IELTS myths answered, don’t believe everything you hear

Published: September 27, 2021

There are many sources of information for IELTS, with this comes false statements about the test that can cause you to feel more anxious about your test.

1) IELTS is harder than other tests

IELTS is no harder than similar tests such as CELPIP, PTE, TOEFL or any other high-stakes test. The questions are straightforward and designed to assess how well you can use English. As with any other test you take, it does require preparation and the best way to start is to understand the test format. We recommend you use the official IELTS practice materials to help you get ready for test day.

Over 11,000 organisations worldwide trust IELTS because they have assessed it as a fair and high-quality test. This is why it is the only test accepted for immigration to Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. In fact, it’s the only English test accepted by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for international students looking to come to Canada under the Student Direct Stream (SDS). Always check with your Canadian educational institution to make sure they accept IELTS.

2) It’s impossible to get a high band score in IELTS

The band score you need is set by the organisation you are applying to. Make sure you check with your organisation to find out the score you need. Some test takers will need 5-6 in their IELTS, however others will need an IELTS band 7 or higher. A high score is possible with IELTS and many test takers achieve 8 and above every year. The more preparation you do for test day will help you achieve the score you need.

If you want to attempt an official practice test prior to test day IELTS Progress Check may be right for you. With IELTS Progress Check you will practice on official IELTS questions, receive feedback and an indicative band score so you know where you stand and where to improve prior to test day.

Buy your IELTS Progress Check today

3) You can’t take IELTS more than once

There is no limit to how many times you can take IELTS. Hopefully you will get your desired score the first time however if you need to take it again you can and will not be marked down for this.

4) IELTS marks you harder on your first test, so you have to re-take the test

There is no truth in this, you will be marked fairly and against the same criteria on all IELTS tests. Examiners are not aware if it is your first or second test therefore have no bias against your test. We want you to succeed and get your desired score on your first test. The best way to do this is to get to know the test and practice. There are a number of resources you can use to help you understand the format and get used to official IELTS questions.

5) You should write more than the specified word limit

In the writing section there is a word limit that must be reached, and it is important to note this as you will lose marks if you write less than the limit. Task 1 requires 150 words and Task 2 requires 250 words. You can write over the limit however this will not result in extra marks. The main focus is you read the question carefully and make sure you answer the key points, use correct grammar and a range of vocabulary.

6) I will lose marks if I don’t speak with a British, American, or Australian accent

This is not true. You are not expected to change your accent for your IELTS test. Our friendly examiners are trained to understand a range of accents. In your speaking test make sure you take your time and speak clearly. If you do not hear a question asked by your examiner and need it to be repeated, you are allowed to ask them to repeat and you will not be marked down for this.

7) The Speaking test is biased as it is marked by Humans

Your Speaking test is with a human examiner not a computer as it is a true indication of how you interact in the real world. IELTS Speaking test gets you ready for the conversations you will have in your future.

IELTS examiners are not biased towards any test takers and will assess everyone equally on their ability to clearly communicate. Other tests rely on AI and computers in their Speaking test, this does not set you up for conversations you will have in the real world. AI has also been found to have issues with bias based on their machine learning, read more about that here.

8) If I make the examiner laugh in the Speaking test I will get a better mark

Making a joke and smiling can help you feel relaxed in your Speaking test. It doesn’t mean you will receive a higher mark however it may help you perform at your best as you feel at ease and comfortable with your examiner. Remember they want you to get your best possible score as well and are there to help you not intimidate you.

9) Practicing on official IELTS preparation will help you achieve a higher score

Any practice you do will help you better understand the test, the types of questions and requirements for IELTS. It will help you in achieving your desired score. There are many resources out there to assist you in your preparation. IELTS have a range of free sample task questions, a paid official practice test and lots of tips on our social channels Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

10) Certain IELTS test centres grade easier than others

All IELTS tests are marked by official IELTS examiners that are trained to be fair and unbiased in their approach. There is a list of marking criteria they all work to, to assess your level of English proficiency. Therefore, all tests are marked to the same standard and different centres will not result in a different score.

11) Computer-based tests are more difficult than written tests

The content and questions used in IELTS on computer and IELTS on paper are the same. Therefore, one is not easier than the other. You may however find IELTS on paper easier if you are used to studying and writing tests on paper compared to computer. If you are comfortable using and typing on a computer, then taking IELTS on computer may be the better test for you. At IELTS we provide both options to test takers to ensure we have options to suit everyone’s needs.

12) Studying is unnecessary since English is my mother tongue

A number of people who take IELTS speak English as one of their main languages. This will definitely help you on test day however we always recommend our test takers to study for IELTS no matter how fluent they are. Studying the test format, understanding the question types and what to expect will help you better prepare for your test and achieve your desired band score.

Taking your IELTS test is an important part of your journey whether it is to get into university or college, a job or to immigrate to Canada. Don’t let the incorrect information scare you and cause panic before test day. Make sure you find your information from official IELTS websites and our social account to help you prepare and perform your best on test day.

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