Tuesday, March 8, 2016

My tryst with IELTS

I had registered myself for the IELTS and there was no apparent reason for doing so. I just wanted to appear and see for myself what the IELTS thing was all about. Every Tom, Dick and Harry nowadays talks about the IELTS and how they underwent the test. IELTS was a language test on four different strands. Language interested me and after convincing and nagging my other half I had it registered. Of course, this test doesn’t come free. A hefty ten thousand six hundred must be paid to undergo the test. I hear from the British Council people here in Thimphu that this fee is going to be revised from next month. I am writing this for those people who are thinking of appearing the IELTS in future. Oh IELTS is the abbreviation for International English Language Testing System.

A registration form must be filled firstly and it’s available on the RIM website. There is another centre that conducts the same test-IMS (Institute for Management Studies).  After filling in the details, a copy of CID must be enclosed as a proof of identity. This form along with a copy of your CID must be e-mailed back to the address inscribed on the form. Within half a day, an e-mail will come confirming your registration. After receiving the email, you have three working days to process a demand draft amounting to ten thousand six hundred on behalf of the British Council, New Delhi. That demand draft has to be given to RIM.

You will receive another e-mail confirming your test Date. You will be given two different dates. One is for Speaking and the other for Listening, Reading and Writing. For the speaking test, you just need to take your CID and see a person who will interview you and test your fluency, vocabulary and your command over the English language. This test just takes about 15-20 minutes.
For listening, reading and writing you need to take pens, pencils, sharpeners and erasers. Now I will mention how this test is conducted and how strictly one must mange time.

Listening: You will be provided with a head phone and you need to listen carefully. That’s why teachers tell us to listen to the BBC English. As you listen you must write the answers in the question booklet itself. Remember to use only pencil in this test. Later you will be provided with ten minutes to transfer your answer to your answer sheet. Listen carefully and it won’t be a problem but remember the recording will be played only once. You have only 40 minutes for this. Please manage your time.

Reading: Your will be provided with the reading question booklet and an answer sheet. It has three essays; informative, descriptive and an argumentative essay. You must read the essays one at a time and write the answers in the answer sheet. No additional time is given to transfer your answer. For most Bhutanese, I included, reading is difficult. You will get 60 minutes for this test. Here too, use only pencil...and manage your time as well.

Writing: Here, you will again get 60 minutes for the Writing test. There are two tasks in this test. Task one gets 20 minutes and task two-40 minutes. Here there is an option whether to use a pen or a pencil. I suggest you use pencil for the entire test. Task one requires a candidate to write a report on 150 words on a situation provided. There are no choices for situations here. You must write what is asked. Task two requires a candidate to write an argumentative essay in not less than 250 words on a topic provided. No choices provided here.

If you get hold of a guide book on IELTS, please acquaint yourself with the format of the questions and how the answers must be written. It is not a very difficult ordeal to sit for the test and time management is the mantra here. Now, I know why every Tom, Dick and Harry I have met talk about IELTS.

Good Luck

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