- Last Updated: Monday, 06 April 2020 20:17
- Written by IELTS Mentor
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There are a lot of myths and misconceptions, constantly being said about the IELTS test, which you should never believe. Also, never accept anything anyone says unless they come from verified sources and, never fall for the scams. Here is a list of myths for you to understand. We suggest that you talk to a qualified IELTS teacher or call the IELTS test centre whenever you hear something that is too much confusing or too good to be true.
Myth 1: IELTS test is harder than most other English tests.
The reality: Since thousands of educational institutions, employers and professional registration bodies all over the world accept IELTS test results, we should rather say that it is a very standard English test instead of suggesting that it is harder than other English tests. We can also say that IELTS is a high quality and fair test and that’s why it is accepted by more governments for migration purposes than any other English tests in the world.
Most standardised tests follow strict rules and IELTS is no exception. But keep in mind that those strict rules are not to make the test harder. Rather they are to make the exam fair and acceptable.
Myth 2: I can get authentic IELTS certificates by test insiders without taking the test.
The reality: NEVER believe this. Money can't buy you an IELTS certificate. If you are really interested in having an IETLS certificate, register for the test, prepare yourself and then take the test.
You must also be aware of some kinds of scams which ask you to make a phone call to a certain phone number so that you can obtain some confidential information on IELTS or IELTS test questions. The ultimate aim of these scammers is to fool you and lure you to hand over money to them.
Therefore, instead of listening to these false claims about the test and certificates, you should concentrate on improving your English proficiency and IELTS test skills. We hope the IELTS Mentor website can help you with that.
Myth 3: I've heard it's easy to cheat in IELTS.
The reality: No, it’s not possible to cheat in IELTS test since it is protected by sophisticated and multi-layered security measures to prevent cheating in order to protect all the IELTS candidates and the organisations that accept the IELTS results. To further clarify as to why it is not possible to cheat at the test, one should remember that at registration, the following identity checks are done:
1) The photograph and fingerprint are scanned when a candidate registers or arrives at the test centre in order to ensure that the same person sits every part of the test. ID checks are also done during the Reading and Writing test, and again when checking-in for the Speaking test. The test day photography is taken to further secure the identity and authenticity of the candidate. This photo will be printed on the Test Result Form (TRF).
2) All test materials are checked against registration as well as seat details are double-counted before test takers are released from their test sessions. Besides that, all test centres are regularly monitored and audited while all test papers are printed on high-security paper and distributed automatically to test centres without any human intervention.
3) Efficient systems are always in place to automatically and routinely scrutinise test results. However, if any anomaly is identified in any event, the candidate, Test Centre, and the organizations, to which the test results have been sent, are notified. After that, appropriate action is taken which may include cancellation of an individual’s result.
4) IELTS makes it really easy for universities, employers and government to check the validity of results at any time, using a secure verification system. So, should there be any malpractice, which may include getting somebody else to sit the test on a person’s behalf, will result in being disqualified from the test! Details of the malpractice are also passed on to any organizations, to which a candidate has applied, including relevant visa processing authorities. Moreover, keep in mind that, authorities will not ask for the TRF from you. They will ask you to request the IELTS Authority to send them the Test Result Form.
Myth 4: If I take my IELTS test in IDP, I can score better.
The reality: British Council and IDP are both suitable for achieving a high band score if you perform well in your IELTS test. Both maintain the same standard and not a particular organisation is better than the other in terms of taking the IELTS test. Don't listen to myths and waste your time deciding which one you should choose as your IELTS test authority. Thousands of candidates have scored band score 8+ both from the IDP and British Council. Regardless of the organization, all the examiners, markers, invigilators are trained in the same way to access all the four sections of the examination. So, emphasise on your preparation for the test.
Myth 5: IELTS exam is too difficult and complex.
The reality: Is IELTS really too difficult? The answer is "it is no more difficult than any other exam" since the questions on this test are pretty much straightforward without any trick. Since the questions on the IELTS test are well designed to assess how well one can use his or her English language, some good and thorough preparation would be sufficient to do well on this test. Besides, there is no pass or fail marks in this test, and therefore you shouldn’t really worry too much about the test except just focusing on what kind of score you are aiming for and what band score is needed to apply to a certain institution or organization.
Myth 6: If I only keep practising a lot of sample tests, I will get a better band score.
