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nic0218

IELTS rant

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:mad: Just wanted to have a good rant about IELTS, (since my poor husband has put up with it for last few hours!!)

Yesterday I was merrily talking to my agent about putting in my SA SS application. I got paperwork together, I was finally beginning to get there.. And then I got my IELTS test results. Before I tell you my results, let me explain that I'm a primary school teacher, have already had my teaching credentials certified by Teaching Aus & English is my 1st language. I scored 9.0 on reading, listening, speaking, but lo and behold.. 6.5 on writing. I need 7.0 on each band. To say I'm gutted is an understatement!

I could get the writing remarked, but that could take 8 weeks, & my mark could stay the same. So, I've now got to scramble around to get another test as quickly as possible, fork out more money & wait another 2 weeks. I can see my hopes of state sponsorship fading, especially if SA reach their required numbers before I can get my application in.

Sorry for having a good moan, but I find it unbelievable that people's futures are reliant on a test, that seems to be so unreliable!!!:arghh:

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I know how you feel, I failed 2 on the reading then my 3rd on the writing but got it remarked and made from a 6.5 to a 7.5. Wasted nearly 6 months on this test then it was too late for us to apply for WA due to visa changes so applied to SA instead. Dont worry there have been plenty of rants on here about the ielts and im sure there will be more.

Lisa


Lisa ACSC, RN at FMC, Gareth, Adam (18) Ethan (14) Academic IELTS 20/3/10, ANMC 11/8/10, SA SS 3/3/11, 176 visa lodged, 10/3/11, CO 23/3/11, pcc 11/4/11, medicals 5/4/11, Ethans referred 27/4/11 visa granted 6/5/11, AHPRA reg 29/8/11, Arrived in Adelaide Oct 2011, just loving it.

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:mad: Just wanted to have a good rant about IELTS, (since my poor husband has put up with it for last few hours!!)

Yesterday I was merrily talking to my agent about putting in my SA SS application. I got paperwork together, I was finally beginning to get there.. And then I got my IELTS test results. Before I tell you my results, let me explain that I'm a primary school teacher, have already had my teaching credentials certified by Teaching Aus & English is my 1st language. I scored 9.0 on reading, listening, speaking, but lo and behold.. 6.5 on writing. I need 7.0 on each band. To say I'm gutted is an understatement!

I could get the writing remarked, but that could take 8 weeks, & my mark could stay the same. So, I've now got to scramble around to get another test as quickly as possible, fork out more money & wait another 2 weeks. I can see my hopes of state sponsorship fading, especially if SA reach their required numbers before I can get my application in.

Sorry for having a good moan, but I find it unbelievable that people's futures are reliant on a test, that seems to be so unreliable!!!:arghh:

 

Hi

 

I am so sorry to hear your about your IELTS dilemma. I have read on this forum that some members have sent their IELTS results for remarking. Since 'Writing' is subjective and not objective, there is a fair chance of you getting the .5 since you have done well in the other 3. I know that IELTs is in no way a test that proves your ability to speak the English Language but more to show your ability to 'pass a test'.


IELTs/5Sep9/L8.5 R7.5 W7.5 S8 OA8VetApp23Nov09 +ive5Mar10CV VeriACT8Mar10Rec-16Apr10AppACTSS-dox sent27Apr10ApprvlRecd22Jun10App.176-SMP 22Apr10CO-22Nov10PCC/Meds-Dec2010 Visa Granted-4Feb2011

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Thanks for your sympathies Ozzieland, and congrats on your visa!

The problem with remarking is the time factor, it's actually quicker to resit the test than wait on remark results. The problem I have with the IELTS test is that its more about passing the format of the test than actually testing your ability to write comprehensively in English!

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Thanks for your sympathies Ozzieland, and congrats on your visa!

The problem with remarking is the time factor, it's actually quicker to resit the test than wait on remark results. The problem I have with the IELTS test is that its more about passing the format of the test than actually testing your ability to write comprehensively in English!

