Tuesday, January 26, 2016

What You Need to Know About IELTS and TOEFL

Non-native English speakers are usually required to take an English proficiency examination when applying for a work or study visa in an English speaking country. There is a huge possibility that a TOEFL or an IELTS certification is required. These two are English proficiency examinations that are designed to evaluate one’s English skills. 

English speaking countries require any of the exams to ensure that one will be able to be productive and efficient in working or studying in an environment where English is the primary language. There is no need to take both exams as either can be used as a requirement.

Both examinations focus on one’s proficiency in the English language. It is unnecessary for an individual to do an in-depth review on academic materials since the examinations will simply evaluate if one can function well in a conversational English setting. Below is a table that shows the different parts of the examination that one needs to know to have a better grasp on both exams.

The reading test can last for about 60 to 80 minutes. Candidates are expected to read about 3 o 4 passages in the academic context. There is no need to study on all the academic subjects. Familiarity of the topic is enough as all the answers to the questions are found in the reading passage. The knowledge on vocabulary is essentially important in the reading test.
This sub-test is expected to be completed in an hour. There are 40 different questions that come from different reading materials such as magazines, journals, newspapers and even excerpts from novels or short stories. Like the TOEFL, all the answers to questions are found in the reading passage so no prior knowledge is necessary.
A total of 60 to 90 minutes is given to the candidate to finish this test. Passages can be a classroom discussion, a classroom lecture or a conversation between a student and another person. Questions are given right after the conversation. The American English accent is commonly used.
Compared with the TOEFL listening test, the IELTS listening is much shorter. Listening passages range from lectures to conversations, and candidates are expected to understand British, Australian, and even Canadian accents aside from the usual American English accent.
There are six different tasks in the speaking test. The candidate is given about twenty minutes to finish this task. Questions can be integrated from a reading and listening task or an opinion-based question. Responses are recorded.
This is a face-to-face interview with an IELTS examiner. It usually takes about 15 minutes to complete three different tasks in the IELTS examination. Questions range from very familiar topics to society topics.
Two different writing tasks must be completed within 50 minutes in the TOEFL writing. Candidates are given topics in an academic content which makes essays easier to write.
There are two tasks in the IELTS Writing. An hour is given to the candidate to finish writing the essays. The usage of British English vocabulary is an advantage in this section of the exam.

Other facts about the IELTS and TOEFL:
  • The TOEFL is an internet-based examination so candidates will have to use a computer in completing the examination. On the other hand, the IELTS is a paper-based test so candidates have to complete the exam writing on a paper. 
  • The IELTS has two modules – Academic and General Training. Candidates should determine which of these modules to take prior to registering for the examination. 

Both of these two are perfect in gauging one’s English ability. What candidates need to do is to ask their agency or look for information on which English proficiency exam they need for their application. 

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