay if it were in English wouldn’t be a good English essay, given the task. Such things that the person doesn’t have to do much to improve, but just the knowledge of which makes them better at it.

Elena: Thanks a lot for your answers and time.

Speaker: You are welcome.

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