 

 

You will find the majority of UK nurses wanting to emigrate that will tell you that !!!!!!


 

Gary (37 electrician special class), Maxine (37, Nurse), Macy (12) & Thomas (3). WA SS Applied 20.12.10 received 02.02.11, 176 visa applied 16.02.11, Co assigned 16.03.11, everything uploaded 15.05.11..visa granted 24.5.11. Fly 8.1.12...arrived in Perth 12.1.12...

 

 

 

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Guest thelongwait

hi,

 

as an ielts examiner, i privately agree that it's a stupid, unfair test.

 

the writing test especially doesn't judge your writing ability so much as how well you fit the 'ielts' idea of what a good answer is, (which they havent bothered to tell you beforehand.) there are various things that could mean even a native speaker with excellent writing skills, could get a poor score.

 

for example in the academic task 1, a common error is to analyse it and write sentences like:

"...this is because younger people generally have less health problems" based on your world knowledge rather than just presenting the data shown.

 

or if you don't have a suitable number of paragraphs, and a clear conclusion. Even many of the ielts practice books have 'model' answers that would lose points - presumably the authors aren't actual examiners. ielts are extremely secretive about their marking criteria.

 

Anyway, if a volunteer wants to post up a writing answer on this thread, i will mark it and make some comments that might help everyone else. preferably write it on Word and paste it so you can tell me what the word count is. write the question at the top.

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Hi "the longwait",

Thank you for your post, to hear an IELTS examiner say what I suspected has made me feel a little better! I will try to find the time to answer an example question & post it. The format has bemused me to say the least. For instance, I was always taught to refer back to the question, when I was writing my degree essays, but was reading that IELTS, take that off any mention of it in the word count etc

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Guest golden777

To obtain 9 in reading, speaking, listening and get a 6.5 for writing is not fair. From what i read, they are suppose to check the four components and ensure they are as close possible, if there are any descrepancies, then they are checked again.

 

However, for me, when writing, i ensure i rephrase the questions and bring it back into my write-ups, i also use examples to butress points as much as possible, even if from imaginations, i also try to briefly look at the other viewpoint and give a reason why i do not accept that view despite sympathising with the view. I also ensure i conclude effectively. I check my spellings too.There may be more.

 

Well i suggest you take the test again ASAP, its better. I believe you will come score all 9s this time around. If you want me to send you some of the links to the materials i used for the writing preparation, let me know.

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hi,

 

as an ielts examiner, i privately agree that it's a stupid, unfair test.

 

the writing test especially doesn't judge your writing ability so much as how well you fit the 'ielts' idea of what a good answer is, (which they havent bothered to tell you beforehand.) there are various things that could mean even a native speaker with excellent writing skills, could get a poor score.

 

for example in the academic task 1, a common error is to analyse it and write sentences like:

"...this is because younger people generally have less health problems" based on your world knowledge rather than just presenting the data shown.

 

or if you don't have a suitable number of paragraphs, and a clear conclusion. Even many of the ielts practice books have 'model' answers that would lose points - presumably the authors aren't actual examiners. ielts are extremely secretive about their marking criteria.

 

Anyway, if a volunteer wants to post up a writing answer on this thread, i will mark it and make some comments that might help everyone else. preferably write it on Word and paste it so you can tell me what the word count is. write the question at the top.

 

 

Hi there,

I've managed to get myself booked into another IELTS test this Saturday! This time I've decided to practise in the "IELTS format" as much as possible. I'm taking you up on your very kind offer to look at an answer I've written to a practise, task 2 question. Please tell me if I've written complete twaddle, or whether you think I've got into the all important band 7.0 level! I'm extremely grateful for any time you have to look at this. I did try to write in the 40 mins time scale and the word count is 381.

The rest of you reading this are, of course, allowed to mock, as long as you've passed your IELTS!!:laugh:

 

Successful sports professionals can earn a great deal more money than people in other important

professions. Some people think this is fully justified while others think it is unfair.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

 

In the world of professional sport, players are no longer classified by how much they earn in a month or year, but how much they earn in a week. Some argue that because their working lifespan is so short, sports men and women need to earn substantially more than their average (non-sporting) counterpart. Others argue that there are far more deserving, skilled workers that should be earning a similar sum.

