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Interesting IELTS Myths & Facts

Ervin, can you tell us a little bit about some of the misconceptions about the IELTS?

Yes so first things first, I learned this when I attended the International Conference on English language assessment. When I was sent to Shanghai, China from December 1 to 5, 2017, where I was the lone representative coming from the Philippines. I met the big bosses of IELTS in Asia and I learned during that time that 60 to 70% of those taking the examination, don't enroll in any preparation course.

Now, this is not to say that they will automatically fail in the examination. It's just that these people who think that oh, "English is something which is natural to me, I've been talking in English since birth." This is a very dangerous overconfidence is the reason why there are people who are shocked with the kinds of questions coming out in the examination. And because I'm a teacher in the Philippines, I'd like to share the Philippine statistics so if nurses going to the United States need a grade of seven, the national average in speaking is 6.7.

So that means to say, more nurses do not get the required band score of seven as compared to those who sit on their first attempt. Now, what about writing? Well, yes, speaking is challenging, but the national average for Filipinos in writing is just 6.1 to 6.2. But why is it that we consider this good news? Well, nurses going to the United States don't need to get a 6.5 or a seven in writing, but they need a seven in the speaking subjects.

So imagine, even if the nurses get a 9 and listening 9 in reading, not in writing, but a 6.5. And speaking, it means to say they need to repeat the examination. So like what I've said, I learned certain misconceptions when I met other representatives from the other Asian countries. Now one of those if I may share the first one, some people think that one Testing Center uses more difficult test papers or questions compared to the other testing center. And obviously, this is a fallacy, why? Because the British Council and IDB use exactly the same test paper.

It's not as if British Council and IDB are the ones making the test papers imagine that they are the distributors of the examination. So we tell the students, we prepare you to pass for the examination, but we don't prepare you for a specific testing center. So that's the first misconception.

Okay, so some people are thinking it might be easier to pass the examination when they take the test in a specific country. But that is totally wrong. As Scott mentioned earlier, IELTS is standardized It's the same standard followed globally.

Now, certain people are candidates coming from Asia thinking that white examiner's might be a little more lenient or a little more generous in this speaking subjects. The truth of the matter is, it has nothing to do with the nationality of the examiner, we prepare candidates to pass the examination regardless of the interviewer.

Now, there is this tendency for people to gravitate towards big words. And they're thinking that if they use the words, it might impress the examiner. It's just that we always emphasize to our reviewees, IELTS is not a test to impress the examiner, this is an examination for you to express yourself.

So if you're able to use big words correctly, in the right context, they will help you pass the examination, but the moment you use them inappropriately, instead of helping you pass, it's more it's more likely that they are going to pull you down. Now some people are thinking, "okay, it's just better to just memorize specific answers to these questions." Well, memorizing templates will not necessarily help necessarily help you because at the end of the day, examiner's are smart. They know if you're just memorizing something and delivering something that's in your head.

 Eagle, did you have some misconceptions before you took the IELTS exam?

Yeah, of course. Actually I really don't know how to contract a good sentence in through my speaking session and I don't know how to start. Or even if I need to elaborate this one or even if I just need to give my answer directly. I think that are the reasons that I learned from the Swoosh in order for me to improve my speaking.

Jennifer, you've done a lot of IELTS hero interviews. Are there any other common misconceptions about the IELTS before people get started on it?

I think maybe some of them, they realize it's a tough exam. I think they know it's hard, but I don't think for the ones that have had to take it repeatedly. I don't think they realize the first time just how hard it was.

So they thought they could get by with self study and they did that for, you know, I don't know how long it could be many months, and it could lead into possibly a couple of years and then they break down and they decide that maybe the self study is not paying off, and that's when they'll decide to enroll in a great review.

So I think that's probably one of the biggest things I see is thinking they can do self study and realizing after they get into it and get a little more serious. I think they walk into the exam thing. Maybe they can just crack open the book for a couple of minutes on each topic and then they realize when they get there for the exam says that it's really just not like that.