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THE UK: Applying to University

Spotlight: IELTS language test

Hotcourses speaks to web editor Wenting Wang, who has worked in the UK for three years, about her experience of the IELTS test

Wenting Wang

Hotcourses speaks to web editor Wenting Wang, who has worked in the UK for three years, about her experience of the IELTS English language test...

'I was thinking of applying for a master's degree course in the UK and discovered that UK universities accept IELTS. As it's compulsory to have some kind of proof of English proficiency when making an international application, I investigated further.

I discovered that to take a master's degree, I would need to achieve at least 6.5 on an overall score, with no less than 6 for each part of the test. I found out that I would need to score highly in the academic IELTS test to do my master's.

I also heard from some friends that IELTS was comparatively easier than TOEFL, which is also accepted by UK institutions, but more useful if I was applying to American universities.

In China, there are numerous schools to help you prepare for this kind of English language test - I found one that specialised in IELTS preparation and attended weekend classes for two months. It helped me to familiarise myself with the test, through oral practice and mock exams.

The teacher was an IELTS expert and taught us some techniques - not to cheat, but to gain higher scores, in the event that you were thrown a particularly tricky question. It gave us all confidence before the real thing.

I found the Listening and Reading tests easier than the other two parts and achieved high scores in these two. Writing was OK, but I found this harder; I remember we had to practise writing analytical reports on a graph and a sales report table. It prepares you for academic writing, which is a crucial part of any master's courses in the UK.

I found the Speaking test quite hard, as we barely had any chance to practise oral English - it's the hardest part for most of Chinese students learning English. I didn't know my question before I entered the room, so there was no way you could have prepared for it. My English examiner asked me to discuss my 'favourite character in history'! My advice would be to read as much as you can before this test and be prepared for random questions.

I got my score and I used my certificate to apply for courses in the UK. The experience helped me improve my oral and written English language skills, which I found invaluable when I started my course in the UK.'


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IELTS exam and how to get ready for it.

Tips to get to grips with English language.


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Wenting Wang


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