 

Recently football records in the Premiership were again broken by a footballer, bought for £35 million. He can expect be earn around £6 million pounds a year and that’s excluding further income from various sponsorship deals. At the tender age of 22, he could conceivably play for another 10 years, earning more money than the average worker could hope to in 40 years. However, there is also a real chance that he could be plagued by injury, shortening not only his working life, but also his earning power. Whilst the average professional will work to increase their yearly pay over several years, a professional sportsperson’s pay can decrease due to age or injury.

 

The argument against professional sports players earning such vast amounts of money, must stem from a comparison of jobs and skills in other sectors. Should a professional golfer really earn millions a year whilst a cancer research scientist earns a tiny proportion of this? It could also be that being paid for your natural ability rankles those who have had to study and train for years before they are allowed to work in their profession. In a society where working long hours is considered to be a necessary part of your career, why should someone who seems to work for a few hours at a time be paid so much?

 

In conclusion, I believe that there are valid points in both arguments. A professional sports person has an unstable, unpredictable work life. They could work, at their peak, for a mere 10 years; equally they could be retired due to injury in just 2 years. Earning significantly more than the average professional must be necessary because of these factors. However I do believe that we should reward those professionals, whose work contributes significantly to society. Doctors, nurses, teachers etc deserve to be paid as much as footballers, even if this is merely a wish and not a practicality.

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Guest sc80

nice essay! my personal opinion of IELTS (having pass it myself with average of 8.0) is very academic (even for the non-academic IELTS). The content expectation, type of questions and format is actually easier if you have just finished middle or high school. When I finished my test, I was telling my mates that it was as if I was back in my 0-levels again.

 

So I think its not about literally writting your opinion about the topic. As in school essay, teachers told us for example to give about 1 intro, 2 pros, 2 cons , then expand with examples if possible, your opinion, then conclude etc. Each with new para so it clearly shows a thought process ...

 

Just my 2cent worth. :)

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Guest thelongwait

Hi NIC0218

 

yep, it's a great essay. you said you need a 7 and with this essay you wouldn't have any problem getting it.

There are 4 criteria: task response, coherence/cohesion, lexical resource, grammar. You can find more details on these on the web, search for the public version of the writing band descriptors. the examiner gives you a score between 0 and 9 for each aspect. we cannot give half marks. at the end, these scores are fed into the ielts computer which rounds to the nearest half point.

i have heard, but i can't say 100%, that these scores are rounded down, eg. 7.75 rounds down to a 7.5. This means if people need a 7, they must get all 7's, or if they get a 6 in one aspect they need an 8 in another. if they score 7,7,7,6, it rounds down to a 6.5.

 

anyway, here's how i would score your essay.

for task response i would give you an 8. it's a great response which is totally relevant to the question. the format is correct, you have a good introduction which rewords the question and you use a formal writing style.

this question really has 3 parts (the argument for, and against, and your opinion.) It's important to give fairly equal amounts of space to each of these parts, which you did. this score is subjective and your answer is possibly a 9, but it's very rare to score 9 for this aspect, as 9 means nothing could usefully be added - and you can nearly always think of something you could add. perhaps for example you could have mentioned the long/intense training a sportsperson requires. for style in ielts, avoid using contractions. thus instead of 'that's', use 'that is', or 'which is.' instead of 'etc' use 'and so on' because 'etc' is an abbreviation. (You didn't use any other abbreviations, but students often write eg or m or km, kg, it is preferable to write these out in full.)

