CIES | 12-July-2019
Now you have decided to do the IELTS preparations. As you are reviewing structures and completing the exercise, you think to yourself, “How difficult is IELTS to pass?”
That’s a tricky question to answer because it is impossible to fail the IELTS exam. Yes, that’s right — there is no pass or failing grade to worry about. The IELTS is scored on a scale system that ranges from 1–9 including half points (0.5). The IELTS exam serves to measure your proficiency in the English language from a non-user (band 1) all the way up to an expert user (band 9).
“Great! I’ll surely get into the university or country of my dreams now that I can’t fail!”
Well, not exactly.
Analyze Your Objective
Although you may not be able to technically fail the exam, you should have a clear idea of the score that you’re required to achieve for entry.
Institutions need specific scores from you as an entrance requirement. While most post-secondary education institutes require a minimum of an IELTS band 6.0 or greater, the prerequisite for immigration to an English-speaking country may differ based on the country you are applying to.
There may also be a discrepancy between the overall scores and minimum required scores. For example, some schools may specify that while they require a 7.0 overall with each individual score (Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking) of no less than 6.5.
“Okay, cool. I looked it up and I need a 6.0 to get into university. Piece of cake!
That’s definitely not to say the exam is not challenging. The IELTS exam tests all levels of English and this is reflected in the test questions. For instance, the IELTS reading section mixes simple and tough questions within each segment to account for the different levels and abilities that are taking the exam. Moreover, in the Listening section, the passages get more difficult as the test goes on. Both of these factors can be extremely discouraging and cause you to lose motivation and focus. Take a free IELTS practice test to truly understand the style of the exam.
“Well, now my dreams are crushed. I’m never going to pass”
Well, that’s not the case either.
Be with your goals and expectations
While the level of difficulty is subjective and based on one’s own personal weaknesses, being aware of your shortcomings in the English language can surely help you narrow your focus on what and how to improve. Start immersing yourself in different topics and expose yourself to as much English as possible. This includes watching your favorite series on TV as well as reading newspaper articles you find under timed conditions.
Furthermore, part of the difficulty comes with not knowing the exam. Learning the strategies associated with each task will help you to get the score you need, or “pass”.
Accordingly, it’s also helpful to familiarize yourself with the official band descriptions. The difference between a 6.5 and a 7.0 can be as subtle as including increased complexity of grammar structures and topic-specific vocabulary.
In sum, the IELTS exam is a challenge but not unmanageable. With hard work and dedication, achieving your desired score is completely possible.
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