IELTS, TOEFL and PTE

Speak English with Me

Hi, there! Every day, I meet students, especially at the post graduate level, who have only one aim in life and that is to study abroad. There are several reasons for this craze to study abroad. One of the main reasons, for this craze, I have found, is the desire to settle in a developed country after the completion of the studies. Obviously, not may students say this openly, they come up with more sedate (dignified) reasons for their will to study abroad.
Okay, here, I am not taking up a debate upon whether to study in India or abroad, that’s none of my business and also not a matter that interests me, but yes, what does interest me is the qualifying English exam that these aspiring students have to appear in. The three tests that I shall talk about in detail over the next few weeks are:
– International English Language Testing System
– Test of English as a Foreign Language
– Pearson’s Test
All three, IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, test your English at four levels: speaking, reading, writing and listening. And, they are super simple. Yes, I’m not joking, they are super simple, provided, you have studied English properly, till your 12th standard. However, if English has not been one of the main subjects that has concerned you till your 12th, then, yes, the tests will surely be daunting (frightening).
But then, there is nothing to worry, all you have to do is study systematically, for a period of three months and you will be ready for the tests. Today, I shall tell you guys all about IELTS. IELTS is accepted and recognized by 9000 organizations in over 145 countries (source, British Council). What does it consist of? It consists of all the four aspects of a language that one must know and these are:
Writing
Reading
Listening
Speaking
My experience as an associate professor in the department of English and Communication says that if your schooling has been in a regional medium school; you will find IELTS slightly intimidating (difficult, threatening), thus, what I here, in this column will do, is give you a strategy to build your English language skills to deal with this situation. But before that, let us take up each section, individually.

Writing- You will get two tasks- one for 150 words and the other for 250 words. If you have been used to writing, that is, at school, in the form of essays, paragraphs, letters… you’re home safe, because in that case, you will be used to expressing yourself on various ideas. If not, then you will have to practice extensively as developing upon an idea requires practice. A few things that you must keep in mind while practicing for IELTS writing:
1. Grammar
Most of the mistakes that people preparing for IELTS make are in:
i. Articles- You have no clue as to where to put articles and where not to put them. You are not supposed to put articles before names. You will have to revise all the rules of using articles- a, an, the.

ii. Tenses- Guys, tenses are to be used according to present, past and future. You all use them wherever you want to. And ‘ing’ forms, that is, the continuous forms of verbs, you guys are in love with them. You use them everywhere and anywhere and that’s not how it works. So, brush up (learn) on your tenses.

iii. Preposition- People, there is a difference between ‘in’ and ‘to’. So, when you say ‘I am going ‘in’ USA,’ it sounds bizarre (strange). You’ve got to say ‘I am going ‘to’ USA and not ‘in’. You could ‘in’ to say ‘I’m going ‘in’ the pool. Which means ‘in’ is to be used when you are talking about going inside something.

This is it for today, I’m running out of my word limit. Ugh… Next week, more, pucca…
Key in your English problems to me on surabhi.pillai@gmail.com
And, hey, keep smiling…

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