for coherence/cohesion (organisation) I would score an 8, possibly a 9. paragraphing is good. 4-6 paragraphs is about the right amount for 250 words. since your essay is 381 words you could possibly have had more paragraphs and split for example the second paragraph. the main rule is there should be a new topic for each paragraph. one sentence is not a paragraph, therefore each paragraph must contain more than 1 sentence, even if it's a very long sentence. You used a good range of link words (however/whilst/because of/even if/in conclusion) But you repeated the word 'however', perhaps you could replace it with another word that means the same thing (although/despite/yet) and you could add even more link words like: firstly, next, due to, despite, in order to, the final point to consider is... Aim for about 12 of these words. The logical order is good, it was easy to follow your essay.

lexical resource score (vocabulary): 9

a great range of vocab including some rare words like 'rankles', 'mere,' 'lifespan.' Again, this is subjective, another examiner may only give an 8. it's rare to get a 9 for this aspect - you need a pretty wide range of vocab.

I didn't see any spelling mistakes or repetition of vocabulary.

grammar score 9:

accurate grammar, a range of sentence structures, some complex sentences with relative clauses (who/whose, etc.) there's a mistake in line 1 of pargraph 2, but i suspect this is a typing error. you wrote: he can expect be earn, it should be 'to' earn.

so overall, you're looking at at least an 8.5, possibly a 9.

 

I was trying to work out how you could possibly have scored a 6.5 in the previous exam. might you have misinterpreted the question or included something irrelevant? that might mean a 4 or 5 for response. some students focus too much on one aspect of the question and don't answer all parts, or go off on a tangent about something they feel strongly about but isn't totally relevant to the question. if you forgot paragraphing, you would score only 5 for coherence - ielts is very strict on paragraphing. perhaps a few spelling mistakes would give you 8 for vocabulary or 7 if they felt you repeated the same word a few times or the vocab wasn't relevant to the question they set, with a 9 for grammar. average these out and i suppose it could be a 6.5, but it still seems very strange.

 

best of luck and I'm sure you'll be fine.

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Guest golden777

This is a very good write up.

 

Your examples may need to be more specific, even though from imagination.

 

"Recently football records in the Premiership were again broken by a footballer, bought for £35 million."

 

can be written:

 

"In 2003, football records in the Premiership were again broken by Wayne R., bought for £35 million."

 

"Your record must not be accurate. You are not writing history,....you are just expressing yourself to let the examiner know you deserve band 8 and above."

 

I wish you success

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Thank you so much "the long wait", I appreciate the time you've taken to assess my mock essay. I'll take on everything you've said and hopefully get a much more respectable grade on Saturday!

Thank you again, Nicola

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I am not sure I buy into this "test format" theory. I just went along and did some reading, writing, speaking and listening. I didn't know about any secret IELTS tricks or tips and did 30 mins to an hours prep night before.

 

I thought that if there was a difference of more than 2 between section scores there was always a recheck, perhaps that is a myth.

 

I think Nic, you must have been unlucky on the day as I could see very little wrong with that write up on here anyway. Good luck for next one.

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Guest nikandsean

hi, i know exactly how your feeling...i failed my ielts after tarvelling for over an hour to find out two weeks after that i got 6.5 in reading section. I purchased the ielts studying book from our local bookshop and it did help,as long as you practice. dont give up,as frustrating as it is..ull be just fine :wink: nik

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Guest Taxi

Thanks for this thread - very useful! I am hoping to sit the test on 19th March and will need to score 8 :eek:. I can write, speak and read Engliash to a high standard but am somewhat worried having read this thread, especially with thelongwaits' comment that some examples in practice materials would lose points! With this in mind can anyone recommend books or online resources to practice?

 

Many thanks and good luck to all!

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Could I just check the point about the subject content of what you write - do you have to actually know anything about the subject?

 

I would be really struggling to write anything I actually know about sports people and wages/earnings etc, other than imho I think it's way too much - I couldn't tell you how much a footballer actually earns though, so if you are given a task you know nothing about, as long as you BS lots, you are ok.

 

For example, could I say '...because footballers are only paid £2.55 a week, they are certainly not overpaid. This is not enough to even support themselves on, let alone a family.' (with better grammar, connectives etc etc)? IE it is purely the english on test, and if the facts you use in the test are completely wrong, this doesn't matter?

