IELTS Experience from the Admin @ HigherEduBlog

Hi guys, I am back with another experience post, the last couple of months I have been a little less active than before and so some of you may have rightly guessed it as I was preparing for my “English Proficiency test” , many of you know it as TOEFL or IELTS or TSE. Well, I know that reading the title of this post, many of you may be surprised, HEB admin going for IELTS ?  :-?

Well let me clear one thing for you guys, the tests like IELTS and TOEFL are English proficiency tests, you give these tests in order to complete one of the requirements for your admission process, this requirement is that you need to convince the admission committee that you are an educated individual who is able to communicate effectively and Efficiently in English and you will not struggle here after landing :-) .

So, let’s come back to the main question again, why IELTS and not TOEFL, well the answer is simple TOEFL dates not available uptill november. I could have waited for TOEFL till november, but my university curriculum is pretty tight and I felt to get it done with as early as possible. So I researched a bit into the admissions pages of the universities that I am keen to apply for. Most of them are accepting Either TOEFL or IELTS. so +1 to IELTS. After that, once when Chirag told me to search for a few deadlines, I came across a page on one of the universities admission FAQs that English proficiency is not compulsory at the time of admission. That’s right, If you are able to convince them through your GRE verbal score, AWA and the quality of your SOP that for some reason of other you are not able to give TOEFL right now, you still can get a normal admit, but you must clear the proficiency once you go there in your first sem. That was the moment I realized Time for IELTS!

IELTS is a much easier exam than GRE, I’ll give you that. My experience with IELTS was smooth to say the least. There were no jittery moments like last month when I was there at prometric. Partially because the proficiency test is conducted in two modules i.e, the Academic module(tougher one) for the struggling students like us and the General module( 10th std english at most) for the potential immigrants. The mass of people that give IELTS every week infact help me in this cause as I was super relaxed at the exam venue seeing the test taker ages ranging from 20 yrs to 60 yrs even…


We were bifurcated in two halls, one of the hall containing only academic test takers and the other containing a mix of academic and general test takers for the IELTS 2013. As it always goes, the pattern was IELTS listening, IELTS reading and IELTS writing. The speaking Interview was scheduled next day at a nearby hotel.

1) Listening : The IELTS listening is like the math section of GRE. Confused? Well let me ellaborate. Just as the math section can be moulded to be your strength or weakness in GRE, you can choose to do so the same with the Listening Section. I was  doing pretty well with my mock listening tests ( only gave 3-4 to be frank) , but I was scoring good marks and I decided to make it my strength. Just as the Math on the GRE is a test of nerves, the listening in IELTS is the test of concentration and peace of mind. The section was 40 minutes long and I believe I did well. Fingers crossed for 6th SEPT!

2) Reading : The Reading section of IELTS is a bit more on the higher level but still comes way short of the RC level of GRE. One of the things that make IELTS reading section tough is simply the fact that all its got is RCs. These RCs are Long , infact significantly longer than the longest passage you will ever come across on the GRE verbal. So here the length compensates for the decline in difficulty level. Anyways, before the IELTS , I had given only a couple of IElTS Reading mocks and I was doing above average. I was facing difficulty in the specific yes/no/not given section of the IELTS reading. It always kept my confidence in check and sometimes even scared me out. But anyways, with a lot of positivity I decided to approach the IELTS reading. The difficulty level was a bit more than the practice material but still it could be turned into a scoring section. Anyhow I ended up answering 32+ questions with sure shot confidence and I will not comment on the other 7-8 right now before the results. Still a good section in the end.

3) Writing : The IELTS writing section is a one that many people take for granted or do not prepare at all and still score good marks. A good reason behind this is that these guys have already toiled hard for the GRE AWA section. Still I had seen many preparatory videos on youtube for IELTS writing as I wanted to do well on the four parameters of the assessment criteria. The first task was easy which is normally the case for all engineering test takers. The second part was similar to the issue task of GRE and after presenting a view on both sides, I decided to argue against the statement with my own thoughts. Not a scoring section for most asians, but I still have my hopes up for this one.


The first day went well with the IELTS and I was more than happy with my performance.

4) Speaking : This was one of the most unpredictable sections for me as during my practice sessions with my roommate and based on our own novice assessment skills I had performed with a range of bands during the mocks which were from 6 to 8.5. so i was not sure how this one will fare out for me, the one that actually matter. The hotel ambiance was better even than last day’s, and believe me the day 1 hotel was simply magnificent. My Interviewer was a man in his 50’s , an Indian and he welcomed me to the room, made me comfortable and thus began the speaking section of the IELTS test. Fifteen minutes later, I was smiling both inside and out as I did above average than my mocks. Fingers crossed.

Above all the thing that I realized the most is that IELTS being not hyped as much as TOEFL actually helped me having less pressure and performing to my best on the test day. Many of the seniors have assured my there is nothing like Preference of TOEFL over IELTS and So is my hope.

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