The reality: Practising sample tests would definitely help a test taker to learn and understand better what is expected in each part of the test in order to maximize the English skills he or she has. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean that an IELTS candidate will get a better band score only by reading sample answers. In order to get a better band score, one has to improve his or her English by using the language in everyday contexts, like speaking it with friends, writing notes and emails in English, reading English newspapers, watching English news on TV and listening to English radio. However, even after all these practices, if anybody feels that they are not enough to get a better band score in the IELTS test, they can consider taking a proper English course.
Myth 7: If I register and take the test in my home country, I will get a better band score.
The reality: There is a common myth among the prospective IELTS candidate that if they take the test in their home countries, they might perform better on the test. But, that’s just simply not true because the level of difficulty will be the same wherever they sit the test. So, instead of worrying about the venue of the test, the IELTS candidates should more focus on their preparation, along with some good sleep and good meals, before taking the test. The candidates are also advised to reach the test centre well in advance so that they can allow themselves enough time to relax and rest before taking the test.
Above all, the test takers should also keep in mind that the IELTS examiners in each country are provided with the same sophisticated and high level of training and are also closely monitored to make sure that they test and rate the responses of all the candidates in a consistent manner, no matter wherever they take the test.
Myth 8: If the opinions I express in my writing or speaking test is different from the examiner, I might lose marks.
The reality: The IELTS test takers should always keep in mind that there are no right or wrong opinions in the writing and speaking parts of the test. Therefore, no question about losing marks arises at all, when expressing any different opinions from the examiner, since all the examiners do is to assess how well a test taker can use his or her English to present information and express ideas.
Myth 9: If I write more than 300 words in IELTS Writing task 2, I will lose marks.
The reality: You need to write a minimum of 250 words in your writing task 2 task. If you write less than 250, your score may be negatively affected. But for writing 300 words or more, you will never lose marks.
Myth 10: If I smile and make the examiner laugh in my Speaking test, I may get a better mark than I deserve.
The reality: This is also not true that if someone smiles and make the examiner laugh in the IELTS speaking test, he or she will get a better mark than their performance. Of course, there is nothing wrong if someone chooses to smile to feel relaxed at the test centre that might help him or her perform better. But as far as the issue of influencing the examiner at the test centre in order to get a better mark from them is concerned, let’s just say that every examiner is a highly trained professional and they are always being closely monitored to be fair to every candidate and assess their level of English only from the word “go”. So, again, the examiner will not give any extra or fewer marks to the IELTS test-takers whether they are smiling and laughing at the test centre or not.
Myth 11: I will lose marks if I don't speak with an American, Australian or British accent.
The reality: The examiners at the IELTS test centres don’t expect you to change your accent when taking an IELTS test. Instead, the examiners expect you to focus on speaking clearly and at a natural pace so that they can understand you properly. So, instead of worrying about their accents, the IELTS candidate should practice their English every day, while also listening to different native-speakers' accents, so that they can overcome the pronunciation difficulties of different types of difficult words.
Myth 12: If I write more than the word limit in my Writing test, I will get more marks.
The reality: When taking an IELTS test, it is important that the test takers closely watch their minimum word limit. It is expected that a candidate writes at least 150 words for Task 1 and at least 250 words for Task 2. in the writing test If they write any less than this, the chances are that they will lose their marks. However, if they write more than they are supposed to, this does not necessarily mean that they will gain extra marks. Rather, it is more important that they use correct English, proper grammar, as well as a wide range of vocabulary and sentence structures rather than just writing more.
Myth 13: The examiner must agree with my opinion if I want to score higher.
The reality: The examiner will test your English skills and not your opinion. So even if your examiner disagrees with your opinion, for example, an opinion you support in your essay or a view you disagree with in your speaking test, you can still score higher.
So when you take the test, write or speak about what you feel comfortable writing or speaking about, don’t worry about the examiner’s opinions.
Myth 14: I must not ask the examiner to repeat the question in the Speaking test.
The reality: It is perfectly okay to ask your examiner to repeat a question if you do not understand the question. Your speaking and not your listening skill is being tested in your Speaking test. However, don't abuse this privilege and ask the examiner to repeat everything. Just ask him/her to repeat only when you don't understand what's been said.
Myth 15: You should not express your opinions that go against the common belief.
The reality: In your writing and speaking test, you are free to express your own opinion even if it is not very common. For instance, you may talk against a common social custom and express why you do not agree with it. For doing so, you will not lose any marks. No opinion is considered right or wrong when it comes to evaluation of the IELTS bands. You will be assessed for your ability to speak and write, in your speaking and writing tests, not based on your opinions or views.