IELTS Preparation: How To Estimate Your IELTS Band Score
If you need to take the IELTS exam as part of the requirements for your university admission or visa application, you’re probably wondering about how to begin your preparation.
The truth is that students who are at different levels of language proficiency must focus on different aspects of the English language to ensure that their preparation is effective. To refer to understand how to move forward with your preparation, you need to have a good level of your current band score. In this article, we will look at how to determine your current level of proficiency and your current band score.
Why Is It Important To Assess Your Current Band Score
Knowing your current band score will help you identify your weak areas, and help you identify the areas of your language skills that you need to focus more on.
Assessing Your Reading And Listening Band Scores
It is easy to determine your band scores for the IELTS listening and reading sections. All you need to do is to take an authentic mock test under exam conditions. Both sections contain different types of questions and there are 40 questions in total. The answers for this part of the test have fixed answers. Once you have completed your test you can compare your answers and use the following guide to determine your score.
Band Score Chart
Take a close look at the areas of the test that you struggled with, think about why exactly these parts were difficult, did you not understand the question? Did you struggle with the vocabulary or grammatical skills to answer? Were you unfamiliar with the question pattern? Doing this will help you to understand which areas of language skills you need to pay more attention to.
Writing And Speaking Skills
The next step would be to assess your writing and speaking skills. These two skills are a lot more difficult to assess on your own. Since these are productive skills (meaning you must produce language), the answers for these types of questions will vary from person to person. However, there is a strict set of assessment criteria that your responses must meet to score well. A printable copy for these criteria (or band descriptors) can be found on the official IELTS website.
There are different ways in which you can assess your speaking and writing scores. I will mention a few of the common ones. A quick search on YouTube will lead you to find several high scoring IELTS speaking test interviews. You could practice answering these questions yourself and then compare them how you compared them to the speaking test in the video. Again keep in mind, why you struggle more with certain questions. Did you lack the vocabulary to answer or did you not understand what is required in the question.
Another option to assess your current level in terms of writing and speaking, would be to opt for a paid mock test.
As a second language learner, it would be very difficult to score your writing or speaking test on your own in an objective manner.
Taking a paid for the mock test means that you will get valuable feedback about your writing and speaking answers. A detailed analysis of your answers along with individual band scores is only given out to students who pay for these services. Most good mock test sites will also give you a detailed section-wise report card result.
Even just having the answers to the reading passages and listening tests would not be enough to help you figure out where your comprehension skills are lacking. This why I recommend obtaining the services of a trained IELTS professional tutor. Not only will an IELTS lecturer be able to tell you about your estimated IELTS score, but they will also be able to help you improve it as well.