Knowing What IELTS Category To Choose
If you are a complete beginner, you must be really clear about your purpose and the reason for which you're taking up the test.
Because IELTS has two categories from which you have to choose one depending on the requirement of your college or company.
If you are taking up the test for educational purposes, you are most likely to choose the academic category during your IELTS test registration. In most European countries, your scholarship is completely dependent on the IELTS band that you get.
If your purpose is to migrate to an English speaking country such as the US, Canada, and the UK, you should opt for the general category during your IELTS registration. You might even choose this if you want to enrol yourself in a training program in one of these countries.
Although they are similar in certain aspects, they serve their own purpose. The IELTS academic will allow you to join a college or an institution.
Whereas, the general category is a common ticket which almost anyone can take. The pattern, blueprint, and mark allocations are completely different for both of them.
Not to forget that the reading and writing tests are almost completely distinct. The content that's present in the questions and your choice of answers will also vary.
The Process Of Test Registration
The IELTS fees for both these categories are the same. You now have another major decision to make. Should you book your IELTS through IDP or through the British Council?
British Council's IELTS fees are exactly the same as IDP's and you have to understand that these entities conduct the exams but do not own them so there's hardly anything to worry about. The examiners from both of these entities will grade your test in the exact same way.
IMPORTANT: Have your passports ready and if you don’t currently have one, try to get it. Most of these exams require your passport copy which is a pretty standard procedure.
The British council has been in the game for a really long period. Students generally believe that BC prefers the British accent and acts biased towards it. But in reality, the British Council's IELTS registration is legit and supports all accents unless your English is clear and loud.
IDP's IELTS registration is no different from BC. IDP is an Australian-based firm that recently entered the market and kickstarted the computer-based IELTS culture. They also offer pen and paper IELTS and IELTS for UKVI.
There are rumours about IDP being lenient in their grading system. Students backed down from BC thinking that they only support the British accent.
To put things in perspective, these entities are just exam providers and have no power whatsoever in designing the exam pattern.
The examiners who work for them can efficiently grade your tests no matter what your accent is. Their only concern is to check if your answer is right or wrong.
They provide band scores based on the same criteria. They are put to constant testing to ensure they are grading the papers properly.
You should choose the test provider who's close to your home. The duration of your test is going to be about 2 hours 40 minutes so reaching there early without travelling a lot will help you stay relaxed.
You should also check if your test provider allocates an examiner for your speaking test or prefers using a microphone.
Some prefer using microphones as they would allow them to stay calm and composed. Also, keep a close tab on the IELTS exam dates 2020 and choose what best suits your timeline.
Moving on to the next frustrating question that you will encounter during your IELTS application. To be honest, the only difference between the two of them is the equipment you use to provide answers.
You deliver your speaking tests, in the same way, no matter what category you choose. The comfort gradient is totally subjective as some prefer pen and paper while others prefer typing.
Although two small advantages come with the computer-based IELTS. You will receive your test scores a little earlier than the rest which usually takes around 5 to 10 days from your IELTS test date. While typing, it will be easier for you to backspace an incorrect answer.
Pro Tip: Considering the pandemic, opting for a computer-based exam could be your best bet.
In order to be eligible for an IELTS exam, you will have to satisfy the following parameters. These criteria are pretty standard and generally apply to all the IELTS categories.
There are strict rules saying that there will be no restrictions based on a student's age, gender, race, nationality or religion. But generally, if you are below the age of 16, you'll have no use in taking up the test.
In order to satisfy the requirements for Canadian citizenship, you have to be aware of the fact that they have recently lowered the age.
Anyone who falls between the age of 16 to 24 has to take up the IELTS exam in order to meet the language requirement of Canada.
You can take up the IELTS exam no matter how many times you want to. The only catch is you should be able to afford the fee each time you register for the test.
There's currently no limit for the number of attempts and you can write as many times you please until you reach your dream IELTS band.
If you are not clear with the purpose for which you're writing the test, your results might be of no use.
The colleges that require an academic IELTS score will not consider the results of a general IELTS exam and vice versa. Figuring out your purpose is one of the very first things you should do while registering for the exam.
Now that we've discussed in detail about the IELTS pattern, let's move on to the IELTS exam price. This is the place where you should offer your undivided attention.
The council has set up new rules that call for all the test providers to price the fee equally. But this depends on the category of IELTS that you are choosing. The pricing for UKVI and life skills might be totally different from the two basic categories.
You will have to pay a total of 14,000 INR to register yourself for the exam. This amount is common for both the academic and general IELTS.
"Do the prices vary between IDP and British Council or between pen & paper and computer-based?" is probably what you're thinking right now. But that's not the case and the prices are still the same.
Although the prices will be slightly higher for the UKVI category which usually is around 15,000 to 15,100 INR.
Cancelling an IELTS exam is a tricky job. You will have to clearly read the cancellation policy even before applying for the test.
Usually, if you cancel your exam 5 weeks before your test date, you will receive a refund but you'll be charged 25% from your total fee.
If you find yourself in a situation where you're requesting cancellation but have less than 5 weeks, you can expect no refund. Let's consider the situation where you're unable to attend the test on the registered test.
You will receive no refund as this will also get considered as an unannounced cancellation.
The rules are pretty much the same when it comes to rescheduling your exam. You have to inform them 5 weeks prior to your exam days and you will be able to shift your test date.
You will still have to pay the cancellation fee and also the date to which you are rescheduling should fall within three months of your date of booking.
Action Tip: The IELTS test providers recently came up with something called the “IELTS Indicator” to keep the students’ dream alive amidst the pandemic. Check that out!
Both the British Council and IDP has made it really easy for students to book for an exam. You should first decide which of these to opt for and navigate through their website.
Their websites are pretty much self-explanatory where all you have to do is to type in your preferred date and choose the category of IELTS exam that you would like to write. You might have to upload a government-approved ID and should also carry the same during your exam.
If you want to boost your IELTS score and get admission into top universities, then you need experts by your side who hold your hand and guide you. IntStu Aspirations can help you score high on IELTS and make sure that your dreams come true. Book a FREE consultation call with our experts now.
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