IELTS or International English Language Testing System is the only recognized test for English proficiency. It is also the official exam used by Canadian Immigration Visa Officers to prove applicants’ proficiency in said language to determine whether applicant has sufficient ability of language for proper integration to the community, society and work. Those who are applying under the Federal Skilled Worker Category, Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and some Provincial Nominee Programs are required to take the test.
To take the test, you may contact your local IELTS center to find out the examination dates and how much it costs as well as the requirements to take the exam. Common requirements would be your application form, formal pictures, identification documents and your payment. The application form is easily downloaded and can be printed.
Most people who take the IELTS take refresher or preparation courses to help them gain confidence in doing the exam. There are also practice tests for IELTS to help you get a feel of the real thing. Inquire for these features at your local IELTS centers.
IELTS has four parts, “Speaking”, ‘Listening”, and “Writing”, “Reading”. The test allows for 2 hours and 45 minutes examination time and is done within one day. Applicant may also have the option to take the Speaking category seven days before or after the other three, at the test center’s discretion.
The “Speaking” part of the test is a face-to-face interview between the candidate and the examiner which lasts for 10-15 minutes. In this part, you will be making your introduction and will be interviewed by the examiner. Then there will be individual talks and discussion topics of which you will be asked for your opinion. You must be able to demonstrate proper grammar and fluency of speech as well as range of vocabulary by explaining you answers and opinion.
The “Listening” part of the test has an allotted time of 30 minutes where applicant must listen to four audio clips and answer questions about it. Questions are given beforehand so applicant can familiarize themselves with it to be better prepared to listen. Recordings are played only once so listen carefully. The four audio clips are a conversation between two speakers, a monologue, a conversation between 4 speakers and a lecture.
The “Writing” component is given 60 minutes to be completed. In this task, applicant must be able to write a descriptive report of a given table or diagram with a minimum of 150 words and an essay in response to a given statement with a limit of 250 words. Applicant is recommended to understand the question and the given before composing text. It is also recommended that applicants balance their time wisely.
The “Reading” category is given 60 minutes to be completed. In this, applicant must be able to read and understand three passages to answer the given questions. Questions are mostly to identify attitude and perceptions, find details and information and complete a diagram. Texts are normally taken from a book, newspapers, magazines and journals mostly.
IELTS uses a Band Scale to compute score. In order to have a perfect score in the English language ability on the Federal Skilled Worker application, you will need to score an 8 or higher in the “Listening” component and a 7 or higher for the other three. The maximum score for the English language ability would be 24 points.