In recent months I have been helping some students to prepare for the IELTS test. Institutions of higher education, such as universities, in English-speaking countries require non-native English speakers to reach a minimum standard of English in an IELTS test (or a TOEFL test) as proof of their ability to be able to study successfully in English. The minimum score required varies from institution to institution but as a general guide, most British universities require a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 (considered the start of advanced level) whereas many US colleges require an IELTS score of 5.5 (upper-intermediate level).
Here is a summary of his progress during the 7 months (56 hours of tutorials) he studied with us:
We were all very pleased that he made steady progress improving his IELTS scores. When he achieved a score of 5.5 in October 30th, he was able to apply to study at US colleges. It is interesting to see that his lowest scores were for writing. In the writing test, candidates have to write a brief report of 150 words and a short essay of 250 words. However, Y-san had never written a report or an essay in English before coming to my school. It seems that actually producing English, whether in written or spoken form, is not widely practised by students in junior high and high schools in Japan. According to Y-san, his ability to speak reasonable English resulted mainly from the speaking practice he had during his home stay experiences in the US and Sweden and his interest in making friends with foreigners while a student in Tokyo.
For more information about IELTS examinations and preparation for them, please feel free to contact us at the Windmill English Centre.