This post is dedicated to my bf and to all ppl around the world being in the same situation.
For those who have never heard about IELTS in their life – it stands for International English Language Testing System. It’s a MUST EXAM for everyone, who wants to study or work in an English speaking country. However, from my own experience some non-English speaking countries demand it as well. Especially nowadays, when the world becomes “borderless” and more international, you can for instance choose to study wherever you want without speaking the “local language” as long as the courses are offered and taught in English. Even though some languages are becoming very popular during the last couple of years but we still have to admit that English is the world’s number 1 language (even my blog is written in English, even though it’s not my 1st language *kekeke*).
The IETLS exam is divided (similar to TOEFL iBT) into four sections: listening, reading, writing and speaking. The lowest score is 1 (Non User) and the highest 9 (Expert User). For a higher education like a Master’s Degree one needs at least a 6.5 or above (with a minimum of 6.0 in all sub-scores). Some Universities even asked for an 8 (with no sub-score below 7)!! (*crazy I know*).
My bf got 6.5 score on average. He even got 7.5 in listening (very proud of him). But, he got a 5.5 in writing. Hence, he failed the criteria (as I said – no sub-score are allowed to be below 6.0).
Consequence: Either repeat the IELTS exam or taking Pre-sessional courses in English language, which takes about 8weeks plus and then repeat a similar exam again by the end of the course.
STUPID!! I mean, it is good to have these restrictions. If you want to study for a degree that is taught in English, professors will expect from you that you can follow their lectures. They won’t repeat or speak extremely slowly for you – just because you are a foreign student. You will be sitting in the same class/ lecture room as with the natives. Hence, no special treatment (I know life is hard). Plus, no one wants to re-read a handed-in essay x-time just to understand what the student wanted to say/ express due to grammar/ spelling mistake.
To this point I can totally agree with this!! However, the restriction with each sub-score, it’s just ridicules. I would suggest that Universities should simply set the average score higher like 7 but then with no additional condition. I can’t imagine that someone can get in one sub-score an 8 and in other a 4 (or less) as all these sub-scores are related/ connected with each-other. Hence, they would only differ from each-other slightly.
I did my IELTS exam about 2 years ago. I got my Master’s Degree at one of the Russell Group University. I’m currently employed in an English company – with me being the only non-native speaking person. I mean if I have to do the IELTS exam again – I might probably achieve a better score (I hope!) – but still away from 9. It’s not that the exam is that difficult – it really depends on how lucky you are.
For example – I hate the reading section, where you have to read 3 different texts and then tick out the box between “wrong” “right” “not given” statement – I can differentiate between “wrong” and “right” but the last one “not given”?! Also, the topic about the reading texts – I remember a friend of mine told me when he did his English test (which was btw. iBT) he had a text about bio-chemical and he study IT!! Hence, he was like ooO???Ooo what am I reading – as he wasn’t familiar with all the terms at all. The point is – the examiners are not testing your knowledge about bio-chemical, all they want is to know, whether you can understand the content within the given time-framework. But, we are in exam condition. If you got a text, about an area where you are not familiar with, then panic automatically, which has a negative impact on our overall performance.
Same with speaking – I still can remember that my topic was about “food & cooking & obesity” – where I had to describe my favourite food. Explain why, how to cook it (recipe etc.) Hello? I still don’t know how to call some of the ingredients in English or the name of the vegetables *lol* whereas a friend, who had the exam with me on the same day got a topic about “holiday & travelling”.
All I want to say is, getting a minimum in each score might not be possible sometimes but to achieve the overall requirement score yes. Therefore, universities shouldn’t be that strict. I know if you are working for a pre-sessional language school, you would probably ”hate” me for this suggestions as this mean less money/ profit for your institution. But seriously, the tuition fee for the languages course, that international students have to pay, is ridiculous. Almost the same amount as the tuition fee for an academic year and that’s just for a few weeks.
Anyway, if you know that you have study hard for your IELTS exam but, like my bf. despite all the effort didn’t get the desired result. Don’t give up!! It's not your fault and def. not the end of the world!! You are not the only one who finds the system bit too inflexible.
As I said – there are two options, either re-do the exam (but as I said, IELTS exam is related with a bit of luck as well) OR take a pre-sessional course. The advantage here is meet some new friends, get to know your new environment better…