Monday, February 19, 2007

E-test and IELTS

IELTS is the International English Language Testing System. It measures ability to communicate in English across all four language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking – for people who intend to study or work where English is the language of communication.

Since 1989, IELTS has been proven and trusted worldwide to provide a secure, global, authentic and customer-focused test which measures true to life ability to communicate in English. Over 3800 educational institutions, government agencies and professional organisations across 120 countries around the world recognise IELTS scores as a trusted and valid indicator of ability to communicate in English.

With over 500,000 tests taken every year, IELTS is one of the fastest growing English language tests in the world, and sets the standard in integrity, research and innovation.

Another method to judge people's ability in English (especially for overseas students who do not use English as their mother language) who want to enter tertiary school in Australia is E-test (direct entry test) after their finish the english course. Actually, this method has similar areas which are judged i.e listening, reading, writing and speaking. Even though there are some differences. I will describe my experience when i took E-test at Centre for English Teaching University of Sydney.

For listening area, it is divided into two part. First part is similar to IELTS; students listen short conversation and then answer provided questions. It takes about 15 minutes. Another part is totally different with IELTS. In the second part, students listen quite long talk... which is lecture that is delievered in campus setting. Students should make note taking during they are listening the lecture. When they finish listening the lecture... the students should answer the provided question sheet that is given later. It is quite difficult because sometime students can not catch what the lecturer said or they miss certain part of talk so they can not answer the questions. This method is set to adopt lecture setting exactly, so students will be familiar with when they are in university. This part takes about 30 minutes.

For reading area, it has litle bit difference which is the theme of passages. In IELTS, students are given 3-4 passages which has varies themes. It could be health, social, economy, education etc. Students can find all of the themes in one IELTS. The first passage usually is the easiest one and the level of difficulties are increased by sequences. Different to E-test it has only one theme. Mostly, the theme that is taken of the most students.

For writing area, IELTS has 2 parts. In first part the students should describe a picture or graph or table in 150 words for 20 minutes and in the second part they should write an essay on a certain topic in 250 words for 40 minutes. Difference with IELTS, E-test just has one task which is writing timed-essay. The number of words are about 250 within 1 hours. Because the theme is same with other areas, students can use the booklet and their note to support their essay statements. Of course they should do referencing correctly to avoid plagiarism.

Final area is speaking. This area ussually is held next day. For IELTS, students should meet one examiner who ask their personal life, experiences and opinions. For e-test, student should meet 2 examiners but they do not ask the students anything. All they do just giving mark according to the discussion delivered. The students should make discussion with another student. The examiners give some proposals (mostly 3-4 proposals) to being discussed about the strengths and limitations each proposal and decide which one is the best.

The marking system in IELTS is 1-9, whereas e-test has 1-5 system.

On February, 8-9 I took e-test. I was horroble experience especially for listening part. Because a large number of students who were taking e-test, the test was held in big hall and the sounds system was so bad... finally many students complained to the management about it.
In reading skill, it was long passages, so time was run out quickly and the students had no enough time to finish this part.
The topic for this e-test was international aid, so we can image what will happen if the topic is not so familiar with us.

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