IELTS GUIDE 2013
Contents Welcome to Frances King More about the exam Starting the course The day before the exam and the actual day People to contact at Frances King Useful Websites
Dear Student, Firstly, weâ€™d like to take this opportunity to welcome you to Frances King and the wonderfully exciting city of London. We have organised the exam course to help you to pass the exam, but remember that you will only be able to reach your potential if you work hard outside class too. Take every opportunity you can to practice your English and set aside some time every day to do homework and practice vocabulary.
More about the exam People of different English levels take IELTS, and for different reasons. There is no ‘pass’ and also no ‘fail’ in the exam and everyone who takes it will get a score which shows their level of English. Below is a table that shows you what level of English you need to achieve a certain IELTS score compared to the CEF (Common European Framework). C1 relates to an ‘advanced’ learner. A couple of British universities only require students to get a band score of 5.5 to attend an undergraduate degree but most require a 6.5 and some need a 7.0 or maybe higher. It depends on what you want to study and where. We can help you find all the necessary information. The exam focuses on the four skills; listening, reading, writing and speaking. You will receive an individual score for each skill and an overall average score. Some universities may also require minimum for an individual skill so before you start the course you should check what you need. A clear focus will help you achieve your aim. There is no ‘use of English’ or ‘grammar’ test like in some other exams (FCE, CAE and CPE) , but your understanding of the English language will make a big difference to the overall score you are able to get. You should work hard on skills but it might also be good to buy yourself a grammar book to help you improve the areas where you are weak . Grammar is covered on the course, however I would advise you to study points you personally need to work on at home.
Starting the course It’s important to come to class with a few notebooks to write in and do activities on. It’s also really important to have a separate vocabulary book where you can record all the new phrases that you see in and outside class. Vocabulary is a really important part of the IELTS exam and if you don’t record it in one book, it becomes much harder to review and remember. And it’s a good idea to buy a monolingual dictionary too (English – English). This will help you to learn words in English without always needing to translate from your own language. You’ll be working on how to train yourself in class.
USE ENGLISH OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM! Remember you are in London which means that you have access to English 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through a variety of different sources:
THE INTERNET There are many useful websites where you can try some practice papers/activities online, a list of these is found at the end of this guide. Also, try to find websites you like and share the information with friends and classmates. Join the Frances King Facebook group and follow us on Twitter for more information and news. There are many other things you can do too such as reading books and watching TV and films that will also help you to think more in English and improve your overall understanding. Do the things that you enjoy and it will be more fun and motivate you more. Learning English should be fun!
NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES You should try not to just read the free ones like Metro; buy a good quality newspaper. I would advise you to buy newspapers at the weekend as they have many different supplements of a variety of interests are good days to buy newspapers as they have many sections which you can read during the week.
PODCASTS The easiest way to download these free audio files is through iTunes but there are lots of websites where they are available. Find a topic that interests you and see what you can find. They are also useful as they can help you to become used to the rhythm and intonation of normal spoken English and you can hear a variety of accents that might be included in the listening section of your exam. Try the BBC, Guardian and Economist websites for some interesting podcasts.
OTHER PEOPLE Try to communicate with people in English while youâ€™re here, even if they speak the same language as you. The more practice you have the easier the exam will be. You can also join activities on the Social Programme to meet new people and chat in English. Also look out for activities on the Activityl Programme via Frances King, we could have occasional visits universities and museums where you can listen to real lectures
STUDYING AT HOME Remember, you are in control of your learning and whilst your teacher can help you with exam technique and other skills, it is up to you to do all the study needed outside the class room. This means planning your time from the beginning of the course as serious study the night before the exam will not be sufficient. Itâ€™s always better to do small periods of regular study rather than occasional periods of intense study. Make a study plan and keep to it and where possible work together with your classmates as you can test each other. Hopefully your high score at the end of the exam will make up for all the hard work you did during the course. You will be given regular homework during the course and you will, of course, be expected to complete it on time. If for any reason you do not hand in any writings by the deadline given, it is up to the teacher whether these are corrected or not so please make sure you do respect any deadlines given.
THE DAY BEFORE THE EXAM AND THE ACTUAL DAY Eventually the day of the exam will come, so what can you do the evening before? It’s too late to do any more revision but this won’t be a problem as you’ve been doing it all through the course and intensively for the last 3 weeks! You should have a nice relaxing bath with bubble bath and candles, make sure you have a good dinner and go to bed early. On the
morning of the exam make sure you wake up early enough to have a good breakfast, now’s the time to try a good English breakfast as it’ll keep you going for a long time. Make your way to the exam hall, you’ll have checked where it is or been there already (2 or 3 days before the exam, checking the tube exit and the way to the exam hall so that you arrive calm and
collected), leaving plenty of time for any mishaps with the tube. Don’t panic during the exam and remember everything you studied in class and good luck. It might also be a good idea to take a packed lunch with you as you may not have enough time to grab something during the afternoon break.
People to contact at Frances King
Kanwal Narula Teacher firstname.lastname@example.org
Kat Cox Teacher email@example.com
Tim Hutchinson Exams Officer 07585 900599 firstname.lastname@example.org
Mubeen Ahmed Course Director 07920 770 701 email@example.com
Tom Foskin Teacher firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Ives Teacher email@example.com
Useful Websites www.ielts.org The official IELTS website with lots of information about the exam and what to do on exam day.
www.cambridgeenglish.org This is the Cambridge website where it is possible to download sample papers for FCE/CAE/CPE as well as IELTS materials.
www.bbc.co.uk The BBC website has everything you could possibly need! Have a look around it. Try the Learning English section for help with grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary and moreâ€Ś
www.guardian.co.uk The Guardian newspaper site has hundreds of interesting articles.
www.lextutor.ca The Lextutor Concordancer (Google it) is a useful tool to help you find out about how words are used and what important collocations there are for a word.
www.dcielts.com A teacher called Dominic Cole runs a fantastic blog about IELTS, including links to other online resources. Itâ€™s really for teachers but students will find it helpful too.
www.economist.com The Economist newspaper has lots of interesting stuff to read and lots of podcasts too.