Online IELTS Preparation
Studying for the IELTS Online
Technology has brought many changes to test preparation, and the most important of these involve the internet. Students can now receive IELTS instruction of the highest quality without ever leaving the comforts of home. Regardless of where they live, test-takers can enroll in online group IELTS courses or one-on-one tutoring programs that offer all or nearly all of the benefits of on-site study. Most of the top educational services companies provide a full range of IELTS services via the internet, which are usually rigorous, cost-effective, and convenient. The IELTS learning experience can be enhanced with other materials available online, such as digital books, websites, and web videos. However, students must carefully scrutinize online IELTS preparation, because there are many poor resources and unqualified "teachers" that are not always easy to identify as such. The difference between good and bad IELTS teaching can generally be established by considering verified credentials and experience as well as organizational credibility.
The IELTS Website
The IELTS website (www.ielts.org) should be regarded as a primary online source of many different types of information on all versions of the exam. Visitors to this website will find detailed information on the test in terms of format, scoring, testing policies, and acceptance in addition to a number of IELTS research papers, all of which may be downloaded without cost. Students may also use the IELTS website to find a test center and begin the process of registering for a test date, and they will use their online IELTS accounts to learn their scores. Additional items of interest on the IELTS website include a summary of the IELTS and the Common European Framework, sample questions for each IELTS paper, and a dedicated section on taking the IELTS in the United States. Finally, the IELTS website allows test-takers to search for organizations that accept the exam, with information on score requirements available for many schools, government agencies, and other entities that use the IELTS to screen applicants.
Additional Online Resources for the IELTS
The website of Cambridge Assessment English (www.cambridgeenglish.org) includes a number of IELTS resources, which can be found on the "Exams and Tests" dropdown menu on the homepage. Students may download the Information for Candidates PDF, which includes general advice on test preparation and a detailed summary of the test. Students may also register for a free online IELTS course, which is entitled "Inside IELTS." This course, which was developed by Cambridge English Language Assessment, lasts for five weeks at three hours per week. Test-takers in Australia should visit the website of IDP (International Development Program) Education (www.idp.com/australia), where they can make appointments to speak with IDP counsellors and register for a test in any of the major Australian cities. IDP also assists international students in obtaining visas and offers inside information on studying in Australia. The IELTS section of the British Council website (takeielts.britishcouncil.org) provides free IELTS practice tests, which may be either taken online or downloaded for offline use. The British Council website also hosts a total of 30 hours of free IELTS test materials as well as test day advice and strategies for students to use while taking the exam.
Online Resources Related to IELTS Prep
University websites are often important sources of information relevant to the IELTS. The most current policies and score requirements of schools, departments, and degree programs are easily available, and students may also be able to find out about IELTS preparation options in the university community as well as additional resources for international students. Websites that compile information about scholarships will also be useful to students. These sites frequently include links to university financial aid offices that further explain scholarship eligibility requirements, and IELTS scores are sometimes among these requirements.
How to Choose Credible IELTS Preparation Resources
Online IELTS prep can be just as effective as on-site study, as long as the student chooses his or her resources carefully. If you are opting for online group courses or individual tutoring, your first questions should be about the instructor. What is this person's background? Does he or she have substantial postsecondary education? What about teaching experience? How did this individual perform on standardized tests? Some test prep firms care only about this last question, but the best companies consider all of the above issues when making hiring decisions. If you are thinking of buying books for IELTS study, it is important to know as much as possible about the qualifications of the author and/or organization responsible for content. Official materials and books written by professional educators are mostly credible, but there are also several titles on the market that were written by staff writers at publishing houses, none of whom have any specialized knowledge of test prep teaching or learning. These types of resources are at best worthless and at worst counterproductive.