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20 IELTS TEST Myths That Roam In The Air

//20 IELTS TEST Myths That Roam In The Air


The IELTS tests are regarded as the most authentic, best structured and well-accepted test of ‘Proficiency in the English language.’ In real life situations, we have seen more than often that the ‘Famous People’ have to suffer the agonies of being famous. In all walks of the life it is an accepted truth that ‘Fame’ follows ‘infamy,’ naturally, the ‘Fame’ of the IELTS is not spared. As IELTS is not the only test of it’s kind, the battle is always on to subdue it. A large section of the people worldwide is always ‘skeptic’ – regardless of their literacy, language or whatever. Therefore, a rational and analytical discussion of the ‘False Myths’ that roam in the air is required to make people avoid being misguided.

What are the myths?

    1. Qualifying through IELTS is next to impossible: IELTS is off course tough and it’s supposed to be so, as it is the most accepted test for testing the ‘Ultimate proficiency of a candidate in the English language.’ Therefore to get a good ‘Band Score,’ candidates need to have a thorough preparation. But that does not support the myth at all. What do the data suggest? Every year approximately 2.5 million candidates appear for the test, from not less than 135 countries around the world. A large chunk of them comes from non-English speaking countries as well. Percentage of the successful candidates are not negligible at all. So the myth is just a rumor and nothing more.


    1. It’s not possible for a non-native speaker to get a good Band Score: Again it does not match the data. Thousands of young aspirants from a number of non-English speaking countries, including India, perform extremely well each year. A good number of candidates even get a high Band Score of 8/8.5 or 9 as well. So, no reason to even discuss the myth.


    1. If a candidate appears from his home country only then he might score high: Usually, candidates sit in the test from his home center. However, not every country has an IELTS Test center. Naturally, in such cases, candidates need to go to the nearest test center in a foreign neighboring country. Not being able to sit in the test from his home center might make a handful of candidates feel nervous and unable to perform well in the test. But the IELTS authority does not have to do anything about it and they are fair to all. Hundreds of sincere and eligible candidates are often seen come out with success even appearing the test from a foreign center. So the myth does not hold good for the candidates who are mentally tough enough to ignore the issue.


    1. The more I write the better for my score: A very silly myth. In every step of the tests where the candidates need to write answers, instructions related to the ‘Word Limit’ are given clearly. Let’s be little more specific- When candidates are asked to answer a question-He would see a relevant instruction like- ‘Write in no more than 3 words’. Again instructions are given clearly in the case of Task1 of writing test – ‘Write in at least 150 words’ and in the case of Task2 of writing test – ‘Write in at least 250 words’. Now if a candidate write in ‘less’ words he would lose marks. But, it does not carry extra marks and even might cause losing marks, if a candidate crosses the word limit by more than 50+ words, he would be penalized. Naturally, it’s not an exaggeration to say that it is just lack of literacy to believe and spread such myths.


    1. If I am able to make the examiner laugh I would get a good score in the speaking test: – Sorry it’s not a circus and you are not a clown. If you appear in the speaking test, dressed properly and with a pleasant smile on your face and wish the examiner saying ‘Good Morning’/’Good Afternoon,’ the examiner might feel pleased. But making him laugh – does not it sound silly? The examiner’s job is to check the candidate’s expertise in ‘Spoken English’ and he is supposed to expect an eligible and serious candidate, not a joker. Such ‘Idiotic myths’ are not even worth discussing.


    1. If I want to go to the USA, I should sound like the American’s in the speaking test: – This is an utter misconception. The native Americans have their own mother tongue bias, imitating them would sound like making a mimicry. A candidate is supposed to speak in a clear, perfect and unbiased ‘English’ accent – He does not need to copy any typical accent.


    1. I should always agree with any opinion of the examiner: – Another wrong conception. During the test, if a candidate is asked to express his opinion on a topic, he should not try to guess ‘Which opinion would please the examiner.’ Rather, he should express a justified opinion with supporting reasons. The perfection in constructing sentences, the accuracy in grammar and spelling and of course the justification of the opinion expressed, related to the topic would be judged and the candidate would be given marks accordingly.


    1. If I practice questions of previous tests it would be sufficient: – Not exactly. A few questions from the previous tests might repeat sometime, but it should not be accepted as a prevailing rule. Practicing using questions of previous tests or sample questions, would provide a candidate with realistic knowledge about the tests and is good for him, but not sufficient at all. If a candidate checks questions of last five consecutive tests he would understand that the ‘Myth’ is just another misconception and adhering to it can lead to a disastrous outcome.


    1. It’s easy to cheat in the tests and get good marks: – It is undoubtedly a very harmful myth and candidates should not pay heed to this. The IELTS tests are designed in such a manner, that there is no room for cheating. Anyone caught red handed while trying to cheat, would be dismissed and would not be allowed to carry the test further. Needless to discuss that, from any point of view cheating is a crime and it leads to nowhere. If any candidate nourishes a desire in his mind that he would clear the test by cheating, he should better try somewhere else.


    1. Millions of candidates are appearing for the tests, so it’s impossible to curb the cheaters: – Wrong again. The IELTS has such a tight checking system that even a hard-core criminal would be baffled. Let’s discuss in brief details. The IELTS authority has kept functional a highly sophisticated and multi-layered secured checking system to prevent any sort of cheating or malpractice. Here are some of the measures taken by them:
        • Photograph of a candidate is taken followed by scanning of his fingerprint. The photograph and the fingerprint are verified before allowing the candidate to appear for the test.


