Deconstructing the IELTS Exam
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There comes a point in all our lives when we have to write an exam. It might be a driving learner’s license, a spelling bee, or a university exam. Our learners have to write these exams too, but they probably also have to write English language exams to show proof of their English proficiency. One very popular such test is the IELTS exam.
Why do EFL learners need English exams?
There are a few reasons our English as a Foreign Language learners may need to write an English exam. Most often, English exams are used to supplement a person’s application to a university or for immigration purposes. Learners need to be able to prove that their English level is high enough to be able to study in an English-speaking environment. They need to prove they are able to cope with living and working in an English-speaking country.
There are a number of different tests of English as a Foreign Language our learners can take, but the IELTS is a very popular one. This is possibly due to it being accepted by universities in many English-speaking countries and also by government agencies in countries like the UK, the USA, Canada, and Australia.
Read more: Understanding Cambridge Exams for Adults
What is the IELTS exam?
IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System. There are two different IELTS exams – the IELTS General Training exam and the IELTS Academic exam. Which exam your students will be taking depends on their needs. If they are looking to study at an English-medium university, then they will need a certain score in the IELTS Academic exam. If they need an IELTS score for work or for immigration, then they will need to take the IELTS General Training exam.
There is no pass or fail in the IELTS exam. Rather, learners are scored in bands, according to their ability in the test. The bands range from 0 (did not attempt the test) and 1 (non-user) to 9 (expert user). If you relate this to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) a score of 4 equates approximately to an A2 and a 9 to a C2.
The General and the Academic exams are similar but slightly different. The IELTS exam is made up of four parts – Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. Listening and Speaking exams are the same for both General and Academic, but the Reading and Writing exams are different.
The IELTS General Training exam
Because this exam is to assess whether or not a person will be able to cope with living and/or working in an English-speaking environment, the materials in this exam reflect this. The Reading texts are job advertisements, company memoranda, community notices, rules and regulations, and so on.
The Writing exam has two tasks. The first is a letter, usually asking for information, complaining to your landlord, or a letter of invitation to an event. The second is an opinion essay on a topical issue.
The IELTS Academic exam
Similarly, the Academic exam focuses on academic reading and writing. The Reading texts are extracts from textbooks, while the Writing tasks are a description of a graph, table or diagram, and an academic essay.
The Listening and Speaking exams
The Listening exam has four parts. Each part is an extract of a monologue or a conversation between two or more people. They are a mix of everyday conversation e.g. signing up for the gym, and academic situations e.g. a lecture.
The Speaking exam takes place individually. The examiner takes the candidate through three sections. First, there are a few questions about their personal lives. In the second part, the candidate must speak for a minute or two on a given topic, which is discussed further in part three.
Read more: Preparing Our EFL Students for Speaking Exams
How can we prepare our learners for the IELTS exam?
A large part of IELTS preparation is introducing your students to the exam format. There is quite a tight time limit on the different exams! If students are not aware of what is expected of them, it is highly unlikely that they will finish the test.
This knowledge of the exam also has a dramatic effect on students’ nerves, which can have disastrous consequences on test day if they are not kept in check.
Read more: How To Make EFL Exams Not So Scary for Your Students
Of course, you cannot teach for the exam, but you will look for similar texts and do similar task types in your lessons to prepare your students and get them comfortable with the exam question types. These exams reflect real life. Therefore, the skills you need to teach them to do well in the exam mimic the skills needed in real life. So not only are they preparing for an exam but they are preparing to study or live surrounded by English.
Read more: Key IELTS Exam Skills
There are many coursebooks that relate to either IELTS exam and it’s also possible to find practice tests, either in books or online. Be careful, though. You don’t want your exam classes to be boring! Even though these classes are more serious in nature than your other classes, this doesn’t mean they have to be dry and dull. They can be just as interesting as any other lesson, albeit with a serious side to them.
And in a nutshell, that’s the IELTS exam.
If you are ever required to teach an IELTS preparation course, think of it as a golden opportunity to expand your skillset. Hundreds of thousands of people take the IELTS exams every year, so IELTS preparation courses are very popular. If you are experienced in teaching an IELTS class, you can be sure that you will have students hounding you for lessons every season of the year. What’s more, teaching one exam class will open you up to the possibility of teaching any of the exam classes – and it’ll look great on your CV!
For more tips, tricks, and help with the IELTS exam be sure to check out the official IELTS website, as well as the British Council Take IELTS website.
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Rights concerning the processing of your personal information
- Right to restrict processing of personal information
- In some situations, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of your personal information. We may restrict your personal information by temporarily moving the information to another processing system, making the information unavailable to users, or temporarily removing published information from a website. We may also use technical methods to ensure the personal information is not subject to further processing and cannot be changed. When we have restricted processing of personal information, this will be clearly indicated on our systems.
- You can require us to restrict processing in the following circumstances:
- You are concerned that the information we hold about you is inaccurate. You can ask us to restrict the information until we can determine whether the information is accurate or inaccurate.
- We are processing your personal data unlawfully and you do not want us to delete the information but restrict it instead.
- We no longer need the information for the purposes for which we collected it, but they are needed by you for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.
- You have objected to the processing (see below), and we need to decide whether the legitimate grounds we have to process the information override your legitimate interests.
Processing you think is unlawful
- If you tell us that you think we are processing your personal information unlawfully, but you do not want the information to be erased, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of that information.
- We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the processing is unlawful, and may also ask that you provide evidence to support this view.
Processing of personal information you think is inaccurate
- You can tell us if you think the personal information we are processing about you is factually inaccurate. You can require us to restrict how we use your personal information until we can verify the accuracy of the information. We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the information is inaccurate, and may also ask that you provide some supporting evidence of the alleged inaccuracy.
- If we find that the personal information we are processing about you is inaccurate, we will take appropriate steps to correct the information.
Personal information is no longer needed by ELEARNING FUTURES LTD but needed by you in connection with a legal claim
- In most circumstances, we will securely delete or dispose of personal information when we no longer need it for our legitimate business purposes. Our approach to retention is outlined in our corporate retention schedules.
- However, if the personal information we no longer need would assist you in establishing, exercising or defending a legal claim, you can require us to keep the information for as long as necessary. We may ask you to provide an explanation and any available supporting evidence that a legal claim is ongoing or contemplated.
Right to erasure of personal data (“the right to be forgotten”)
In the following circumstances, you have the right to require that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD securely deletes or destroys your personal information:
- If the personal information we hold about you is no longer necessary for the purposes for which we originally collected it.
- The processing is based on consent – if you have previously given your consent to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD collecting and processing your personal information, and you notify us that you withdraw your consent. Please note: withdrawing your consent does not mean the processing of your personal data which occurred before the withdrawal was unlawful.
- We are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes, and you want us to stop.
- If you think ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has processed your personal information unlawfully.
If you think any of the above situations apply, we may ask you for an explanation and further information to verify this.
Right to object to processing
You have the right to object to the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, ELEARNING FUTURES LTD is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD,
21-22 Old Steine,
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.