The English challenge

How important is coaching for the IELTS and TOEFL, for admission to foreign universities?

June 10, 2018 05:00 pm | Updated 05:00 pm IST

This is the season foreign universities open their gates for Indian students. To get admissions, students must appear for English proficiency tests. Here is a quick guide on how to apply for them.

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) are tests that everyone has to clear, in order to get admission or a job in foreign countries. These tests are conducted to test one’s English proficiency. IELTS also has an immigration test for people who are planning to migrate to an English-speaking country.

They are divided into four parts — reading, writing, listening and speaking — IELTS and TOEFL serve the basic purpose of testing a candidate on these aspects. However, there are subtle differences between the two.

While IELTS is usually conducted for admissions in the U.K., Canada, New Zealand and Australia, TOEFL is conducted for colleges in the U.S. IELTS is a paper-based test that takes 2.45 hours to complete and candidates are scored on a band of 0-9, but TEOFL is a four-hour-long computer-based test in which candidates are evaluated on a scale of 120 points.

“Though nowadays, most colleges accept both IELTS and TOEFL, it is better to check with the university about their preferred test. Second, students applying to U.S. colleges are recommended to take TOEFL and for any other country, IELTS. Those migrating to Canada, the U.K. and Australia will be require to take the General IELTS exam,” says Abhishek Mitra, Country Head - Study Abroad of TIME 4 Education.

Confusion

Many candidates are often confused about whether or not they ought to go for coaching classes. “They are important for candidates who do not have a strong hold over English. But people must understand that it is through coaching classes that candidates get to know the exam pattern, whilst recieving adequate practice,” says Neeru Sakhuja, a former teacher at Global Study Travel, New Delhi.

“There is no need for coaching classes in some cases. If your academic medium of instruction was in English throughout, and if the university or board certifies that some international universities waives off the English Language test, then, you do not need classes.” says Abhishek. “Alternatively, if a person is fairly good in English and he or she needs to take an English language test, candidates can buy some practice material and follow it.”

When it comes to preparing for these tests, it is advisable to make calculated efforts. English cannot be learnt within a day or a week; it depends on practice and learning. “The best way is to start preparing at least a month or two before the exam. It is advisable to buy material from British Council or IDP and practise from those material,” Abhishek adds.

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