IELTS: Everything you know wrong about it

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is an international standardized test of English language proficiency. It is mandatory to have a necessary band score in IELTS to be able to study abroad or for migration. Along with England, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore; IELTS is the only method of testing English language proficiency in 130 countries. Once TOFEL was the only method of testing English language proficiency in the United States. But now most of the universities of the United States accept IELTS score. So IELTS is becoming a must-have among the students and the people who tend to migrate to another country.

Bangladeshi students and people are no exception in this regard. Every year, a lot of students are getting admitted into various coaching centers and test centers of Dhaka, Chittagong and other districts.

Anyways, today I’m not going to discuss the importance of IELTS but about the misconception, people of our country have concerning IELTS.

Misconception 1: IELTS can help you to learn English

No, it will not. IELTS is not an English language learning course. Therefore it won’t help you to learn English from the start. Rather, it will test your current proficiency in the English language. If you are too weak in English, then these 3, 4 or 6 months course cannot teach you English. If you don’t have minimum proficiency in English, then it will be a waste of money to join IELTS coaching or to attend in IELTS exam. Where primary school to university could not help you to learn English, think how these short courses can!

Misconception 2: To do well in IELTS exam, you have to be very good in grammar

And here comes another misconception. Grammar is necessary only in writing test out of all 4 sections of IELTS. And only 20% or 30% marks of writing test depends on your grammar skill. Imagine you are good at grammar but you have no idea about the concept they gave you to write and you filled your paragraph with irrelevant content using correct grammar. Then, my friend, you cannot expect to get a good score. Rather, if you can write something that explains the relevance of your argument, your grammatical mistake will be judged softly.

Basically, if you have basic idea about Tense, Verb, Article and Sentence, it will do for you. You don’t have to be an expert.

Misconception 3: You have to speak English as a native speaker in the exam

It is a popular belief that in IELTS exam one has to speak English like a native speaker. No, you don’t have to. We, Bangladeshi, grew up speaking English in Bangla accent. So it’s funny to expect us to speak English like David Attenborough (English Broadcaster, BBC) with the help of 3/4 months’ IELTS course. It is rather important to pronounce correctly than to pronounce like a native speaker. If you watch some videos on YouTube on IELTS speaking test, you will understand that speaking with British or American accent is not that important. So you should not waste your time trying to speak like a native speaker. You should start practicing to pronounce the word correctly. For example: Wednesday. It’s not pronounced wed-nes-day, but wens-day.

Misconception 4: IELTS means British English, not American English

Though British invented and spread the method of IELTS, it is no longer the sole property of them. English language has now spread all over the world. And people of America, Africa, Australia, and Asia have varieties way of pronouncing English words. There are varieties in spelling and in using words too. So, no country or place has priority in IELTS exam. It doesn’t matter if you write using American or British spelling as long as you write them correctly. Both American and British English are acceptable in speaking too. So it is important to learn correct English rather than English of any particular country or place.

Misconception 5: 6 is the standard IELTS score

The idea is partly right but mostly wrong. There is actually no standard score in IELTS exam. What score you need is depended on where you are going or where you are applying. It is true that 6 will open many option for you. But that doesn’t mean you cannot or you don’t have to go for more. For example, if you have 5 or more, you can apply for migration to any state of Canada. But in some states of Australia, you will need IELTS score 7 to be able to migrate. So it is clear that there’s no standard IELTS score. Set your goal and prepare for it.

Misconception 6: Coaching is important for IELTS exam

It is not a misconception but my personal opinion. For IELTS exam, coaching is not mandatory. If you think you can participate in exam only by practicing at home, then it’s okay. And if you think you need coaching, then it’s okay too. The advantage of coaching is that you can learn something about exam, can practice speaking English with class fellow, join in group study. To be honest, there’s nothing more you can learn in coaching. If you don’t practice at home, coaching will not help you that much. What you can do is practice more and more at home, give an online test, give a full mock test, etc. You can give the full mock test in a coaching center or British Council too. But those are not free. If you can afford, then you can attend to this kind of test. You don’t have to listen to others in this case.

Thanks to Abhi Aditya, an examinee of IELTS, for sharing his thoughts with us. This will help many students and people now and in the future. is and will remain thankful to Abhi Aditya for sharing his idea with us.

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