        • Identity proofs of the candidates are checked while allowing him to enter the test center.


        • Before and after the test, each and every document is collected and matched with the registration number, seat details, etc. The answer sheets are collected after matching with the registration number and seat details.


        • All test centered are monitored on a regular basis, and the test centers are strong vigilance.


        • Test papers are printed and distributed to the test centers under high security.


        • Test papers bear a unique combination of questions.


        • The test results are scrutinized by automatic systems.


        • If any unscrupulous activities are spotted, a thorough investigation is made and in the worst case scenario the result of a candidate under the scanner might be canceled if required.


        • The tight security system has made the IELTS tests more authentic and trustworthy both for the candidates and the organizations that accept the test certificates.


      • No malpractice by anybody concerned is allowed at all, regardless of the status of the person or organization.
    2. The English speaking countries are given preference by the IELTS authority: Absolutely wrong. IELTS is a symbol of trust and authenticity with no bias, no favoritism for any person /organization or country is indulged. The native English speakers get only an advantage that they have to sit for a test, which is conducted in their mother tongue.


    1. For different countries the tests are different: – The IELTS have two formats of the tests as known by any concerned person. 1) IELTS Academic test and 2) IELTS General Training Test. These two formats differ from one another. But each version of the same test taken on any corner of the world on the same day is absolutely the same. Candidates should stay away of such misconceptions.


    1. A candidate is allowed to sit for the test only for once: – There are no such restrictions. Even if a candidate gets a low band score and he wants to improve his ‘Band Score,’ he can sit for the test as many times as he wishes.


    1. To get a good ‘Band Score’ a candidate must undergo a number of practice tests: – Another misconception, rather a distorted truth. If a candidate goes through a number of practice tests, it is definitely good for him. But, If a candidate is eligible enough to crack it at the first attempt, how many practice tests he has gone through are irrelevant.


    1. If you do not get a high ‘Band Score’ in the speaking test you will not be allowed to qualify: Just as bad as another myth. The speaking part is, of course, an essential part of the four parts of the tests, e.g. 1) Listening. 2) Speaking, 3) Reading and 4) Writing. A candidate gets his final Band Score as an average of all four tests, depending on the ‘Band Score’ of one particular test a candidate would not be marked. To be exact, each and every part of the test is equally important.


    1. If a candidate gets a lower Band Score than 7 he will not pass the test: As silly as anything. There is no pass-fail system in the IELTS Tests. Though getting a high band score is the dream of every candidate but, it depends on the organization or institution or the country, which band score they would accept. Often candidates are found to be absorbed by their targeted organization getting a band Score of 6 or so.


    1. Your Band Score depends on the center you are appearing from: – This is a myth aired by the ‘half literate self-promoted pundits’, who think that they know everything and their knowledge is ultimate. The IELTS test has an International name and fame. There is no center specific or country specific testing system at all. So the ‘Band Score’ of a candidate depends on entirely his performance and nothing else. Examiners are trained with the same rule sets and are tuned in the same tone to check the copies and give marks. Therefore, giving marks does not vary from one examiner to another.


    1. How many candidates would get a high Band Score of 8 or more from a center is fixed in advance: – A harmful misconception, that must be cleared to avoid affecting student’s mindset. Had it been so, the IELTS authority would lose it’s authenticity and trust that they have gained over the years. Already we have discussed that no ‘Center Specific’ or ‘Country Specific’ marking system prevails in the system. The result varies from one center to another depending on several factors. In a non-English speaking country, poor candidates cannot afford to take training from ‘Reputed coaching centers’, which naturally reflects on their results and as a whole that of the center. Should the center be blamed for such incidents? – Of course not, right?


    1. If I talk more during the speaking test I would get higher marks: – Certainly not, rather talking too much might irritate the examiner and he might become a bit rude to such a candidate, resulting the candidate feel nervous and lose marks. So a candidate should talk only when he is asked for and should stop talking when he is instructed to.


    1. In the speaking test, the examiner does not repeat instructions: This is a bit of ‘Scary Myth’ and a distorted truth. It’s true that an examiner is not at liberty to repeat an instruction as many times as he wishes. He has the permission of the authority to repeat the instructions twice if needed. Similarly, a candidate does not have the option to ask the examiner to repeat an instruction more than twice, if he fails to understand the instruction. Also, If the candidate does not understand a word used in the instruction he might request the examiner for providing a synonym or definition of it maximum for two times.


Dozens of such myths float in the air. As everywhere in the world there are some gossip mongers, who are born to spread rumors and gossip, some of which strike people’s mind and becomes myths. The candidates who are appearing the IELTS are supposed to be the cream layers of the students or working professionals who are venturing out for bright and prosperous future. They should have a scientific and rational mind to overcome hearsay and move forward to fulfill their dreams.

Jai Kumar is associated with The IELTS Academy, one of the oldest reputed training centres in Bangalore for the preparation of IELTS test. For more details about IELTS you may visit their website: http://www.ieltsacademy.org or their blog: http://www.ieltsacademy.org/wp