IELTS Difficulty 2020: Is IELTS Exam Really Hard? Know about Preparation Tips

    Sayantani Barman Sayantani Barman
    Study Abroad Expert

    Many of the candidates planning to give IELTS get nervous assuming that the exam is difficult. Many test-takers face similar kinds of issues when it comes to the IELTS exam. IELTS is not as difficult as being assumed by the test takers; in case you have prepared well for the test then you can easily score high in the exam and can pursue your dream to work or study in an English native country.

    Like other language proficiency exams, IELTS measures your English skills on different parameters. A thorough preparation for IELTS is required and there is no pass or fail in IELTS. Your results will be reported on a 9-band scale (1 being the lowest, 9 being the highest). Your Visa Requirement and application process to preferred university is completely dependent on IELTS score band.

    In this blog, we are addressing the most challenging IELTS test parts and discussing some of the most common IELTS challenges which many of you might face while giving the test. IELTS preparation is more rewarding in case you follow a good study plan and stick to it for the entire time you are preparing for it.

    You might have heard from other test takers that the IELTS test can be difficult in case you are giving the test unprepared. While preparing for this exam, you need to have a detailed focus on several different areas of English which include:

    • Speaking
    • Listening
    • Writing
    • Reading

    IELTS Speaking Difficulty

    Under this section , the test takers are given a task card where they need to speak for 2 minutes. Many times, the candidates unknowingly repeat the same story which is quite a common speaking mistake in the test done by many individuals. The main problem is that most people finish their actual story in just 40 seconds and then keep on repeating the same information again and again.

    To tackle this problem you need to use a technique which is known as using the PPF (Past, Present, Future) Method to score well in the IELTS Speaking section. By adopting this technique, the candidates will be able to narrate three different stories based on the task card.

    IELTS Academic Writing Difficulty

    While giving this test, don’t fall short of the required word count as more than 20% of candidates don’t write even 250 words or more. The candidates can lose a whole band score or more in case they don’t meet the criterion called task response set the panel. To prepare for IELTS Academic writing section one should maintain the following

    • First make an outline plan of the points want to incorporate in essay
    • If you are taking preparation at home, ask any tutor to provide writing guidance
    • Always look out for sample essays for IELTS writing section to get an idea about topics
    • For Task 1 and Task 2, test takers have to write 150 words and 250 words respectively
    • Think thoroughly before using any complex vocabulary
    • Always write in a clear format to make it easy to comprehend

    IELTS General Training Writing Difficulty

    In this writing section, test takers should understand main topic properly before writing. This section is about how well one can articulate arguments through writing skills. Coherence is the foremost important section for IELTS writing.

    In the writing section, the candidates need to complete two writing tasks within allotted time period. The candidates are allotted a total of one hour to complete this section, where 20 minutes will be allotted for the first task while 40 minutes for the second task.

    • Word count is an important section for IELTS writing. If word count exceeds, test taker will lose raw point
    • Plus 20-30 words is acceptable for writing section. It ensures that no points will be deducted for writing less
    • Test takers should focus on quality rather than on quantity
    • Practice writing on QWERTY keyboards for improving speed during exam
    • Time Management is quite important for this section as 20 minutes is allotted for Task 1 and 40 minutes for Task 2
    • Proper time management will always ensure better performance in exam
    • Examiners always look for four criteria to mark the writing section of TOEFL – Task Achievement (25%), Coherence (25%), grammatical usage and Accuracy (25%) and Vocabulary (25%).
    • Immense practice session will definitely improve score band of IELTS

    IELTS Reading Difficulty

    You need to take care that you are not misunderstanding the question types asked in the test. Understand the question types. Time limit for the reading section is a one-hour and the candidates must answer 40 questions while reading almost 2,000 words. People who have practiced can find this section harder; especially the ones who have poor vocabulary might have problems related to scanning and skimming the text.

    Main difficulty faced by test takers in this section is to read 3 long passages and answer 40 questions within 60 minutes. Two common exam patterns are IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. Reading section is different in both these exam patterns. In IELTS Academic, test takers get more academic writing whereas for General Training, test takers get more general excerpts to read.

    • Read any kind of texts whether academic, journal, book, or content from website
    • Apart from being an avid reader, test takers must attempt to comprehend text easily within allotted time
    • Try to learn new words for using it in writing and speaking section
    • If you fail to understand meaning for a particular word, then you should focus reading around the word to decode underlying meaning in passage
    • Always read questions first to know which section of paragraph is important to study
    • Questions are asked to mislead test takers therefore it is necessary to read each passage with apt concentration
    • While reading passage make a time allotment in your mind for each passage, never spend any extra minutes for a particular passage

    IELTS Listening Difficulty

    Similar to the reading, you need to know the types of questions that can be asked in the exam because you don’t get much time in the exam to understand them in detail. In Listening sectionof IELTS, test takers have to listen to audio clips with concentration as audio clips will be p;ayed once. Unlike other tests, the IELTS test will be conducted in a quiet room so that all the tests including Speaking, listening, etc can be conducted one-on-one with an Examiner. There will be no distractions or any kind of interruptions from other test takers and the candidates can easily focus on what has been asked in the exam.

    How Difficult Is IELTS Exam In India?

    IELTS includes four parts reading, writing, speaking, and listening that need to be completed within the fixed time duration. Managing your time effectively is the main thing that is quite important in IELTS and many times the Indian candidates try to add distinctive accent to score good marks in the IELTS test which is not worthy at all.

    Indian Pronunciation

    Indian accent does not impact the marking of the speaking section in IELTS; the way you do pronunciation of the words marks is an important parameter in scoring high.

    • It is advisable to speak in normal accent rather than any fake one
    • If you unable to understand anything told by examiners, you should ask to repeat it
    • Ask any senior teacher for better guidance and keep rooms for improvement
    • Always think before you speak for better result

    Be reasonable with your goals and expectations

    Since the level of difficulty is subjective and is dependent on your personal weaknesses, you must stay aware of your shortcomings which can help you to narrow your focus on what and how to improve. Begin exposing yourself to as much English as possible which can be done by watching your favorite series on TV along with reading English newspapers, articles, etc which all will help in scoring well in the exams. Furthermore, you will find the test more difficult in case you don’t know the exam; learning the strategies linked with each task will assist you to get the score that you want to have.

    Many educational institutions, employers, and other agencies based in English native countries accept IELTS as it is considered as the most high quality and fair test. The reliability of the IELTS test has made it widely accepted for even migration purposes than any other test. IELTS test is not that difficult, in fact, the difficulty level can be diluted in case you do the right amount of preparation and have a flair understanding of the course and test. Your desired score is much possible; all you need is to frame the strategies that can help you towards achieving a high score in IELTS exam.

    For all those areas that you are struggling with, you can take outside help from a qualified tutor or can view the online tutorials to gather a better understanding of the test. With an improvement in your English skills in each of the exam areas, remember to retake practice tests so that you can see whether the sections seem challenging to complete or not. Best of luck for your IELTS test!!



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