The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) will soon turn into Computer Based Test (CBT) format. However, the face-to-face component of the test, considered to be a key aspect in judging the students' language speaking skills, will be retained. “The face-to-face component is vital as it is more personalised and make the test takers comfortable,” said Sarah Deverall, First Secretary (Education Services) of British Council. Other popular English language testing exams like TOEFL too have turned into CBT completely but the IELTS will be different in the sense that it will be retaining the personal touch. Ms. Sarah feels that students will be more comfortable as they would be interacting with a person right in front of them rather than speaking to a computer.
The test is designed to assess the language ability of candidates who need to study or work abroad where English is used as the language of communication. It covers the four language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking. Ms. Sarah, who was in city to interact with the marketing team, says lot of research goes into preparation of IELTS modules with constant feedback taken from the stakeholders including the test takers and partners.
The focus, Ms. Sarah says, will be on creating customer-friendly testing environment to make the candidates comfortable. While identifying the CBT centres enough precautionary measures would be taken. The test will be offered in 40 locations in the country and 48 times a year. She cautions the test takers to be genuine while giving information for the test as it is shared with visa officers of various countries. Any false information can have its impact on the visa issuance.
With regard to popularity of IELTS, she says it is conducted and accepted in 130 countries. “More than 1.5 million students take the test every year globally,” she reminds. In fact, more than 3,500 universities and colleges in the USA accept the IELTS scores including seven out of the right Ivy League schools. It is, however, the most popular in England and Australia, the two other strong destinations for Indian students.
There are some inherent advantages if students register with the British Council for the test.
R. Ravikanth Reddy