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This is an acronym for International English Language Testing System. It is the main recognized method around the world of classifying the attained level of English. It does so through testing the four categories of Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening English. It has levels from 1 to 9, the highest being complete fluency.

The first necessity is to determine at what level a student is currently. There is no point in trying to acquire say, IELTS 7 if one has the ability of a beginner or a lower intermediate student. The levels of ability build upon each other by degree.

There are clearly defined standards at each level for the four categories. An example follows for Writing, level 5 (Lower Intermediate).

IELTS BAND 5 WRITING ASSESSMENT

TASK ACHIEVEMENT

  • Generally addresses the task, the format may be inappropriate in places.
  • (Academic) Recounts detail mechanically with no clear overview, there may be no data to support the description
  • (General training) May present a purpose that is unclear at times, the tone may be variableand sometimes inappropriate.
  • Presents, but inadequately covers key features/ bullet points, there may be a tendency to focus on details.

COHERENCE AND COHESION

  • Presents information with some organization but there may be an overall lack of progression.
  • Makes inadequate, inaccurate or overuse of cohesive devices.
  • May be repetitive because of lack of referencing or substitution.

LEXICAL RESOURCE

  • Uses a limited vocabulary but this is minimally adequate for the task.
  • May make noticeable errors in spelling and/or word formation that may cause some difficulty for the reader.

GRAMMATICAL RANGE AND ACCURACY

  • Uses only a limited range of structures
  • Attempts complex sentences but these tend to be less accurate than simple sentences.
  • May make frequent grammatical errors and punctuation may be faulty; errors can cause some difficulty for the reader

Duncan has taught IELTS in China to students preparing to enter western universities. One of the reasons for the outstanding success of Chinese students attending Australian universities is the rigorous approach to this preparation by Chinese institutions. You will be specifically tutored for your desired level of attainment.

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