 

Many thanks in advance if someone can put my (natural born worrier) mind at rest? :biglaugh:


Moved on a 179 PR visa Feb 2012; Citizenship granted Jan 2016. Settled in Adelaide. Loving it and feel like everyday is paradise compared to life in the UK.

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This post should be stickied :)


22/02/11 First employer interview - 06/04/11 Second employer Interview - 13/05/11 Offer of employment - 05/06/11 Documentation submitted - 08/06/11 457 Visa application lodged. 28/06/11 - Applicant Approved 27/08/11 - Arrived Sydney, NSW.

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Guest nicando

I totally agree about the IELTS, I am a nurse with 2 degrees, english is my first language and I scored 6 on the writing. I needed 7 or above. I was shocked at this and it certainly makes me feel negative towards the test. I have rebooked the test, I just hope I achieve a level 7 in all sections as it is delaying me applying for my skills assessment.

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Guest tandcmum

this frightens me horribly. I am a nurse and I have a BSc(hons) degree and i got a B at GCSE in English, but I am crap at English, my grammer and punctuation has always been shocking, i'm sure i am going to take so many attempts at passing this test (presuming i have to do it of course)

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Guest nicando

My friend has also taken the IELTS and she to is a nurse with her first language being english. She didnt get level 7 in the reading. I think the IELTS is a farst. I am only just starting out to, I need to pass this stupid test to go forward and am not looking forward to re-sitting it

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Guest thelongwait

hi

I don't want to cause unnecessary panic to anyone! To answer a few questions:

In the writing:

You don't have to know any special facts about the world or the topics in order to answer the questions.

In task 2, you are asked to use your own experience (or perhaps mention that of a friend or relative). You could also mention something that happened in the world recently, but you certainly don't have to quote accurate statistics like a wage of a soccer player. Because this task asks your opinion, you can write whatever you like, provided that you explain your reasons.

In task 1 in the general IELTS, the letter, you often have to invent problems or situations to ask about.

In task 1 academic, the report, you should not use your own knowledge, but instead write only about the data you are shown. A typical mistake that native speakers make is to try to analyse the data like you might have to in a university essay. For example they write:

150 people aged 60-70 suffered from this disease. (shown from the data) This might be because older people are more susceptible to diseases. (your opinion.) Just stick to the facts.

As for the practice materials,

There are some good model answers in the books, and reading the model answers certainly gives you some useful prompts, but I've been surprised to see a few aspects that are often lacking.

the main thing I have noticed is that many of the academic task 1 model answers in books don't have a clear overview (summary / conclusion). Without a clear overview, you can only score a maximum of 5 for the task response criteria, bringing the total score down. All you need is 1-2 sentences, either straight after the introduction, or at the end, to summarise what the data shows, or the general trend. Begin with "Overall..." or "In summary" or "to sum up" so that the examiner can clearly see it's the summary.

Another thing that many model answers don't have enough of is link words. These are words like first, next, secondly, finally, however, although, because, because of, in order to, due to, despite, so, thus, therefore, in addition, moreover, furthermore. The examiner will look for these words when they mark the 'coherence' criteria and if there aren't enough, I'd say at least 10 in a task 2, or at least 6 in a task 1, we cannot give the highest mark for coherence, even if other aspects like paragraphing and logical progression are good. This is easily corrected - just add lots of link words.

 

A website with reasonable model answers is www.ielts-exam.net.

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Guest thelongwait

Another tip that might help for the writing task 2, is to read the newspapers a bit during the week before your test. Then, if you are running short of ideas, you can mention something that is happening recently in your country or in the world.

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this frightens me horribly. I am a nurse and I have a BSc(hons) degree and i got a B at GCSE in English, but I am crap at English, my grammer and punctuation has always been shocking, i'm sure i am going to take so many attempts at passing this test (presuming i have to do it of course)

 

Find out about the Occupational English Test.


Westly Russell Registered Migration Agent 0316072 www.pinoyau.com

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